No Socks In Sight: The Heyday Of Southern Collegiate Style

This is part one of a two-part piece on collegiate style in the South during the heyday. It is recounted to us by contributor James H. Grant. * * * The distinction between the mode of dress known as Ivy League and the Southern Collegiate Style – if one actually exists – is somewhat murky.

Spaced Out

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon launch. Whenever I look back over the rapid change and technological achievements over the 20th century, the thing that stands out as the most amazing in my mind is that humans (and by that I jingoistically mean Americans) figured out how to get an airplane

The Great Flood

Fashion always reaches the extreme before it swings back the other direction. At some point in the ’60s some guys exaggerated the “I’ve had these since puberty” look by wearing their trousers with ultra-highwater hems. In the movie “The Outsiders,” the denim-clad greasers mock the khaki-clad socs (pronounced “soshes,” for social) for looking like they’re

The Miyuki-zoku: Japan’s First Ivy Rebels

This was Ivy Style’s first post to go viral back in November of 2009. It is written by Tokyo-based W. David Marx, who went on to develop his pioneering research into Japan’s fascination with American fashion in his book “Ametora.” * * * The first Japanese to adopt elements of the Ivy League Look were

Robert Earle, 1926-2019

Sorry for being MIA the past few days; I came down with a sudden strange malady. Here’s a news quickie spotted by an alert reader. Robert Earle, host of the TV show College Bowl, died last week at 93. College bowl was a quiz show. Below are the boys from Princeton in 1966, while below

Cocktails For Two

Over the years I came to develop a great affection for director Blake Edwards. Sure he made a lot of stinkers, but he also made “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.” Later in his career he made “Skin Deep” with a brilliantly cast John Ritter; it remains one of my favorite comedies from the ’80s and contains my

A Summer Place: Newport

These Life magazine images of Newport, Rhode Island, date from 1962. They feature some plaid/madras jackets to get you in the mood for summer, a guy who looks like Tony Curtis (above), and, in the final shot, a visit from JFK, whose birthday is today. 

Freshman Blues: Trying Not to Flunk Out of Yale, 1965

  What was it like for a public-school kid from nowhere to go to an Ivy League school during the heyday? Sure, you got to wear cool clothes (once you figured out what they were), but even that was fraught with anxiety. At least it was for Timothy Thompson, whose first semester at Yale was full of

When LIFE Gives You Lemmons

Here are a few shots of actor Jack Lemmon from the LIFE archives. Lemmon played many sack-suited characters throughout the Ivy heyday. He’s pictured on the set of “The Apartment” in 1959 in a classic outfit formula you should try if you haven’t. You take a simple solid suit and tie (often a knit), and for subtle

Pipes and Cardigans Get the Chicks

Playboy in its early years was certainly an innovative magazine. In contrast, or rather complement, to the buxom beauties, the magazine’s inclusion of jazz and literature, plus references to Nietzsche and psychoanalysis, gave it a highbrow edge not found in today’s magazines, in which articles on socially relevant topics, rather than aesthetic matters, provide the weight. Moreover,

Lost City: John Lindsay’s New York

John Lindsay, mayor of New York from 1966 to 1973, personified the resolute confusion with which clubby, liberal WASPs faced the social upheaval of the era. Entering politics as a successful young lawyer, Lindsay represented the wealthy Upper East Side of Manhattan, known as the Silk Stocking District, in Congress from 1958 to 1965. While serving,

Harvard Commencement, 1961

Shot for Life Magazine by Alfred Eisenstaedt, the same photographer who brought us the wonderfully atmospheric shots of New Haven commuters. Top hats and morning coats by day, white dinner jackets at night. 

New Haven Commuters, 1961

Since prep school they told you the right schools, connections and career would bring the keys to the kingdom. They neglected to mention, however, that you’d be commuting to get there. The art of avoiding conversation: If you weren’t a smoker, you are now: By Stamford, this is the most crowded car: Let’s see: You

Power Dressing, 1965

A Black Power activist in 1965 with striped tie, pinned club collar, and two-on-the-cuff. Plus damn cool goatee and shades. From the 1998 book “Men Of Color” by Lloyd Boston. 

Jersey Boys

Princeton University dance, 1960. The school didn’t admit women until ’69 — except on nights like this.  According to Fitzgerald, Princeton men are “lazy, good-looking and aristocratic.” Whatever they’ve got, the chicks sure dig it: At least until the boys start getting fresh. Easy, tiger: The next day, the girls decide those Harvard sissies and Yale

Poison Ivy League

See these Ivy frat boys? Elvis uses his fists to wipe the smug looks off their faces. After seeming to romanticize fraternity life in a recent post, let’s balance the scales by romanticizing fraternity jerks who get punched out by a greaser from the wrong side of the tracks. Such a greaser is played by Elvis

Somewhere in Time: Conform and Function

It is said that the winners get to write the history books. One of the now-official effects of the social upheaval of the 1960s was that young people broke down the oppressive conformity of society, including rigid and unimaginative clothes. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (played by Gregory Peck, above, in the film of

Poised Under Pressure

What are these young men doing to the buttondowned man in center? They’re blowing smoke in his face as way of training him to keep cool during civil rights protests. The 1960 photo comes from a Time/LIFE piece you can find here. Best wishes to everyone on this MLK Day. — CC

City Folk

What does it take to sing a good folk song? According to Hugh Hefner, “An Ivy League suit and an Eastern accent.” Jazz cats weren’t the only musicians who took to the Brooks Brothers look in the ’50s and ’60s. Here’s Bud & Travis from Hef’s short-lived TV show “Playboy’s Penthouse” circa 1960.