The English Shop of Princeton


Founded in 1951 by Eric P. Mihan and originally located at 5 Palmer Square (now the site of Chez Alice Cafe) The English Shop was one of what is now considered the Big Five Princeton clothiers; the others being Langrock, Harry Ballot, Landau, and, trailing in prestige, the Princeton Clothing Co.. (Interestingly, in the 1960s the Big Five were considered to be Langrock, The English Shop, Ballot's.... and Douglas MacDaid, and Saks Fifth Avenue.) Next to Langrock--the undoubted flagship of Princeton's Ivy Style--The English Shop was one of the original purveyors of the Ivy League Look in the 1950s and 1960s.

Adverts from the 1950s and 1960s proudly proclaim that it carries Harris Tweed jackets, flannel blazers, and worsted suits, the majority of which were cut in the distinctive Ivy League 3/2 sack style. The English Shop also carried Scottish shetland sweaters, tweed caps, English regimental ties, wool challis ties, worsted pants, tattersall shirts... the whole range of classic Ivy Style!

The English Shop closed in December 1996. Indeed, of the original Big Five Princeton clothing stores, only Landau's remains.... although the Nick Hilton store that still operates in Princeton is a descendant of the Ivy tailoring firm Norman Hilton that was responsible for the popularization of Ivy Style in the 1960s.

A little known piece of Ivy trivia: Eric P. Mihan also founded EMP Steins. This was a company that made beer steins, including commemorative steins for various schools. Appropriately, the first schools that these steins were made for were the Ivy Leagues, and (of course!) they were originally sold at The English Shop in Princeton. (I doubt that many Dartmouth men bought them there!) Apparently, EMP steins are now extremely collectible, with the original Ivy steins fetching premiums. I'll post a picture of one here once when I unearth one on my vintage-seeking travels!

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