“The jacket that leads a double life…actually two handsome jackets in one!”
Sears knew how to tug at the heartstrings—and purse strings—of parents. Not only was it affordable and fashionable, but with a name like Fraternity Prep, how could a hopeful parent resist? The post-war baby boom generation went off to college, not war. The hope of the future was in the children who had the luxury and leisure that their wartime parents didn’t. The opportunity to go to college was a privilege, and nothing was left to chance to fulfill the expectation. It wasn't enough to study hard—you had to look the part.
Shipping off to college was such a big deal in the 50’s that there were special clothes to prepare you for the ordeal. Sears’ Fraternity Prep label was a stylish yet conservative line of ‘ready for college’ wear. While ruffian kids were hanging out in Levis jeans and white t-shirts, the conservative squares were shopping at Sears. Fraternity Prep offered the best in shirts, sweaters, western shirts, pants, gabardine, leather and suede jackets.
Fraternity Prep turned you into a debonair Wally Cleaver, resplendent in snappy sweater vests, dapper in dashing sport coats, and absolutely respectable in Ivy-look checked shirts. Made for both casual and conservative styles, Fraternity Prep was the only label for older boys looking to the future.
One of the most popular styles in the Fraternity Prep wardrobe was the reversible gabardine jacket. The jacket was touted as a marvelous two-in-one bargain, usually a solid color on one side and a printed plaid or other pattern on the other. This simple jacket style hit at hip level, had a center-front zip, and could either have two breast pockets with flaps or side welt pockets. The collar could be a simple ribbed knit or a fold down style.
Whatever the style or color, underneath was always the respectable dress shirt and tie—all good boys still dressed like mini-versions of college boys. That was what Fraternity Prep was all about.
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