Editor’s Note: As college students head back to school, they’re probably doing so dressed in cargo shorts, flip-flops, and hoodies. Yet if we turn back the clock half a century, a college man’s wardrobe was quite different! The following feature appeared in the September 1948 issue of PIC Magazine (an old magazine for young men). Hope you enjoy this sartorial blast from the past, and if you’re in need of style tips for the modern college man, be sure to check out this post.
“Back to College Wardrobe”
From Pic Magazine, Sept. 1948
At home on the campus
Your clothes for college will fall into four general categories: class and campus, sportswear, dress-up suits, and formal wear. Despite sectional modifications, a well-planned, basic school wardrobe will cover these classifications, as illustrated below.
Odd jackets and slacks are worn at colleges from coast to coast and will be your everyday campus uniform. Shetland type tweeds, corduroy and camel’s hair are popular for sports jackets. If you’re going to school in the south you can substitute gabardine, linen, seersucker or cotton cord.
Slacks worn in the east are mainly in flannel and natural color covert; in the west, gabardine, flannel, corduroy, and tropicals; in the mid-west, tweeds, flannel, covert, and gabardine; in the south, tropicals, corduroys, covert, gabardine and light weight flannel.
Suits worn at eastern universities have narrow shoulders and are straight-hanging, with little waist suppression. In the mid-west, broad-shouldered suits are preferred, with full chest. In the west, college clothing goes casual, the California influence being apparent in long point collar shirts, leisure jackets and cardigans. In the south you’ll need gabardine, cotton cord or seersucker suit. Summer formals are worn — white jacket and black trousers.
At schools in or near snow bowls, ski clothing is worn on campus and for class wear. At many western schools typical cowboy clothing is worn off campus.
In addition to your clothing, don’t overlook such important equipment as a reliable pen and pencil set, pipes, a lighter, electric razor, typewriter and luggage. Also a framed picture of your best girl and the folks at home.