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Morning wear in America: Harvard 1961 Commencement from LIFE Magazine

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by voxsartoria, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. Bellison

    Bellison Well-Known Member

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    Ahhh, it's nice that Harvard is not so dreadfully stodgy anymore. I am proud that my school has come so far so quickly.
     
  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Well-Known Member

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    I am proud that my school has come so far so quickly.

    I'm very proud of you.


    - B
     
  3. Bird's One View

    Bird's One View Well-Known Member

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    Bravo, some pretty smart people here on SF.

    We have stood on the shoulders of giants. And also on the shoulders of whnay. and [​IMG].
     
  4. crazyquik

    crazyquik Well-Known Member

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    So much lamentation in this thread [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Fred Fortmiller '51, M.B.A. '53, in the basement of Matthews Hall, checking sizes to make sure he will be wearing the right hat, part of his Marshal's regalia, during Harvard's 351st Commencement.

    [​IMG]
    Suffolk County Sheriff Richard Rouse (foreground) and Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola trot gracefully into the Yard on their splendid (and powerful) steeds. (2002)

    [​IMG]

    Middlesex County Sheriff James V. DiPaola calls Commencement Exercises to order. (2002)

    [​IMG]

    (2002)
     
  5. srivats

    srivats Well-Known Member

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    This was on Will's blog today:

     
  6. literasyme

    literasyme Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] - B
    I don't know that these photos, charming though they are, prove much of anything. The marshalls and officials still wear morning suits, I believe, and obviously academic regalia as those above remain de rigueur for faculty. The gown style has changed -- most are now closed-front, but I'd say the vast majority of professors wear at least shirt and tie under the gown (or the equivalent in women's dress). I don't think they're using the reading room in Widener as the assembly room these days though! Photos of what students were wearing would be more revealing, I suspect. Academic processions still maintain a fairly high degree of formality (dress-up, costume, whatever), but the soon-to-be graduates now certainly dress far more casually than their predecessors. Also, B: I don't think that's Pusey in the photo above -- he looks too old, and that's not the presidential outfit either. The president's robes are closed-front and a bit more ornate, like so: [​IMG] The gentleman is wearing the regular Harvard PhD gown, though not in the now more customary hot pink. The crow's feet are the giveaway.
     
  7. REguy

    REguy Well-Known Member

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    I received my master's degree this year and can say the dress at commencement was disappointing, which was to be expected. While I give kudos to the officials for at least making an effort at looking dignified, most of their morning suits were terribly ill-fitting and were worn almost like Halloween costumes. Definitely not with the comfort and panache as shown in the LIFE photos. The graduating students were obviously much worse. You're graduating from Harvard, at least put on a tie for fuck's sake!
     
  8. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    I should imagine some of these students were wearing flip-flops underneath their gowns.
     
  9. REguy

    REguy Well-Known Member

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    I should imagine some of these students were wearing flip-flops underneath their gowns.

    I think my favorite was the guy wearing cowboy boots sans pants. A close second was the girl wearing Aqua Socks.
     
  10. bringusingoodale

    bringusingoodale Well-Known Member

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    Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
    Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
    He wept that he was ever born,
    And he had reasons.

    Miniver loved the days of old
    When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
    The vision of a warrior bold
    Would set him dancing.

    Miniver sighed for what was not,
    And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
    He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
    And Priam's neighbors.

    Minever mourned the ripe renown
    That made so many a name so fragrant;
    He mourned Romance, now on the town,
    And Art, a vagrant.

    Minever loved the Medici,
    Albeit he had never seen one;
    He would have sinned incessantly
    Could he have been one.

    Miniver cursed the commonplace
    And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
    He missed the mediæval grace
    Of iron clothing.

    Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
    But sore annoyed was he without it;
    Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
    And thought about it.

    Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
    Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
    Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
    And kept on drinking.

    _________
    One of my favorite American poems. Seemed relevant to this post.
     
  11. comrade

    comrade Well-Known Member

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  12. dhouse

    dhouse New Member

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  13. NMW1982

    NMW1982 Well-Known Member

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    When you say a good number, you mean like 10 or 20 out of thousands?

    Most kids I graduated with had flip-flops and shorts underneath their robes.

    This sort of tradition has basically died out at Harvard.

    A good number of people actually showed up in morning dress at this year's commencement. Though I think most faculty/staff nowadays stay in academic regalia throughout.
     
  14. NMW1982

    NMW1982 Well-Known Member

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    Elitism is really looked down upon at Harvard. Even in the Final Club I was a part of there is pressure not to come across as stuffy or old school. Many of my peers came from extremely affluent families and yet dressed plainly with their north face fleeces, jeans and sneakers. You'll pretty much be ostracized at Harvard if you start sporting Loro Piana suits and bespoke footwear.

    Financial aid and meritocracy has really changed the demographics of the Harvard community. It's really no longer cool to look rich anymore.

    I received my master's degree this year and can say the dress at commencement was disappointing, which was to be expected. While I give kudos to the officials for at least making an effort at looking dignified, most of their morning suits were terribly ill-fitting and were worn almost like Halloween costumes. Definitely not with the comfort and panache as shown in the LIFE photos. The graduating students were obviously much worse. You're graduating from Harvard, at least put on a tie for fuck's sake!
     
  15. SirGrotius

    SirGrotius Well-Known Member

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    Very different vibe from UPenn commencement, but not that surprising considering this is the big H!

    Love those trousers.
     
  16. Svenn

    Svenn Well-Known Member

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    Elitism is really looked down upon at Harvard. Even in the Final Club I was a part of there is pressure not to come across as stuffy or old school. Many of my peers came from extremely affluent families and yet dressed plainly with their north face fleeces, jeans and sneakers. You'll pretty much be ostracized at Harvard if you start sporting Loro Piana suits and bespoke footwear.

    Financial aid and meritocracy has really changed the demographics of the Harvard community. It's really no longer cool to look rich anymore.


    In my opinion, elitism isn't how you dress, or your background... it's how you act. I don't think ivy league schools have any less of it now than they used to, regardless of the demographics, it's just become more subtle and perhaps because of that, worse. I frankly think an extremely affluent kid who dressed old school and had a nice, humble personality would be less elitist than some affirmative action/fin. aid recipient swaggering around in cargo shorts mentioning their school in every other sentence.
     
  17. peezie

    peezie Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese still seem to give formal daywear a run with the women in strange Victorian-esque gowns.

    Asians are imitative when it comes to fashion and/or pop culture. Usually, simultaneously being weird and imitative is perceived as unique, especially in Japan. Go figure.
     

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