Life Archive | Squash | A Continuous Lean.

Life Archive | Squash

May 6th, 2009 | Categories: Americana, LIFE, Sports, Style | by Michael Williams

Break out your cable knits, white pants and saddle shoes and lets go play some squash. The Life archive produces some terrific images of the 1947 National Amateur squash tournament. Considering the style of the event, it is almost crazy to see how relevant the clothing is for today. Granted I’m not going to be wearing this to the office this summer, but it could work for some leisurely vacation activities. More photos after the jump.











Comments: 23

23 Comments to “Life Archive | Squash”

  1. Andrew H
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 9:43 AM

    I swear the guy in the beret is John Kerry.

  2. Sam Jacobs
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 9:46 AM

    Not goofy enough to be John Kerry, but that was still pretty funny.

  3. Peter W
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 10:21 AM

    The big, dark court is Racquets, not Squash. Similar, but very different. Only ever played in a very few handful of places.

  4. TILL
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 10:38 AM


  5. archivesnyc
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 10:57 AM

    The last picture showing the court with the sloping roof is actually “real tennis” or “court tennis.” It’s the sport that’s predated what’s now called tennis –a.k.a “lawn tennis.”

  6. Michael Williams
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 11:01 AM

    Okay, call it racquet sports. I’m not really concerned with what they are playing. More interested in this from a style perspective.


  7. Andrew H
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 11:10 AM

    All of the clothes look straight out of Brooks Brother’s country club style. What struck me the most was the shot of the crowd- every gentleman is wearing a suit. Those were the days…

  8. invisibleagent
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 11:21 AM

    Those old “racquet sports” and cricket jumpers are the best…I like the ones that come with the burgundy and black or red and navy stripes as opposed to the more traditional navy and loden green stripes. Great post!


  9. EHS
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 11:30 AM

    This at the Philly Racket Club? Looks like it. Def a very strange cool place.

  10. Memphis88
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 11:56 AM

    Along the lines of what Andrew H said, I saw a poster the other day of a photo from around that time. It was of a crowd of men standing outside a baseball stadium (can’t remember which one) and every single one was in a suit and a hat. If someone wore a suit to a game today people would think they were crazy.

  11. Nikki
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 12:02 PM

    A beret? Really?

  12. NSK
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 12:06 PM

    The clothes they’re wearing *look like* they could come from a Brooks Brothers outlet, but the fit is completely different than anything you could get today from a Brooks Brothers store.

    The guy holding the trophy, that sweater’s fit is spot-on: high armholes, large v-neck opening, short length, fitted on the torso. I think this fit is what Michael Williams was trying to highlight.

    It’s good to see photos of squash. I love the game, but it’s rare to find a match here in Miami. Great post.

  13. Eric
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 12:30 PM

    There are three sports here: Squash, Racquets, and Court Tennis (jeu de paume). All can be played at Boston’s Tennis and Racquet Club and New York’s Racquet and Tennis Club among a very few other places.

  14. GTR
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 12:46 PM

    More squash on the web today:

  15. JDM
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 1:28 PM

    Does the Life article indicate where this tournament was held?

  16. Charles
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 1:33 PM

    Can you imagine, today, showing up to the gym or even a tennis court in a white oxford, sleeves rolled up, ready to go. I wish someone would do this at Wimbledon or the US Open.

    Also, I swear the guy on the right in second to last picture is wearing Spring Courts.

  17. Coleman Horn
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 1:46 PM

    Huge vintage squash fan.. I play with wooden rackets sometimes and in khakis often!! usually drinking between sets (from the free beer given out at round-robin events) Read the James Zug book for the complete history.. Nice spot Michael..


  18. Sean
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 2:59 PM

    An event such as the 2009 Preppy Olympics?

  19. Hobo Ken
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 3:00 PM

    Wow – terrific clobber ! When sport was for gentlemen of all classes – not overpaid divs in branded and sponsored crap !

    Fantastic Post .

  20. Tom Buchanan
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 3:55 PM

    This is great. People are always surprised when it is pointed out that saddle shoes were originally athletic shoes.

    It is surprising that a top level player would wear saddle shoes in 1947. I would think that keds or other tennis shoes would have been far preferrable by then. This guy really suffered for style.

  21. Stephen
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 5:33 PM

    Actually the guy in the beret is Henry Winkler.

  22. giuseppe
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 11:19 PM

    By Jesus…that cardigan!

  23. D Wilson
    on May 7th, 2009
    @ 1:19 PM

    Fascinating glimpse. Beret Man is/was perhaps Daniel Day-Lewis, Sr.?

    Very toney, yes? None of the racquet sports were pursued by the middle class I’ll warrant. Club membership of some sort required to play and a strict dress code for the tourney to boot. Nice glimpse into how a “classless society” conveys and displays position.

    Interesting note about saddle shoes. I’d never have guessed they were originally athletic wear although their non-marking soles might have been a giveaway for court origins.