All posts in Clothing and History

White Socks with Penny Loafers

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Yes you can wear white socks with your loafers. However, if you want to look cool doing it like the guys in all those vintage pictures you want a certain type of white athletic sock. Its not your typical modern white athletic sock.
White socks and penny loafers
The white sock to wear with your penny loafers is the Wigwam 625 (see here). Also they aren’t really white. They are off-white and after a few washes the color gets closer to cream. They aren’t cotton either like the white athletic sock that we know. They are a wool blend (63% Wool/37% Nylon). They are thick too. Almost like a wool sock that you would wear with hiking boots. One other notable feature is that they don’t have any elastic. It’s hard to believe that these were what kids wore to play sports in the 1950s-1960s.

IMG_6599I wear these socks a lot and thought I could offer a pretty accurate overview for those who have not. To me Wigwams and Weejuns are like peanut butter & jelly, but let me just say to those who have never worn this style of sock before that it may be an acquired taste type of thing. Wigwam 625s are scratchy and itchy at first, but this goes away after a few washes or did for me. They don’t have any elastic so surprise surprise they don’t stay up well… at all. So you will find yourself bending over to pull them up throughout the day. They are also thicker than the modern white sock, but I think that is one of their best attributes. I weathered through  all of this and somehow they grew on me. Now I find them both comfortable and comforting.
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Keds 1960If you want to wear a white sock with your loafers the Wigwam 625 is that white sock. As I said it is really more of a cream color and they are wool blend which gives them some nice texture. Alternatively you could substitute any cream colored wool sock with a little thickness if the classics don’t work out for you. These socks are not only the right sock for the penny loafer look, but they also look cool with canvas sneakers, mocs, boots, and almost any other casual shoe. While I can’t imagine playing a game of basketball in them like they did back in the day you can count me as a fan.

The Miyuki-zoku in Life & Illustration

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I like to keep a nice selection of coffee table books around. One of my newer books is called “Cool: Style, Sound, and Subversion” (see here). Overall it is a pretty cool book. It covers a lot of subcultures and is fairly accurate. It gives a 1-2 page write-up with each subculture including Ivy League Style, Preppy, unfortunately no Trad, and what I am focusing on today is the Miyuki-zoku…kind of.
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What struck me about the the Miyuki-zoku page was the illustrations. I knew that I had seen this image before. It turns out it wasn’t one image, but a few images drawn together. It only took a handful of Google searches to put it all together. I found our friend on the far right in the madras looking Harrington jacket and Chucks in a blog post on Ivy Style. I then spotted the guy in madras shirt over at Put this On.
Japanese Ivy Style

The Miyuki-Zoku, 1964David Marx posted this great photo on Twitter today. Shown above are some members of the Miyuki-zoku, a 1960s Japanese youth movement that revolved around Ivy Style clothes. Somewhat notable: the men are seen wearing short...What was interesting to me about this is that we have photographs being documented in illustrations. I am sure this is fairly common, but seeing it this way just got me thinking about the how cultures and art feed each other. I don’t know where I am going with that other than it is interesting to think about. Before I get too deep let me provide you with links to the articles referenced above so you can read more about The Miyuki-zoku.

Learn more about the Japanese youth movement the Miyuki-zoku:

Ivy Style – The Miyuki-zoku: Japan’s First Ivy Rebels

Put this On – The Miyuki-zoku, 1964

 

Spring Semester 1964

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There is nothing better than wearing Shetlands, tweed, and the ability to layer. Well there may be at least one thing that is better which is warm weather. While the winter has been great for breaking out cold weather gear I have had my fill and I am over it. However, with the coldest month approaching I can do nothing but dream of warmer days.

Last night I was flipping through an old Wittenberg University yearbook from 1964 (no, this is not the year that I graduated) to get some spring inspiration. There were some cool ivy pics that got me excited for wearing shorts, madras, and white sneakers. It also reminded me that flip-flops & t-shirts have been on the scene for quite a while and that students have always loved kicking off their loafers! Before you start browsing the images below lets let out one collective sigh as we dream of warm weather and that student life.

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Madison Avenue Does Main Street Ivy

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Last week I broke out a tweed that I don’t think that I have posted before. It is probably the most ivy looking jacket that I own. It is also not as ivy you might think.
Varsity Town Madisonaire JacketI rarely thrift or buy second-hand clothes these days. It is not because I am too good for it and have all my clothes MTM, but rather it almost never works out for me. I am currently batting about 10%. This jacket however i purchased on a second-had site and (drum roll!) it worked out. The jacket is Varsity Town’s Madisionaire. If this name rings a bell it is probably because Christian at Ivy Style wrote an article about it (Varsity Town’s Madisonaire, 1966).
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The Madisonaire is a perfect example of heyday Ivy. It has a 3/2 roll, natural shoulders, narrow lapels, swelled edges, and a hook vent. The lapel rolls the way they do in the old movies. It just looks ivy, and while it looks ivy it wasn’t made for the Brooks Brothers or J.Press crowd, but instead was intended for mainstream America. To quote the Ivy Style article, “Either way it’s still Main Street, a wonderful example of commerce at work and the flourishing of the Ivy League Look to men across the nation, who, if they couldn’t get the real deal, could at least get a replica.”
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IMG_5614A few things to take away from this post. One, is that authenticity is tricky. Is this item ivy league or is it a cheap replica? Two, even though your vintage item may have been mid-market in its day its quality may be closer to today’s high-end tailored clothing. Three, repp ties are great, but don’t forget about foulards. They are perfect for tweed.

What are Polo Belts?

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I want to get a leather belt that is thinner than 1.25″. The reason why is that I have grown very accustomed to the thinner front of surcingle belts. I don’t want it to be a dress belt as I plan on wearing it with my 5-pocket cords. This search led me to Sid Mashburn. While looking at their selection of 1″ leather belts I noticed a belt (pictured above) that they referred to as a “polo” belt. I had never heard the term and thought nothing of until I saw a post on polo belts on Red Clay Soul.

I’ve been digging on the polo belts lately.  I love the idea, as well as the culture from which the polo belts originate.  Born in Argentina, they are typically leather belts with color-specific designs woven in to represent a team or a location.  While they’ve been around forever, they were made popular, maybe even mainstream, by royalty:
Polo Belts

Head over to Red Clay Soul for more examples of the polo belt, where to find them, and a few ideas on how to wear them. Read the full post here: Polo Belts by Red Clay Soul