An Introduction to JFK’s Style

Being the President brings with it an air of sartorially expectancy. John Fitzgerald ‘Jack’ Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. Although only leading the force for a short term before his assassination, like every president, he left an influential mark.

Having obtained a grade ‘F’ for history at school, I’m afraid I’m required to abstain from that area. But where I can dabble is in the timeless style of JFK. Kennedy mastered effortless style, creating the sense that he never actually really paid much attention to his look. He balanced the smart and casual aspects of his dress, mixing his work wear with something less formal.

Kennedy is the definition of enviable style. His carefree style was removed from the traditional presidential greys. He was a sartorial king, putting the skills of London’s tailors to endless use. JFK’s style was simple yet classic.

The ‘Ivy League’ Look

Popular in the late 1950s, the Ivy League look continued its golden age through the 60s. The appeal of unlikely style icons; such as JFK, Paul Newman and John Simons, has seen the look live on.

Ivy League style is the neighbour to the preppy trend but the two are separated by colour. Other trends have derived from the classic Ivy League look, most obviously the Williamsburg trend. Although many claim the style to have originated on college campuses, designers the world over are taking huge influence from the cuts and shapes.

The resurgence of chinos, tweed suits and loafers all have ties with the Ivy look. Brands such as Ralph Lauren, Franklin & Marshall and Gant are all taking their own interpretations on this classic trend. But what are the key pieces?


Chinos have had a huge rise in popularity that has now lasted several seasons. If you read FashionBeans regularly, you’ll already know that rolled up chinos are a big look this summer. Bringing everything back to the Ivy League days, utilise smart suit trousers, rolled up and worn with a pair of classic tasselled loafers.

  • Indigo Cotton Carrot Chinos
  • ASOS Slim Fit Red Chino
  • Farah Vintage Slim Fit Shark Suit Trousers
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs Ivory Pleat Front Gatsby Trousers
  • A.P.C. Navy Gabardine Belted Chinos
Button Down Shirt

Every man owns a button down shirt. It’s just knowing how to implement it into your look with style. Shirts transcend across trends. Build your wardrobe on plain neutral colours then expand or change the appearance of shirts already in your wardrobe by layering up and layering down. JFK was a king at this; here are some shirts to get you started.

  • Red Button Down Collar Shirt
  • Dockers Button Down Oxford Shirt
  • ASOS Slim Fit Button Down Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren White Custom Fit Linen Shirt
  • Hugo Boss Black Indigo Logo Button Down Shirt

Loafers add the final collegic touch to this look. Lean towards a vintage loafer for an authentic appeal. You’ll often also find these are harder wearing and a better quality shoe. Opt for a tasselled loafer if you really want to be on trend with this look this season. eBay is a great place to find unique styles, providing you have a generic shoe size (size 4’s and 11’s fall by the wayside when bargain hunting).

  • Ben Sherman Hooq Suede Tassel Loafers
  • H By Hudson Lacey Tie Front Mocassins
  • Grenson Stone Suede Tassel Clifford Loafers
  • Loafers On Ebay
  • Alexander McQueen Men's Suede Trim Leather Loafer Shoes
The JFK Look Book

Like any fashion icon or trend, carbon copying leaves little room for originality. Hence why we show you the importance of taking inspiration. What you take inspiration from may vary depending on opinion. Whether you want to apply JFK’s touch of elegance to a casual look, want to simply start wearing wayfarers, or want to implement tweed into a look; taking inspiration from style icons and trend looks can enhance your personal style hugely.

Personally, I like to build on JFK’s effortless elegance. Pairing un-tucked shirts with cable knit jumpers or cotton blazers over a crisp polo. Without even knowing, your style can stem from any number of sources and the most unlikely of inspirations. Even recently covered topics on FashionBeans take huge influence of JFK’s style with designers, trends and collections picking up on what it takes to dress the modern man – one who is becoming more refined each season that passes, and takes great pride in their appearance.

John F Kennedy:

The John F Kennedy (JFK) Look Book

Ivy League Style:

Mens Ivy League Clothing Look Book

My JFK Inspired Looks

At FashionBeans we are always ones to put our sartorial money where our mouth is. Like in my last article, I really wanted to create some interaction amongst our readers. I’ve created two looks, taking heed from the timeless style of JFK. In the comment section below tell us what you like, what you would change and how you would incorporate Kennedy’s style in to your own.

Look 1:

Relaxed Elegance Inspired by JFK

With this look I wanted to strip away the smart element, removing myself from the presidency as Kennedy often did. I rolled the legs of my chinos (with only the slightest concern for symmetry) and paired them with some tasselled loafers. I went for some relaxed elegance with an un-tucked button down shirt.

If looking to smarten up the look I have the foundation to add a blazer, alter the tuck of the shirt or accessorise with a tie or bow tie which is shown in look 2.

  • PAUL SMITH - PS 167L-700 White Shirt
  • Grey Slim Placket Cardigan
  • Mid Purple Carrot Trousers
Look 2:

Smarter JFK Inspired Look

This was a smarter option. Again taking the basic elements of JFK style, using the chinos, loafers and shirt. The blazer smartened the look and I added a touch of individuality with a basic deep red pocket square. A vintage tan watch picks up on the material and colour of the loafers – taking inspiration from how Kennedy used small details to harmonise his looks.

  • River Island Falcon White Shirt
  • Selected Trimmed Blazer
  • FRED PERRY LAUREL T7151 Oyster Trousers
  • Charvet Silk Pocket Square
  • D&G Wine Tote Brown Chronograph Mens Watch DW0752
  • KURT GEIGER Made it loafers tan

JFK’s style is timeless. Its influence will live on and so will his history. Designers and fashion experts of today salute his effortless approach to fashion, and we do too.