Ivy League heaven: real Mad Men, students with style and lovely, lovely loafers. A lesson in cool

Sometime in the late 1960s, Japanese photographer Teruyoshi Hayashida visited the prestigious universities of the USA’s east coast. Not to study or to try and meet well-bred WASP ladies with loose morals (though this would be good enough reason alone), but to document the clothes that the students wore.

And what clothes. Tapered, rolled-up chinos, indigo jeans, beautiful button-down shirts, Peter Storm-like cagoules, tweed jackets and Bass Weejun penny loafers. For anyone who’s ever thought of themselves as a mod or casual – or just into their clobber – this is it, our year zero.

Last year I interviewed London’s John Simons, the man who coined the term “Harrington jacket” and the owner of Britain’s oldest (and best) mod/Ivy League shop. He told me that what we know as “preppy” first surfaced in America during the early part of the 20th Century as an imitation of the British Savile Row look. It then started to develop into a style of its own that was more relaxed than its more stuffy counterpart across the Atlantic.

The look wasn’t confined to colleges either. On Wall St and Madison Avenue, chinos and loafers were regarded as a weekend item. Instead, three-button jackets, flat-fronted trousers, wing tips (brogues), tie-clips and hats ruled the roost, all worn with the same elan as the more casual campus look. And everyone smoked.

Sadly, today’s Americans have largely ditched this timeless get-up for pre-faded, shapeless jeans, horrendous space-age trainers and multi-buttoned cheapo suits – usually to hide their over-generous girths. Mr Hayshida would not approve.

More here.


Popular Posts