Vintage Photos of Stylish College Students to Inspire Your Back-to-School Shopping


Inspired by this Curbed post collecting great photos of college dorms from decades past, we got to thinking about how colleges students from the last century (and even earlier) set a lot of the timeless fashions that remain in style today. Whether it’s that skirt you bought at J. Crew, the shirt you picked up from Band of Outsiders, or that bespoke suit you paid a whole lot of money for, know that collegiate types from various American universities wore it all long before you did.

They may be Wesleyan students, but they and their best friend are the perfect early examples of Ivy Style.

Vassar Daisy Chain circa 1909 or 2013 Free People catalog?

Could you imagine how great it would be to have an Instagram feed full of pictures from these Vassar students in 1960? [Image via Vintage Seven Sisters]

Menswear designers are still taking inspiration from these Dartmouth dudes.

These 1946 Howard University students could give some modern-day dandies a run for their money.

Today you’d probably pay hundreds of dollars for the glasses worn by this Oberlin student.

A lot of dudes in Brooklyn are still trying to look like the guys in this University of Chicago football photo from 1892.

NYU girls from 1932 aren’t impressed with your expensive haircut. [Image via]

These Howard University women earned minors in steez just by getting dressed in the morning.

These dapper Yale students don’t care if you make fun of them for being “cheer leaders.”

Why don’t basketball players dress as cool as the Smith College team from 1902?

The members of the 1890 Caius College rugby team are all totally over your ironic facial hair.

Cozy sweatshirt that you could probably buy on Etsy these days for about 300 bucks.

Twenty-first century frat bros have really dropped the ball on looking awesome.

Sally Draper eat your heart out. This is Vassar! [Image via]

This student from California’s Menlo School in the 1970s is demonstrating why Chuck Taylors never go out of style.

Tulane students model a proto-Hunger Games look.

This single 1954 Pomona College ski trip photo may have inspired countless pieces of clothing made by Michael Bastian.

Fuck Yeah Mount Holyoke in the early 1970s.

Vintage store in Austin or Chicago? No! It’s Bryn Mawr in the ’50s. [Image via Vintage Bryn Mawr]

We could see how you might mistake the Randolph College hockey team from 1938 for a badass girl gang. [Image via]

There are enough fur coats in this Simmons College picture to make even Rick Ross a little jealous.

The 1964 University of Alabama basketball team and their fresh-as-hell kicks.

This University of Wisconsin student from 1967 swears the lenses in his glasses are real. [Image via]

Washington State University knew how to party in style the 1960s. [Image via]