There was a time--at least, according to this 1939 Life magazine article--that college girls influenced the larger world of fashion. I'm not sure they still do. I'm guessing the height of fashion currently on a lot of campuses is pajamas and flipflops. I certainly wasn't inspired by the clothes my fellow students wore on campus in the late 1980s/early 1990s. But look how cute these 1939 college students are in their dirndls! I especially love the dress on the girl on the right. (Here is a link to the article online that you can enlarge in order to read the text if you wish.)
The article talks about "College Shops" in department stores of the time who sold the fads and fashions popularized by college girls, mainly from eastern schools like Goucher, Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Swarthmore. Shown above are: Bryn Mawr students sporting imported shoes from places like Mexico and Greece; "strange belts," including this one with a Native American Indian motif (that "tribal" trend is apparently nothing new), as well as belts made of dog chains strung together; white flannel blazers; and my favorite, dress labels sewn on a "Goucher beer jacket"! The spoons for bracelets like the one this young woman is wearing "are sneaked from hotels."
Some interesting footwear trends. The white Madeira boots at the top are called "bulky and impractical to wear around campus," which makes me wonder what the writer would think of the look of boots popular now! These boots look really comfortable. And I love the bows on the ankle socks.
Scarves tied on shoes and boots are popular, as are saddle shoes--no surprises there. And those socks with tartan laces? Love them! They are called "shag socks" and: "College girls like unusual socks." Okay then.
Snoods and hair bows are popular. Bandannas under Stetson hats keep hair dry!
And now the creepy ending. This gal wears a dirndl, Tyrolean hat, and "German Youth Hostel sandals." And a Nazi party badge on her hat. Yikes.
Anyway, despite the differences between then and now, I still see so many "fads" here that would not be considered out of place today: the folklore/ethnic clothing trend, Native American and "tribal" items, socks and sandals, scarves tied on bags, hair bows.