Is it just me, or have you been seeing college sweatshirts everywhere lately? They say fashion repeats itself and what’s old will ultimately be new again but, call me crazy, I never thought my raggedy Barnard crewneck would become winter’s most unexpected It item. Comfortable yet polished — especially when paired with a skirt suit or striped palazzo pants — the look is synonymous with ivy-covered campuses and academia. Throw on a college sweatshirt and you’re instantly transported to a crowded lecture hall, waiting for a professor to wax philosophic about midcentury poets. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed since you were an undergrad, whether you haven’t yet applied, or if you skipped the college experience altogether; wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with an alma mater has always been and will forever be classic, and the best trends are always resurrected.
A number of brands are adopting collegiate designs, sometimes putting their own spin on them with flat-out made-up institutions. Australia e-tailer Princess Polly offers a whole range of UCLA sweatshirts, including one with a funky tie-dye print. Rowing Blazers, which has become a cult-favorite among millennials such as Timothée Chalamet and Cazzie David, teamed up with vintage collector Firstport on a capsule collection of collegiate-inspired sweats. Even Zara is selling a Yale sweatshirt. Celebrities from Hailey Bieber to Pete Davidson, who recently wore a Syracuse University sweatshirt during a skit on Saturday Night Live, have also been seen sporting the trend (both notably repping schools they themselves did not attend).
The first sign of the college sweatshirt’s triumphant return came from Martha Stewart‘s Instagram, of all places. The domestic goddess and Barnard alumna wore a navy sweatshirt from the women’s liberal arts college before delivering a virtual commencement address to students this past spring. The sweatshirt, currently available for purchase online, is still constantly selling out. Another way to approach the trend is to take a cue from Davidson and seek out a well-worn vintage find on eBay or Etsy. Whichever avenue you choose, you may be surprised when a perfect stranger stops you on the street to ask about a place you never visited, much less matriculated from. (Cue the Mean Girls line: “She doesn’t even go here!”)
See more stars tackle the old-school trend, then embrace the timeless look for yourself with our favorite collegiate picks below.