“The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.”

Julia Harris from the FB Group, reprinted with permission.

Julia posted this on the FB group and I thought it was an interesting question for here as well:

Julia Harris 

This is a picture my partner took of me 6 years ago, well after I grew familiar with tailoring but well before I had even heard of “Ivy style.” I arrived at my interest in Ivy primarily through deepening interest in elements of the style toward which I had already been drawn for many years, like button down collars and knit ties. The more some things change, the more they stay the same! For those of you who had no personal experience of heyday Ivy, what drew you to Ivy style? For those of you who became familiar with Ivy through school uniforms, what elements have grown in appeal to you over time?

11 Comments on "“The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.”"

  1. Nice to meet you Julia. In high school I had a friend who dressed conservatively, to some degree prep and to some degree ivy, and I always noticed how people commented and responded to him. The rest of us were in Led Zepplin tees. In college I tried it, it suited me, and have stayed with it ever since.

    And thank you JB for continuing to open the doors of ivy so that all can come in.

  2. Good Morning Julia,

    How do you do? Father, maternal grandfather, various uncles and cousins in the extended family dressed thusly during my formative years. Clearly, it stuck, and I saw no reason to buck the trend once I got with the program and returned to school in my mid-20s.

    Kind Regards,


  3. whiskeydent | May 30, 2023 at 10:18 am |

    I was drawn to Ivy as I was drawn into the world of fraternities at the University of Texas-Austin in the late 70’s. Of course, being Texans, we bastardized it with cowboy boots, Wrangler jeans, and the occasional Stetson rancher or similar. Think of it as rodeo prep. After college, my style wandered for a bit, but I re-committed when I decided that I wanted one thing in my life that held fast in the torrent of change that I, ironically enough, have fought for during the last 40 years. Welcome!

  4. MacMcConnell | May 30, 2023 at 12:45 pm |

    My father always dress well when not in uniform. He taught me to dress for the occassion. While my father dress conservatively, my three older sisters had more Ivy influence. Ivy is how they dressed in the 50s, 60s and 70s. My older surviving sister still wears Weejuns at 75. So basically it’s how they dressed me. I remember my sisters using the term, “That’s so Ivy” when shopping. To them it meant, “Cool”

    • whiskeydent | May 31, 2023 at 12:40 pm |

      My dad’s USAF uniforms — especially the Vietnam era stuff — is also a reference point for me. It’s as much about how you carry yourself as the clothes. I can’t say the same for the leisure suits my mother put him in after he retired.

  5. I am a child of the 80s and before I discovered ivy style I listened to a lot of rap music and dressed hip hop style.

    When I got to college I had close personal relationships with some of my professors, all of whom had advanced degrees from Harvard and Princeton.

    Before college I had little or no exposure to WASP style and upper class attitudes. My college years were transformative.

    In my 20s, for the first time, I (subconsciously) emulated the distinguished, clean-cut gentlemen who only wore Oxford cloth button-downs, penny loafers, knit ties, and Brooks Brothers blazers.

  6. This is a great question to ask, because I think a lot of people have very different answers from one another.
    I went to one of those blazer/rep tie schools for a period of time, but I generally disliked that way of dressing back then. That said, I remember as a kid thinking that the school uniform was a great idea in principle, and I was certainly glad that the uniforms generally insulated us kids from cliquey teenage categories that were often announced by one’s clothing choices alone.
    My parents were/are always both quite stylish people. My dad would wear suits by
    Norman Hilton and similar makers to work, and my mom often wore uniquely stylish ensembles whether at work or not.
    Since I was a little kid, I was always interested in style. The particular genre changed often over the years. I even embraced an agressively anti-fashion personal style in the mid-’90s that today the kids call “normcore.” (It was super dorky then, as was I. …Had I only known it would be remotely cool in the 2020s…)
    After dalliances with goth and club kid looks in the late-’90s and beyond, I shifted to a fascination with expensive RL stuff, then vintage style, then flashier Italian-looking garments, etc., on and on.
    Looking back, most of this was influenced by movies and musicians I liked. The process of sartorial exploration and invention was always fun and often extremely expensive.
    I suppose that Ivy style appeals to me because once you’ve got the basics, it seems open-ended. While plenty of I-S readers here like to see Ivy style as a hermetic, fixed, and unchangeable form based on so-called “heyday” conventions, I think it’s a perfect foundational wardrobe with which myriad other genres can interact. For instance, I wear a lot of the Ivy essentials, but I also wear a lot of black. They go together wonderfully. I might wear a navy blazer with black corduroys and a denim western shirt with pearl snaps. I might wear mod black chukkas with khaki chinos and a university stripe OCBD. I might wear a double breasted blazer from Italy with flashier proportions than the understated American version, and I might wear that with ecru jeans, a black polo shirt, and Bass Weejuns…
    I think I usually color well outside the lines of Ivy, but I’m nonetheless heavily indebted to it. Ivy basics are the kinds of garments that you can keep for decades, saving money in the long run, while enabling ornamentation, experimentation and subversion. When the basics are that good, they can’t be ruined by much.

  7. MacMcConnell | May 31, 2023 at 4:51 pm |

    I was a USAF brat for sixteen years ending in 1966. I agee with the 60s uniforms, but my thrill is with the WWII Army Air Corp uniforms. There was always a mysterious red trunk we lug from station to station. On one side were P-38 silhouettes. On the other side was painted a pilot’s combat chit, 5th Air Force badge, a Nationalist Chinese badge and an eight ball. The lid bolted down. It was never opened till he gave it to me on my 17th birthday. Inside was all his WWII gear, including a tan cap with brown leather bill and strap, officier pinks, lots of shirts, a rip cord and a Mae West. It all wreaked of moth balls.

    FYI, my dad never did leisure suits. At 76 he sold his big Merc and bought a F-250 turbo diesel and a RV. He began wearing belted jump suits except on the golf course and church. WTF! I miss him a lot.

  8. It’s nice to be reminded that these styles are just as relevant today as they have been for decades!

  9. School in the early 60’s was a blue blazer from the Andover shop In Harvard Sq. .. the Andover Shop was the only one that sold the beast pocket patch with your school insignia.
    There was no such thing in my family as “tidy whites” ; it was BB Oxford Boxers as soon as you graduated from diapers.. so the die was cast so to speak. My first “real” job in 1970 was corporate office dress so it was BB navy pinstripe suit suits and button down oxfords.. of course my hair was to my shoulders so as soon as I got back to my apartment on Beacon Hill off came the BB’s and on came the tie dye of the era. I walked that line for 8 or 9 years then it was back to straight “Ivy”. The Andover shop, some BB and a trip to New Haven to J. Press ( miss their Cambridge Store ). So “Ivy”/Prep is in my blood so to speak. It never goes out of style!!!

  10. Hi Julia, Polo Ralph Lauren drew me to Prep/Ivy Style for aspirational reasons. Then I moved on to Brooks Brothers as most do. Button down collars and knitted ties are a mainstay in my wardrobe despite the fact that I also enjoy a wide spread collar.
    Side note: Tie clips are under-rated, as are wool and linen knitted ties respectively.
    Have a nice day:)

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