THE TREND IS NIGH: Blazers and Jodhpurs on Parade!

Uniforms need not lead to uniformity! Avoid the neo-prep propaganda!

Sometimes I feel educationally robbed. In the flurry of freshman year bragging—which seemed to last the entire duration of my time in Pennypacker (which was already like a holding tank for the oddities of Harvard)—it just seemed like everyone’s high school was awesome. They all had International Baccalaureate programs, nationally competitive debate teams, and cheerleaders. Their schools were practically teeming with geniuses. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, my easy-going Quaker school was teeming with people that loved to smoke pot at eight in the morning.

To top it off, back in freshman year, I would inevitably run into someone from a New York prep school who would tell me about his or her uniform.

“You had a uniform?” I would wistfully proclaim.

“Yeah of course,” they would reply, slightly annoyed at my impertinence. “The uniform from when I went to school in Paris was adorable too, especially the jumper and the school mandated beret.”

At these points I usually felt so terrible about the uniform deprivation—we couldn’t even wear camouflage prints to school, because it reminded the school administrators of war—that I would pick up a stick and whack it against a tree until I felt better.

However, now I no longer have to fantasize about boarding school or knee socks or lying about pushing someone out of a tree. Now I can make my imaginary uniform a reality thanks to the efforts of Nicolas Ghesquiere, the boy wonder behind venerable fashion house Balenciaga. In his fall collection, the school uniform blazer is back with a vengeance.

Balenciaga’s version of the trust-funded prep-schooler wears a fur trimmed blue piped blazer (complete with gold crest) as well as jodhpurs, an accessory that feels like the child of a Boer War sergeant and a 15-year-old Prince William. I doubt the typical Harvard co-ed will go as far as donning jodhpurs (I bought some, but I like to do things to the extreme), but the coat is do-able, even to the especially unenlightened of the Harvard community. Heck, it’s the apotheosis of preppy, and I know how you all love that.

This fashion trend is very freeing for me. Even though we didn’t have blazers and school-mandated berets at my high school, I can retroactively make up for that by wearing a blazer now.Now, unfettered by any uniform regrets, I can truly appreciate the glories of attending a high-school where sweatshirts and Birkenstocks reigned supreme.

If you want to try the uber-prep look, I offer you...


1) Pair the blazer with something a little but more punky, like skinny jeans. You don’t want to look completely like an admissions catalog.

2) Try to wear a scarf with your blazer. The silhouette should be European and cosmopolitan, not country club.

3) Perhaps this jacket will replace that awful quilted Burberry jacket with the plaid collar that you have sitting in your closet. I sure hope so.

—Staff writer Rebecca M. Harrington can be reached at