The average college male provides little sartorial inspiration these days, but for much of the 20th century, the campuses of Yale, Harvard, Princeton and other elite institutions popularized fashions that begot the preppy look we know today. The Museum at FIT’s new exhibit, “Ivy Style,” which opens Friday 14, shows that there’s more to the trend than bowties, tweed jackets and an aura of entitlement. The style originated on prestigious American campuses in the late 1910s and “possesses the best elements of American menswear,” says Patricia Mears, deputy director of the Museum at FIT and the exhibit’s cocurator. “The look is clean, classic and functional.” More than 60 ensembles—including madras shorts, sporting attire and formal wear—will be displayed in galleries resembling a grass-covered quad, classrooms and a midcentury university shop.
Between period shows like Mad Men, the rise of American traditional (or “trad”) style and the 2010 reissue of 1960s Japanese photo book Take Ivy, the look is experiencing a resurgence across the globe, even appearing in stores like Urban Outfitters through a collaboration with J. Press. “Ivy style resonates with designers today, because it is both familiar and yet far enough removed from its mid-20th-century heyday to be fresh,” explains Mears. We’ve selected a few classic pieces from the exhibit, along with where to spot the trend today.
Put on the Ritz! “Ivy Style,” The Museum at FIT, Seventh Ave at 27th St (212-217-4558, fitnyc.edu). Mon–Fri noon–8pm, Sat 10am–5pm; free. Fri 14–Jan 5.
You might also like
Fashion collaborations for fall
101 Things to do this fall
See more in Shopping & Style