Beyond the Bookstore: Unique College Gear

FashionPenn

Beyond the Bookstore: Unique College Gear

Our picks for outfits that say "well-dressed and well-educated".

Walk down Locust or into lecture, and you are guaranteed to see at least one person wearing Penn gear. University apparel is ubiquitous on campus, but that can mean that it can feel difficult to show school pride without sacrificing personal style. Thankfully, in recent years we’ve seen the emergence of clothing and accessory brands that bring a fresh eye to collegiate gear. Here are three brands that are killing the college gear game and our picks from each.

Kyle Cavan

About the Brand

Started in 2017 by a trio of entrepreneurs, Kyle Cavan is redefining class jewelry. Their pieces are high-quality and draw inspiration from the unique character of the university. The brand is all about empowering the “Class of Now,” as well as bringing a much-needed female design voice to a historically male-dominated industry.

Why We Love It

Their Penn collection features details like the Penn crest, a College Hall bar necklace, and cufflinks inspired by the interior of Fisher Fine Arts. Many of their necklaces are inspired by traditional coin jewelry, a style that’s both classic and distinctly modern. Wear them layered with other pieces for an on-trend look, or sport one alone to keep things elegant and simple. Either way, their jewelry fits seamlessly into your everyday look.

Our Picks

Penn Enamel Bracelet: Stack it with your favorite cuffs or wear it alone, this bracelet will elevate your look with a subtle pop of Penn blue.

Images Courtesy of Kyle Cavan

Penn College Hall Necklace: Bar necklaces have turned into a modern classic, and this college hall necklace is both stylish and an understated homage to arguably the most iconic building on campus.

Images Courtesy of Kyle Cavan

Penn Florentine Necklace Petite: What’s not to love about the delicate details in this piece? The petite size of this necklace will sit perfectly with chunkier layering necklaces, and the engraving turns the Penn crest into a sophisitcated fashion statement.

Images Courtesy of Kyle Cavan

Hillflint

About the Brand

Hillflint is dedicated to making high-quality, vintage-inspired college apparel that goes beyond the typical t-shirt. Their designs are made using traditional production methods and are meant to be a more authentic representation of a school than basic, mass-market apparel.

Why We Love It

We’re here for the “old ivy” meets modern athleisure look that Hillflint is bringing to the market. These are sweatshirts that can easily go from “dressed-up casual” for class to street style with ripped jeans and chunky accessories. The vintage designs are both on-trend and timeless, so they’re an investment worth making for your future wardrobe!

Our Picks

Penn School Sweatshirt: The chenille appliqué evokes designer graphic sweatshirts. Plus, the super-soft terry material is perfect for days when you want to look good without giving up comfort.

Images Courtesy of Hillflint

Merino Wool Heritage Sweater: There’s nothing more classic than an intarsia-knit letter sweatshirt, and this one is an ultra-soft merino wool option. The v-neck keeps the look modern; pair it with layered necklaces and a turtleneck to channel your inner off-duty celebrity style.

Images Courtesy of Hillflint

Penn Vintage Triple Stripe Tee: We love t-shirts as much as the next person, and this one features a genuine vintage design that feels chic and re-purposed. Wear it like your favorite thrifted tee to look stylish while repping the red and blue.

Images Courtesy of Hillflint

Smathers & Branson

About the Brand

Smathers & Branson was founded in 2004 by two students at Bowdoin. Their mission? To bring back the classic needlepoint belt. Flash forward to 2019, and they partner with everything from colleges to Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and Greek organizations. They’ve also expanded their collection belts to a full line of needlepoint accessories.

What We Love

Needlepoint is the kind of old-school we want to bring back: traditional yet polished. We love Smathers & Branson’s line of Penn accessories that feature needlepoint insignias on everything from cufflinks to sunglasses straps (and, of course, their classic belt). We also love that they support fair employment and worker’s rights for their craftsmen in Vietnam.

Our Picks

Penn Needlepoint Key Fob: Sick of using a hairband for your keys? Replace your old key fob with something that’s made to last, while also subtly repping dear old Penn.

Image Courtesy of Smathers & Branson

Penn Needlepoint Hat: A hat is the perfect way to rep Penn without committing to a full outfit. This needlepoint version is a step above the typical bookstore apparel – featuring the modern Penn “P” logo – and can be your go-to bad hair day remedy for years to come.

Image Courtesy of Smathers & Branson

College gear and personal style don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and we hope these brands inspire you to incorporate your school pride into your everyday looks — the red and blue never looked better.

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