Lately, Harvard students have been getting a lot of heat from outside the bubble about their perceived sense of style (or lack thereof) in response to Prada’s supposedly Harvard-inspired preppy fall line and the launch of the Harvard Yard brand. Fashion blogger for New York Magazine Amy Odell wrote last fall, “Something fishy seems to be going on at Harvard: The university is trying to be hip, possibly even chic.”
With 3,200 visitors in its first 10 days, an average of 800 unique hits per day, and visitors from over 50 countries, a new website devoted to the style of Harvard and the flavor of Cambridge is cataloguing these sartorial attempts. A eureka moment in Leverett dining hall followed by months of planning and designing the minutiae of the site led Emily X. L. Xie ’12 and Colin Teo ’12 to create the booksandliquor.com, a collection of expressions of personality in the clothes, accessories, and even halls of Harvard.
“We want to just create a forum for discussion for people to think about what they see and just think about it,” said Xie. They admit that they each have very different personal styles and are searching for something interesting that will spark thought and conversation.
The blog’s name, Books & Liquor, refers specifically to the tension and intersection between the academics and liquor of Harvard, and the founders are taking the project with them to their summer destinations: Singapore, Shanghai, and Tokyo.
So what are they looking for? A recent post featured a male student sporting a sharp three-piece gray suit complete with an old-fashioned fob, a tan trench coat with a stylishly popped collar, a briefcase, an umbrella, and a pinched-crown, snapped-brim fedora to top it all off. He flashes the camera a big smile in the series of photos entitled “Singing in the Rain.”
In reference to the individuals featured on their site, Teo says, “These people are happy with what they’re wearing, and it shows. They have style.”
Xie agrees, and the phrase they both gravitate to is “eye-grabbing.”
Who knew the Ivies could be fashion forward? Perhaps Harvard students aren’t all brains and boatshoes.