We start the week off with a rather motley miscellany. Above, a 1958 novelty tune called “Ivy League Clothes” from a little-known doo-wop group called The Gaylarks. Damned if I can tell what the hell they’re singing about, save for “why, oh why?” Something about Ivy for girls.
It’s from a time when the trunk of the Ivy tree was strong and robust as opposed to termite-ridden and in danger of becoming petrified. But the song is still a cultural artificact riding the contemporaneity of the Ivy League Look’s popularity, which means it’s the ’50s equivalent of today’s fully blossomed branch known as modern prep.
Which leads us to a few news items have come across our desk. First off, Racked.com brings us a lengthy article called “Vineyard Vines and the Enduring Power of Prep.”
Here’s an excerpt:
“We grew up constantly around sailing communities, fishing communities, yacht clubs, country clubs, golf courses,” says Shep. “We use icons of what we call the ‘good life’: boats, Nantucket, golf, tennis. It’s very classic American—prep school meets Wall Street. People just want a little bit of fun in their wardrobe. When we started, we said, ‘Why not help people dress for those great life activities?’”
“Prep is essentially an upper class look. There is a lot of desirability behind it, to dress the part of the higher society that goes yachting and plays polo,” says Francesa Munson, head of retail and product analysis at WGSN. “There are wider implications to the healthy, outdoorsy lifestyle.
I think we should all applaud upper-class-for-the-masses look. It’s so much more refreshing than the “prole drift” as Paul Fussell called it, of lower-class taste for the middle class, which is the driving force behind popular taste in everything today.
Another mainstream company, this time one that’s prepped itself out, is Abercrombie & Fitch, the once legendary manly supply store located just down the street from Brooks, Press, Chipp and Paul Stuart on Madison Avenue. Bloomberg has a cover story on the company subtitled “From clueless prep to sullen teen.”
And speaking of Abercrombie, here’s a Hoosier writing in the school paper on “The Politics Of Preppy,” apropos of A&F’s hijab lawsuit.
And finally from the diluted Ivy files, as we were prepping this post a leaf fell from the tree into our inbox. You probably got it, too:
It’s from Lands’ End and plugs new washed-oxford shirts called Sail Riggers, “in a length just right to wear untucked.”
OK JFK did that, but not when he was at work. — CC