“If Disney had built a college, it would be Princeton,” says senior Samantha Cooper, summing up perfectly the idyllic New Jersey campus.
Within the school’s oft-mentioned “Orange Bubble,” there is little reminder of the outside world. In terms of fashion, this translates into an old-school variety of preppy. In fact, when the Daily Princetonian ran a piece titled “A Princeton Dictionary,” the entry under “preppy” read, “Princeton supposedly is one of the 10 preppiest schools in the nation, but don’t be fooled. It’s top five.” Or, as freshman Julia Cain says, “We kind of revel in being traditional.”
However, unlike other schools where tuition is high and the student body privileged, Princeton is relatively untouched by conspicuous consumption. Designer bags top out at Vera Bradley and the odd Kate Spade, and high-end apparel labels seem practically nonexistent. “People don’t really care about fashion,” says senior Vanessa Woods, who is interested in writing about fashion as a career. “They get Prada and Escada confused. Basically, a lot of Princeton gear gets worn.” ?
Even the girl who’s arguably Princeton’s most glamorous student, Lauren Bush, concurs. “Why should I try if no one else is?” says Bush, herself a fan of Princeton gear.
On the upside, Cooper, who edits the arts section of the daily paper called “Street,” has managed to work in some fashion coverage. And the charity fashion show produced by student group Service in Style has become the largest student-run event on campus and, this year, will include original student designs. Nevertheless, most undergrads still feel somewhat removed from the fashion fray — even fans like Woods. “We just don’t have the time to pay attention,” she says. “I can’t just sit around and read Vogue.”
Classics 101: Denim jackets, polo shirts and short, flippy skirts. Omnipresent flip-flops, even in the rain. Lilly Pulitzer for lawn parties.
Best fashion moment: Jennifer Connelly kept her wits — in full skirts and tight sweaters — in “A Beautiful Mind.”
Chic alumni: John Fairchild, Kate Betts, Kal Ruttenstein, Brooke Shields.
If your school were a designer, who would it be? Lacoste or Ralph Lauren. “It would be someone who doesn’t go for a lot of pizzazz. Definitely not Lacroix.” — Vanessa Woods, ’06