The Dignified Hoodie: A Gallery Of That Gentleman ’80s Polo Model


Even an item as banal and unstylish as the hoodie can be elevated by its wearer. Case in point, that handsome old gent from Polo ad campaigns from the late ’80s and early ’90s.

I remember these ads — including the hoodie shot above, taken alongside a tennis court— from when they first came out, which was right when I became interested in style. I’d stare at the guy and, as with all narrative Polo ads of the time, couldn’t help but imagine the character’s backstory.

If anyone knows who the model was, please let us know.

In the meantime, here’s a small tribute to this unnamed gent. In addition to looking distinguished, he holds the distinction of being one of the few elderly beaux to ever have a starring role in a fashion ad campaign. And who else has ever made you want to stock up on yellow? — CC

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46 Comments on "The Dignified Hoodie: A Gallery Of That Gentleman ’80s Polo Model"

  1. Is this Tom Moore? He’s been mentioned in Ivy Style comments before (, though it sounds like he may have passed away.

    Tom Moore also mentioned here:

  2. Did this guy inherit Bertie Wooster’s wardrobe?

  3. Where do you find all these old ads?
    Either way Polo’s ads from the 80s where way better than the ones today.

  4. @Johan

    Assiduous searching. More impressive, if you’ll forgive the immodesty, is that I suddenly remembered the old Polo ad with the hoodie. Chris Sharp’s photographic memory is much better than mine, though.

    Someone said his name is Tom Moore, which turns this up:

  5. That guy would make a pair of overalls covered in pig shit look dignified.

  6. I think his name was Harry. Unless I’m mistaken, he was the dissipated bastard son of Learned Hand, a famous federal appellate judge, whom he closely resembled. He looked good but had an IQ of around 85, and had been in and out of prison for check-kiting, wire-fraud, and stealing tips from tables at the Post House. He loved fine clothing and “purchased” lots of it, without, in the end, actually paying the bills sent to one of his ex-addresses. He was widely admired by people who did not know any better.

  7. Useful at the Harvard Game when an evil wind is whipping off the Charles.

  8. Great ADs! Ah,if only Brooks Brothers……..

  9. DSF: PoW/Edw.VIII/DoW had many qualities not to be admired. He was, however, a style setter and always looked terrific.

  10. That last photo is a bit worrying – I speak as the father of three boys and have been CRB checked …..

  11. What on earth is worrying about the last photo? It looks like an uncle or grandfather putting his arms around the boys.

    This man’s eyebrows are amazing. While bushy eyebrows don’t work for everyone, they work for him.

  12. I thought he looked familiar.

  13. Thomas L. Moore died in 1990. He was an architect, and his wife, Noonie Moore, retired in 1994 as GQ fashion director. See post # 494 in this thread:

    “One of the young photographers [Noonie Moore] encouraged was Bruce Weber, who remembered “this extremely tall and elegant woman who wore this beautiful jewelry, and it was very bohemian. She was just so warm and open and gave a young people a chance.” Later on, Moore’s husband, Thomas L. Moore, an architect who died in 1990, doubled as a Ralph Lauren model and was often photographed by Weber. “

  14. A.E.W. Mason | January 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm |

    To me, the clothes shown reflect a great sense of balance and proportion.

    @DSF Well, you better hope either that your facts are all materially accurate or that this chap is dead. Otherwise, lawyer-up! Just kidding, kind of. He’s probably passed on.

    @ Henry. Agree with your comment. By the way, the award for best bushy eyebrows goes to….
    C. Aubrey Smith.

  15. the original “Most Interesting Man in the World”

  16. by the way, the cardigan in the last photo is awesome

  17. Polo has fallen since the 70s and early 80s. I still own the sweaters, second and third photos, and the spectators. Note the welted seam of the pant in the first photo, Ralph pants back then were full of details and fit comfortably. Also note the belt buckle and shirt is covered by the vest and the jackets cover the ass.

  18. Mr. Mason: I am somewhat acquainted with the law on defamation as it might apply to the mock stylized image, or figura, projected by a person appearing in a Fitzgeraldesque 1980s Ralph Lauren ad. That said, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So let me retract my comments and apologize sincerely to this person and his offspring and say that I have no way of knowing whether he was smart or dumb, or law-abiding or criminal, or ate at the Post House or a glatt-kosher soup kitchen in Williamsburg. What I meant to say is that while many readers of the ad might have considered his image to be that of a distinguished old-line WASP with lots of money and a fantastic taste in clothing, I saw something different, something closer to the dark tribal narcissism and self-delusion which characterized so much of the last few decades of the WASP ascendancy, as well as the wanton appeal to wannabe-snobbery which is still the mainstay of the Ralph Lauren appeal. Will that do, Mr. Mason? Or am I still S.O.L. when I get sued?

  19. Oops! I forgot to mention, Mr. Mason, that I do not believe that the great Learned Hand actually had any bastard children and therefore do not believe that the fellow in the Ralph Lauren ad could have been one of them. But again, I apologize sincerely to anyone who might have been offended by the suggestion, particularly Judge Hand’s descendants, who, I suspect, do not see the need to wear black-watch plaid sportcoats or carry their binoculars in English bridlehide cases that cost $850.00 apiece.

  20. …comment section got real weird.

  21. A.E.W. Mason | January 17, 2014 at 2:19 am |


    Not to worry. I was just kidding around. But you’d be fine in any case. It’s black-letter law that you can’t defame a dead person. And, therefore, heirs have no cause of action. According to Taliesin, the guy died in 1990. There is also the defense that it was satire which, actually, I kind of thought it was. So, I don’t think you have any cause to be keeping an eye out for process servers.

  22. DSF, I think you touched on something of some importance. You distinguish between one notion of “Old Line WASP” and the tribal narcissm that characterized the last few gasps of WASP sovereignty. This hints at something we might call into question: that any “tribe,” however formed for whatever reasons, are (or ever were) inherently welcoming and open-minded and accepting of the norms and values of other “tribes.” I remain a skeptic. I think a safer hypothesis is that most groups–“tribes,” if you please–find their meaning in setting themselves apart. Such an effort may involve taste, manners, and, yes, even style. “Here’s how we’re not like you and you are not like us,” or so it goes.

    The Old Protestant Establishment isn’t what it once was. The evidence isn’t the decline of the prep schools and the Ivy League universities, as both have long been populated (staff, faculty, student body) by people who are not, to borrow your phrase, “Old Line WASPs.” The evidence is more clearly seen in other venues, including (I’d argue most prominently) the Mainline Protestant Denominations, including but not limited to the Episcopal Church (Church of England) and the Presbyterian Church (Church of Scotland). Their decline can be attributed to the lack of willingness among the baptized and confirmed to remain committed.

    Too many of the grandchildren and great grandchildren were forced to compete in a world where the old WASP values and norms–composure, reserve, emotional restraint, humility, modesty, anti-intellectualism–are no longer prized or welcome. How does the relatively effete, self-effacing, Book of Common Prayer-devouring “WASP” manage in the marketplace (whether political, economic, academic, or otherwise)? Ask George H.W. Bush–after he received the Clintonian pounding in the ’92 election.

    Now, back to the Polo ads: trade the spread collars for button-downed oxfords and remove the front darts, and you have classic, Anglo-American Brooks style. It’s interesting that they’re the two details that transition the look from American (Brooks) to English.

  23. The gentleman’s name is Thomas Moore. His first appearance was around 1980 with another gentleman named John Norwood. I don’t recall which but one of them was President of The Boy Scouts of America. I recall it well as I was managing the Polo store on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. Tom was not a professional model per se just a distinguished gentleman with a great sense of style. Ralph and Buffy Birritella admired his style and it was a perfect fit with the company’s pioneering of “Lifestyle” or “Aspirational” advertising. The ads were certainly “believable” and helped further the brand certainly.
    Joel Patton

  24. @ S.E.

    I appreciate your comment and the range of your knowledge. You show us how much of what we call style is deeply rooted in cultural values that have a long history. (Not that things can’t be mixed and matched, as with any cultural form).

    But I wonder about some aspects of the history you narrate. I’m not so sure, however much of an ideal it was held to be, and also a practice, that even old-style WASPs were so self-effacing as to be rendered unfit for competitive aggression in the marketplace.

    My reading of the Ivy League universities is also different. They are still at the top of the polls — I would argue that’s because they successfully negotiate past traditions and present conditions in precisely the ways that J Press and Brooks Brothers (to a lesser extent) are failing to do. I’m willing to admit partiality here. But, in your analysis, what do you see that leads to you think they have declined?

  25. To the positive posters, particularly by Taliesin & Joel P, the information & links to Noonie Moore’s WWD obituary were quite interesting as I remember Tom Moore as a Polo model quite well. Did any of you actually know or meet Mr Moore?

  26. Does anyone have a link they can post to Tom Moore’s obituary?

  27. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, Christian you’re such an assclown. You’re worse than that douche from Unbashedly Prep. Neither of you went to Prep School or an IVY! Fuck, you went to like City College. That assclown from AP went to some associates degree school in Texas and his former wife is a body builder.

    Both of you, you’re killing what we all hold sacred. FUCK. OFF.

  28. Dan foresaw this last night at 1:12 AM.

  29. Re: Advertising — I must say I liked the few brochures that J. Press did using models, but never showing their eyes.

  30. Christian, you speak honestly you reveal that you would “stare at the guy and, as with all narrative Polo ads of the time, couldn’t help but imagine the character’s backstory.”

    So, as you stared at the lad in the ad, what did you imagine his backstory to be?

  31. HOC can’t be serious. If he is serious, and actually attended the educational institutions he appears to be defending, he may be a symptom of what S.E. chronicles as the decline of the Episcopalian and Presbyterian Churches, prep schools, and the Ivy League altogether. Is this really the level of discourse they are producing these days? I doubt it.

  32. I wouldn’t take that line quite so literally. However, those narrative ads certainly induce reverie, though I think they fire the subconscious more than the conscious.

    Alas I wish I could remember my reveries at age 18. Would make for an interesting compare/contrast.

  33. “… they fire the subconscious…” Makes them interesting as art as well as highly-effective advertising.

  34. @RJG

    It remains a mystery to me. Why some habits of mind, body, and spirt “win out” in the end, and others do not. The human soul and all that. Tricky, murky stuff. What Christian might call the subconscious.

    A friend of mine claims it has to do stuffiness. To the eye trained in grace and graciousness, the above images inspire. But then there are those who mistake a quiet gentility for, well, stuffiness.

    I feel sure Brooks’ governing board would argue they’ve not suffered a decline. They would reference the expansion into a variety of markets, including outlets.

    What’s Press’ problem?


  35. I enjoy most of the articles & comments on this blog and do not think one must have attended a prep school or an Ancient 8 college to write & comment on the clothing styles which at one time were adopted by students & graduates of many high schools & colleges.

  36. There’s no such thing as “the dignified hoodie.” Such a garment belongs only in three places: the beach, the boat, and the gym. If a man thinks otherwise, he’s been looking at far too many fashion pics, or he’s in thrall to Rap Culture. Even though I’ve bought a few Polo items over the years, I’ve always felt the ersatz “Her Britannic Majesty” tone of the company’s advertising pathetic for a kid from the Bronx. OTOH, Ralph’s upbringing just might explain how cotton jersey “goes with” herringbone tweed.

    S.E.’s comments ring true on the tribal thing, as Herbert Walker might say, but Bush 41 was a quisling of the first order. Beholden only to Bush ambitions, and a betrayer of the gift ethos, he forced his own competitiveness into the political marketplace by joining up with the quintessentially nouveau Ronald Reagan. I suppose Poppy thought buying tube socks at Penney’s passed for noblesse oblige. Life comes full circle in these United States though- Ralph’s son married W’s niece a few years back. Yet who wants to be Lauren Lauren?

    Religious commitment is far too private a matter for a fashion blog.

  37. Tom Selleck got some Moore inspiration….

  38. I don’t know anything about Thomas LeVal Moore, but one of Learned Hand’s great-grandchildren was a friend of mine in school, and I briefly met a few other members of the family when they came up for graduation. However I don’t feel comfortable generalizing about what the family wears or carries based on that.

  39. Note:
    1. As shown in Table 1 images of a conservative nature maintained at 100% until 1992. In 1993
    Ralph Lauren introduced his Double RL line, which used minorities and a more rugged look.
    While the brand extension did not last long the imagery remained in other brand extensions in
    growing percentages. This new urban/hip look peaked in 1999, and the original conservative
    image is reduced to only 31% by 2000.
    2. Ethic groups were not introduced into Lauren’s advertising until 1991. He used one ad that
    year with a man of Native American descent. African Americans appeared in his ads for the first
    time in 1994. It would be 1995 before he would use a black man in a suit.
    3. The age of the models stayed consistent with the majority in the adult category. However, the
    young adults increased slightly in the later years. The mature adult decreases in percentage and
    the only mature adult used as models in 1996, 1998, and 2000 is Ralph Lauren himself.

    I my memory is correct, the first Polo lookbook/ direct mail advert was in 1977. It featured an older gentleman with hair resembling the Duke of Windsor’s.

  40. MAC writes: “The mature adult decreases in percentage and the only mature adult used as models in 1996, 1998, and 2000 is Ralph Lauren himself.”

    Hmmmm…. all of us have to grow old, but we can always remain immature.

    Those ensembles from the 1980s RL ads look immensely better than anything they show today. To whom, exactly, are the “Big Pony” items supposed to appeal. And their pseudo-serious mountain boots and pseudo-classic Americana outdoor gear is simultaneously inferior to while more expensive than the real deal from Lowa, Filson, Pendleton, etc. Who buys the RL knockoffs?

  41. Mazama
    Urban hipsters and people that don’t know any better.

  42. The “Dignified” Hoodie? How about the “Ghettoized” Hoodie? The title to this piece is as un-prep as its capitalization. Say, was the gentleman intending to pop the hood over his head? Was it a precaution against the rain, or the wind? Because if that is the case, where is his scarf, or umbrella?

    This blog just gets more amusing by the day – thank you. If you think this has anything to do with Ivy, you are wrong. Yes, kids from the Ivies wear hoodies on occasions. No, it is not “Ivy Style” nor is it “Prep Style”, unless you are talking about “Sports Ivy Style” which isn’t “Ivy Style”.

    $ 0.02 from someone who knows better.

  43. My Dad had the identical twin of that yellow cardigan sweater, although I am pretty sure his came from Brooks Brothers.

    These photos sure remind me of the old M Magazine, which I still miss.

  44. Maura Corrigan | August 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm |

    Thomas L Moore was a New York City architect and designer who designed my parent’s house and a number of other houses in Saltaire FI. My parents house was featured in the design section of the NY Times in 1974 as an example of organic architecture espoused by Frank LLoyd Wright. His most famous client in Saltaire was the popular fashion designer Liz Claiborne.
    Tom was married to the Fashion Editor, Nonnie Moore, who at the time was the Fashion Director of the now defunct Mademoiselle Magazine. Nonnie was very plugged into the fashion scene and was friendly with the photographer, Bruce Weber. Tom was not a male model, just a distinguished looking man who fit the waspy stereotypes depicted in the ad campaigns of Ralph Lauren in the Mid to late 1970’s.

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