The Award-Winning Style Of Sidney Poitier

TO SIR WITH LOVE, Sidney Poitier, 1967

Reposted in light of Mr. Poitier’s 90th birthday on February 20, 2017.

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Ivy Style brings Black History Month to a close on this controversy-shrouded Oscars night with a tribute to Sidney Poitier.

The actor, who is aged 89, hails from the Bahamas and also served as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan. In 1964 he became the first man of African descent to win the Best Actor award for his performance in “Lilies Of The Field.”

During the heyday of the Ivy League Look, Poitier wore buttondowns, knit and rep ties, blazers, and grey flannel suits, just like every other clued-in working professional. In 1968 he made a film with the fitting title “For Love Of Ivy,” though the Ivy in this case refers to his character’s love interest and not his wardrobe.

In the last photo, on the night he received his Academy Award, Poitier demonstrates how a man is supposed to dress for an event when the women wear floor-length gowns. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

sidney-poitier sp4


Sidney Poitier smolders — and swelters — in In the Heat of the Night</


17 Comments on "The Award-Winning Style Of Sidney Poitier"

  1. Classy, occasion-appropriate clothing; classy human being.

  2. Reactionary Trad | February 29, 2016 at 12:12 am |

    What a classy gentleman!
    I was glad to see that you changed “just like his fellow Americans ” to “just like every other clued-in working professional.”
    Ivy style may have been widespread, but it was never as widespread as some might believe.

  3. Anglophile Trad | February 29, 2016 at 12:33 am |

    Let us not forget that he is Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE (Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

  4. He got his Oscar as Best Actor competing against some giants:

  5. @RT

    “Fellow Americans” came out first but I didn’t like it. BTW if your eye is that sharp, please correct my typos.

    Blazer at top looks like Corneliani for Polo. I’ve a jacket just like that.

  6. Charlottesville | February 29, 2016 at 1:09 pm |

    Christian — Wonderful photos. I thought you recently said that you did not like triple patch pockets like those on the jacket at the top. I must have misunderstood. I tend to agree with those who find them unfriendly to a pocket square, but of course they are very traditional, especially for true blazers, and it is certainly not a deal breaker for me. Assuming it is navy blue, I would prefer gold or brass buttons, though.

  7. Greetings “Charlottesville,” my fellow pinned-club man, and hope you’ve been well. Alas I think you may be over-scrutinizing things. It is true that I find a triple-patch jacket to have one patch too many, but that doesn’t prevent me from admiring how great Poitier looks in the first photo. The Corneliani reference was for the overall silhouette; the jacket I have that the photo reminds me of doesn’t have any patch pockets at all!

  8. Henry Contestwinner | February 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm |

    Wait a sec—what happened to that post on FEC in GQ?

  9. Charlottesville | February 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm |

    Thanks, Christian. I am unpinned today, but otherwise quite well. Mr. Poitier does indeed look good in the jacket in the top photo (from To Sir with Love, perhaps?). I suppose the KBE gives new meaning to that film’s title. In future I shall attempt to scrutinize comments such as “I’ve a jacket just like that” less diligently. In that spirit, I note that I look exactly like Cary Grant in The Grass is Greener. 🙂

  10. Ah, I shouldn’t have written “just”!

  11. Henry Contestwinner | February 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm |

    Wasn’t a post, but a comment. Sorry.

  12. Considering your love for Jews and Jazz, I’m shocked that Nat Hentoff has been dead for nearly two months and hasn’t gotten an Ivy Style tribute.

  13. Since we’re not a jazz site, I didn’t cover Hentoff’s death, mainly because I looked for photos and couldn’t find a good one of him looking trad.

  14. Ah, those are Hentoff images, not Poitier.

    I’d seen a few of those, and thanks for the others. There are certainly buttondown collars.

  15. I don’t think “Lilies Of The Field” was Poitier’s best performance, but he is a class act and has Best Actor quality ability. I just don’t think it’s his best film.

    When I see images of another great actor Anne Bancroft I think what a lucky man Mel Brooks was.

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