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Seven Sisters Style: The All-American Preppy Look

Written by Rebecca C. Tuite

  • April 8, 2014
  • Hardcover
  • Design - Fashion
  • Rizzoli
  • 7-1/2 x 10
  • $35.00
  • $35.00
  • 978-0-8478-4217-9

About This Book

The first beautifully illustrated volume exclusively dedicated to the female side of preppy style by American college girls. 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 flair that spoke to an aspirational lifestyle filled with education, travel, and excitement. Their style, on campus and off, was synonymous with an intelligence and American grace that 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, elegant suitcases, kidskin gloves, kitten heels, and cashmere. "[The college girl's] contribution to fashion is as American as Coca-Cola, baseball and hitch-hiking," announced Harper's Bazaar in 1935.

Seven Sisters Style explores the multifaceted foundations and metamorphosis of this style, from the early twentieth century through today. Was the Seven Sisters girl an East Coast Ivy Leaguer? A geek or a goddess? Radical or conservative? A tomboy or an American princess? In many ways, she was all of these and more. This book presents a treasure trove of stunning visuals, including those from the archives of the Seven Sisters colleges that illustrate their legacy and enduring reverberations on and off the runway, in Hollywood, and in popular culture. From Dior's tailored blazers, wrap skirts, and short socks and heels to Balenciaga's juxtaposing the argyle sweater, collared blouse, and sharp tailored blazer, and even Band of Outsiders' silk pajama tartans with oversized coats and collegiate wool hats and scarves, it is a look that continues to fascinate and inspire.

About the Author

Rebecca C. Tuite is a writer and fashion historian based in New York.

Reviews

  • "Hold all my calls. I'll be reading Seven Sisters Style: The All-American Preppy Look for the rest of the day...I'm quite certain it will be a classic style title for years to come. The author is a Vassar grad and fashion historian and we have been corresponding for years now on the subject of tomboys, American style, preppy culture, books, and countless other items. I can't say enough great things about Ms. Tuite who came to this project in such an honest and passionate way. The final result of her research is a thorough definition and celebration of a truly iconic American style, from saddle shoes to Shetland sweaters to the inherent spirit of the Seven Sister student. Each page is a journey through time." -Tomboy Style Blog

    "Billed as a response to Take Ivy — the 1965 Japanese photo book documenting the preppy style of male Ivy Leaguers — Seven Sisters Style celebrates the style evolution of the American college girl, from calico and cardigans to Bermuda shorts and, eventually, jeans. Icons include Katharine Hepburn (Bryn Mawr class of 1928), Jackie Kennedy (who attended Vassar for two years before transferring to George Washington University), and Meryl Streep (Vassar class of 1971)." -New York Magazine

    "...a beautifully illustrated, intensively researched celebration of the all-American preppy style pioneered by the women of the Seven Sisters Colleges. The Seven Sisters' style changed how all women dressed and it became known the world over as inherently American. A lot of ink has been spilled in the past few years celebrating male Ivy style — Seven Sisters Style is, finally, the companion piece we've been waiting for." -Refinery29

    "Even those of us who didn't attend Vassar, Wellesley or Smith will fall for Seven Sisters Style: The All-American Preppy Look. After all, it's these Ivey League colleges that spawned the now-classic American sportswear look and introduced such wardrobe staples as the blazer, bermuda shorts, cashmere and kitten heels." -Boston Proper/Style Edit

    "Seven Sisters Style corrects a massive oversight by finally giving these seven colleges their own Take Ivy." -Flavorwire

    "...Rebecca Tuite, examines the campus attire that evolved at these schools from the late 1800’s and throughout the 20th century, bringing their style influences full circle to the present day.  Through archival photographs, the author demonstrates how these college women became unintentional fashion trendsetters who laid the foundations of the American Preppy style." -LookOnline.com

    "Tuite is the author of the sensational book, Seven Sisters Style: The All-American Preppy Look, a nostalgic look at the birth of prep on the prestigious female-only campuses of Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley, where style icons such as Katharine Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy and Meryl Streep spent their college days. Herewith, Tuite explains the ABCs of spring semester fashion as seen at the Seven Sisters." -Dujour.com

    "Seven Sisters Style
     celebrates the all-American preppy style pioneered by the women of the Seven Sisters Colleges, and its twentieth-century evolution, from its on-campus foundations and creation of a collegiate “uniform,” to its enduring legacy which can be summarized with the phrase “From Barnard to Bergdorf.” Seven Sisters Style celebrates a timeless and internationally ubiquitous look—seen on and off the runway, in Hollywood, and in popular culture—that continues to be a source of fascination and inspiration, forever remaining in style." -Fashion Windows.net

    "Fashion Titles You Need to Read This Spring: This is a fantastic photo and essay collection on the underappreciated role of women’s college campuses in establishing the codes of preppy fashion." -InStyle.com
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