The All American Preppy Look: A History of Seven Sisters Style

Saturday 10 January 2015 / 2:30pm

A lively history of the Seven Sisters Style throughout the 20th century exploring its fascinating movement from the campus to the catwalk and beyond.

From Bermuda shorts and blazers, to Shetland sweaters and saddle shoes, join Rebecca C. Tuite, fashion historian and author, as she considers the unique Seven Sisters campus style and its lasting influence on American fashion. ‘[The college girl’s] contribution to fashion is as American as Coca-Cola, baseball and hitch-hiking,’ announced Harper’s Bazaar in 1935, and no college girls were more influential than those of the Seven Sisters Colleges. The Seven Sisters – a prestigious group of American colleges whose members include fashion icons such as Katharine Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, Ali MacGraw, and Meryl Streep – perfected a campus style that spoke to an aspirational lifestyle filled with education, travel, and excitement. Their all-American style became a marker of national pride and status all over the world: from jeans and baggy shirts to Bermuda shorts and blazers, soft Shetland sweaters and saddle shoes, not to mention sleek suiting, pearls, kidskin gloves, kitten heels, and cashmere. Beyond the campus, however, the style became the foundation of America’s ‘Preppy’ look, and its enduring legacy can be seen in Hollywood movies, popular culture and, of course, on the runway. Influencing designers including Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, as well as being immortalized onscreen in Love Story, Mona Lisa Smile and even, Mad Men; the Seven Sisters Style is a look that continues to fascinate and inspire.

Rebecca C. Tuite will be signing copies of Seven Sisters Style: The All American Preppy Look (Rizzoli) following the talk.

This is free with your purchased exhibition ticket. Advance booking is highly recommended to reserve your place. Register in advance for this talk by booking your exhibition ticket here

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Rebecca C. Tuite
is a fashion historian and writer. Originally from London, Rebecca is now based in New York City, where she is a doctoral student at the Bard Graduate Center. Working toward her PhD in Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture, Rebecca’s research interests include film and fashion, ready-to-wear fashion, fashion photography and media, as well as the history of women’s education in the United States, with a particular focus on the clothing and campus culture at the Seven Sisters Colleges. Rebecca also holds an MA in Fashion Journalism (Distinction Honours) from the London College of Fashion and after stints at various fashion magazines, Rebecca’s writing has been featured online and in print all over the world. Rebecca is currently working on her academic manuscript, a cultural history of Vassar College in the 1950s entitled, Vassar Style: Fashion, Feminism and 1950s American Media, and a second coffee-table style book, which will soon be published.

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