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    Princeton University

    I'm starting Princeton University this fall and would like to dress the part. I WANT TO DRESS SMART CASUAL OR PREPPY BUT NOT OVER THE TOP.

    What are some suggestions?

    #2
    Congratulations on being accepted and starting college!
    I went to college in California, so there's a grain of salt for your personal definition of over the top, but Chinos probably do the trick most of the school year, plus Navy or khaki Chino shorts in whatever length you are comfortable with. Oxford shirts and polo shirts would be great as well. Oxford shirts have the added benefit that you can roll up the sleeves if it gets hot later in the day. Bonus points for Madras shirts in the springtime. Uniqlo, Amazon, and Target make well made, good fitting, and inexpensive versions of all these shirts.
    Maybe your definition of overdoing it is looking too polished. For fall or spring layers, a Harrington jacket would fit the preppy bill, but a denim or corduroy trucker jacket would be great on top of an Oxford shirt, and if that jacket is the only non preppy thing you're wearing, it wouldn't throw you out of your look. A school sweatshirt is great too, especially over an Oxford shirt.
    I don't know where you grew up, but don't make the mistake I made when I moved to a place that actually had winter. Get a real winter coat. A black or charcoal pea coat would work nicely, especially if you layer a thin jacket underneath it, you'd be plenty warm. And a knit beanie.
    You'll be walking and sitting a lot, what shoes do you like wearing now? Boat shoes like Sperry Topsiders would look great, but so would canvas sneakers, like old school Vans or Keds.
    Gotta go with wayfarer style sunglasses. They even made an emoji for it 😎
    Good luck in school!
    Last edited by andrewrg; June 7, 2021, 09:39 AM.

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      #3
      Also, can't miss Joe's advice here
      https://dappered.com/2021/03/how-to-...ying-too-hard/

      Good looking bags there. Something to consider. Think about what you actually need for classes - books? tablet? laptop? notebook? Just keep activity specific items in an activity specific bag - gym clothes in a gym bag, reeds or rosin in an instrument bag, etc.

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        #4
        I think Andrew nailed it so I won’t rewrite everything. One suggested change in outerwear to accommodate the seasons, but mostly boils down to your preferences: A Barbour type waxed jacket or poly quilted one (llbean, orvis, lands end, jcrew etc all make similar items) (***think rain resistance in whatever you choose***) can pull duty as the only jacket you truly need, able to handle cold showers in spring, serve as a light jacket in fall and with a sweater underneath can keep you warm even in northeast winters.

        Congratulations and good luck with your studies.

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          #5
          I would add two things. Go look for a good wool seater Those you usually can get from thrift stores.
          I know not clothing advice but I would be remiss if I didn’t share it. I would start looking into the Author Cal Newport. He is now writes more about tech but he is famous for productivity writing and made his first impact with college advice writing. He wrote his college advice books and blog while at Dartmouth and MIT. He lays out a really good schedule, how to work and enjoy college at the same time, how to study and actually learn it. A bit outdated on some the tech ideas but concepts are great. You have to dig into his blog to find old college advice but his books are very much available. Good luck
          https://www.calnewport.com/books/straight-a-student/
          Last edited by jvargas; June 7, 2021, 10:28 AM.

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            #6
            Congratulations on your acceptance into such a prestigious institution. Last I checked, J. Press still has a store in New Haven and presumably still caters to the student population there or at least recent grads. I'm sure if you give that store a call, they could give you a good read on a modernized Ivy Style that looks traditionally stylish, but not anachronistic.

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              #7
              Originally posted by andrewrg View Post

              I don't know where you grew up, but don't make the mistake I made when I moved to a place that actually had winter. Get a real winter coat. A black or charcoal pea coat would work nicely, especially if you layer a thin jacket underneath it, you'd be plenty warm. And a knit beanie.
              Excellent advice.

              After living in Southern California for a few decades and then finally traveling back to a place that was having winter, and only having a slightly lined trench coat with me, my first thought was: "Crap! I forgot how cold 12 degrees is!"

              WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

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                #8
                I went to a small liberal arts college (graduated in the early '90s). Most of the guys who went to an actual prep school that I attended college with hardly ever dressed pretty or trad. Most of them were in beat up jeans and a beat up crewneck sweatshirt with a T shirt or maybe a long sleeved shirt with a collar underneath if it was colder. They had money, but liked to dress like they didn't have money except on special occasions (frat or sorority formals mostly). It might be different at Princeton because that is Trad central but I don't know. These guys were mostly from CT/MA/NH/VT/ME and came from old money, or at least not super new money, and seemed like the kinds of guys who would be full on trad if full on trad were still a thing that happened on college campuses. For non-sweatshirt shirts they mostly wore casual button ups - either flannel or corduroy in winter and polos and t shirts when it was warm. In cold weather they'd wear wool crew neck sweaters - usually shetland or lambswool (merino sweaters were not a thing yet). For outer wear there were a lot of corduroy collar barn/field jackets or poly-fleece (Patagonia synchilla mostly) because that was the new cool thing back then. They did wear chinos some - mostly well broken in ones.

                I don't say this to crap all over your dreams of wearing trad stuff but unless you want to come off as one of the campus dandys I wouldn't wear a sport coat and rep stripe tie and chinos to your first day of class thinking everyone is going to be dressed like Alex P. Keaton which you probably don't know who he is anyway.
                “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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                  #9
                  You should wear whatever you'd like/whatever makes you feel comfortable. That said, it's cold in Princeton in the winter -- get a good warm coat and some decent boots. Congrats BTW.

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                    #10
                    I'll second mark4, AndrewG, and Hemsprong, Mark99

                    As I'm sure you know, Princeton does have the reputation of being more conservative (in terms of politics and dress) than the other Ivies. But honestly, I wouldn't imagine too many people at Princeton actually dress "Ivy League" in a way that a lot of us have romanticized notions of based on movies, TV, etc. I went to Columbia for undergrad and Penn for my Ph.D. in the first decade of the 2000s. Other than the Wharton undergrads wearing something black, ill-fitting, and likely polyester for a class presentation, I hardly ever saw college students in a sport coat. (MBA/Law students is a slightly different story.)

                    Keep in mind also that when you arrive in August, it's still going to be hot. I'm a professor now at a Big 10 University in the midwest, and I'm always cursing the 90-degree heat indexes the first few weeks of class, when I'm wearing a jacket, oxford shirt, and a tie to teach in. The first few weeks, I would plan on wearing polo shirts, plain or simple-patterned t-shirts, chinos or chino shorts, and classic sneakers or boat shoes. Then you can figure it out from there once the weather becomes more comfortable.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by dancinginyourhead View Post
                      I'll second mark4, AndrewG, and Hemsprong, Mark99

                      As I'm sure you know, Princeton does have the reputation of being more conservative (in terms of politics and dress) than the other Ivies. But honestly, I wouldn't imagine too many people at Princeton actually dress "Ivy League" in a way that a lot of us have romanticized notions of based on movies, TV, etc. I went to Columbia for undergrad and Penn for my Ph.D. in the first decade of the 2000s. Other than the Wharton undergrads wearing something black, ill-fitting, and likely polyester for a class presentation, I hardly ever saw college students in a sport coat. (MBA/Law students is a slightly different story.)

                      Keep in mind also that when you arrive in August, it's still going to be hot. I'm a professor now at a Big 10 University in the midwest, and I'm always cursing the 90-degree heat indexes the first few weeks of class, when I'm wearing a jacket, oxford shirt, and a tie to teach in. The first few weeks, I would plan on wearing polo shirts, plain or simple-patterned t-shirts, chinos or chino shorts, and classic sneakers or boat shoes. Then you can figure it out from there once the weather becomes more comfortable.
                      I don't know what field you are in but I did my grad school work at Michigan State and later worked for a couple years at a research institute at the University of Illinois where, being a university employee, I could take classes for free. I took a stats course there and I swear the prof was wearing a polo and chinos. When it got hot late spring I think he even wore shorts. My cousin teaches at PSU and the best he does is chinos and a polo. The profs at MSU also almost never wore jackets and ties and this was in the Economics department. What I'm saying is, unless you teach Law or Business School classes you could probably get away with short sleeves and no tie or jacket for the first few weeks until the temps dip a little.
                      “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mark4 View Post

                        I don't know what field you are in but I did my grad school work at Michigan State and later worked for a couple years at a research institute at the University of Illinois where, being a university employee, I could take classes for free. I took a stats course there and I swear the prof was wearing a polo and chinos. When it got hot late spring I think he even wore shorts. My cousin teaches at PSU and the best he does is chinos and a polo. The profs at MSU also almost never wore jackets and ties and this was in the Economics department. What I'm saying is, unless you teach Law or Business School classes you could probably get away with short sleeves and no tie or jacket for the first few weeks until the temps dip a little.
                        This is certainly true. I am definitely one of the more formally dressed professors. But a couple of things lead me to dress more formally than some of my colleagues. The first is that I look young. I'm in my late 30s, but I am still often mistaken for a grad student or, hilariously, an undergrad. The second is that I teach in a less classically "serious" subject matter, and I'm trying to convey to students that they will still have to do a large amount of reading and writing in my course.

                        But anyway, to the original poster, simple things that fit well and that you can wear with confidence would be the way to go. Good luck!

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by dancinginyourhead View Post
                          The second is that I teach in a less classically "serious" subject matter, and I'm trying to convey to students that they will still have to do a large amount of reading and writing in my course.
                          Now I have to ask, what subject matter is that?!

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by andrewrg View Post

                            Now I have to ask, what subject matter is that?!
                            Yeah I'm curious too. Maybe one of the humanities as those are perceived as less "serious" than the hard sciences, or even the social "sciences" which I'm not sure qualify to be sciences and I say that as a guy who did Economics, which is thought of as the most scientific (because we embraced math early on). Although people in the humanities tend to take them seriously. I'm tempted to guess Leisure Studies. Yes that is a major on many college campuses and is not the joke the name implies. .
                            “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I'm in English/Popular Culture Studies. So students sign up for my class thinking they're already experts and can just write about how awesome their favorite Marvel movie is.

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