Christian Chensvold over at Ivy Style mentions the topic of collegiate dress in his capstone piece, The Rise And Fall Of The Ivy League Look (which I HIGHLY recommend you read, it is long, but worth it). Well, actually, much of his piece centers on collegiate dress, as the Ivy League Look stemmed from the campuses of the ancient 8, but I would like to focus on a particular reference he makes to a piece that Bert Bachrach wrote for Apparel Arts in 1933 in which he stated that college students were “the best dressed men to be found anywhere.” Oh sweet Jesus how far we have fallen.
I would argue that in fact it is nearly the opposite that is now true. I am hardly the first person to make this claim. Aside from observing this to be fact at a number of colleges and universities across the country I have also spoken with some people in academia on the subject and we have all concluded the same: that the collegiate males dress like shit these days (I won’t get into the female side of things).
Now in best of days of the Ivy League Look that Christian speaks of a jacket and tie were nearly obligatory. I by no means profess such a code for current day, but then again I by no means discourage guys to wear such an outfit. But the debacle that is guys wearing sweatpants, jeans with t-shirts and other purely casual attire to class is just not how it should be. My school had a uniform from pre-k-8th grade and then in high school we had a dress code (I think largely because it had a sharp focus on liberal arts and self expression which I greatly cherished; but with that came an obnoxiously sharp focus on political correctness). And the dress code was simple for guys: no jeans, no sweatpants and a tucked in collared shirt (there were other intricacies but they need not be mentioned). If today’s college bound males could just take the no sweatpants and collared shirt thing into consideration for even half the days a week it would be a noticeable step in the right direction. And that is a direction we need to go in, for a great number of American males have been seeming to go in the wrong direction for too too long.
Justin L Jeffers
I agree 100% with this article. It seems men do not even try anymore. Even when some do try, it is still a mess. I.E wrinkled shirt, scuffed up dress shoes, white socks!!! I appreciate the effort but it is just as frustrating as sweat pants. Sorry to rant, in the end I agree with you and this article.
Having recently gone back to college after a few years off, I can say that you are terribly right. The worst part is that once a week the boys from the Greek system wear suits to class, usually with running shoes and backpacks. It’s very saddening indeed.
Can we reclaim the glory days?
Matthew and TRMay,
Glad you guys feel the same way. But unfortunate we have to feel this way. I remember when I was at Villanova they would have the pledges wear a blazer a day a week. Some of the awful combinations… Now, admittedly, my style was not then what it is now, but damn they were bad…
I go to a music conservatory, and have performances and auditions throughout the year, which requires a nicer dress and look. So usually on those days, the guys tend to dress on the nicer side but at the bare minimum. What I find to be the most entertaining and confusing part about dressing the way I do, is the people who compliment me but always ask if I have an audition or performance when in reality I just really enjoy dressing nicely. Then there are the ones who say “I wish I could dress like that” while they are wearing jeans and a t-shirt 4/5 days of the week. All I can think is to simply say to them that anyone can dress nice, you just have to try. My apologies for my second rant.