Millennial Student: 43 Outfits From Animal House And How They Shaped My Style

I was in the sixth grade when I watched “Animal House” for the first time, and while much of the humor was lost on me, the clothing left a lasting impression.

The film’s poster, which I saw at a friend’s house, was powerful enough to make me want to see it. When I finally did, I instantly fell in love with the typical college clothing of the era — the movie is set in 1962 — though I hadn’t the faintest clue about Ivy style. Nonetheless, I was mesmerized by the costumes: crewneck Shetland sweaters worn with OCBDs, causal tweed jackets, loud patterns, collegiate cardigans, and tab collars.

The only drawback of watching this film at such a young age was the tediousness of having to wait to be able to truly dress as I pleased.

However, this film was such a sartorial inspiration to me that I had my mother take me clothes shopping (one of the only times in my life when shopping wasn’t like pulling teeth). We went to Polo and bought some fairly traditional clothes, but they still didn’t feel right and I would remain unsatisfied with my clothing for a number of years. But that set me on the path to becoming preppy instead of an Ivy dresser, like the characters in “Animal House,” which was a step in the right direction at least.

Since then, I have read “The Official Preppy Handbook,” discovered Ivy-Style.com, and am finally able to truly understand the clothing worn in the film and the context behind this style of dress. Luckily, “Animal House” planted a sartorial seed in my brain that later blossomed, along with my love of history and traditionalism, into my understanding Ivy style and how I would like to dress for the rest of my life.

Now that I am in college, I try to dress in a similar fashion of the characters in the film, within limits. One of my roommates purchased a poster of Bluto and pinned it up in our common room. I was shocked to learn that anyone my age knew the film that well. I came to learn that while my takeaway of the film was that Ivy style is the best style, most other kids my age relate to the drinking and partying. In any case, I hope that this film continues to inspire young men — and even women — to dress well and, more important, to toga!

How much do I love “Animal House”? Enough to take screenshots of 43 outfits. It’s hard to pick a favorite. — GERLANDO SCIASCIA

15 Comments on "Millennial Student: 43 Outfits From Animal House And How They Shaped My Style"

  1. Eric Twardzik | January 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm |

    Fascinating. I saw this film long before my own interest in Ivy took root—at that time the pillow fight scene certainly stuck in my head more than the Shetland sweaters. I’ll need to give it a fresh look now.

  2. Very nice work, although your collection is missing the most important sweater in the entire movie! Tinseth did a whole blog entry on it: http://thetrad.blogspot.com/2009/09/otters-sweater.html

    I managed to find something very close from Brooks a few years back.

  3. Fantastic! One of my favorite movies thanks (in part) to the sartorial splendor. Delta House also reminds me of my own fraternity house. We were also a bunch of misfits, but it was the 90’s, so we actually dressed terribly.

  4. @Eric good point, watch it again and try to look at the characters who are wearing clothes this time.

    @Paul thank you and I didn’t even remember that sweater. Personally, I don’t care for those stripes.

    @Sam thank you and I’m sure that you still dressed better than college students today. It seems that the outfits of college students get worse each decade.

  5. Paul isn’t that the first screenshot? Got a damned fine one pretty close from Andover Shop from my Mrs.

  6. Oh…yes the striped one…yeah not in love with it. The “Mine’s bigger” sweater is what I was thinking

  7. @DCG yes the pink Shetland is what you’re referring to. Paul is referring to a striped sweater found in the links he provided.

  8. If I beat up any of those smug jerks I’m definitely taking his madras.

  9. I forgot – my first viewing was in the theater at 6 years of age, by asking my mom on the phone if my friend’s dad could take us to a ‘movie’.

    That was my first clandestine operation, and although I succeeded, the mental scars have never healed.

    In other words, I still search for women who wear more underwear than outerwear.

  10. @saigokun in my opinion, 6 is a little young to watch this film but I’m glad to hear it worked out for you.

  11. I never really thought about this, but he’s right. I’m still not sure why Peter Riegert is wearing a Princeton cardigan in the golf scene.

  12. whiskeydent | January 4, 2017 at 11:29 am |

    I was a freshman frat boy when the movie came out, and my GPA never recovered. My mother even called me Bluto when I returned home to find her watching it on TV.

    Inspired this morning, I dug up this story about the source of the clothes.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=XKWhp8a_EKcC&pg=PA166&lpg=PA166&dq=Deborah+Nadoolman+animal+house&source=bl&ots=yNldLklj2o&sig=0GmHw_83Vg5FgHNfPmseZwRj53U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiFw9Kh6ajRAhVox1QKHZFSBUY4ChDoAQgkMAI#v=onepage&q=Deborah%20Nadoolman%20animal%20house&f=false

  13. @tmjm thanks and me either but it’s a nice cardigan.

    @whiskeydent glad to hear my article inspired you.

  14. I watched this again for Ivy Style reasons some years ago and it once again failed to do much for me. But I moved it to the top of my queue to take a fresh look.

  15. I was thinking about this some more (slow work day) and decided that it was really quite brilliant costuming. It’s not a production like The Great Gatsby or Brideshead Revisited, where you’re supposed to notice the clothes. Here the clothes blend completely into the scenery — but they do so precisely because every item is exactly what that character would have worn, right down to Donald Sutherland’s corduroy suit and Pinto’s reindeer sweater. (Well, except maybe for the Princeton cardigan — and even there, wearing a garment from another school might be exactly the sort of thing Riegert’s character would have done, just to piss off the Omegas.)

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