They say college is a time for experimenting...with fashion! The following spreads from Life magazine show some of the fashion fads--sometimes silly, sometimes not--that were popular with young women on college campuses through the years.
1938 was all about tweedy jackets and sensible shoes for girls in the east on all-female campuses (and by implication, sexy dresses to draw in beaus for the man-hunters out west). "Dog collar" watches with matching "dog leash" belts are popular, as are coin bracelets. And if you wanted to be really unconventional, you wore two strands of pearls instead of just one! The blouse--or "Sig Shirt"--on the right has the wearer's friends' names embroidered all over it.
The hot college trend in 1940 is men's clothing. Actual men's clothing, not "sissified versions" of it (that's a quote. It actually says that.). I'm on board with all of this--it all looks great! Well, except for the two-piece socks and boxing-gloves-as-mittens on the right.
Inspirations for the college fashions of 1949 came from the flappers of the 1920s...and the little boys of the 1900s!
1950. The article says it's all about plaid, but I think it's just all over the place. How cute is the gal on the left? She is wearing a sherriff's badge. I think the flyaway jumper and tattersall check lounge suit (with matching booties) on the right are just plain weird, but I am completely down with the Claire McCardell striped rain boots that match the striped rain jacket. "Bizarre bags" are popular, and include: an oversize carpet bag (awesome!), a plastic powder horn (?!), a cowhide lunchbox (!!), and a plaid shopping bag (not really so bizarre if you ask me).
1957 is about color. "The very nervy girl will try stockings, shoes and dress for a single streak of color effect." I think the very nervy girl will wear that insane hat on the right. The outfit on the gal hanging off the jungle gym looks very much like something I would wear.