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Mod to Suedehead

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Spirit of 69, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    I have just checked my Levi Leather Jacket and it was made in China(for Levi Europe).The Leather looks different to the ones made in India.They are Button Through-only the original ones were Press Stud.
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Senior member

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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Senior member

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    . double post
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
  4. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Senior member

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    That's right, as far as I remember it. However it's still a lovely jacket! (I meant to reply to M. L'inspecteur, but same point)
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
  5. roytonboy

    roytonboy Senior member

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    browniecj - that's very interesting and I'm sure you would have been one of very few people who would have truly appreciated it. (I'm sure many would think that he was 'smart' or 'stylishly' dressed without recognising what the inspiration was). This got me thinking - I have an idea of what is meant by Ivy League style, but not much more than that, so over the week-end I did a little research and low and behold, some of what I thought was true, but much wasn't. I think I may be guilty of believing it to be what I wanted it to be rather than what it actually is. So........


    WHAT'S IN A NAME - IVY LEAGUE

    I believe I first heard the term 'Ivy League' early in 1972 after the skinhead look had mutated into suedehead and beyond. At this time we were wearing long wing brogues, loafers, straight, ankle length trousers, BD shirts, v-neck and crew neck Shetland wool pull-overs. There was an acknowledgement that this was influenced by the Ivy League Style. As far as I was aware, we were not trying to dress Ivy League, but were wearing some of those clothes. I probably heard the term on no more than two or three occasions.

    Since joining this forum I have become very familiar with this term and a number on here seem to be, or have been, influenced by the Ivy League style during their youth and later, yet I'm not sure that our understanding of 'Ivy League' style would be shared by true devotees of the style or, indeed, the American public at large. Whilst some aspects/influences of the look may have some similarities with Mod/Skinhead/Suedehead e.g. "Young men and their peers, not clothing brands or magazine editors decided what was fashionable", some Ivy League styling seems contrary to what was trying to be achieved by Mods and Suedeheads. I'd be interested to learn what others understand by the term Ivy League style, how it is seen as an influence on our culture and what people find attractive about it, even to this day. We are extremely fortunate in this regard to have American members who are much closer to the source than many of us - I'd welcome your take on this also.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
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  6. Clouseau

    Clouseau Senior member

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    Ivy league was very influential in the early 60s in all Europe, and even in Japan. In France, the original Minets (who had no name at the time, they had already moved on when the name came) were under influences of Ivy league (they referred to as "the Kennedy look"), English and French elements they all mixed.

    "In the beginning, we all wore three-piece bespoke suits. We were the business. My friend Nick Lowe told me: "Fcuk, when you came in Bournemouth we were jealous. You had all the girls!"
    Marc Zermati, original from the Drugstore gang, who still describes himself as an "eternal mod".

    [​IMG]
    Marc Zermati in a "relax" summer look
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  7. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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  8. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    The Ivy League was greatly influenced by British and Continental Fashion,with an American "Feel".I am not saying that all of it appeals to me,but the majority does. :)
     
  9. The Saint

    The Saint Senior member

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    I reckon , I first heard about Ivy league in the mid-7ts per the High Numbers song , "I wear Ivy League jackets , wild buckskin shoes. ."

    I would add that , Steve McQueen , the king of cool himself , was heavily influenced by Ivy League .Of course , nowadays , there are several good books on the subject , which is great . .

    When I go to warmer climes I often like to wear my loafers with no socks , a style l borrowed from Ivy league . .[​IMG]
     
  10. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    When I go to warmer climes I often like to wear my loafers with no socks , a style l borrowed from Ivy league . .:happy:
    [/quote]

    And the Italians and French-saw some great Clothing -from Students of those two Countries during the 60s,on their visits here.
     
  11. The Saint

    The Saint Senior member

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    And the Italians and French-saw some great Clothing -from Students of those two Countries during the 60s,on their visits here.[/QUOTE]

    Indeed. .

    Oftentimes , there would be Italian waiters , working in our restaurants here , sometimes cafe's too. .
     
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Senior member

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    I hear you!! I'm a 42-44, which makes it even more cruel!! JUST too small.

    My point in posting(which I'd forgot to mention) was the fact that the item in question(from the '60s) featured a placket with poppers, not a button-through placket, to answer the original question.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  13. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Senior member

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    I can remember the first couple of times I came across the term 'Ivy League' in the mid 1960s. One was in the 1965 book 'Generation X', describing the suits worn by a young mod. The other was of course the name of the British band, formed in 1964 (hits: 'Funny How Love Can Be', and 'Tossing and Turning').
     
  14. The Saint

    The Saint Senior member

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    Oops , I forgot about that band. .
     
  15. roytonboy

    roytonboy Senior member

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    Cool outfit - but is it Ivy League?

    Brownie - Your reference to a cravat made me smile - unfortunately, the thought of a cravat always brings to mind Terry Thomas and Lesley Phillips - "Hellow". A look that none of us would have thought either cool or smart when we were young. My guess is though, that it was far closer to the Ivy League style than we were as Mods or Skinheads!

    I'm just posing the questions here, I don't know the answers!
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  16. Clouseau

    Clouseau Senior member

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    Not "pure" Ivy league for sure, Roytonboy. But from what i understood of your post, you were also interested by the Ivy league influence and adaptation by non-americans. The so-called Minets mixed French, English, and American influences. See the pictures of them in "The Kennedy look" (Ivy league style in their idea), it's not pure Ivy at all, like i think the mods, skinheads, and suedeheads of the 60s.
    [​IMG]
    A picture i took at the "Renoma exhibition", i already posted at the time. A press-cut from 1963.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  17. The Saint

    The Saint Senior member

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    The Take Ivy book by Teruyyoshi Hayashida , has some great pics , taken in the 6ts around the actual Ivy League colleges . .
     
  18. Gsvs5

    Gsvs5 Senior member

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    The following is from a post elsewhere that I relate too.In the UK we have a History of plundering different eras and throwing together things to create a "Look"
    I left England partly because I felt I never quite "fitted in"somehow?I hated the Class system and pigeon holeing of people by regional accent.Comparisons of the Sloane look that was very prevalent in Home Counties England in the early 80's can be drawn with the American Ivy,I believe.A very contrived image IMO and though one that I would draw elements from,never one to embrace as a religion.

     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  19. Botolph

    Botolph Senior member

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    .

     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
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  20. roytonboy

    roytonboy Senior member

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    Gsvs5 and Botolph -thanks for your perspective, most interesting.

    So, keeping the subject bang 'on topic', did Mods, Skinheads and Suedeheads dress in the Ivy League style? The answer would seem to be yes ....... but also, to a greater degree, no. To examine this (in my case, very much second hand) We need firstly to establish what Ivy League Style is and then decide to what degree it has been adopted, adapted or cherry picked by followers of those British styles.

    What is Ivy League Style?

    My opinion of this has changed in the last week as I have found out a bit more about it. Far from being the button down shirts, tailored suits and Florsheim shoes of the American businessman that I believed was a major part of the look, it is really 'campus wear' as worn by students. True 'Ivy League' is based on the styles worn by students attending the old private universities of the North Eastern United States, sometimes referred to as 'The Ancient 8'. Indeed, most are so ancient that they pre-date the United States, having been established when this region was still a colonial outpost of Britain. As a consequence, they were originally attended by the colonial elite and following independence, by the financial and new political elite of the US, who were in fact, exactly the same people. (Meet the new boss, same as .....) Hence, society's elite were referred to as WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) - I only mention this as Gsvs5 and Botolph stated that they were Catholics, and therefore 'outsiders' in this context. So the student body attending these universities have traditionally been not only very wealthy but also from privileged and often influential backgrounds. Think of the so-called 'Hooray Henrys' of Britain. As these universities have been in existence for about 250 years many traditions have built up, including certain dress codes. The 'Ivy League Look' was well established by the 1930s and went through slow and subtle changes from then on. What is now referred to and largely recognised as Ivy League Style is that worn between the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s. Indeed, it seems to be widely recognised that 1967 rang the death knell of the Ivy League 'style' as from then on, even Harvard and Yale students adopted the ubiquitous scruffy pseudo hippy image of long hair, t-shirt and jeans.

    The style that emerged drew from lots of influences, many of them from the British Isles - Oxford weave cloth, Shetland wool, Harris tweed, Fair-isle and Argyle knitwear - some that could be construed as 'Country Gent' in another environment, however, "An air of casual nonchalance was paramount" says Christian Chensvold in his essay, " The Rise and Fall of Ivy Style". Quite simply, if it was so obvious that you were very wealthy, you didn't have to dress up to prove it. In fact he goes on to say that the clothes are only two thirds of the look, one third is the way in which they were worn - how you wore that jacket, which socks did you wear with those shoes, what length your trousers should be. In one paragraph he writes about the time when "dirty white sneakers, a slightly frayed blue or white button down shirt" were the image being projected. Naturally there would be slight differences from campus to campus and at different times, thus a true aficionado of the style can see an outfit and say, "Princeton 1957" or "Yale 1963" In the US, the term IVY League Style is taken to mean this "studied casualness", a slight dressing down but in high quality clothes. An individual in a tailored business suit, white BD shirt and long wings is more likely to illicit the response, "How Mad Men"

    In actual fact what we would regard as "Ivy League" style became pretty mainstream American dress from the late 50s onwards. Consider this photo:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty Ivy League eh? - it's all there, the natural shouldered jacket, loafers, regimental style ties, chinos, blazers, slacks, BD shirts, checks (madras?) Well, no actually, this is a college in Georgia in 1967. Consider the films, 'Animal House', and 'American Graffitti', both contain clothes that we would describe as 'Ivy' yet neither are filmed at Ivy institutions - the second is just everyday street wear for middle class american teenagers in the early 60's. Possibly as a result, the students at the true Ivy League colleges were taking the style to more flamboyant, some might say ridiculous extremes - Botolph mentions crab covered lime green pants. There were jackets made up from different pieces of madras check or even far eastern batik material. Of course, if you are stinking rich, you can get away with it.

    [​IMG]


    Chensvold, in his (pretty damning) critique of the British book, "Look Ivy" infers that British devotees haven't really got the Ivy League Style at all, they romanticise the style and consequently pick and choose those bits that suit and in fact, simply wear American clothes but through snobbery don't want to admit that, so call it Ivy League to give it a certain cache or exclusivity. As for other Brits choosing to wear some of the clothes, he understands, after all, "What working class Londoner would want to idolize some privileged twit at Yale specializing in tax law"


    Did Mods, Skinheads and Suedeheads dress in the Ivy League style?

    In the early days of the Modernist movement, when the name applied to fans of modern jazz, there probably was a strong Ivy League influence due to the fact that some jazz musicians dressed this way - Miles Davis being the classic example, "The coolest man on the planet" as I have heard him described. This could explain why the BD shirt started to be worn and became a staple for ten years or more. Knitted ties (very Ivy) were also a popular feature of the Mod wardrobe. As we know, however, there were many influences at work and Gil Evans has stated how in the early sixties they described themselves as 'Continentalists' as they drew much inspiration from France and Italy. Unlike 'Ivy', which was always slow moving in the adoption of clothes, 'Mod' was vibrant, fast moving and open to many influences. Certain items of Ivy style clothing came and went. Mod clothing, on the whole, was smart and 'sharp' - quite contrary to the 'studied casualness' of the American campus. Indeed, to be a student in 60's Britain was not regarded as 'cool' at all.

    As a seamless development of the mod look, some of the clothes remained during the Skinhead era. BD shirts, sleeveless pullovers, Levi's. In fact during the transition (1967/68/69) lots of American style clothes were worn - Surfer Jacket (college boy or West Side Story?) Cord and denim jackets and jeans (Western) Oxford weave BD shirts (Ivy) - American but not necessarily 'Ivy League'. As skinheads we did wear some clothes that could be described as 'Ivy' - but is that why we wore them? The very first purely 'Skinhead' item of clothing I bought was a sleeveless Fair-isle pull-over. Did I buy it because it was trendy on some campuses in the North Eastern USA ?- no, I was completely oblivious to that, it was bought as an item of skinhead clothing and to be honest, I thought it's origin was in British working class culture, like collarless shirts, granddad vests and boots, all of which were also worn initially by skinheads in some places. In retrospect I can see how Sta-prest trousers worn slightly short, brogues, checked shirt and plain, sleeveless pull-over as worn by me in 1970 could be interpreted as Ivy League style, but the next day I would be wearing Levi's, Denim Levi jacket and Doc Martens, still skinhead but not Ivy at all! Our blazers, POW trousers and longwing brogues, worn to the soul club in 1971 probably had a bit of an Ivy look to them, however the style was different. We would have the top button only fastened - Ivy style is to have only the top button unfastened and the lapel rolled back to give the appearance of a two button jacket. It's all about the detail!


    [​IMG]

    Some similarity in items of clothing but not in style.

    Whether you view the above picture as skinhead or suedehead is a matter of opinion and probably dictated by where you lived between 1968 and 1972. Without doubt there was some Ivy influence in the look of Suedehead, in fact those living in the London area may well have been customers at the Ivy Shop or J. Simons, which specialised in this style. These clothes and this look then percolated north and west over time. Again items of clothing were cherry picked and whilst we wore a number of items that clearly had an Ivy influence (Crew neck Shetland sweaters, loafers, coloured socks, straight trousers worn slightly short, contrasting suit jackets and trousers) I doubt whether a visiting American would have seen us and thought we were dressed 'Ivy Style' Our efforts at smart appearance was contrary to what they were trying to achieve - for example, the Ivy overcoat of choice has always been the semi-casual camel coloured Polo coat, not the formal looking Chesterfield (which we call 'Crombie') If you think about classic Ivy - Tweed jacket with leather elbows, Shetland crew neck over a shirt and knitted tie worn with trousers, you'll realise I'm probably talking about your old science teacher!

    To truly dress Ivy League Style takes a lot of effort, not to say a fair amount of research. Not many are willing to do it and the individual that Colin spotted can be commended. I would suggest that for most of us, taking what we like from the look and blending it with the rest of our wardrobe will be sufficient to allow us to dress up or down in a style of our own - after all it's what we've all been doing for decades!
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
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