Higbee's Izod Tennis Outfit (1977)


Figure 1.-- We notice a Higbee's ad for an Izod tennis outfit. Tennis was no longer all white. The knit shorts were done in various colors, but the tennis shorts were white. Of course the outfit was not just being marketed for tennis, but for general casul wear as well. These knit shirts in the polo style are a popular preppy garment and have remained popular for decades.

We notice a Higbee's ad for an Izod tennis outfit. Higbee's was an important Cleveland department store. Izod was one of America's most popular brand of casual clothing. Tennis was no longer all white. The knit shorts were done in various colors, but the tennis shorts were white. Of course the outfit was not just being marketed for tennis, but for general casul wear as well. These knit shirts in the polo style are a popular preppy garment and have remained popular for decades.

Higbee's

We notice an Ohio Deparment store newspaper ad for a white tennis outfit, a white shirt and shorts. Higbee's was located in Cuyahoga County which means Cleveland, Ohio. It is a good example of the many department stores located throughout the United States that were important regionally. Higbee's was one of the best known department stores in Cleveland. It was on Public Square in downtown. Along with Halle's and the May Company, they were the big retail force. Dillard's bought Higbee's I believe in the 1980s and closed the downtown store. All Higbee's stores are now Dillard's. The downtown store was where the department store scene in the movie,"Christmas Story" was shot.

Izod

Vin Draddy, an American tourist, in the mid-1900s whilev visiting London stumbled across an elegant tailor shop named "Jack IZOD's". Vin was from New York and the president of David Crystal Co., which for some reason did not make crystal, but high-quality women's dresses. Vin was impressed with Izod's work. He made custom shirts for King George VI of England and other royalty. Jack IZOD's tailor shop was quite exclusive and Vin Draddy was both impressed an enchanted with Jack's unique surname and meritorious positioning. Every shirt Jack made had his name and the phrase "By appointment. Shirtmaker to the King." on the label. Vin had just began to divrsify by beginning a mens apparel business. He still had not settled in the name. He wanted a destinctive name to associate with the quality merchandise he was offering. Jack Izod was an elderly gentlemen thinking about retirement. Vin offered to purchase the rights for the exclusive use of the IZOD name and Izod accepted. I believe that Vin began Izod clothing in the 1940s, presumably after the War. The company specialized in sports and casual clothes. It is one of the best known American brands. Izod became associated with quality knit sport shirts. Famed tennis player Rene' Lacoste partnered with the David Crystal Co in 1951 to market a tennis shirt made of a new pique knit. This was at the same time that preppy fashions becae very popilar. The knit shirt, often clled a polo shirt (but not by Izod), was a instanteous success and adopted as a preppy standard.

Preppy Styles

These knit shirts in the polo style or a popular preppy garment and have remained popular for decades. The colors of the shirt are Preppy standards. The prep or preppy style is a distinctly American fashion. It became popular in the 1950s and was based on the fashions popular in the elite northestern preparaory boarding schools. These schools wre based on England's famed public (elite private secondary) schools, although the term preparatory in Britain is used to describe schools for primary age children. We note some of the preppy garments such as polo shirts and button-down shirts in the 1930s. It was, however, not until the 1950s that preppy styles became a major fashion style in America. Preppy fashions peaked in the 1950s and 60s. Preppy fashions have never really gone out of style, although other fashions have supplanted them in popularity.

Knit Shirts

These knit shirts are a preppy staple and an enduring classic style. They are a popular casual style and have even been dopted as a school uniform shirt, although of course not Izod brand. We are not sure when they first appeard. The Izod knit shirt was introduced in 1951, promoted by a tennis star. We think the style itself appeared earlier. The shirts are also called polo shirts, but not by Izod as this name was derived from a competitors shirt.

Tennis Shorts

Tennis has a long history. During the 19th century, tennis was played with long flannel pants. I am not sure when shorts first appeared, but they were being worn by the 1920s. By the 30s they had replaved long pants. I am not sure about the lenghts, but by the 40s very short styles were being worn. They were much shorter than the Bermuda shorts being worn in the 1950s. Tennis shorts were a preppy fashion, in part because tennis was a largely country club sport. The shorts her in 1977 were probably cut similarly to other casual shorts which were becoming much shorter at he time. In the 1990s a longer cut of tennis shorts became popular.

Details

The shirts were popular for boys of all ages, note the wide age range. The ad copy read, "On or off the court, boys tean up with Izod, j.g. Great teammates, crisp white tennis shorts ans colorful knit shirt. A super, casual look that goes all over the summertime. Both in carefree polyester-cotton, sizes 8-20, each 11.00. The shorts have molded inner lining that eliminates waistband roo-over. The shirt has spred collar and is designed in 8 great shades: white, kelly green, navy, yellow, pink, red, light blue, royal blue. Boys' Shop, Fourth Floor, Downtown, All stores."






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Created: 10:02 PM 5/23/2006
Last updated: 5:45 PM 5/24/2006