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.

Showing posts with label 1968. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1968. Show all posts

July 27, 2013

May 17, 2013

Princeton Charlie, 1968

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The Daily Princetonian - 12/8/66

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Princeton Charlie is someone we all know. He wears a rep tie, tweed jacket, weejuns and wheat jeans to JP. He takes a bottle of bourbon to the dance and has a case of Colt 45 back at the room. Also back at the room he has all sorts of red and blue lights wired onto a wagon wheel hanging from the ceiling, a Princeton banner on the wall, a wooden bar and a closet full of cocktail accessories, photographic equipment, binoculars, toy tigers and watches.

The incredible thing is not that there are people on this campus whose life-style approximates Princeton Charlie's. The incredible thing is that this should be taken, even by the campus media, as a model or idea when plenty of freshmen aren't sucked in by this bush-league ethos, and most of the ones that are, outgrow it by the end of their sophomore year. Most clubs aren't even interested in Princeton Charlie, the exceptions being those sad clubs of declasse preppies who imagine that he lives on somewhere "down the street." Princeton Charlie is someone we all know; he is also someone we all want to forget.

The intriguing question is why he is with us still. In a sense he is the ghost of an imagined past. For one thing it couldn't have been that bad; for another he is a little too precisely like the daydream of a mid-west high school senior who has just been accepted at Princeton.

He lives on because the U-Store and Orange Key and the administration can use him. He is a way of getting at underclassmen. He is a way of inducing that false consciousness that is so necessary to move goods in a department store which has more to offer a 30-year-old vacuum-cleaner salesman than a student.

The campus media, including the "Prince," can use him because it is always easier for a writer to employ an intrinsically coherent rhetoric, no matter how much that rhetoric offends his own intelligence, his own taste, his own morality.


The Daily Princetonian - 3/15/68

May 9, 2013

Fine Tweeds. Fine Flannels. Fine Sharkskins. (1949)

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Straight lines. Soft front construction. Soft-rolled lapels. Minimum squaring of the natural shoulder. Center vent.


The Daily Princetonian - 5/9/49

"MOST CUSTOMERS KNOW WHAT THEY WANT," is the experience of 54 years on Nassau Street by Bernie Olbrys (left) and Joe Cox of the new Country Squire, gleaned during the years when the store was known as Douglas MacDaid. "Quite a few women come in to help buy -- but some men don't like their wives to come with them."


Town Topics - 10/17/68

October 22, 2011

Camel's Back, 1958

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The New Yorker - 10/25/58

Shortly after the close of the World War, S. Stroock & Co., Inc., in its own laboratories, and with the aid of specialized chemists, skilled textile machinery technicians and intensively drilled workmen, began in its mills at Newburgh-on-Hudson, N.Y., a series of exhaustive experiments with the determination to produce commercially a cloth of 100% pure,  fine camel hair through the exhaustive use of the "noil" and the finest portion of the No. 1 Quality fibre after continuous combing. [. . .] The accomplishment of this task, the development by Stroock of this wholly-new method of processing 100% pure, fine camel hair - the production of a cloth "fit for a king," yet available to all - is today still one of the rare and outstanding achievements of Western World textile manufacturing, and so recognized throughout the length and breadth of Occidental countries.


The Story of Camel Hair by S. Stroock & Co., 1936

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The Evening News - 11/8/68


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The Evening News - 6/15/85

December 9, 2010

November 2, 2010

August 31, 2010

March 26, 2010

Clothes Revolution, 1968

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"At schools like Princeton, Amherst, Harvard, Yale and Virginia, where gray flannel slacks and expensive tweed coats were once the uniform of the day, contemporary male garb revolves around a pair of blue jeans or wash pants, a short-sleeved shirt, scuffed loafers, and a coat with fraying elbow patches.

Fathers who once were outfitted by J. Press, Brooks Brothers, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fenn & Feinstein are puzzled when their sons patronize local Army-Navy surplus stores or university co-ops."


Parade Magazine - 11/24/68

March 11, 2010

Conformists, WASPs and Preppies, 1968

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New York Times News Service - November 1968

January 14, 2010

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, 1968

Alumni Day, Harvard, 1968

"Stunning the Yale defense with two touchdowns, two two-point conversions, and an onside kick, the Crimson played its way back into the game and into the annals of history. The final score may have been a tie, but the celebratory home crowd rushing the field indicated that it was anything but, leading The Crimson to print its famed headline “Harvard beats Yale 29-29.” (The Harvard Crimson, 11/21/08)

You could do worse with your time than spend 105 minutes of it watching the documentary "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29", as I did last week. There's not a second devoted to The Ivy League Look, but don't let that stop you. And if you suffer from severe politicophobia, don't worry. While both Al Gore (Harvard '69 and roommate of Tommy Lee Jones, who played offensive guard for Harvard) and George Bush (Yale '68, first cousin of the filmmaker and roommate of Yale tackle Ted Livingston) are mentioned, neither appear in the film.

December 10, 2009

J. Press Shaggy Dog ®, 1968

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...and for just $6 more be sure to get a "Turtle Neck Bib."


Yale Daily News - 9/3/68

October 22, 2009

Paul Stuart raincoat, 1968

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New York Magazine - November 4, 1968

October 13, 2009

September 30, 2009

August 9, 2009

July 30, 2009

Notes from the Prep School Underground, 1968

George W. Bush at Andover, 1964

Notes From the Prep School Underground: Drugs and Love Ethic at Exeter, Andover

Prep schools follow the colleges--especially Exeter and Andover, which feed more people into Harvard each year than any other school. Now the slack on the cultural lag has pulled tight for those two schools; and while they glimpse the development of political activism on their campuses, their students are trying out the tragi-comic scene of dropping, blowing, and shooting pot, acid, hash, speed, belladonna, sunflower seeds, airplane glue, freon, Benzedrex Inhaler tubes, Paragoric Pall Malls, Romilar, and Dr. Schein's Asmador Powder.

The faculty finally gave in on long hair last winter. And the president of the senior class, Alan Oniskor, wears his very long. The whole student body looks different. Their hair is long. They wear corduroy jackets instead of madras, work shirts instead of Arrow, and boots instead of loafers.

Complete article:

Harvard Crimson - 5/29/68

July 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Juster...

Dear Mr. Juster,

What do you think of a man of 47 wearing the same style clothes as his 17-year-old son? My husband thought that Tom looked so great in his Ivy League suit, he bought one himself. I know this is what the kids are wearing, but for a mature man...? - Mrs. L.J.

Time was when a boy dressed like his father. Now, father emulates his son. And why not? If your husband hasn't developed that middle-age spread and has retained a fairly slim build, he will look as smart as Tom in his Ivy model, even though he carries a brief case, instead of books, under his arm. (1962)

Dear Mr. Juster:

I recently started working for an advertising agency and notice all the fellows dress in Ivy suits. Every time I've tried Ivy my sloping shoulders look even more sloping, but my wife still thinks I should dress the same way.

Now, I ask you - is it smart to conform, or risk standing out like a sore thumb among my associates? -J. N.

This business of trying to conform by wearing what everybody around you wears, regardless of the effect on appearance, is one of my pet peeves.

Forget about what your associates are wearing and stay to the kind of clothes that do something for you. In this case, it's a model designed with shoulders that help build up yours.

Dear Mr. Juster:

I go to the University of Michigan and wear Ivy type clothes. Recently, I bought a sport coat and it's two-button instead of three. Also, the sides curve in a little, and it has a long vent.

I was told this is for college men but a couple of guys in our fraternity say I got took because no natural shoulder wearer would be seen in this style. Now, I'm wondering if I goofed. - L.W.R.

No, you didn't. Natural shoulder styling is no longer confined to the three-button, straight hanging cut.

Variations in models, such as the one you bought, with shaped waist and deep vents are now available. And, regardless of your fraternity brother's opinion, I say this is a welcome development. Why must you be limited to one model?

[Ed. note: Harry Juster was a syndicated columnist writing on men's fashions in the 1960s. He wrote a book titled Clothes Make the Man in 1965.]

"...we've been at the forefront" - J. Press, 1968

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Ivy League succumbs to fashion revolution

The Peacock Revolution has hit the Ivy League a staggering blow. The ivy covered campuses now sparkle with colored shirts instead of traditional button-downs and there are darts under the armholes of the classic three button suits.

Such centers of learning as Yale, Harvard and Princeton have been bastions of conservatism since the day they were founded and their shadow of conformity has spread across the land to engulf almost every college and university.

The high priest of the Ivy League look might well be Irving Press and his temple the firm known as J. Press, which has its roots at Yale University, but by this fall will spread as far as San Francisco where barefoot, beaded students at Berkeley may be exposed to eastern sartorial culture.

The so-called Peacock Revolution is, of course, the fashion revolution that has come over the men's wear industry in the past four or five years so we dropped in at J. Press the other day to see if the revolution had caught up with the staunchly conservative Ivy League.

Irving Press, who is president of the firm, said indeed yes and that in certain areas the Ivy League was five or six years ahead. He cited in particular the four-inch-wide tie and said it had met with wide acceptance, especially by some elderly Elis who had never become resigned to the fact that the wide tie had gone out of style.

There has been shape in Ivy League suits for some time now, achieved by placing darts under the armholes, and there has even been extreme shape in British style hacking jackets (made in Ireland) which achieve even more shape by placing darts in the front.

"Actually we've been in the forefront," Press said, "with a flair for color and the first use of the country suit." The country suit is a matching coat and pants in a bright district check, long worn in the British countryside but once considered a bit too racy for the American countryside. They are very new for Fall 1968 on the non-Ivy market but Press admits he has been making them for five years or so.


The colors are even brighter, woven into a new and heavier Saxony wool which has a greater concentration of colors than the softer Shetlands which were popular for years, probably because they were on the conservative (drab) side.

Summer suits even have two buttons instead of the classic three and there are deep side vents - something never really accepted in Ivy League circles. And they are distinctly shaped. By Fall they could even be more so - plus the addition of hacking jackets with angled pockets and ticket pockets and more flair to the jacket skirt.

Another innovation from the Ivy League were British Grenadier guardsmen type coats - double breasted, flared, broad lapels.

Another was the steep ridge cavalry twill which is now the rage in Peacock Revolution circles. Press has been using this for years, especially in the hacking jackets which are made in Ireland to his specifications. They also show up in a revival of the belted Norfolk jacket.

As for shirts, wide spread collars are taking the place of the button downs, and a non-button button down which can be worn with or without a pin. The fashion colors are policeman blue, cantaloupe or olive - and those colors are in sports shirts which also are losing their buttons.

A sidelight to the term "Ivy League." Many manufacturers hate the expression and refer to "soft shoulder" or "natural shoulder" suits - a practice which has led manufacturers of should to advertise "natural shoulder shoes" in the trade publications.

As for the Nehru type jacket for the Ivy League crowd, Press was less than enthusiastic. "We have a few rich customers who may order one and throw it away after wearing it to a party but whether there is a germ in this for the future remains to be seen," he said.

Article source - UPI, May 1968

J. Press advertisement - Yale Daily News, June 1968