Dressing for School: Teen Blogger Robert I. Brown on 1930s Fashion

You and Robert Brown probably have some mutual interests. He worships the Rat Pack, loves his desert boots, and counts F. Scott Fitzgerald among his favorite authors. One thing you probably don't have in common with the style blogger: He's 16, a high-school student from New Orleans East—and his site, Robert I. Brown Style, is a fresh, sophisticated, and charming voice in the echo-chamber-y fashion blogosphere. Oh, and did we mention he's our newest guest writer? He'll be posting every Monday on This week he sounds off on the killer fashion in the 2007 Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters.

Maybe I should be ashamed to admit this, but when I watched The Great Debaters, my aunt had to remind me that it was a film about a college debate team overcoming racism. I was stuck on one thing and one thing only: old wardrobe.


From the newsboy caps and bow ties to the suspenders and suits, it all looked good to me. I was fascinated by an era where younger men dressed immaculately—even for daily college life. During the 30s—a period with fashion that makes me wish I had a time machine— African Americans took dressing more seriously than they do today. You can see it in a scene that takes place at Harvard. While the Wiley College debaters relax in a dorm room, Henry Lowe (played by Nate Parker), is dressed in a white Henley, suspenders, and pressed trousers—I only wish I looked as good while lounging at home. After a disagreement with his team, he storms out of the building, throwing on a newsboy cap and his sport coat as he goes. He finds himself rewarded for his efforts when he walks into a bar and finds a lady there. They catch eyes, and she gives him a gorgeous smile.


I'll let you decide whether it was his clothes or something else. Whatever the case, I truly believe all ladies enjoy the well dressed.

—Robert I. Brown

Previously: Introducing Robert I. Brown: Teen Fashion Blogger Extraordinaire

Robert I. Brown on What Makes Italian Men So Stylish

Robert I. Brown's Spring Wish List

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