Take a look at the fashion of WKU students throughout the decades

Olivia Marshall

Have you ever wondered what WKU students your age wore 50 or even 100 years ago? Thanks to the Kentucky Library and Museum, you won’t need to wonder anymore. 

Let’s take a blast to the past and see how fashion at WKU has changed over the decades.


These fashionable women can be seen wearing a shirt with a high neckline and long sleeves and a skirt that extends all the way to the floor. Women’s hair was pulled up and away from the face. Modesty was an important factor for this decade and if you showed an ankle, it was a scandal!


These men are ready to play ball in their wool uniforms. The uniforms comprised of wearing knee-high stockings, made popular by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, slightly baggy pants that tapered at the calf, and long sleeve shirts. The coach also is looking snazzy in his three-piece suit.


The 1923 women’s basketball team was looking sharp in their uniforms. The necklines on their tops have lowered since the 1900s and now they can wear pants, but only while playing sports. Peep E. A. Diddle at the end of the line wearing a suit.


Hemlines have gone up considerably for the ladies in the ‘30s. Women were seen sporting dresses with a knee-length hemline, short sleeves and a fitted waistline, usually with a belt. Menswear got a bit more casual. Three-piece suits weren’t worn every day as often, but dress pants and dress shirts were still worn.


These Western students are having a fun time at a football game at the Colonnades. Women wore tea-length skirts with a cute sweater top. Men wore a more casual sports jacket with a nice shirt and some dress pants. Accessories like sunglasses, hats and jewelry were key for outfits in this decade.


The trend of casual wear for men continued on in the ‘50s. Though fashion didn’t change much from the ‘40s, jeans and sneakers were worn more often than in the past. The idea of dressing nice in your every day look was still something that was expected of both genders though.


The ‘60s brought in the era of mod. Women wore tight ankle cut pants more often. The hemlines got shorter and the skirts got tighter during this decade as well. Bobbed hair came into style in this decade as well. These fashionable women showed off their outfits while talking on the phones in the dorms.


Fashion is getting more groovy in this decade! These ladies feel confident in their clothes, something that can be seen in the bold patterns that define the decade. Corduroy jackets and pants were common amongst both genders. Bell bottom jeans were another popular style that made their mark as well.


High-waisted pants, bold colors and big hairstyles can sum up what fashion was in the ‘80s. Women wore mostly high-waisted jeans, a casual t-shirt and some sneakers as in the picture. Nicer clothing was still popular and one of the men in the picture can be seen wearing a sweater overtop of a button-down shirt. 


Bold colors didn’t just stop in the ‘80s. Though a bit more diluted, color was still a big part of fashion in the ‘90s. Oversized clothing became a popular trend during these 10 years, as seen in sweatshirts, jeans and t-shirts. 


Baggy jeans and t-shirts dominated this era. This era also saw the rise of comfy casual dominating the WKU scene. Students would choose comfort over style when picking their outfits for the day. Women also started to phase out bootcut jeans for the ever-popular skinny jeans that still dominate the scene today.


With comfy casual still a dominating trend, this decade saw the rise of sandals and leggings. This student is wearing a nice sweater with some jeans, another popular trend of the decade. Students would incorporate both comfy and nicer styles into their everyday looks.


Since we are only two months into this decade, there isn’t a definitive trend that defines these 10 years. Trends from the 2010s are carrying over into this decade currently. Though people’s personal fashion differs from one another, don’t expect for comfy casual, skinny jeans and the laid back look to go away anytime soon.

Features reporter Olivia Marshall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Olivia on social media at @marshallolivia_.