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Manligheter has moved to New York

NYUHello everyone and welcome to the new and improved Manligheter. We have moved to New York. Literally moved! In January I started grad school at New York University and with that Per and I thought, isn’t it time for us to go ahead with the idea we and others have thought about for so long: introducing this blog to the US and our English speaking friends? We decided we should. After all, Sweden is ranked as one of the best english speaking countries in Europe and we know you guys – our readers –  will enjoy the blog regardless what language we use. Meanwhile we get an opportunity to reach out and say hello to all of you whom we have not met yet. We can’t guarantee that the English used here will be perfect, it most certainly won’t. What we can promise though it that it will keep improving and that we’ll do our best to meet your expectations.

So this is how it’s gonna work. From now on, our posts will be in English. It holds for Facebook, Twitter – everything. You guys are encouraged to post and comment in English, as courtesy to our new friends. If you don’t want to – that’s totally fine (of course).

We are very excited about this change and would like to take the opportunity to wish you all an early happy spring. These upcoming weeks we have some treats for you, fresh cuts straight from the city – my and Manligheter’s new home turf.


The Complete Guide to Preppy, Trad and Ivy Style

“Not as good as it was. Better than it will be”, as blogger The Trad would have put it. Here we see hard-studying Harvard students in fantastic shirts and well combed haircuts. Apart from people sleeping on the desks, not much reminds us of the run-down universities of today.

The American style made its entry on the international fashion scene during the 30’s and 40’s. With a roaring economy and a rich Hollywood, people now began to associate the US more with Humphrey Bogart than with cowboy hats and worn out suspender pants. Urbanization and a growing middle class gave more and more Americans the means and need to buy fashionable clothing.

The norm for how to dress came from the societal elite, which was largely alumni of the top segment of American universities, the so called Ivy League schools. The style was dressed up, but relaxed.

The American man was not to look as though he focused too much on his clothes. Practical garments like the durable Oxford shirt with a button-down collar, chinos, loafers, cordovan leather shoes and club blazers gained a large popularity (read more about the differences between British and American style here).

This loosely defined epoch in American history, which begins after the Great Depression and ends with the Vietnam War and the hippie wave of the 60’s is often called “the heyday of American style”. According to the fashion guru Alan Flusser, no nation has ever had so well-dressed a population as then. Whether this is true or not bears debating, but the period undoubtedly had a great influence on men’s fashion both in the US and the rest of the world.

There are three distinct traditions of American men’s fashion which all find their source in the period from the 30’s to the 60’s: Trad, Ivy League and Preppy. Here follows a short guide to these styles and their distinguishing features.

1. Trad

The American man. Confident and relaxed. Note the button-down shirt, club tie, the soft jacket and the relaxed posture.

The “Trad” style is the most anonymous of the three. The word is a short form of “traditional”, and means simply to dress traditionally. No clocks on the cuff here à la Agnelli or Thom Browne-ish short pants: it’s about well combed hair, white shirt and gray flannel suits. The goal is to look and to be old school. A trad takes more influences from the business world of the 50’s (think Mad Men) than the East Coast’s college campuses. Trads also have a large fondness for all kinds of leisure clothing worn traditionally by workers, hunters and military men, and a certain scepticism towards using tennis or golf clothing off the court.

Learn the style at: Ask Andy Trad Forum and The Trad.

Prominent retailers for shopping: O’Connell’s, Flison, Cable Car Clothiers, L.L Bean, Brooks Brothers, Allen Edmonds, The Andover Shop och Mercer and Sons.

2. Ivy League

Student in the early 50’s. Note the club collar, the thin tie, the short haircut and the rolled lapels.

Instead of a general attraction to the American and the classic, the Ivy League aficionado focuses entirely on the style at Ivy League universities. Being discreet and timeless is not as important, instead it’s about capturing a certain epoch in time and cultivating it (which in the worst cases results in looking like you’re going to a masquerade).

The Ivy league style has traditionally been adopted by persons who lived their lives in the academic environment, and alums who never really washed off the campus look when they entered the working world. Throughout the years, however, the style has had a growing impact across the world, especially in Japan, and as Herrskobloggen recently noted, become something of a trend. This has led to a number of Ivy League inspired clothing collections being released by well established producers, like Gant’s Rugged Collection and Swedish Our Legacy.

Learn the style at: Ivy Style.

Prominent retailers for shopping: J. Press, Alden och Norman Hillton.

3. Preppy

Preppy before the term was coined. A young Princeton student challenges tradition by not using a belt, wearing shorts pants and a narrow, black tie.

Fashion writer G. Bruce Boyer has somewhat pretentiously but accurately described preppy as a postmodern version of Ivy League. Unlike Ivy League, preppy is not about recreating the already extant, but about constructing a new style. For Trads and Ivy League aficionados, it is central for the garments to be combined and worn in the correct way. For preppy, there are no such restrictions: chinos, club blazers and pink lambswool shirts can be combined however you like – as long as no unknown elements, like a bomber jacket, are added to the mixture. This variability has led to several shifts in the preppy style across the decades. For example,  80’s preppy wear was wide, while we now see a significantly narrower preppy-silhouette.

Learn the style at: Prepidemic, Put this On och Unabashedly Prep

Retailers: Rahlp Lauren, Rugby, Cast Away Clothing och J. Crew.

Differences between Trad, Ivy League and Preppy


Ivy League


What shirt collar?

Button down, club collar, pinned collar and cut away

Button down, club collar and turn down

Button down, turn down and pinned collar

Double cuff?

Yes, but only with a suit



Best summer shoes?

Boat shoes

Penny loafers

White bucks

Polo shirt?

Yes, often in layers

Only in the summer

Sports garment

Pants with cuffs?

Doesn’t matter

Yes, preferably


Pants folded up?



Absolutely not

Pant leg length?

Doesn’t matter as long as it looks good

Mid Atlantic cut or shorter

Mid Atlantic cut or longer

Suit or jacket?


70% jacket, 30% suit

30% jacket and 70% suit

The color purple?




Favorite pants?



Gray flannel

Slim fit shirts?


Perfectly acceptable

Absolutely not

Crocodile skin accessories?



Absolutely, but only one at a time

Riding a bike


If it’s a good looking bike

Is for children

Narrow jacket cuffs?


Looks good


Best dress shoes?

The ones in the closet

Tasseled loafers

Allan Edmonds Park Avenue


Year round

Only in the summer

Only when sailing

Prefers to drink



Beer and bourbon


At parties




Vanity Fair

The New Yorker

The Wall Street Journal

How to greet an acquaintance

A cheerful yell


The down nod

Ludwig von Mises and the vanished vest

Today is the birthday of the world famous macro economist Ludwig von Mises. He happens to be dead since many years back, but the discussions about economic cycles and debt crises of the last few years have seen the public interest in Mises and his even more famous student Friedrich Hayek grow larger than it has been in a long time. One of the most common images of Mises, which also adorns his Wikipedia page, shows a pleasant but concentrated man dressed in a pinstriped, double-breasted suit, with a linen handkerchief and what appears to be a patterned velvet tie.

However! There is an extra interesting detail for the style-conscious: Mises is wearing a vest with his double-breasted suit.

Wearing a vest with a double-breasted suit today is almost considered a fashion crime, since a double-breasted suit is meant to be buttoned up even as the wearer sits down. The vest thus loses its function, which is to give its wearer the appearance of being well dressed even after removing the jacket. But this has not always been the case. Up until the Second World War, the vest was no fashion crime; on the contrary, it was more or less considered mandatory when wearing a suit, whether double-breasted or not.


New York stock broker, late 1930’s

The reason why the vest has become an exception rather than the rule is of course partially that it has lost some of its practical utility. With radiators, air conditioning and well isolated cars, the need for a vest to keep warm has diminished. But another important explanation is actually the Second World War itself.

During the war, rationing was mandated in both the US and Great Britain, not just for food and fuel, but also for textiles. The vest was considered superfluous by authorities, and simply had to take a step back. In the US, there were special regulations around making vests for double-breasted suits, which was considered an especially needless practice.


This was the kiss of death for the vest, not just because few new vests were made, but because it was now considered outdated. After the war was over, people wanted to forget the darkness of the 30’s and the 40’s, so a new wave of fashion emerged. On the East Coast and in Ivy League circles, this became especially apparent, and the vest was considered hopelessly outmoded, almost stuffy. The new Ivy fashion that appeared was more functional, and a certain kind of casualness, where the three-piece-suit had no place, gained ground.

Even though the vest made a small comeback in the 1970’s, wearing it with a double-breasted suit is a combination that likely died in the war. (caveat: never say never)

There’s a reason why the makers of Mad Men let Roger Sterling dress like a relic during the emergence of the new United States by wearing a three-piece suit.

Students at Yale, 1927. Image from Ivy Style.

Princeton, 1961. The new USA.


Interview in Expressen

I fredags kunde man läsa kort om Manligheter i Expressen, där en rubriksättare måste ha haft väldigt kul!

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