In 2013 the Yale Alumni Magazine ran a short but interesting essay showing the importance of “the right clothes” and the ignorance of it for many public school kids admitted in the postwar years.
Writes Marty Nichols, who went off to New Haven in the fall of 1948:
As my classmates and I converge on Woolsey Hall it is obvious that they all seem to know something that I do not. When finally all seated, we have fused into a dark gray flannel blanket, with occasional dark blue flecks, with the sole misweave where my respectable, not quite electric, but decidedly sunny, blue plaid suit seems to glow.
How do all my classmates know that there is a college uniform, even for those not on an athletic team? Did they all shop at the same two stores? Impossible—they come from every state in the country. Was there some small print in the catalog or admissions letter that I missed?
What he missed was the unspoken code, though he learned it on his first day. Head over here for the full piece.
Above is the class of 1952 for the Yale School of Forestry And Environmental Studies, which may or may not have been shoe. — CC