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.

August 17, 2019

Brooks Brothers Madras 2019

This is an unsolicited, very short review of this (late) season's madras short sleeve sport shirts from Brooks Brothers.

They're great. The fabric is real Indian madras, a looser, airy, less uniform cotton weave than the Brooks Brothers madras of the past few years which was closer to a pinpoint oxford than Indian madras. The collar is lined, but not as heavily as their dress shirts. And they are all on sale right now at 50% off. Note: the tail of the shirt is not squared as shown in the photos on the website.

I'm begging them to offer a popover or two next year.

May 14, 2016

Very Important in a Martini, 1955

...with all the distinguishing tailoring features including welt seams, stitched edges, hooked vent and plain front trousers.


Cornell Daily Sun - 12/1/55

April 12, 2016

January 30, 2015

The Shoulder Fits More Naturally, 1951


Yale Daily News - 11/20/51

Main Floor, New York flagship:

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Second Floor:

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Gottscho-Schleisner Collection - 3/2/51

January 18, 2015

Ghost Story, 1988

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All the world may be a stage, but it's still rare that I see a psychological drama played out within a business. At Briggs Ltd., a retail clothing store, the ghost of a father long dead hovered about his son, his voice as harsh and demanding in death as it was in life. It was time for the son to put his own stamp on the company; to do that, he first had to come to terms with his past.
J. H.

The day after he buried his father, Briggs A. Doherty Jr. returned to selling suits at the family clothing store. Already, he felt guilty for disobeying Dad. When I die, the old man had commanded, stuff me in a plastic bag, mail me to the family plot in New Haven, and, for God's sake -- his voice rose -- get back to the store and sell...


"Ghost Story" by Joshua Hyatt - 07/01/88

January 13, 2015

"Belong" on Any Campus, 1965

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The Bowdoin Orient - 10/1/65

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A.H. Benoit Co. clothing store, 1966 1968. Benoit's had stores in Westbrook, Portland, Biddeford, Brunswick, Lewiston and Ogunquit.


Maine Historical Society

May 7, 2014

Dickie, 1964

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Yale Daily News - 5/8/64

March 14, 2014

No other slacks, 1953

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The New Yorker - 3/21/53

March 10, 2014

Navy Grey, 1944

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The New Yorker - 3/11/44

February 28, 2014

February 8, 2014

November 22, 2013

Tech Ivy, 1967

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The Georgia Tech Blueprint, 1967 (courtesy of Worried Man)

October 30, 2013

Shop Talk, 1975

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Shop Talk

At the Brooks Brothers' Madison Avenue address we found no garish signs in the window, only the familiar husky and headless tweed torsos which, legend has it, come to life each All Hallow's Eve at the stroke of twelve, and throw one heckuva board meeting. Inside, we were greeted by a graying Warner Oland look-alike who proved to be a perfectly nice man named Mr. Campbell. He showed us his selection of English striped silk and polyester rep neckties, now $6.95 to $7.50. A fine selection they were indeed, our eye particularly held by his array of solid-color foulards-with-the-little-thing's-embroidered-on-them. Sporting motifs mostly, plus little bulls and bears and crossed automatic pencils. Mr. Campbell was especially enthusiastic about a tie with little neckties on it, which, frankly, gave
us the willies.

Our salesman excused himself to get more patterns; more seductive, however, were the solid colors, and we selected a brace of them, one off-burgundy and the other a deep maize, and not wishing to trouble Mr. Campbell further with wrapping and sales slips, briskly pocketed them and headed for
the shoe department. Here we would find a wide assortment of those shoes-with-the-little-holes-all-over-the-toes at, if not next to cost, certainly something closer to our Fayva budgets than normal.

The shoe department proved disappointing;
someone had already cleaned out the shoes-with-lhe-little-holes, leaving only odd sizes behind, and we had to content ourselves with replacements for our worn, adhesive-mended Weejuns (which we left in a drastically reduced Cold Duck cooler/ice bucket).

Better luck on the fourth floor: luggage and ready-to-block hats in seductively vague beiges and pommy grays. We picked up a nice set of matching English leather carry-alls and, deploying ourselves at either aisle end to watch for floorwalkers, stuffed them full of headgear to be
blocked at home with the wonderful Abercrombie & Fitch Home Hat blocker received from Aunt Eleanor in lieu of our usual Old Spice gift pack assortment (we still don't know how much she got when Uncle Rudolf's insurance finally came through — and they're still pretty suspicious about that second set of tire tracks — but mum bets it was a bundle).

Sportswear proved equally fruitful. Wool tweed sports jackets normally $115 to $235 were now a low-low $92 and $188, and considering what the same money buys some poor yid up the Avenue at Paul Stuart, these fine Shetlands and lambswools would have been a steal at twice the price.

After selecting a rich rust number from the rack, we picked up a
super double-breasted camel's hair overcoat reduced to $299 and headed for the third floor dressing rooms to try them on, along with some nifty blue oxford Brooksflannel pajamas and a dozen pairs of Brooksknit undershorts which fit neatly, if a bit snugly, under the tan whipcord cavalry-twill trousers which we temporarily cuffed with straight pins from those terrific Brooks button-downs.

Suddenly feeling a bit warm, we decided to skip Sportshirts and Knits and proceed to the last stop of the day: those white Irish linen handkerchiefs whose hand rolled softness so reassuringly bulks out a new camel hair's ample pockets.

On our way out, we encountered our friend Mr, Campbell again. He seemed disappointed that we had not waited, so we paused a moment to admire a fine silk four-in-hand peppered with little embroidery necktie salesmen. As he turned to answer another shopper's query, we impulsively stuffed it in our jacket and hastily re-buttoned our overcoat.

"You should see the ties we've got coming next month," Mr. Campbell whispered with a conspiratorial wink upon returning, "Women. Nothing indecent or anything like that. Just famous ones like Jacqueline Onassis and Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke. Real doozies."

We thanked Mr. Campbell for the tip and headed casually for the exit. Once outside we found the crisp March air a tonic after the stuffy atmosphere within and, much refreshed, decided to skip lunch and see what looked good at Saks.


National Lampoon - March 1975

October 2, 2013

September 16, 2013

BMOC, 1961

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The Daily Princetonian - 9/15/61

August 17, 2013

The casual picture, 1965

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The New Yorker - 8/14/65

August 5, 2013

Odd Quad Whipcord, 1961

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 As always, the trousers are tailored with classic simplicity, tastefully trim -- with regular pockets, pleatless fronts, and belt loops.


The New Yorker - 8/5/61

August 1, 2013

Norman Hilton, 1959

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The New Yorker - 3/28/59

The Ivy Look, Reston, 1956

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Sports Illustrated - 12/17/56

July 27, 2013