Arnold Gingrich fan

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
So that's the thesis. The natural shoulder style was a counter-reaction to the foreign elements introduced in the 1930's; keeping the good parts and returning to the traditional American style. This change was centered at Yale probably due to the sack suit loyalty of J. Press. The "Ivy League look" was a radical codification of that counter-reaction.
Well done, AldenPyle! A suggestion...

I think it's possible, even probable, that the credit you give to J. Press belongs to Langrock instead. Langrock (est. 1898) predates J. Press by a mere four years, but it successfully promoted the "new" sack suit look from the get-go. Furthermore, Langrock was then considered more upper crust --and therefore more desirable (and influential?)-- than J. Press. For starters, Jacopi Press was Jewish; David Langrock was not. In less enlightened times, such a fact mattered to trendsetting bluebloods.

J. Press then did what it had to do: it copied Langrock's merchandise styles. Time passed, the student body grew more diverse, and J. Press began to seem more attractive. Langrock tried to hold its place on Mount Olympus, but never became iconic beyond its declining circle of patrons. Meanwhile, J. Press became a byword for the Ivy look. Such is retail.

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AldenPyle

Honors Member
Well done, AldenPyle! A suggestion...

I think it's possible, even probable, that the credit you give to J. Press belongs to Langrock instead. Langrock (est. 1898) predates J. Press by a mere four years, but it successfully promoted the "new" sack suit look from the get-go. Furthermore, Langrock was then considered more upper crust --and therefore more desirable (and influential?)-- than J. Press. For starters, Jacopi Press was Jewish; David Langrock was not. In less enlightened times, such a fact mattered to trendsetting bluebloods.

J. Press then did what it had to do: it copied Langrock's merchandise styles. Time passed, the student body grew more diverse, and J. Press began to seem more attractive. Langrock tried to hold its place on Mount Olympus, but never became iconic beyond its declining circle of patrons. Meanwhile, J. Press became a byword for the Ivy look. Such is retail.

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Its possible. I'm sure sack suits remained available from many retailers throughout the late 1920's and 1930's (including obviously Brooks Brothers). Who exactly was responsible for cutting tweed jackets and navy blazers in the straight-hanging style, I'm not sure. Or who could be said to be most influential in making a sack cut, the correct university look. But I didn't see anything in the Langrock ads in YDN or the Lafayette that emphasized the straight hanging natural shoulder style in the way that it was in the Roger Kent or Macy's ad. In fact, maybe the opposite.
Anyway, here is one clue from March 12, 1937 The Lafayette
 

P Hudson

Super Member
Great thread. That last scan mentioned wider lapels. Is that because they were reverting to the mean after being really thin? I ask because I prefer a not-too-wide lapel, but wonder which is truer to the style being described.
 

Pale Male

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Andover Press

After Princeton but before San Francisco?

Linen jacket OK, but don't like lapels and always prefer patch pockets.

DO like DJ especially since it has some shape.

Prices are long before my time.
 

AldenPyle

Honors Member
Compare, for instance, the Press linen 1947 jacket


with this picture from 1941 from the old Bulldog blog.


I think if you went to Press today, the 1947 model would not look out of place (maybe the lapels are a little wide). But the 1941 model would look quite strange.
 

Pale Male

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Press 1941 Model

I have a blazer in this style and have my college patch attached to the patch pocket. Not for the Puritans, but then they like to rewrite history to suit their beliefs.

Interesting to see Gentree. They were still around in my day, and the building survived until very recently when it was replaced by the new History of Art Building.

And a note on pleated trousers: likely much more common than is admitted in these parts. There are a few great photos from LIFE on SF than show Yalies in pleats, though I don't know the date.
 

KCKclassic

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
yep.....its the darkest flannel you...ever saw!

-great pitch

Re: Pleats, I'm no expert but I suspect they were far more common than some here might admit. I am anti-pleat personally, but for purely aesthetic reasons, as opposed to ideas of tradition.
 

Zon Jr.

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Interesting the way IMPORTED is stressed in the 1941 ad. It probably, even where not specified, didn't mean Made in China.
Even later than that. While we bemoan the loss of American manufacturing, most of it was mediocre in quality and even worse in design. "Imported" goods had a great deal of glamor (except from Japan)--Scandinavian furniture, English clothes and fabrics, anything French, etc. Someone in the early 70's created a business called Pier One Imports, reassuring you by the name that what they sold was tasteful, exciting, and exotic. Their name is now sadly redundant but they are still in business.
 

AldenPyle

Honors Member
Not that I'm aware of. Press abandoned it & a family started a shop there after that. Might have kept the furniture, I imagine.
thx
I have a blazer in this style and have my college patch attached to the patch pocket.
Interesting. You should post a pic.

And a note on pleated trousers: likely much more common than is admitted in these parts. There are a few great photos from LIFE on SF than show Yalies in pleats, though I don't know the date.
Re: Pleats, I'm no expert but I suspect they were far more common than some here might admit. I am anti-pleat personally, but for purely aesthetic reasons, as opposed to ideas of tradition.
Looking at ads from the 1930s into the early 50s, it seems that, on odd trousers at least, English style pleats were at least as prevalent as flat fronts. In fact, they were probably the norm, maybe the overwhelming norm and that includes at places like J. Press. But I think that the natural shoulder Brooks Brothers style suit had flat front pants as a rule, which is why the above ad by Westbrook is so clear in insisting that their suit pants are not pleated. Westbrook also ran other ads in which they simultaneously sold their "Yep, no pleats" suit pants side by side with pleated covert twill and other odd trousers. This is not to say, either, that suits with pleats weren't popular in the US in the thirties, of course they were, even among rich East Coast WASPs, young and old.

Tapered, flat front pants were clearly a specific part of the quote-unquote Ivy League style and the guote- unquote Traditional natural shoulder style that followed. I think, originally, the "Ivy League" style boom was for business suits which naturally followed the Brooks-ish details but those styling details spilled over to jackets, odd trousers and even pants as casual as khakis. As a high fashion, this contributed to the broader decline in wearing pleats over the 1950s through 70s.
 

Bradford

Senior Member
I was under the impression that the sack suit and the fact that it had flat-front pants was a direct outgrowth of the uniforms worn by US soldiers during WWII.

While it may have been prevalent at Ivy schools, it was also an outgrowth of a style that millions of men found comfortable during their military service.
 

AldenPyle

Honors Member
I was under the impression that the sack suit and the fact that it had flat-front pants was a direct outgrowth of the uniforms worn by US soldiers during WWII.

While it may have been prevalent at Ivy schools, it was also an outgrowth of a style that millions of men found comfortable during their military service.
I don't think that is the way I would put it. Brooks Brothers claimed it came out with its #1 Sack suit about the turn of the century and a 3 button sack suit in 1930. The original sack suit would have had flat front pants and ads for suit pants with "English pants" show up in the 1920's. I certainly don't know for sure that Brooks never had pleated pants on its sack suits, but I think so.

It is true that pleats were banned during the WWII (Macarthur excepted) and its hard to believe that the post-war trend to flat front pants was unrelated. Also, the relatively unprepossessing nature of the Ivy League suit is often argued to have appealed to the GI generation.

Anyway, here is a good picture of a turn of the century sack worn by the grandfather of Time Magazine co-founder Briton Hadden in 1905

Note flat front pants and four button suit.


Here is a good picture of a turn of the
 
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