Published On: Wed, Jan 21st, 2015

Milton Julian, Creator of the Preppy Look, Dies at 96

Milton Julian

Milton Julian who was known as the “ultimate haberdasher” and created the Ivy League preppy look, passed away at the age of 96. He lived and worked in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and developed the style characterized by loafers, tweed and Oxford shirts, a style associated with education, sophistication and people of means.

“I gave students insight on how to dress like a man, ” Milton Julian once told the Chapel Hill Historical society, as reported by the HeraldSun. “I was innovative. I educated and I had a lot of fun. Milton’s (his store) wasn’t a club, but it was the next best thing to it.”

Milton Julian was born in 1918 to Alexander and Rebecca Julian who were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. When he was a student at the University of North Carolina, he opened a bike shop with his brother Maurice. After serving in the Air Force, he returned to Chapel Hill and started his own shop with his brother Maurice. His store grew in fame, and he outfitted celebrities, like Nat King Cole.

His family said that Milton Julian “never lost his sunny, sweet disposition or his passion for retail, ” and they added he was an “eternal optimist.” Given what Milton Julian once wrote, he apparently picked the profession that suited his disposition; “To be a retail clothier, you must be a perpetual optimist.”


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