If you're a fan of Teruyoshi Hayashida's seminal preppy-fashion playbook Take Ivy, or Patricia Mears' Ivy Style, you may have found yourself wondering what the ladies were doing while midcentury men were getting natty in Brooks Brothers tweeds, bucks, and beat-up chinos. Well, the answer to that question has finally arrived, in the form of Rebecca C. Tuite's Seven Sisters Style, a beautifully illustrated, intensively researched celebration of the all-American preppy style pioneered by the women of the Seven Sisters Colleges — consider it a Take Ivy for the distaff set.
The book is, of course, an easy sell to vintage obsessives and midcentury aficionadas — who are surely already taking notes on Seven Sisters' bermuda-shorts-and-blazer combos. But, the book holds fascination even for those not planning to pair a Shetland sweater with saddle shoes any time soon. While it may be easy to dismiss preppy style as the province of a certain era's elite, those women pioneered and codified a prim-meets-slouchy style of dressing that, for the first time, incorporated sportswear and borrowed freely from masculine style. It was a breath of fresh air after a decade of twin sets, crinolines, and kitten heels (which, to be fair, are represented here, too — dungarees don't exactly fly at the spring formal).
The Seven Sisters' style changed how all women dressed and it became known the world over as inherently American. A lot of ink has been spilled in the past few years celebrating male Ivy style — Seven Sisters Style is, finally, the companion piece we've been waiting for.