The wave of preppiness that engulfed the high fashion industry years ago seems to be subsiding; the wave’s effects are now trickling down to the street style trends of college campuses. Even on my campus, located at the center of the Pennsylvania Main Line, which is a series of highly affluent, preppy suburbs outside Philadelphia, the East Coast prepster look most girls adopted freshman year has been given some much-needed edge. With an influx of students hailing from the West Coast, Villanova has become a unique, stylishly diverse campus. I’ve noticed and welcomed the lack of head-to-toe J.Crew replaced with edgier and trendier outfits and accessories. Studded Jeffery Campbell-esque flats are ousting Tory Burch’s Reva flats. Tall, exquisite leather equestrian boots are losing dominance to more rugged combat style boots. Fashionistas and Fashionistos of our student body combine the preppy nature of our East Coast address with the latest runway trends to create a culture of uniquely chic street style.
In 1980 Workman Publishing published The Official Preppy Handbook, a tongue-in-cheek reference book to Northeastern culture. It discusses the fashion, schooling, vacation places, social etiquette, etc. associated with the prep culture. The book became a guidebook and a how-to for those who wanted in on the old money, WASP world. Simply put, it is a gentle mockery of the prep school culture almost all of Villanova’s student body is a part of. One chapter of True Prep, the 2010 revival of The Official Preppy Handbook, we willingly embrace because of its insight on monograms.
Monograms seem to be the one aspect of prep fashion with staying power. They are an ode to emblems and family crests. Originally monograms were used by the rich and royal to label their possessions and as a symbol of wealth and title. Since Carrie Bradshaw’s iconic cursive Carrie necklace worn during the first three seasons of the Sex and the City, personalized jewelry has made a comeback.
With her Steve Madden lace-up combat boots, corduroy leggings, white Free People blouse and The North Face parka, this Fashionista rocks a black acrylic Lily Pulitzer monogram pendant. Monogram pendants, like this one from Jennifer Zeuner, are a staple for Villanova girls. I was attracted to this Fashionista’s necklace and outfit because of its trendy take on the classically preppy silhouette of cords, a blouse and boots. The black acrylic monogram gives edge to a necklace almost every Villanova girl owns. Our favorite accessories are often branded with designer’s initials and logos. Monogramed necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings add a personal touch to all things accessories.
Spotted: Designers are making monograms glamorous again. Stella McCartney‘s pre-fall jewelry and scarves are accented with brightly colored monograms inspired by initials on vintage men’s handkerchiefs. Jil Sander throws back to the era in which college girls would wear their boyfriend’s varsity letter jackets with sweaters adorned with J and JS over the heart.