Lil’ Sis: Rebecca Tuite’s Seven Sisters Style, The All-American Preppy Look

English lass Rebecca C. Tuite reached out to us several years ago, introducing herself as a sorority girl simpatico with our little sartorial fraternity here. She was researching the corollary of the Ivy League Look, namely the style that WASPy women wore at elite eastern colleges at the same time young men were setting styles on college campuses.

She wrote several pieces for us that combined sartorial observations with the social context of boy-girl interactions during the heyday, including “Vasser Versus Ivies Touch Football,” “Double Date,” “The Yale-Vassar Bike Race,” plus posts on “The Man In The Brooks Brothers Shirt” and a piece on Richard Frede’s collegiate novel, “Entry E.”

The fruits of her research have blossomed and ripened in the form of her recently released book, “Seven Sisters Style,” which is getting plenty of publicity. Congrats to Rebecca, and here are some  images from the book that show the girls fraternizing with the fellas. — CC




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Images courtesy of Rizzoli. From top to bottom, courtesy of The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University; Smith College Archives, Smith College; Special Collections, Vassar College Libraries;  Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections; Courtesy of Yale University.

18 Comments on "Lil’ Sis: Rebecca Tuite’s Seven Sisters Style, The All-American Preppy Look"

  1. Congrats to Ms. Tuite. Always fantastic to see years of academic work make it to publication, and with Rizzoli no less! Well done.

    Although not depicting the “Sisters” subject material, that last photo of the Yale gents really shows that at least some guys were wearing a much narrower cut of trouser during the 20s than many give credit for. Although one photograph does not make a rule, if it was in color one might say they look like recent RL offerings! Then again they are all wearing socks so maybe not…

  2. James Liddy | April 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm |

    These are depressing styles for the female form. Not flattering at all.

  3. @James Liddy

    Those styles left more to the imagination.

  4. James Liddy | April 16, 2014 at 4:19 am |

    @”Lancelot”: Has nothing to do with what’s seen and not seen. These styles are inelegant and dowdy.

  5. Last time I checked, “all-American” was not complimentary when used to describe a girl’s style. “European” or “continental” just sounds so much better than “American” with regard to ladies’ style.

  6. Cash Bentley | April 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm |

    Oh dear. I just watched Rebecca’s video. I think I’m in love.

  7. Straight Arrow | April 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm |

    @ James Liddy

    İnelegant? Dowdy?

    They were ladies.

  8. A.E.W. Mason | April 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm |

    Heartiest congratulations to Miss (not “Ms.”) Tuite. She’ll be an excellent ambassador for a style I see few women wearing these days. Her subject does implicate, like the comments above, that ever-raging male psychological litigation known as: This is What You Marry vs. This is What You Want.

  9. James Liddy | April 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm |

    @ Straight(?) Arrow: Women (Ladies, you write) are quite capable of being elegant and chic. You may have to trust me on that.

  10. Trust me, the 7 sisters dressed (or undressed) à la mode in the heyday were indeed quite sexy.

  11. Jonathan, I think you might be confusing your decades. In the teens and 20s, men’s clothing generally had a close fit (with the exception of the aberrant Oxford bags). The looser, fuller fit you seem to be thinking of is the Drape cut, which is from the 1930s.

  12. Straight Arrow | April 17, 2014 at 12:12 am |

    @James Liddy

    They were brought up to be ladies.

    All women are not ladies, just as all men are not gentlemen.

  13. Straight Arrow | April 17, 2014 at 12:16 am |

    @James Liddy

    Straight arrow: honest, morally upright, extremely conventional

  14. Decades ago, when I was a cub reporter, an editor lectured me that, in print, a woman is a “lady” only if she is a whore, or British royalty.

  15. Philly Trad | April 20, 2014 at 1:43 am |

    @John M

    Fortunately, there are still some women who want to be ladies.

  16. @John M: I would consider that the last (and best!) word on the subject.

  17. Absolutely beautiful. These are great examples good taste and timeless style. The women look like women and exude charm, grace and yes, even sexiness. That is sorely lacking in today’s tight, cleavage baring, hems too short wearing woman. Anything looks better when it’s not constantly on display.

  18. Kyle McKenna | February 27, 2015 at 8:48 am |

    Cool…the Seven Sisters used to have heteros in attendance?!

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