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.

June 30, 2009

Ivy Fashion vs. Ivy Style, 1957

Briefly, fashion is what a person wears. Style is how he (and especially she) wears it. Fashion, at its best, is mode, vogue; at its worst it is fad, craze or rage. Style is class, character, distinction, manner. It is personal, non-transferable, and it can't be bought with money.

This "ivy league" business that has sold so well to men in the last year or two is an example. It has been the fashion, may still be. But that sure doesn't mean that every character who wears stove-pipe pants and narrow necktie is in "style." Some, despite the belts on the back of their caps and the charcoal in their flannels, look as if they belonged in the zoot suit. And they can't help that, either. The real "ivy" look is best achieved by wearing a narrow-lapel "natural" coat that you bought in New England in 1946 - when it was not in fashion - and that you have worn ever since, no matter what the fashion experts said about it.

Fashion distinguishes the society as a whole. It is the leveler that tends to make each person look like the next. Style distinguishes the individual, sets him apart and keeps the world mindful of the fact that the individual's individual personality is a precious thing, not to be sacrificed on the altar of absolute conformity.


Eugene (Oregon) Register-Guard - 5/17/57

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