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150 years of college fashion

For Ohio State’s 150th anniversary, the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection is celebrating the styles that helped define us.

It's game day for this couple from the 1920s, decked out in trendy college fashions of their day. The lady wears a raccoon coat, popular among young men and women in the ’20s because they were relatively inexpensive, warm and bulky enough to hide a verboten flask during Prohibition. The gentleman wears a Block O letter sweater once owned by Floyd Henderson ’28, who earned his letter sweater as a manager (hence the “M” at the top of the O) for the Ohio State cross-country team. (Henderson, who was an agriculture student at Ohio State, became an extension agent for the university and attended Buckeye football games until he was 98.) In celebration of Campus Fashion: 150 Years of College Style, open through April 25 at the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection, we created these whimsical paper dolls and some additional wardrobe choices.

Large red and white checked cotton dress

Worn around 1933–34, this dress was a gift of Grace Heck Faust ’28, ’30 JD. Faust was one of the first women to earn a law degree from Ohio State. She then became one of the first Ohio women to be elected a prosecuting attorney, in Champaign County. She became a judge and then started a private practice in Urbana and Springfield. She remained deeply involved and invested in Ohio Stat her entire life, and in 1990 became the first woman to receive the university’s Distinguished Alumna Award.

Short-sleeve, cream cotton sport shirt with blue dot embroidery, with khaki pants

These were purchased in the 1950s. The shirt entered the collection through the Friends of the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection, a volunteer organization formed in 1987 by fashion designer and faculty member Charles Kleibacker.

Black silk dress with ribbon work embroidery and lace

Made around 1925, this delicate, stunningly detailed dress is in remarkably good condition. It was worn by Ruth Weinman Herndon ’29 during her first year at Ohio State.

Black wool tuxedo

This tuxedo was purchased at the Union. It belonged to Clifford Clary ’33, an agriculture major and member of The Ohio State University Men’s Glee Club, in the early 1930s.

See the fashions for yourself

Campus Fashion: 150 Years of College Style is open at the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection through April 25.

Learn more