Welcome to The Ivy League Look

This blog presents a historical view through articles, photographs, reminiscences, and advertisements, of an American style of men's fashion of the mid-20th century known as "The Ivy League Look" or "The Ivy Look."

This blog will not present modern-day iterations of this "look"; it will be shown in its original context as an American style worn during this specific era. Author commentary will be kept to a minimum.

This is not a commercial site and links to commercial sites will not be posted.

May 14, 2009

Joseph Abboud, ca. 1967

"When I was coming of age in the mid-1960s there were two schools (at school) of dressing: the collegiate kids and the rats. The rats wore little Beatle boots and pointed shoes and tight pants. We weren't The Lords of Flatbush, but in seventh and eighth grade we thought we were pretty tough, so we slicked our hair back and wore black. The collegiates were wholesome, very Kingtson Trio, very Harvard Square - madras jackets, cuffed khakis, navy chinos, blue button-downs, yellow barracuda jackets, and Weejun penny loafers with barrels on the sides.

I started out a rat and morphed into a collegiate. I liked all those interesting madras colors and chino pants I was seeing in the epicenter of Ivy League, Harvard Square, and was beginning to understand that this was how the blue bloods dressed. I never sat down and analyzed the situation or decided that this clothing would make me look more intelligent. I just knew it was a nice way to dress."


"Came the junior prom. I tossed caution to the wind. I had a date with Auta, the most beautiful girl in high school, the girl every guy wanted - a flower child with long, dark hair who looked as if she'd just come from a hootenanny - and this was my moment. First move: the suit. It was a navy three-piece natural-shoulder from Rogers Peet, and it cost an inconceivable $100. I had no right to be spending that kind of money, and if my mother had known she would have shot me, but I was buying more than a suit. Rogers Peet was one of those blue-blood bastions where the customers' first and last names were interchangeable — like Stewart Graham or Patterson Elliot - and even if Joseph and Abboud didn't quite operate the same way, I figured I could work at it, keep my hair short, dress like the establishment, fly under the radar, and be accepted. It was sort of like The Great Gatsby. Not as beautiful and sad, not as romantic, but I was buying my way into another class. I thought that by simply showing the salesman that I could afford the suit, I'd make him realize that I was legitimate, and I'd command a certain respect. So I took out my envelope of twenty $5 bills (I didn't have a wallet) and endowed my future."


Threads: My Life Behind the Seams in the High-Stakes World of Fashion, Joseph Abboud, 2004


OldSchool said...

For those too young to remember The Kingston Trio, mentioned by Joseph Abboud:


OldSchool said...

And here's a photo of Brooks Brothers on Harvard Square. I wonder if this was there during the time frame that Abboud mentions. If it wasn't, it should have been!


OldSchool said...


Although that was identified as "Brooks Brothers Harvard Square" on the Web, it's clearly J.Press, upon closer scrutiny: