Take Ivy, an Ivy-League collegiate guide to menswear, was originally published in Japan in 1965.
In fact, this is the book that made "trad" fashion so popular among young Japanese men. The look is an adaptation of the old-money prep school style of, you guessed it, American Ivy Leaguers.
Filled with photo after photo of gorgeous (now-retro) scenes from the daily lives of these boys, Take Ivy is now enjoying a welcome run with powerHouse Books. This new edition is the first to be translated into English, but remains otherwise unedited. To be sure, some of its charms lie in the captions.
But if this book was influential before, it's absolutely indispensable today. The photos chronicle the journey of the strapping young prep from his ivy-coated study perch on graduation day all the way to his new job on Madison Avenue. They describe not just his fashion but his way--the steps he takes from dorm to class, what he eats, the manner in which he carries himself. As an anthropological study done by a foreigner, it's fascinating. But as a menswear bible, it's refreshing and straightforward. If the photos alone don't make you drool (the unexpected backdrop of classic cars certainly did it for me), then perhaps the handy itemized guide to a proper wardrobe will get you hooked. The book isn't for everyone (very few women are even shown as the schools were not yet co-ed, and those with a grungier style will surely be disappointed), but if retro-prep is what you're after, there can be no better companion. So if you like your whiskey neat and enjoy listening to Vampire Weekend on repeat, prepare to squeal with joy.
Take Ivy is available at Amazon.