Colgate Couture Lessons Learned: Take Ivy

Lucy Baird

Back in the spring, I discovered a book titled Take Ivy. First published in 1965, it is a collection of candid photographs shot on the campuses of America’s elite Ivy League univer­sities by four Japanese photographers, Shosuke Ishizu, Toshiyuki Kurosu, Hajime Hasegawa and Teruyoshi Hayashida. Inspired by classic American casual wear, the photographers fo­cused their lenses on privileged scholars going about their daily activities. The scenes docu­ment the effortlessly dressed young men walk­ing to classes, eating in cafeterias, studying in libraries and playing in pickup games on the quads. Take Ivy perfectly captures the collegiate – and uniquely distinct – style of the era.

Pouring over the slightly faded pages, I cannot help but be drawn to the clothes – the perfectly wrinkled oxfords, the slightly cuffed khakis and the pairs of ideally broken-in penny loafers. But it is more than their out­fits; the young men in the images possess a tangible confidence and poise. The book itself is a significant snapshot of American history – the stylish, self-assured students reflect the attitude of a prosperous time, only a decade before the volatile years of the Vietnam War.

Look around Colgate’s campus and you will find the same types of slacks, sweatshirts and flannel shirts that are worn in Take Ivy – on girls and boys alike. And although the book may glorify the prep lifestyle, elements of the men’s style, like fit, proportion and cut, are uni­versally appealing. Now more than ever I want to emulate the style of Hollywood’s “King of Cool” Steve McQueen and the boyishly elegant Katharine Hepburn, both of whom epitomize the understated but elegant aesthetic. But back to the book – like Daisy Buchanan in Fitzger­ald’s The Great Gatsby, I find myself murmur­ing to the men in the pages, “you always look so cool.” I know one thing is for certain: classic never goes out of style.

Contact Lucy Baird at [email protected]