It’s a rare situation in which a Harvard student isn’t at the head of the class. But when it comes to matters of personal expression and style, these Cambridge smarties are strictly conservative prep. Read: well-pressed jeans (tattered hems or artfully placed holes are a no-no), a polo with a “popped collar” and a barn jacket in New England-y reds and greens. “Everyone wears brown loafers,” one junior says. “They save the red loafers for special occasions.” When Radcliffe cutie Jenny Cavalleri called Harvard’s Oliver Barrett “preppy” in Seventies “Love Story,” she couldn’t have said it better.
Don’t cross Harvard off the style map just yet, though. “The fashion scene is one with a lot of momentum,
something that’s young and new, if a bit immature,” says Lisa Puskarcik, a junior sociology major who writes about fashion for the Harvard Crimson, which publishes quite a few style-related stories. And the annual Eleganza fashion show, produced and modeled by students, is the hot ticket of the year.
There are definite pockets of the ultrachic, mostly made up of savvy students who hope to break into the business end of fashion or who just plain like the feel of cashmere in cold Boston winters. “It’s easier to be fashionable here because you stick out,” says government major Angie Thebaud, a junior. It’s clear, too, that fashion isn’t too dirty a word to discuss. Case in point: A table full of girlfriends, taking a breather from exams, will lament that the famous Cambridge cobblestones render their stilettos truly dangerous.
Classics 101: Popped-collar polos, barn jackets and loafers for women and men.
Best fashion moment: Ali McGraw, sickly but chic, in “Love Story.”
Chic alumni: Natalie Portman, Harold Koda, Stanley Marcus
If your school were a designer, who would it be? “It would never be a designer. It would be a really old Sears catalogue with the sketches and petticoats.” — Allison Tanenhous, ’05
Ivy observation: “Tax fraud is the new black.” — Leila Chirayath, ’04-’05