College fraternities of the past offered male bonding in a stylish setting. The photo above, plus the two below, are from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, 1949. Click images to go to the hi-res version.

Dig Joe College here in newsboy cap and varsity sweater:

The chap in the bottom center providing the smoky atmosphere reminds us that for 400 years it was completely normal for a young man to puff a pipe. For the past 40 years, its connotations have been entirely geriatric. The pipe hasn’t changed, but we have:

A recent grad at his first job interview? Nope, just a typical student pledging a fraternity. A different era indeed. The next two are from the University of Illinois, 1956:

Here we have a fraternity brother practicing for field sobriety tests while proving that if you’re young and athletic you look good in anything. Talk about minimalism: Three solids, all conservative wardrobe basics. The twist? — a pair of white bucks. If you’re going to wear white bucks in 2009, this is the way to do it. If you’re going to wear white bucks with a seersucker suit and bow tie, then you’d better have a horse in the Kentucky Derby.

Finally, here are some frat boys from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, 1940. Check out the pipe and saddle shoes on the chap on the left. Sort of Bertrand Russell meets Andy Hardy:

The school’s juniors and seniors were required to wear gowns in class and chapel. The result, in hindsight, is unutterably quaint —CC