You’d be hard-pressed to find Chanel or Kanye West’s Yeezy line on Sproul Plaza. Since our founding, Cal students have tended to favor comfort and creativity over designer labels or Ivy League uniforms.
That’s not to say they don’t have a sense of style. Take the early 1870s when the University of California’s inaugural female class spurned ultra-tight corsets and rear-enhancing bustles in favor of a more serious look that included long narrow skirts, high-neck blouses, and pinned-up hair or battered top hats known as “plugs.”
Over the following decades, Cal coeds’ hemlines and necklines went up and down and menswear became increasingly less formal, but each era maintained a sense of whimsy. Whatever the style, UC Berkeley students have added their own sartorial twists to the fashions of the day to reflect changing cultural and political attitudes.