I came to Yale convinced that I was not going to find anyone who watched “ANTM” or cared about fashion. I was totally wrong about the first one. The fashion thing is kind of weird, though. Looking at student fashion over the last 10 years, it’s clear that Yalies have always cared somewhat about what’s in and what’s out. However, reported fashion fads at Yale have fluctuated in quality since the dawn of Y2K. Here’s a closer look at what Yale has looked like over the decade based on the oh so reliable scene.
The year 2000 was simply too overwhelming for our grand old Ivy. A January scene article called a student-run fashion show a “dizzying fashion odyssey.” I honestly cannot think of a better way to describe what went down at this thing. Show coordinators called it a “glimpse at vintage style from the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s” intermixed with “supa-cute” new accessories like hats, scarves and laptop bags. Laptop bags? Lmfao srsly wtf?
Moving into January of ’01, the style remained pretty constant. The ascendancy of yellow and red striped Burberry scarves and “Scottish Chic” style pissed off then scene writer Lisa Cohen to no end. Good thing at least one person had their head screwed on straight. The transmission of this Scottish Chic STD around campus made Yalies seem as “Clueless” as the movie characters from which they stole this heinous fad (Cher and Dionne, duh).
2002 saw some ugly turtlenecks, clunky heels, tank tops and SO MUCH halter top love that girls even wore them throughout the winter.
The Purple Crayon was really stylin’ in a 2003 rehearsal, clad in crop tops, Christmas sweaters and collars underneath sweaters. Maybe Yalies just don’t care about fashion during the winter. Let’s be honest by the time it hits twenty degrees, just getting clothing on period is a feat.
I turned to a March scene article titled “Hunting for flair and frump, the Yale Fashion Police hits the streets.” Highlights from the “Do learn from your peers” list included Asian-inspired accessories, “red-hot” Nikes and cargo pants. Cargo pants … tasty. The “Don’t steal these styles” list included pointy shoes, stripes on stripes and too many bright colors. Read: Urban Outfitters window displays.
Writers for scene once again tried to fix Yalie’s fashion faux-pas in the Spring of 2004 with another do and don’t list. On the do list: kitten heels, boat shoes and double-cuff love (for men), ’80s inspired accessories and anything from the ’40s. Did the 40s have a memorable style beyond army uniforms and a lot of gray. The don’t list is vehemently against tongue-in-cheek trucker hats and the “Boho” look. This made me so proud of Yale, until I saw an article from the next year.
“Fun, floral, and fringe,” basically the three words used when describing the Boho look, came highly recommended next to “medium-length skirts with lovely patterns and in a rich, flowing fabric like silk and satin.” Wha? I thought we moved past this. While I can understand and appreciate the want for “flirtatious femininity, not blatant sexuality,” it definitely could have been accomplished through some other means.
Nothing really interesting happened from 2006-2008. Except for rise of the UGG boot and Northface dictatorship over all Northeast college campuses. Traumatizing for all involved.
Today, Yale style really has a life of its own. From prepsters in cords and button-up shirts, to American Apparel hotties, to those who refuse to wear anything that doesn’t carry the Yale insignia on it, the fashion scene here is hard to define. But I guess that’s part of what makes it so … special.