Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sewanee: The University of the South

You know that creepy old guy who stalks and takes pictures of sorority girls? Yeah, that's not me, but I am starting a collection of candid pictures from preppy campuses across the country.

First up is Sewanee: The University of the South, a liberal arts college in southeastern Tennessee. This was not a hard decision to make for my first photo essay, as Sewanee is easily one of the finest trad schools in the country, where the daily normal wear consists of chinos and dresses instead of baggy jeans and sweatpants.

Established in 1857, the school has produced 25 Rhodes Scholars and is 32nd on the US & World Report's list of best liberal arts colleges.

Their Alma Mater:

Alma Mater, Sewanee
My Glorious Mother ever be.
I will give my All to Thee
God Bless Thee to Eternity.
Thou canst make me worth the while
O Guide and Shelter me.
And all my life, through Storm and Strife,
My Star Thou'lt be.

Campus. Love the Gothic architecture.



Professors wear those badass robes.
Love the girls in sundresses.
Classy looking professor, classy looking student.
Typical professor: Anglo-Saxon Rim glasses, OCBD, Repp tie. Notice the class is also in robes. Since 1873, students in the Order of Gownsmen have worn academic gowns to class. Some are heritage and passed down from generation to generation.
Robes. Bow tie. Tweed jacket. Nantucket red pants. Boat shoes. Tartan pants on her. So much win! I can critique him further (pants are too long, etc) but I love this picture.Ties. Blazers.Chick in pony dress with popped collar. All for a regular day at class. Awesome.
Moving day for the freshman. Like Father Like Son. Definitely a laxer (lacrosse). College hat, from UVA no less, check. Costa Del Mars, check. Frocket (pocket shirt), check. Critter shorts, check. High top socks with athletic shoes, done and done.
Warm August weather. Beach dress. Short shorts. Critter flip flops. Blond hair. Oh lawd.Orientation. Matching bowtie and pants. Ribbon belt.
Homecoming.GTH shorts. GTH kilts.
Ray Bans (the classics and the party kind).
The good ol' boys. Lots of fun memories I'm sure. Perhaps those two met at a fraternity/sorority mingle?Argyle Vest. Riding Boots.
Stop staring at the girls and look at those 2 kids in the background. They groom 'em young.
Tailgating...fratters unite. Seersucker, croakies, GTH colors, bow ties, pleats (a southern thing), frat hat, hot girls. Rinse and repeat with alcohol.
Digging the emblem surcingle belts.Check out dad. Probably did the same thing back in his day.Wish my school had an equestrian team so I can to stare at the pretty...horses, yeah.
Commencement. Those four years fly by.Getting the last bits of frattin' out of the system.Blue OCBD, green repp, khakis, fratty hairdo. Digging the dude's floral tie and surcingle. Cute girl with pearl earrings.Cuz he's a boss.Hope this recent Sewanee alum doesn't mind if I stole some of his pics. Must've came off a hike, notice the Patagonia trail shorts.
His friends at one last get together. Ties. Blazers. et al
Graduation. Moving up to the big leagues. Plaque belt buckle.
Grandfather, Father, Son. 3 generations of Sewanee Alums.Graduation party. Mom and Dad having a good time. V neck over OCBD and non-distressed jeans, the way a gentleman should dress after hours. Critter belt.
Still partying after 40 years. Van Wilder ain't got nothing on him.


Sewanee Flickr



  1. I like this idea. I am currently thinking about heading down from up north to do a degree at a Southern school before doing my Masters in Canada to get some of that Southern fraternity experience.

    You should do William & Mary, University of Miami (Ohio), UVA, University of Texas and University of Kentucky if you can pull it off.

    Also I thought that dude in your headline banner in the Nan reds was you and I was like wtf this guy is from the S & P thread?

  2. @Dex: Yeah, the south is where it's at! I have William & Mary in mind, as well as UVA, Washington & Lee, Ole Miss, maybe a few others. All fratty / southern preppy styles begin to blend together so it's not really a regional thing, I just like showcasing which schools prominently embrace it. And no the guy in my banner is not me, I would never wear pleats! Haha but it's a great picture, no?

    @pinoykcin: me too!

  3. That picture would be so much better if that dude wasn't in the order of the gownsmen or whatever. The dude should also do a bag upgrade, it always baffles me to see people wearing super styling kits with a $10 book bag they got at the mall.

    As a canadian I have gotta say that he bears a striking resemblance to a jumbo sized Stephen Harper, at least in the pic anyways.

    Love the nanny reds, didn't know they wore them down south too. But the dude has his colours down, there is a definite flow going on.

  4. @Dex: Dunno man, I'd have to disagree, I think his gown is what makes the picture look cool. Kinda Harry Potter I know, but Sewanee is the only school in the US that I know of that keeps this practice, and I think it's a cool gesture to the university system in England. Adds to the allure. As for his book bag, can't really tell from here but the simpler the better IMO. I'd rather sport a $50 Jansport Rightpack than a $100 North Face technopack that falls apart from the heavy books. But that's just me.

    But yeah, the reds are huge down here, moreso than I've seen up north (save Nantucket of course). Alabama fraternity brothers wear reds to football games for example. Southern prep is bigger in the colleges here than any other region in the country.

  5. Great write up, I'm definitely looking forward to more of these in the future.

  6. I wish my college had as many nicely dressed students and professors.

  7. Some of the tailgating pictures are actually the Phi Gams from Hampden-Sydney, not Sewanee. I went to Sewanee and my brother went to H-SC, so I know some of those guys. The gent in the nantucket reds is my friend and the former president of my chapter. If you look closely at his gown, you'll see our fraternity's crest; that is our president's gown that has been passed on for the last 30 years or so. It has everyone's initials on it (another tradition - we usually have our initials put on our gowns, so that we can either pass them on to younger people at Sewanee or save them for our kids, who damn well better go to school there).

  8. @robbiemcn16

    Ahh I see, my mistake. To be honest, I just made a simple "Sewanee" pictures search and those pics were among the results. I apologize for the mix up and thanks for letting us know.

  9. This is a bit like Oxford and Cambridge in the UK in terms of wearing gowns regularly. Of course, in the UK all university students, in theory, are entitled by regulations to wear undergraduate gowns but only at Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and St. Andrews can you see the students take up this entitlement (and at Oxford at least, they are required for examinations and some Colleges require them for Formal Hall). Interestingly, Sewanee is the only university in the world besides Cambridge that accords the Vice-Chancellor the cope or 'cappa clausa' for congregation dress.

  10. Tigers, tigers, leave 'em in the lurch!
    Down with the heathens, up with the church!
    Yea, Sewanee's right!

    I loved, loved, loved my time at Sewanee. The winter sunset picture really got me, gorgeous.

    And to Dex, better if he wasn't in the Order of Gownsmen? Being a gownsman is a huge honor! I wore my gown everyday from the moment I got it, in spite of its getting tangled in my backpack straps, tripping me on stairs, and completely obliterating any vaguely cute outfit I might've had on. It was so special and certainly a daily reminder of how hard I needed to work to keep it - I couldn't have cared less what it looked like, I loved it.