What’s hip to the jive with college students?

You all may have noticed the young women in your life talking more and more about attending college.  There has in fact been a significant increase in the number of women enrolled in university these days. Apparently, there are twice as many women in college today as there were 10 years ago!

But what are the kids wearing?

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford sporting a bob

First of all, the girls are starting to sport more and more bobs.  They claim it is more practical and tremendously comfortable, but I have heard it requires trips to the beauty salon several times per week to perfect the curls.  Perhaps it’s more of a fashion statement than anything.  Being in style is very important to these girls (as it should for everyone!) for no other reason than that is what is fashionable. I just recently read something coming out of Smith College saying that their student journal was keeping track of how many women cut their hair into bobs but lost track because of how many people were doing it! How peculiar. My friends have talked about this hairstyle and say all the Hollywood stars have cut their hair, but I have not seen its benefit quite yet.

The girls in college are also more involved in sporting activities more than ever before.  Some of the more progressive ones apparently walk around in sports attire. Some individuals even protested only wearing bloomers during sports, as they want to wear them on public transportation or on main streets. I don’t think it’s widely accepted to wear sport clothes, however.  They do wear trousers a lot, though! Loose, straight cut pants are appearing more and more on college campuses.

An example of the popular kohl-rimmed eyes and dark lips (Louise Brooks and Clara Bow)

Women in college are dressing more and more provocatively, the papers say. Because of the dating culture developing on campuses, they feel like they need to show their physical attractiveness and availability by dressing in shorter skirts with silk hosiery and high heels.  They are also wearing more makeup, such as the ‘kohl-rimmed eye and dark lip’ look. And that is how you become popular in school these days!

With their styles, including makeup and trousers, and the affordable readymade clothes available to anyone these days, college girls are starting to look like working women! Can you believe it? After going to university and investing in that lifestyle, they are mistaken with normal working women.  There is a certain element of irony there that cannot be overlooked.

oxford pants.jpg
Oxford bags

And now for the boys, there is only one new trend to share with you all.  Coming from Oxford University in England comes the ‘oxford bags’.  These are a new style of pants brought about by the ‘aesthete’ group of undergraduates with extremely wide hems than can be as much as forty inches!  The typical colors are navy, black, grey, cream, and beige, but some more flamboyant men choose to wear them in lavender, sand, or pale green. This craze is widely popular in Ivy League schools here in the States.

Young people are usually signals of fashion trends to come—let’s see if that holds true here!





Photo sources:



Information Sources:

Mendes, Valerie, and Amy De La Haye. Fashion Since 1900. London: Thames&Hudson, 2010. Print. Thames&Hudson World of Art. p.70.

Van Cleave, Kendra. (2009), Fashioning the College Woman: Dress, Gender, and Sexuality at Smith College in the 1920s. The Journal of American Culture, 32: 4–15. doi:10.1111/j.1542-734X.2009.00689.x

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