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Posts Tagged ‘college style’

Students at Mills Seminary and that’s Mills Hall in the background. C. 1870s.

No uniform is required, but it is especially desired that the outfit be plain, and so complete as to avoid necessity for frequent purchase during term time. All are expected to look carefully and properly after their own wardrobes, and to keep an accurate account of their expenditures. Every article of clothing should be distinctly marked with the whole name. All should come provided with thick boots, and with flannels for use in Winter.

Mills Seminary, Circa 1872.

I was doing some research in the Mills College archives for an article and I came across this little fashion tidbit.

I am reminded of the private school I went to in 7th and 8th grades, Bentley. We didn’t have a uniform but we did have a strict dress code. No jeans, no shorts, no t-shirts, and no pants on girls. We didn’t have to dress in “plain” clothing and I didn’t. I loved patterns and color and I really enjoyed putting my outfits together, of course! It was then that I started wearing pantyhose (they didn’t seem as uncomfortable as they are now) and I bought my first pair of heels – a mere two inches and they were chunky. (I graduated to stilettos in high school.)

Back to the quote – one might wonder, why thick boots? Well, doing my research I learned that Susan and Cyrus Mills, the couple that ran the seminary at the time, were very keen on physical exercise. The young women were encouraged to take advantage of the vast open landscape of the campus and go on daily walks. Boots were a necessity. Flannels were soft wool undergarments worn for warmth.

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