Tag Archives: Chicago Style

Gouster or Ivy Leaguer?

Today, it’s a question of whether your pants are sagging or not (as far as I’m concerned).

In the Sixties, on the South and West Sides of Chicago, the male clothing signifier was whether you were a Gouster or an Ivy Leaguer.

A former co-worker who I guess would be classified as a Gouster now, but was an Ivy Leaguer then, told me:

Basically, Gousters dressed like old school gangsters (by this he meant O.O.G., like Thirties-Forties-Fifties era), and Ivy Leaguers dressed preppy.  Gousters were considered to be kinda like hoods, whereas Ivy Leaguers at least looked like they kept their noses clean (for a pretty accurate visual, watch Cooley High. Preach [Glynn Turman’s character] would have been considered an Ivy Leaguer. Many of the other cats were classic Gousters). 

This conversation started when I un-covered a record from about 1964 called “The Gouster” by a local group called the Five-Du Tones.

I found a really nice blog post from Wild-Child where she waxes poetic about the styles:

“I recently encountered an old friend who lived in the neighborhood back in the day. He lived on 35th Street and I lived on 31st. We were from the same neighborhood and attended the same high school. He was the coolest guy in history. Not only was he fine, he could DANCE. His fashion identity was Gouster style. I can still smell the Jade East.

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Bon Bon Vie: good good life…

The line is designed by Shari Neal, who explained to Afrobella:

“I always wanted to design tee shirts, but I just never sat down to do it until fairly recently. In the past I had done tee shirt designs for other people and I finally decided to do something for myself.

The name of the company comes from the T.S. Monk song Bon Bon Vie (Gimme The Good Life)”, especially the lines below:

The man promised me a raise (I said who?)
Who’s gonna raise me when I’m dead?

Oh, I’m so tired of putting that clock every day (Working every day)
All day skatin’ on thin ice

Lord knows we could use a holiday, baby
Just the two of us would be so nice…

I feel like those lyrics sometimes, as I’m sure a lot of people do. I like my job, but at the same time, I really want to truly be self-sufficient one day. It’s a really amazing feeling to have something you created (whether it be a blog, t-shirt business, whatever) do well and be able to sustain you financially.”

I love the word-based graphics, and the messages of the line (many of which are Chicago-centric).  Plus the prices are just right.  Jive on!

http://www.wearbonbonvie.com/