The New Frontier: American Life During The Ivy Heyday, Part Two

Part two of James Kraus’ survey of what was happening in American culture from 1954-67, the heyday of the Ivy League Look.

* * *

Favorable demographics and consistent sizable gains in productivity continued to fuel prosperity in the 1960s throughout the industrialized world. Between 1954 and 1967, Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan and Sweden suffered not a single year of recession. In the U.S. the mass migration to suburban living continued unabated.

The decade began with a bang in 1960 with the opening of the Playboy Club in Chicago and FDA approval of the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill.

One result of the exuberant spending frenzy of the late 1950s was the growing elasticity of the boundaries of good taste. By the close of the decade many Americans from the canyons of Wall Street and boulevards of Beverly Hills to the materialism-renouncing members of the nascent Beat Generation began to eschew the more ostentatious flamboyance of the era. Change was in the air and tastemakers and manufacturers alike responded, led by the auto industry.

Beginning with their 1960 models, tail fins went on a diet, chrome trim was reduced and multi-color exteriors became a rarity. The transition from fifties extravagance to sixties elegance was exemplified by the graceful new 1961 Lincoln Continental. Its crisp unadorned flanks and timeless style would endure basically unchanged for five years.

A declaration by President Kennedy before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961 of his intent to land a man on the moon before the end of the sixties accelerated the Space Race and set an ambitious and optimistic tone for the nascent decade.

The excitement and allure of space exploration was enhanced further in 1962 with the launch of the Telstar communication satellite.

The satellite inspired an instrumental of the same name by a British musical group, The Tornados. The song, featuring the Space Age sound of the newly introduced Univox Clavioline keyboard, became a number one hit in both the U.K. and the U.S.

Even more so than in the late 1950s, fascination with jets, rocketry and interplanetary travel induced numerous manufacturers to name their products so as to infuse them with Space Age glamor.

Exemplars of the new fashion included the Ford Starliner, Oldsmobile Jetstar, Plymouth Satellite; Accutron Astronaut and Spaceview wristwatches, the Rolex Space-Dweller and the Seattle SuperSonics.

Conversely, a mere three months following the launch of Telstar atop a Thor-Delta rocket, the world faced the potential downside of rocketry in the form of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a battle of wits over Russian ballistic missiles in Cuba versus U.S. missiles in Italy and Turkey. Many Americans began considering or installing backyard bomb shelters.

Though resolved successfully, the event brought the Cold War to a head and created a dichotomy that smoldered in the subconscious of the later half of the heyday; the limitless possibilities of space exploration versus the possibility of instantaneous nuclear annihilation.

The same year; all but overshadowed, The Port Huron Statement was released by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a manifesto of policy recommendations. It would prove to be a portent of things to come.

To accommodate higher standards of living, suburban homes of the 1960s increasingly featured two-car garages and Family Rooms. The latter generally featured woodgrain paneling and acoustic tile ceilings. They became the nexus for nearly all home activities save for cocktail parties, which were often reserved for the more formal living room.

Kitchen appliances became more sophisticated with self-defrosting refrigerators becoming commonplace, along with ranges featuring dual high-level ovens. The promise of inexpensive nuclear power generation led to a nationwide promotion of the all-electric home. Developers would affix qualifying houses with a bronze Live Better Electrically medallion.

Steakhouses and temples of Continental dining began sharing the restaurant stage with a newcomer, Pacific Island cuisine, normally marketed as Polynesian or Tiki.

Descended from Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s, Tiki dining exploded in popularity in the 1960s, gathering momentum after Hawaii became America’s 50th state. It was dining as spectacle, featuring exotic decorations, flaming entrees and fantastical rum-based drinks embellished with tropical fruits and fanciful mugs and swizzle sticks.

The public became enamored with Tiki, donning Hawaiian print shirts and applying Polynesian motifs to commercial establishments, apartment buildings and interior décor. Disneyland opened the Enchanted Tiki Room. Satellite imagery that began adorning modernist buildings in the post-Sputnik fifties increasingly had to make way for carved Tiki gods, in addition to two other newcomers: oversize chess figurines and large coach lamps.

Pop Art began displacing Abstract Expressionism in leading galleries. Appropriating imagery from advertising and popular culture, Pop was perfectly suited to the new decade of consumerism.

Helen Gurley Brown published “Sex and the Single Girl,” advising women how to enjoy the pleasures of single living and engaging in les affaires du coeur.

The British launched a four-pronged assault on worldwide culture with The Beatles, the Bond film franchise, Carnaby Street fashions and Twiggy, the Face of 1966. In-flight moves came to jet travel.

The years from 1962 through 1966 saw the release of films and television shows whose derivatives still account for virtually half of the current top six movie franchises: Bond, “Batman” and “Star Trek.” During the same period, Surf Music became a pop staple on the airwaves.

While record companies had courted youth culture in the 1950s with acts like Elvis Presley, the 1960s saw an explosion of consumer products directly marketed to the burgeoning youth market from soft drinks targeted at the Pepsi Generation to the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO.

Despite youth–targeted pop music dominating record charts, Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” climbed to Number One on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts in July 1966, and became the second best-selling song of the year in the U.K. The same year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its peak for the decade.

The prosperity of the 1960s provided a veneer that masked festering social discontent on a number of fronts including concerns over civil rights and the escalating conflict in Vietnam. Tensions began coming to a head in the Watts Riots of 1965 and Newark Riots of 1967.

Environmental and automotive safety concerns were brought to the fore by two groundbreaking books, “Silent Spring” (1962) and “Unsafe at any Speed” (1965). Concerns over the issues raised would eventually culminate in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A convenient signpost for the twilight of the Heyday as we know it was the Monterey International Pop Music Festival of June 1967, it provides a clear illustration of what was, and what was soon to be. Looking at the documentary, one can see that while about three-quarters of the audience looked they could have stepped in from the world of 1963, the remainder appear to have travelled back in time from the future circa-1969, sporting early versions of what would quickly become widespread late-sixties wardrobes and hairstyles.

The world would never look the same; or be the same. The following year would see rioting occur throughout the United States, Italy and France, followed in 1969 by the Days of Rage in Chicago, Bloody Sunday in Istanbul, and unrest throughout Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile; as P.J. O’Rourke once stated, “Looking forward went out of fashion.” A predisposition to equate new and better swiftly evolved to new is suspect as tastes turned to Edwardian-influenced menswear and metal-framed granny glasses as well as more traditionalist automotive design and architecture, a trend culminating in the demolition of the Monsanto Home of the Future at Disney’s Tomorrowland in 1967.

Another victim of changing attitudes was the American Supersonic Transport (SST) project originally begun in the halcyon days of 1963, and defunded shortly after the close of the decade.

Nevertheless, not all aeronautical progress came to an end. On July 20, 1969, in view of 600 million earthlings, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would land on the moon, fulfilling the goal set by President Kennedy with five months to spare. — JAMES KRAUS

56 Comments on "The New Frontier: American Life During The Ivy Heyday, Part Two"

  1. Philly Trad | June 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm |

    Your two pieces are just terrific. Congrats on producing an efficient and economical narrative, in images and words, that gives a slice of cultural history. Well done!

  2. Yes, once again many thanks to James for these fine two contributions.

  3. If you get the chance, listen to the “New Frontier” by Donald Fagen. It is a tremendous song reflecting on life during this time in America.

    “Well I can’t wait ’til I move to the city
    ‘Til I finally make up my mind
    To learn design and study overseas”

  4. Charlottesville | June 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm |

    Congratulations, Mr. Kraus. Another excellent post, and great illustrations to go with it. I see that Bob Hope seems to have made another appearance, possibly in a Tiki restaurant judging by the garnishes on the drinks. And oh, to have that Lincoln with the famous “suicide doors.” But most of all, I think I would like to drop in on the elegant group in what appears to be a beer ad at the top; great clothes, great haircuts and beautiful women. I think my wife and I might well enjoy their company although, if permitted, I might prefer to order a martini. And I echo DR Wu’s recommendation of Donald Fagen’s “Nightfly” album including the song “New Frontier” which mentions Brubeck, Tuesday Weld, Ambush perfume and the French twist hairdo in the space of a few lines; very evocative of the era.

  5. Thanks for the reminder of the Tiki era. I had forgotten about that. The ubiquitous Tiki bars used to give you a plastic mug to take home with every over-priced drink you ordered. They typically looked like a totem face carved in a coconut shell, and there was a time when practically every home had a small brown Tiki mug proudly displayed on a shelf. Years later, I found out that the Tiki style had absolutely no basis in Polynesian or Pacific culture. The whole thing was made up by Americans to attract tourists to Hawaii.

  6. Charlottesville:

    You have a sharp eye! Yes, that’s Bob again, from the same movie (Bachelor in Paradise) enjoying libations at a Tiki palace with Lana Turner. This film won an award from Auto Universum for its wonderfully detailed depiction of 1960s suburban America:

    https://autouniversum.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/the-debut-of-the-auto-universum-etoile-dor-du-cinema/

    The elegant group in the first photo is actually sitting in a beer garden at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

    If you want to delve further into the 1960s, peruse my 50th Anniversary year-to-year overview that so far covers 1960-1966 (’67 coming soon):

    https://autouniversum.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/suddenly-its-1960/

  7. “Introduce me to that big blonde/She’s got a touch of Tuesday Weld” – D. Fagen

  8. New Frontier by Donald Fagen:

    Yes we’re gonna have a wingding
    A summer smoker underground
    It’s just a dugout that my dad built
    In case the reds decide to push the button down
    We’ve got provisions and lots of beer
    The key word is survival on the new frontier

    Introduce me to that big blonde
    She’s got a touch of Tuesday Weld
    She’s wearing Ambush and a French twist
    She’s got us wild and she can tell
    She loves to limbo, that much is clear
    She’s got the right dynamics for the new frontier

    Well I can’t wait ’til I move to the city
    ‘Til I finally make up my mind
    To learn design and study overseas
    Have you got a steady boyfriend
    Cause honey I’ve been watching you
    I hear you’re mad about Brubeck
    I like your eyes, I like him too
    He’s an artist, a pioneer
    We’ve got to have some music on the new frontier

    Well I can’t wait ’til I move to the city
    ‘Til I finally make up my mind
    To learn design and study overseas
    Let’s pretend that it’s the real thing
    And stay together all night long
    And when I really get to know you

  9. It’s alway best of course to include the opening stanza:

    We’ll open up the doors and climb into the dawn
    Confess your passion your secret fear
    Prepare to meet the challenge of the new frontier

  10. Whoops! Those are actually the last lines!

  11. Charlottesville | June 15, 2017 at 3:20 pm |

    Thanks, Mr. Kraus. I am a big fan of your site. I think I discovered it from a link posted here by Christian a few years ago. My parents took me to the NY World’s Fair in ’64 or more likely ’65 although I was a bit young for the beer garden. I still recall bits of the GM exhibit called something like “The World of Tomorrow” and some of the Disney stuff, including the animatronic Abe Lincoln and, for better or worse, “It’s a Small World.” My wife and I passed by the old fairgrounds a couple of weeks ago in a cab on the way to LaGuardia, and it brought back memories. I suppose it is now remembered mostly as a location for “Men in Black.” Please keep up your great posts here and on Auto Universum.

  12. Let’s assume my link works: I recently saw this documentary about latter-day Tiki culture as enjoyed by people who apparently missed it on its first go-around. They seem to be having fun.

    http://www.pbs.org/video/2365455055/.

  13. Wonderful! That Tiki apartment building is right across the street from where I live! Absolutely love it every time I walk by.

  14. There are still Tiki bars around. And they still sell ceramic decorative mugs.

    Hand-in-hand with the Tiki boom was an associated musical genre: exotica. Top bandleaders in that genre were the likes of Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and Arthur Lyman.

  15. Re: The elegant group in the first illustration. Didn’t adults look so much more “adult” back then?

  16. Don,

    Indeed! You will notice that it is the only image in the whole article that does not illustrate anything specific in the narrative. Nevertheless, I had to include it simply because it so perfectly conveys the look and atmosphere of the time.

  17. Oh yes indeed the song brings me back. Sadly there are not many women built like Tuesday Weld anymore, have mercy!

  18. SFSteve,

    Excellent find! I finished watching a few moments ago and was so excited I wandered over to the bar to mix myself a Zombie. Alas, I seem to be out of Falernum…

  19. “Exemplars of the new fashion included… the Seattle SuperSonics.”

    The SuperSonics, commonly referred to as just “the Sonics”, after 41 years in Seattle decamped for Oklahoma City (??) in 2008.

    But the”futuristic” 605′ tall Space Needle – with observation deck designed to look like a flying saucer – for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition – better known as the Seattle World’s Fair – is still going strong. Towering above a low rise section of the city, and easily accessed from now-highrise downtown via the “futuristic” Monorail, is well worth visiting for the view on any clear day. It not nearly as tall as the observation towers built all over the world since then, but no other city offers views of snowcapped mountains on both eastern and western horizons above a large lakes or an “inland sea” respectively.

    Both of these “futuristic” remnants of the ’60s are now designated as Historic Landmarks. Back to the future I guess.

    Alas, the three excellent trad clothing shops that seemed to flourish in the 1980s are long gone and unlamented by the ruling t-shirt clad technocracy…

  20. I’m a fan of the period between about 1960-1967. There was a chicness to the era, a certain cool embodied by the likes of Ian Fleming’s famous character. Being too young to have actually lived through it, I’ve always been struck by how things changed so quickly. You have The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 wearing suits and ties, and just thee short years later,, the flower power, Summer of Love.

  21. CC: a bit off-topic for this post, but newsworthy nonetheless: saw a review of the recently re-opened Campbell Apartment. Apparently it wasn’t turned into a nightclub after all, post-sale. Although the martinis are now $25.

  22. Charlottesville | June 16, 2017 at 10:06 am |

    Don — I had the same thought. People in their 20s and 30s looked and acted like adults because they were adults. Children and teenagers were expected to become, and for the most part wanted to become, adults. This was still true in my early career days, the 1980s, although the 60s and 70s had taken a bit of a toll by then. Now, there is even a word used by 30-somethings for doing basic things like balancing a bank statement or calling the plumber to fix a burst pipe: “adulting.” Perpetual adolescence is the norm, and even grandparents go out and about in t-shirts, cargo shorts and sneakers. Coat and tie are not quite costume yet, but we seem to be headed that way. Last week, a grocery clerk asked me “Where are you coming from?” and I replied with the name of my home town. She seemed genuinely puzzled. “No,” she said, “I mean why are you dressed up?” That is one of the reasons I enjoy certain restaurants in Washington and Manhattan: one still sees adults behaving like adults, not stuffily, but with basic civility and a certain elegance. Here in fairly traditional Charlottesville, where there are many educated and financially well-off people, it is a rarity to see a tie in even the nicest restaurants, although I spot the occasional sport coat. There are certainly bigger issues than clothing facing the world today, but the time machine effect of the illustrations above is bittersweet.

  23. Philly Trad | June 16, 2017 at 12:17 pm |

    I agree with Charlottesville in that I regularly get the impression others see me as overdressed, where as I feel appropriately dressed. I work on a university campus, and the sartorial rules among faculty and staff are followed. It works well. Some of the students are amazingly elegant, however most are not interested in presenting themselves to the world with any style. The only time I observe how overdressed I am is when traveling. My airplane wardrobe is a blazer, button down, khaki’s and loafers. Everyone else is in their bedclothes, and not just the younger people. Today’s agreed upon rules of public presentation are different than before, but that is only natural as generations pass from one to the other. that said, I am glad this site exists where like minded folks can read, assess, study, and communicate; keeping the flame lit, so to speak.

  24. Rick Woodward | June 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm |

    Don’t forget IGY also off of Nightly. Right out of Popular Science magazine of the 50s.

  25. FrontPorchLife | June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm |

    ^^ Yes! IGY is incredible. “There’ll be spandex jackets one for everyone”

  26. NaturalShoulder | June 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm |

    I feel the same as Charlottesville and Phily Trad. My usual casual attire consists of khakis, OCBD, penny loafers or camp mocs and has not changed much since college in the 80s. My kids have stopped asking why I am so dressed up to go to the store or even dinner but they realize that is how I roll (using their parlance). I have told them I don’t think of myself as dressed up but everyone else now dresses down so it makes me look as such. Even professionally, I may be the only one in meetings in a suit but have stopped caring about what others think of my practice. I enjoy wearing suits and coat and tie to work.

  27. Here’s some 1965 footage of Tuesday Weld wearing an OCBD and khakis:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AT1fUH9K5w

  28. Charlottesville | June 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm |

    Natural and Philly – Even in the 80s, 90% or more of my peers had abandoned, or never adopted, anything close to the Ivy look. I guess we just need to get used to being rebels in a world of conformists.

  29. @ Charlottesville “Last week, a grocery clerk asked me “Where are you coming from?”

    This made me laugh. I’m constantly asked “Are you just leaving work?” Or “Do you work in sales?” I just shake my head and say I choose to dress this way.

  30. Henry Contestwinner | June 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm |

    Another top-notch article article! Well-written, thorough, yet to the point, it covers a huge range of topics so very well.

    I must echo many of the sentiments expressed above: the beauty of many of the scenes; admiration for the achievements of our ancestors; the wish that adults dressed and comported themselves as such in our time; my quaint habit of wearing a jacket & tie even though I am not required to.

    Of course, non-sartorial trends and influences came up, and one of them struck me as worthy of comment: Silent Spring. While it is a beautifully written work, it is largely fiction. For example, bird populations actually increased after widescale use of DDT, in large part because DDT greatly reduced the insect and parasite vectors for avian diseases. In 1972, the EPA reported,

    “The uses of DDT under the registration involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife…. DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man…. DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man.”

    Yet it was banned anyway. Never let facts stand in the way of a good narrative!

    It wouldn’t be so bad if it were not for the millions of people who suffered, and even died, because of the ban.

    Well, that aside, I will note that I am fortunate enough to live near a Tiki bar & restaurant. While they do not serve Crab Rangoon, they have excellent Tiki drinks and a nice Happy Hour menu, and I love their collection of Tiki cups. Perhaps I’ll have to swing by soon.

    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-truth-about-ddt-and-silent-spring

  31. Charlottesville | June 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm |

    Joe — On occasion when asked about my suit and tie, if I know the person asking, I will say that I dress the way I do as a conscious protest against the slovenliness of this present evil age. I say it with a smile, and my tongue may be planted in my cheek, but it is not entirely false. My barber recently asked, jokingly, if I had gotten all dressed up just for my haircut and I said no, but I was going to the dry cleaner and grocery store later. I concede, however, that tomorrow I will be attending a barbecue on a friend’s farm, and plan to wear a madras shirt, sans tie, and no coat.

  32. Henry Contestwinner | June 17, 2017 at 1:29 am |

    Charlottesville, I, too, wear a jacket & tie (and fedora!) as a protest; they also serve as a rebuke to the slovenly and as an expression of my personality. I seldom say that, though; normally, I just say that I like to dress the way I do—which is also true.

  33. Julia Smith Grossman | June 18, 2017 at 8:14 am |

    As a woman, I do my part in protest of the slobification of society (anti-athleisure, messy hair, etc.), and I get those same reactions from people when I am dressed in what I consider to be cleaned up casual: khaki skirt, pressed shirt, scarf, ballet flats. I will be doing errands or be on my way to volunteer at the library, and I will be asked where I am going or coming from, and I get the stares. I will NOT give in to slovenliness, and that first photo above is indeed very “bittersweet.” I grew up during that era, and it seems that our mothers were using Jackie and Audrey as their role models. Yes, adults looked like adults. As kids, we knew who was in charge. Nurses and our teachers looked professional and groomed. I really do miss those days where people wanted to look their best. It is extremely rare that I can ever admire the human scenery at any public place. The snowflake generation has to have their “safe places,” and mine would be a venue sans slobs. Not too many of those around. Okay, the Union League.

    Jacqueline

  34. Ms. Grossman, the world needs more women like yourself.

  35. @cameron

    That Tuesday Weld footage is one of the sexiest things I’ve seen in a long time.

    Will

  36. Julia Smith Grossman | June 19, 2017 at 8:54 am |

    @GS: Thank you. I think it’s downright sad when people give up on themselves. Coco Chanel said something like this: “I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little–if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny….” Of course, I believe it goes for men too.

  37. Charlottesville | June 19, 2017 at 10:02 am |

    Thank you for your comments, Ms. Grossman. I wish there were many more like you around. When you find that slob-free safe space, please let me know so my wife and I can join you there. I am reminded of a line about Lord Peter Wimsey from “Whose Body”: “[H]is clothes were a kind of rebuke to the world at large.” I think you, Henry and I, along with many other commenters here, are trying to accomplish the same today. Best wishes.

  38. Julia Smith Grossman | June 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm |

    @Charlottesville: If you are in C’ville, I’m just over the hill in Lexington, VA. There are one or two places in town (restaurants) that are sometimes slob-free but not always. I’ve often thought that phone-free restaurants might also contribute to an atmosphere of respect and civility. My husband shares my views, and much of the time we just hunker in the bunker rather than go out, spend money, and feel aggravated.

    Okay, while I’m at it about the fifties and sixties, I do not recall ever seeing such obesity as we do now–not a man, woman, or child. I don’t even recall that in the seventies and eighties, and I’m a pretty observant people watcher. I lived in Los Angeles, New York/CT, Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, and Tampa during those decades. I’m sure it existed, but I sure don’t remember seeing this.

    Just an observation….

  39. Ms. Grossman, that Chanel quote brings to mind the maxim: “dressing well is a form of good manners.” If only more people had good manners…

  40. Julia Smith Grossman | June 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm |

    Indeed, GS!

  41. Charlottesville | June 19, 2017 at 5:07 pm |

    Ms. Grossman — Lexington is a delightful town with, at least as of a few years ago, a very traditional men’s store called Alvin-Dennis. We also have a few fairly civilized restaurants on my side of the Blue Ridge, but none where one could count on finding a foursome as well turned out as the folks in the first picture above. You are also right about the ubiquity of cellphones rather spoiling the atmosphere in otherwise serene spots. At one point I remember that cellphone signals could not penetrate the walls at a favorite restaurant of mine in New York, which made it even more beloved. They would bring a plug-in extension phone to your table if you needed to make a call, which was done occasionally, but had a charm that the iPhone can’t match. I doubt that this remains true today but I can’t recall seeing cellphones there recently, so maybe it is still the case. As for a time when New Orleans was devoid of surplus avoirdupois, that must have been pre-1987 or so when I started visiting. But, to be fair, if I were to indulge in a regular Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, I might need to have my seersucker suit let out a bit too. I hope that you will continue to lend your perspective to this site, when the spirit moves you.

  42. Julia Smith Grossman | June 21, 2017 at 8:52 am |

    @Charlottesville and GS: I look at this blog frequently because it is a respite from what hurts my eyes outside. I’m always pleased to know that there are some who still care about clothes and appearance. One more quote: “Vain trifles as they seem, clothes change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.”

  43. Charlottesville | June 21, 2017 at 11:00 am |

    Ms. Grossman — Indeed! Virginia Woolf. Hopefully my seersucker suit and Panama will act as a balm for my own weary soul today, but tonight when my wife and I are dining I imagine mine will be the only coat and tie to be found in the restaurant. Oh, well. At least my wife and I, you and your husband, GS, Henry, NaturalShoulder, Sacksuit, Philly Trad, Joe, Christian et al. can set a good example. As Churchill was fond of saying, KBO (keep buggering on).

  44. Charlottesville

    Thanks for the mention. Today OCBD, blue blazer, repp tie, khakis, old brown long wings (it was raining this morning) London Fog raincoat. Wife had pink shirt dress and duck boots (taking dog out to poop in the rain in the morning.) She probably switched to loafers as it is a gloriously beautiful day now.

    Will

  45. Charlottesville | June 21, 2017 at 4:48 pm |

    Will — Two excellent outfits there. I love the old preppy look of Bean boots with everything in sloppy weather, and my wife and I often do the same. I especially find them just the thing with tweed on snowy days in the office. I remember wearing Florsheim long wings when I was a teenager, probably as my first pair of grownup dress shoes, but had neglected the style for decades. Now, I have several pairs of A-E double soled Macneil long wings, and they are about my favorite shoes. I also have an older pair of Florsheim Imperial long wings in black pebble grain. I find them remarkably comfortable, despite the heavy, clunky appearance. And just yesterday my wife told me how nice the pair I was wearing looked. That made me smile which is another plus.

  46. Henry Contestwinner | June 24, 2017 at 2:19 am |

    Mrs. Grossman, please allow me to join the chorus in welcoming you and your comments. Thank you for doing your part to maintain not just decorum but civilization itself (it might sound hyperbolic, but I mean it sincerely).

    Re-reading your comment, the line “Nurses and our teachers looked professional and groomed” resonated with me. I have wondered when it was that the acceptable uniform for nurses switched from the traditional uniform to modern medical pajamas, i.e., scrubs. While it makes sense for those who, in the course of their regular work, have a high probability of coming into contact with bodily fluids to wear scrubs, when did it spread to every single nurse everywhere? Certainly nurses in most medical offices don’t need to wear scrubs, and those in administrative positions absolutely do not. What’s worse is that with the rainbow of colors and kaleidoscope of patterns now available in scrubs, nurses lack both dignity and authority.

    And teachers? Don’t get me started!

    Well, in any case, welcome, and I hope you stick around.

    P.S. to Charlottesville: Thank you for the kind words.

  47. Julia Smith Grossman | June 25, 2017 at 9:52 am |

    Gentlemen: You have been very kind and welcoming, and that is truly lovely. I lurk around here and find some reassurance in Christian’s posts and many of the comments. I could rant on and on about endless sartorial crimes and misdemeanors, and it’s nice to know that you would not chastise me for being “shallow” because “there are so many other important issues than how people look.” I maintain that it has more to do with many of society’s ills than these enlightened intellectuals care to admit. There is so much that I would like to say that it feels as though my head might explode. I know…don’t get me started on teachers at all levels including higher education. Some of the women at W&L University in the town where I live wear their hideous garments and shoes (especially the shoes) like a badge of honor. All of the scrubs in health care environments are not at all reassuring. It’s ghastly.

    My husband and I are attending a family wedding in Maine in August, which means airline travel in the summer. Egad! That is something I have avoided for years unless it is absolutely necessary. I know that I don’t have to explain this to anyone here. There will be that inevitable layover in ATL. I’m hoping that the gatehouse for the flight to Portland won’t be as bad as some of the others, but I work very hard to lower my expectations. Unfortunately, it usually turns out that I didn’t lower them enough.

    Sigh….I’m old enough to remember when airline travel was civilized.

  48. Charlottesville | June 26, 2017 at 2:48 pm |

    Henry — You are so right. Scubs are a blight on the medical profession. My late father-in-law remarked during a hospital stay that he never knew whether the person entering his room was there to read his chart or mop the floor. However, I was in a hospital to visit a family member a few months ago and actually saw a nurse in the classic white dress, hose and starched cap. Only one, though.

    Ms. Grossman — The Maine wedding should be a nice respite from the slobification of the rest of the country, although your trepidation about the airport is justified. I flew to Laguardia and back a few weeks ago, dressed as usual for travel (blazer, OCBD, repp tie, khakis and penny loafers). While most people were well dressed at St. Thomas Church and the restaurants we went to during our stay, the airport was a different story. I did see one man wearing a suit on the return flight, probably on his way directly to or from a business meeting, but otherwise it was a mix of sweats, shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, etc. Sorry to hear about the downward spiral at W&L since I was there, although by the 80s coat and tie were no longer required, or even typical, for most students. Things at UVA are about the same as you describe, but I am sure better than at other schools aside from Sewanee and Hampden-Sydney. As you point out, the decline in dress goes hand in hand with the decline of so much else, from manners and ordinary discourse, to education and writing. I think my parents knew more of history, literature, art, music and even science before they entered college than do many university graduates now. Outside of the hard sciences, they do not seem to learn much during their four or five years in academe. I note that UVA just hired its first Professor of Hip Hop (honestly), so I suppose students are learning something that neither of my parents would have known.

  49. @Charlottesville

    My Gangster Rap major and minor in Getting Jiggy With It has stood me in good sted lo these many years…bitches.

    Will

  50. I beg your pardon. Stead.

    Peace out.

    Will

  51. Charlottesville | June 28, 2017 at 11:20 am |

    Will — If you want to get your MFA in rap, I predict that UVA will have one on offer in a few years. Along with a Ph.D.D. (Dr. Dre of Philosophy).

  52. Charlottesville -I am certain that old TJ would approve of the addition of hip hop studies to the school he founded. Please tell me you are joking about this news at UVa.

    Will

  53. Associate Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South? I would like to know who came up with the title.

    Will

  54. I’m thinking that an Associates Degree from University of Kookamonga University College University College would be a more worth while pursuit than an advanced degree in hip hop and the global south studies.

    http://iaspm-dach.net/2016/10/23/stelle-assistant-professor-in-hip-hop-and-the-global-south-university-of-virginia/

    Sheesh!

    Will

  55. Charlottesville | June 29, 2017 at 11:02 am |

    Will — I doubt that it is even the least useful degree available (although please note that I do not teach at the local university, and do not claim special knowledge). I’m sure that at least a few of America’s college students want to learn and have the opportunity to do so. I even know a couple personally. But many are in it for an expensive few years of self indulgence, which the schools, sadly, seem willing to provide.

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