Studying the Classics

Ivy League graduates, blessed by a heartening amnesia about the seige mentality which surrounds exams, the 15 pounds they gained from freshman angst, and the sheer impossibility of finding good help in university towns, have an otherwise-baffling tendency to remember their college stint as the best years of their lives. Given the smartening-up students undergo as they are railroaded into their first "real" jobs, however, their university years are rarely their best-dressed. But what collegians lack in baroque splendor, they more than make up for with a plethora of youth and freshness that the most jaded New York hostess would gleefully trade a year's worth of big-time parties to momentarily possess.

And the often-vaunted "new-conservatism" of current undergraduates is sartorially subtler than one would expect. Girls will be boys, or at least dress like them, just as they've been doing in Cambridge almost since the Second World War. And while today's students are distinctly better groomed than they were in the Sixties and early Seventies, they're still determinedly dressed down, since looking as though you're trying too hard is still a cardinal sin.

Spotted on campus during the recent Junior Parents' Weekend, were a plethora of preppy classics, from crewneck sweaters over jeans and corduroys to Brooks Brothers and J. Press sports jackets and rep ties. Sparking the classic mix: blouson or jean jackets, retro-looking ski sweaters, and the very occasional flash of miniskirt-bared legs. Adding their own ineffable brand of casual chic were a group of French students touring Harvard, wearing the born-again preppie garb which, ironically, is also the latest rage in Paris.

Here, the bilingual look on campus.

Loma J. Koski'73 writes for Womens' Wear Daily.