The term Ivy League was first used in the 1930s to refer to a group of northeastern American colleges that were sporting rivals. However it soon became synonymous with more than just sports. It denoted academic excellence, prestige, tradition – and a new and relaxed style that would forever change American fashion. A style that became known as the Ivy League Look.
In 1954, LIFE magazine declared New Haven the home of the Ivy League Look. The reason for this was that New Haven had not only a thriving garment industry but was also the home of Yale University. It was the ideal place for the Ivy League Look to flourish.
The new look was a way of dressing well without necessarily dressing up. It featured items such as white buckskin shoes, grey flannel slacks, button-down shirts and jackets with a natural shoulder. It was a more casual look, a sharp contrast to the double-breasted, padded-shoulder suits that dominated in the pre-war years.
Marty and Elliot were instinctively aware of what was happening in their hometown. They saw the emerging style and recognised that it dovetailed with what GANT was doing. They started experimenting with shirts in different fabrics and styles, and added bolder colours to the pale 1950s palette. The family took pride in their role in shaping the bright new look, and in 1954 the company’s name was changed to GANT of New Haven.