A Second Look At Take Ivy, Ivy Illustrated, And The OPH

Today we revisit this 2010 post by Tokyo-based W. David Marx, who went on to write the book “Ametora.”

* * *

Compared to Western fashion magazines, Japanese magazines often get very specific about how to achieve a certain look. Editors and stylists do not just play with themes, as with most fashion editorial, but painstakingly recreate the exact styling from definitive fashion guides and personages.

In its February 2010 issue, Japanese weekend wear magazine 2nd decided to go back to the bibles of Trad/Ivy/Preppy to build perfectly authentic outfits of American casual (see scans below). Stylist Hajime Suzuki showed readers how to replicate exact outfits from the works “Take Ivy,” “Ivy Illustrated” and “The Official Preppy Handbook” with new brands.

First up is “Take Ivy,” a photo book that was incredibly influential in Japanese Ivy circles for decades before recently being rediscovered in the West. Suzuki kicks things off with a suggestion of white oxford button-downs from Michael Tapia, Individualized Shirts or Gambert. 2nd, unfortunately, had to go to vintage pieces from Tokyo’s best clothing recycle shops to find the letter sweater famously worn by a Princeton undergrad in the book. Barns Outfitters, meanwhile, somehow has the identical faded Brown University sweatshirt from the book for a mere ¥13400 — likely more than what the Brown Co-Op wants for something more modern. Other key items include plaid flannel shirts, classic sneakers, varsity jackets, white pants, rugby shirts, chinos and anorak parkas. The overall feel is sporty, but these were students after all.

Suzuki then presents real-life recreations of the Kazuo Hozumi-illustrated work “Ivy Illustrated,” another bible of Ivy style amongst Japanese baby boomers. The book’s images come to life in comical and somewhat unrealistic ways, including goofy smiles and more than one bandana ascot. The general impact is very Tokyo weekend dad rather than New England during the Kennedy era.

Finally, 2nd recreates some looks from “The Official Preppy Handbook,” which had an official translated release in Japan back in the early ’80s. Suzuki outfits a dummy in perfect ski vest over thick sweater with a hint of 2010 magic (it’s all about the plaid bits on the green vest from Cresent Down Works). 2nd doesn’t go for the classic LL Bean Norwegian Sweater oddly, perhaps because LL Bean Japan failed to sell the sweater this year despite its revival in America. The second look in the series does, however, manage to replicate prep-school sloppiness in orderly Japanese fashion by using paint-flecked, art-damaged khakis from Waste(Twice).

The overall feature does a relatively good job of distinguishing the differences between Ivy (in its “authoritative” ’60s incarnation) and preppy (in its “authoritative” early ’80s, Birnbach-curated incarnation.) While most Japanese fashion culture is not particularly comfortable with wild extrapolation, stylist Suzuki does deserve credit for not making the outfits look like period costumes. Traditional clothing presumes a timeless elegance, but the breath of brand options here in Japan for these items gives the wearer a considerable amount of flexibility between playing the classics and playing around with the classics. — W. DAVID MARX

33 Comments on "A Second Look At Take Ivy, Ivy Illustrated, And The OPH"

  1. Now who is going to translate for us?

  2. Nihon go chotto hanashimasu kedo, yomu koto ga dekimasen.

  3. Do you know if it’s possible to get copies of these in the states?

  4. Probably not. David got the issue from Amazon Japan for $7.

  5. Wow, these guys fetishize clothing even more than the average Ask Andy Trad Forum reader. Who the hell would buy a Brown sweatshirt when they (or their father, boyfriend etc. ) didn’t even go there?

  6. This is an awesome post! I think sometimes the most precise and thought provoking observation of a culture must come from the outside. These magazines take a different approach to Ivy culture, the most genuine or at least realistic in my mind as a student currently in university. I like how they break the looks down as well, even reads like GQ don’t do that, and the simplicity of a chart is far overlooked.

  7. Cool piece. IIRC, Inventory Magazine also did something similar last year where they attempted to recreate the Take Ivy pictures in modern settings and clothes (was also very cool).

    Nicholas,

    2nd can be obtained in the U.S. at Kinokuniya bookstores. Alternatively, they can also be ordered from superdenim: http://www.superdenim.co.uk/magazinesandbooks-denim.asp

  8. F-ing fantastic.

  9. Quote: Who the hell would buy a Brown sweatshirt when they (or their father, boyfriend etc. ) didn’t even go there?

    Because over there it doesn’t mean anything. Think of all the Japanese who buy tees and sweatshirts with English writing, having no idea what it means.

  10. There was a great double page spread of new Kazuo Hozumi illustrations in the Japanese ‘mook’ Oily Boy last year, featuring what said baby boomers would like like in their 50s / 60s..

  11. R.A.,

    Much appreciated.

  12. I don’t think I get the “early 80s, Birnbaum-curated incarnation” reference.. Could someone please specify his connection to the subject?

  13. The way that the Japanese obsess over these kinds of things is somewhere between awesome and creepy.

  14. “early 80s, Birnbaum-curated incarnation”

    Birnbach-curated as in Lisa Birnbach of the Official Preppy Handbook.

  15. A-4,
    Lisa Birnbach was the editor and contributing writer to “The Official Preppy Handbook” It was a 1980 satire. The book shows a cradle to grave lifestyle of individuals who would have been according to the author described as “Ivy League”(pg.86) As the article above illustrates there were several illustrations of what to wear at different ages.

  16. Born Again Trad | February 27, 2010 at 5:26 am |

    For many of us, “The Official Preppy Handbook” was hardly a satire, it was a virtual Bible that revealed a world to us where people wore something other than jeans and sweatshirts. (Today those jeans and sweatshirts look positively Trad compared to the ubiquitous pajamas).

  17. what an interesting story. i love the pained detail this japanese mag went to. these pictures are awesome – the inspirations and the interpretations. and the chap on the skateboard with the boo boo had me laughing for a couple of days. genius.

  18. elder prep | June 1, 2019 at 6:19 pm |

    Having English colleges and universities names on T and sweatshirts worn by Japanese is not unusal. On our visits to friends in Germany teens were wearing t-shirts and sweatshirts with hilarious text such as “Call me nice cool” and “I’m me my rock baby”. Lost in translation?

  19. Old School Tie | August 2, 2019 at 5:08 am |

    I love the happy, smiling poses. They’re truly excellent. I have to say, I am a big fan of seeing all these fine threads draped over a mannequin rather a model, unless the models are real people. That first picture is my standard garb, if you exchange the sneakers for shoes and the paint splashes for blood….

  20. Charlottesville | August 2, 2019 at 11:27 am |

    Old School Tie – Lest people think you are a Brit version of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, I note that you are a physician, which (I hope) is the reason for the blood on your trousers. For the same reason, many doctors used to wear bow ties to avoid stains and contamination by various fluids but now the general look, over here at least, is scrubs or tie-less sport shirts and khakis, sometimes with the standard white cotton coat. There are a few exceptions, but not many.

  21. MacMcConnell | August 2, 2019 at 11:49 am |

    Or a Mafia enforcer, maybe an over dressed butcher ;-0

  22. White Pinpoint | August 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm |

    Born Again Trad got it right:
    “For many of us, “The Official Preppy Handbook” was hardly a satire, it was a virtual Bible that revealed a world to us where people wore something other than jeans and sweatshirts.”

  23. Old School Tie | August 2, 2019 at 12:46 pm |

    I was exaggerating, for dramatic effect. A few decades ago there may well have been a few splashes of claret here and there AND we were encouraged, nay, obliged to dress like that. You would be sent home if not appropriately attired. Nowadays the professor would be sent home for daring to suggest a student did not look the part. Sadly, the days of college ties dipping into open wounds as you auscultated a patient are long gone. The classic London medical school look is all but gone. As for the OPH, was it a Bible for us and we simply adhered to its commandments or were we ourselves the parodies? Looking back, my pals and I may have verged on the latter.

  24. 80s Preppy co-opted and appropriated large portions of Old School Ivy (OSI), but it was its own (unique) thing.

    Plastic aviator sunglasses (think Vuarnet or Ray Ban Cats 5000), Andrew McCarthy hair (Pretty In Pink/Class era), tan (not white) bucks. It seemed as though patchwork madras was born around 1979. Alden mocs–both penny and tassel–for grown-ups. Tretorns, Adidas (Stan Smith, Samba), and New Balance reigned. And all of those great preppy cars: the Porsche 944, Mercedes 123’s, Saab 900’s, Volvo 240’s. The Range Rover County/Classic.

    It was time when…well, when yuppies were preppy. Before the obsession with all things European and especially Italian and French. I remember that as more of a 90s thing.

    Plenty of Millennials and Post-Millennials are fascinated with with the 80s. I get it.

  25. https://condenaststore.com/featured/we-decided-to-just-stay-preppy-william-hamilton.html

    This appeared in November of ’81. One wonders about the event/moment that “happened.” Almost certainly the 70s in its ugly entirety. Self-confessing preppies could speak the same words nowadays, having lived through the past couple of decades.

  26. Charlottesville | August 2, 2019 at 2:05 pm |

    Old School Tie – Your remembrance of things past in the medical world reminds me that working cuff buttons on a suit coat are still sometimes called “surgeon’s cuffs,” the implication being that a surgeon would certainly wear a suit during an operation, but would unbutton and turn back the ends of his sleeves to avoid the blood spatter.

    Very interesting that in England you and your chums looked to the OPH. Was there a general trend for American preppy/Ivy clothing in the UK at the time, or were you lads simply rebels? I recall that sometime in the late 80s, another attorney in my firm who came from from a truly old-money, summer-in-Maine type of WASP family told me, sotto voce, that he had enjoyed the book when it came out but “there were some errors.” No doubt, but I was not in quite so good a position to judge.

  27. Charlottesville | August 2, 2019 at 2:31 pm |

    S.E. – I actually have a copy of that Hamilton cartoon on my office wall, along with another of his with the caption “Darn it, I think up-tight is a fun life style!” Sums me up far too well.

  28. elder prep | August 2, 2019 at 4:58 pm |

    I’m convienced that the OPH has been so influential it has been absorbed into the national satorial culture as a fashion baseline it has become immortal.

  29. Philly Trad | August 3, 2019 at 12:45 am |

    Discovered “Ivy League” style in 1961 and have never been tempted to change.
    As others have mentioned, the basics are still easy to find.

  30. Randolph Sorrell | August 3, 2019 at 2:38 am |

    @Philly Trad,
    Like you I discovered Ivy style in the early 60’s. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 2019 that I discovered Mercer’s broadcloth buttondowns and was liberated from Oxford cloth.

  31. Old School Tie | August 3, 2019 at 5:44 am |

    @Charlottesville – lots of young lady doctors in the private sector do aesthetic procedures in blouses and skirts, shift dresses or “lady” suits, complete with lashings of jewellry. Private though. Wouldn’t fancy doing a Whipple’s in a three-piece pinstripe though….As for the Ivy League look, we thought American style was the epitome of modern rebelliousness. Yes, you did not present us with a conservative take on things, rather cutting-edge sharpness and cocking a snook at British over-formality. We also had access to metric tonnes worth of vintage US clothing from purveyors such as Flip or stalls in Camden Market. Vintage 501s, letterman jackets, camp shirts, perfectos, polo coats. We could ape the style. You could ask the barber for a Boston back. Perhaps the 1980s was simply a time when that obsession was nore influential in general. An obsession that saw numerous school classmates of mine ending up in Ivy league institutions and towns after university. And there you have it..

  32. Charlottesville | August 5, 2019 at 11:09 am |

    Old School Tie – Very interesting. The lady doctors sound quite fetching. I am pleased to know that English snooks were cocked in the 80s, and that American style played a role in the cocking thereof. I recall seeing penny loafers in a shop in London around 1990, displayed with actual pennies in the slots. I overheard a customer ask, “Why the nickles in the shoes?” The salesman rolled his eyes and said “They’re called penny loafers.” Neither of them seemed to think much of the idea, and I never cared much for the insertion of coins in one’s footwear either, but their conversation amused me greatly.

  33. Marc Chevalier | September 5, 2019 at 11:18 am |

    The days are long-gone of Great Britain importing metric tons of American vintage clothing. Obscenely high shipping rates, tariffs, and V.A.T. fees have put U.S. vintage out of reach for nearly all Brits. Sad, since American demand for tailored vintage menswear has severely declined over the past few years, while UK demand for vintage has been rising.

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