Prep in Your Step

By The Editors
September 18, 2012 9:00 am

They say the clothes make the man — though a pedigreed bank account, a name like “Giles Allistair Weatherby III, esq.,” and a Harvard diploma never hurt.

Get that kind of upper crust degree, but in fancy threads, at The Museum at FIT’s just-opened “Ivy Style” exhibition: a gorgeous display of the tweedy, prep style that, just like butt paddling, originated on the campuses of elite, all-male American universities.

Ivy StyleCo-curated by well-heeled heavies (the former president of J. Press, the former fashion editor of both GQ and Esquire), Ivy Style conjures an actual Ivy League campus: a pennant-walled dorm room, university shop, vintage wooden “locker room,” and even a fully grassed-over campus quad.

Nattily-dressed mannequins wear vintage pieces dating as far back as 1907, from mid-twenties J. Press tweed sport jackets to original Harvard insignia blazers to Princeton’s “beer suits” – workwear sported by 30s seniors to keep errant suds off quality duds.

Cases display vintage gear (Bass weejuns, ‘20s era Brooks Brothers etiquette brochures, a weathered-yet-crisp Arrow shirt signed by the 1933 Harvard football team), and you’ll also learn some choice esoterica — e.g., “weejuns” are named for a shoe style discovered by Americans in Norway – “Norwegian.”

Scattered throughout are also updated styles by current designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne, and of course Ralph Lauren.

Forsooth, Giles. Forsooth.

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