Fashion at Hesston: Then and Now

by Meredith Spicher – Features Editor

With homecoming being a few weeks ago, the campus was buzzing with previous Hesston College students from many different graduating classes. Many of them sporting similar styles now, but back when they were students, what was the fashion trend? The following pictures show different styles from many different decades here at Hesston College.

Row 1/Photo 1: These pictures were featured in the very first Hesston College Journal in 1921. In these pictures, Paul Erb, Titus Lapp, Grace Weaver, and Hazel Hoffman are all dressed in the classic Mennonite attire for this time period. The girls are wearing traditional cape dresses and covering, while the guys are wearing dress coats that are buttoned to the tip of the neck.

Row 1/Photo 2: This picture of the Women’s Choir from the 1924 Hesston College Journal show a better image of the attire that the women wore at that time period. The dresses were very plain and not at all “showy” or at all “flashy”.

Row 1/Photo 3: The pictureof the Men’s Choir from the same Journal shows a similar view of what the men wore back then. Their clothes were, similarly, very plain and basic.

Row 2/Photo 1: In this picture the 1943 Bryan Delphian Literary Club is posing for a group shot. As you can see, the dresses started to have patterns and ruffles on them. The men’s outfits in this picture show different colors and also feature patterned ties.

Row 2/Photo 2: This 1964 candid (right) shows the ladies wearing shorter dresses/skirts with pantihoes and pointed-toe heels. They also follow the Mennonite tradition by wearing a head covering. The guys started to style their hair more during this time period. They started to use their imaginations more and let their own personality shine.

Row 2/Photo 3: This 1974 picture of the Charonia group that toured through Colorado, Idaho, and all of Oregon, shows that the style took a drastic turn during the 1970s. Girls started to wear pants instead of skirts or dresses, and guys grew their hair out, including their facial hair. Also, big glasses came into style.

Row 3/Photo 1:In this 1984 picture it’s clear that, back then, the bigger the hair, the better. Also, big glasses were still in style, and the guys wore tighter fitting clothes, while the girls in this picture are wearing loose fitting clothes.

Row 3/Photo 2:In the above picture, Michelle (Moyer) Byler (left) (’93) and Karla Myers (right) (‘93) are shown posing in their oversized sweaters and umbro shorts with leggings. Byler says “we wore leggings back then… but with shorts over them and leggings tucked into crew socks. Umbros were popular. Oh… and really big hair.”

Row 3/Photo 3: Byler says that a few of the other fads from that time were long jean shorts with cuffs, rugby shirts, turtlenecks or mock turtlenecks, faded or acid washed jeans, some had pleats at waist, dropped waist dresses, big flowered dresses/shirts, and she also said that the girls loved raiding the guys’ closets for over-sized shirts. The picture below of Byler shows what the nursing students had to wear when she attended Hesston in 1993.

So what will the future generations have to say about what students are wearing now? Think about all of the trends that have come and gone in the past 10 years alone. Crocs, crop-tops, skinny jeans, bell-bottoms, and many more fashion do’s and don’ts. Imagine what the your kids are going to think when they look at old college pictures. What will they have to say?

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