The Late 70s Prep Checklist

Wallabee Clarks

This post may cause many Ivy League Style enthusiasts to cringe as it contains talk of sneakers, puffy down vests, and other items (like the Clark Wallabees above) that either never existed during the heyday or were not part of the look. Quite a few of these items are have been incorporated into the Trad look which includes elements of Ivy League style as well as Prep.

FNB commentator (The Talk Ivy Forum), and my internet pal Stanshall (this man has a mind like a steel trap!) just recently put together an extensive list (,dare I say definitive?) of late 70s Prep items. I think that this list along with a few images from the Heavy Tweed Jacket archive does a great job of illustrating how Prep bridges together Ivy League Style and Trad. Feast on the wealth of knowledge dropped by Stanshall below.

The Definitive Late 70s Prep Checklist

L. L. Bean, Orvis, Eddie Bauer, Lands’ End, Gokeys, Talbot’s –

Down vests
Norwegian sweaters
L. L. Bean chamois shirts
Gray marled ragg sweaters
Sperry Top-Siders
Blucher mocs
Camp mocs
Levi’s straight cords
Khaki chinos, washed-out
Wide-wale cords, washed heavily, on the short side
Brooks Brothers ocbds
Brooks Brothers fun shirts in multicolored stripes
Bean mountain anoraks
60/40 parkas in various colors
Tretorn Nylites
Jack Purcells
Sperry canvas deck sneakers
Adidas Country, Stan Smith, Rod Laver
Boast or Lacoste longtail polo shirts, occasionally Fred Perry which was carried at the Co-Op
Nike white canvas tennis sneakers with toe bumper
Timberland boots

Late 70s PrepShetland crewneck sweaters including Shaggy Dogs and extra points for patchwork Shaggy Dog in various shades of blue
Bean brown canvas duffel bags
Ray-Ban aviators
Vuarnet skiing sunglasses (Lynx models)
Sweatshirts: crew; hoodie pullover; zip hoodies
Early fleece jackets, pre-Patagonia, e.g. Chuck Roast from New Hampshire
Brooks lambswool or cashmere v-neck sweaters
Custom printed t-shirts commemorating regatta, tournament, ski weekend, drinking championship, etc.
Bean ranger oxford
T-shirts and sweats from other schools you’ve played or visited or have a girlfriend at

Rugged Ivy WallabeeAn example of the late 70s Prep influence

Brooksflannel viyella shirts in tattersalls
Bean Woodsman’s pants of heavy gray wool with faint large red overcheck
Bean boots and Maine Hunting Shoes, lace-ups, pull-on loungers, and buckled models too
NY Yankees caps
Foot-Joy squash shoes in white mesh with gray suede and tan rubber soles, low-cut or extra-preppy high-top
Squash racquets
Volvos and Saabs
Clarks Wallabees
Rugby shirts from the socce*r locker or serious sporting goods shop not the mall
Icelandic sweater from Antartex Shop

Rugged IvyAnother example of the late 70s Prep influence

Bean corduroy weekend jacket (G9-style)
Bean sheepskin driver’s seat cover for the car
Bean “Peruvian”-type knit ski hat
Bean field watch, regular strap it came with
One blue blazer left over from high school, never to be worn, lives at bottom of pile of clothes in dorm closet and cannot be unrumpled
One tweed sport coat, either hand-me-down, thrift or from a proper shop
Couple of rumpled repp ties
Ragg socks only on coldest days
Good-quality old-school hiking boots
Straw hat from islands worn with tan first week after spring break
Walk shorts in September, April and May

As you can see not every Prep item on the list made into the Trad canon. This is similar to how Prep kept some of the Ivy League staples such 3/2 roll jackets, penny loafers, and chinos, but left out items like buckle back pants and added their own touches like Rod Lavers. There are definitely items on the list that I find cooler than others, but that is pretty standard. I am particular. Then there are items like wallabees and my trusty green down vest that I owe to the late 70s Preps. I am sure that many of you can find a few items of your own named on the list.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

17 Comments on "The Late 70s Prep Checklist"

  1. Roger C. Russell II says:

    This is a very fun post to ponder over. You have touched my era and soul. There are a few items mentioned that I am presently going mad trying to find. Those cords the young man has on in the first photograph. I love that not skinny, yet trim looking leg. In the middle 80’s I was never without 3 different colors navy, tan, and gray. Levi’s has changed the cut of those and you don’t get the same look with what they presently call straight leg . That coat brings on a flashback as well. Do you recall the L.L. Bean Parka in navy blue with a red and black Buffalo plaid lineing.

  2. JOA says:

    Very interesting. Levis’ 501s seem conspicuously absent though surely they were a part of the look. True or no?

  3. NCTrad says:

    This is a great list and it really takes me back, as I graduated high school in 1979. I would add Duck Head khakis and the Ruff Hewn brand.

    While not a single item, I think wearing a polo under an oxford deserves mention here, given the timeframe. Loved it then, couldn’t do it now!

  4. The Limey says:

    It’s Like ” Take Ivy” take 2. Just moved on a decade. It would be fun to reshot the book with these 70’s staples. Quite a few hungover from the 60’s anyhow.

    Great post by the way. Need to get on e-bay. Thank Heaven that John Simons in Marylebone the London Ivy Bastion has re – stocked Duck Head!

  5. Charlottesville says:

    Great post, Jerrod. The kid with the green sweater at the top could almost be me, circa 1975 or so. Every item, including the full head of hair, takes me back to the look I recall from that era. Like you, I still wear a green down vest, Shetland sweater and khakis. Perfect for an autumnal weekend.

  6. CAY says:

    This is a great post. I dressed a lot like the young fellow in the green sweater and Sierra Designs 60/40 parka. The LL Bean Norwegian sweater, Maine Hunting shoes, a white turtleneck, and either Khakis, cords, or jeans (whichever were clean) was the daily standard. Hmmm, hasn’t changed all that much!

    The Vuarnet sunglasses caught my eye. I loved those and wore them with a passion.

  7. oxford cloth button down says:

    JOA – I think that 501s should probably be on the list, too. Good catch!

    Roger C. – I do recall those parkas. Bean was the business back then!

  8. Will Barrett says:

    Love this, Jerrod – really well done and a look that I enjoy and constantly seek to emulate.

  9. Ian says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of the fit you prefer, but man, that’s an awesome cable-knit you’ve got in the third picture. Love the blog!

  10. oxford cloth button down says:

    Ian – Thank you. My sister knit the sweater in the picture. She is amazing!

  11. SFSteve says:

    It looks like guys dressed a lot better in the ’70s than they do today. Based on what I see daily in my neck of the woods anyway. Or maybe it’s just that so many of the items on these lists ring bells for me.

    And yes, 501s should certainly be on there and your sister is one talented knitter.

  12. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I see that you mentioned Timberland boots. Your lists are certainly well thought out and inclusive. I have to throw this one out. Timberland back in the 80’s made a great boat shoe which in my neck of the woods took over as every day shoe over the Sperry. The Timberland shoe was a heavier shoe than the Sperry and had really nice padding around the top. I have recently (with no success) tried to get timberland to custom make a pair for me.

  13. Lennart says:

    I am from Sweden and mos t of these items applies here also. I’d like to add Dexter Beefroll Pennyloafers burgundy or black – at least over here. Saab’s and Volvo’s still rule! Late 70’s and early 80’s that’s when I started to care about style when I was a young teenager.

  14. Awesome post. I remember a lot of those items.

  15. Sartre says:

    Fantastic list (he says 8 months later). I especially appreciate mention of the Icelandic sweaters, canvas Sperrys, ragg sweaters, and Vuarnets, definitely cultural artifacts that only someone in the know would have listed. The biggest omission (and it’s a big one) is Bean Boots– absolutely a prep signifier.

  16. Sartre says:

    I take it back: I do see Bean Boots. Order is restored to the universe.

  17. oxford cloth button down says:

    Sartre – Good to hear from you!!!

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