Inside the Closet: Perspectives on Kenyon Style

“Define Kenyon Style in One Sentence.” [Editor’s Note: That’s simply impossible!]

I charged each individual I found to provide a definition which encompasses the variety of styles found on the Kenyon campus. Kenyon Style is hard to define and even harder to relegate to a single sentence- more after the jump!

Gushing over her skirt to one of my classmates during Senior Seminar (Art History majors), I quickly approached Phoebe Rotter ’14 and interviewed her on our walk to Peirce after class. Her responses were just as cheery as her outfit- “Kenyon Style is practical but very inventive! Everyone’s style varies- and not just in terms of the people who go here but also the people who have gone here.”


Rotter is as cute as a button wearing a hand-me-down shirt from her older sister, a belt “inherited” (stolen!) from her Dad, a Vintage 1940s skirt from an antique store in West Stockbridge, MA, H&M ballet flats, and earrings from a craft fair in Boston.

Over the course of four years, Phoebe has seen her fair share of trends parading along Middle Path. However, her style is a direct reflection of her personal growth at Kenyon: “I got more comfortable with both my body and choices. In High School, I was very impractical: I would wear a dress in the dead of winter with jeans underneath! Now, I dress for me, I wear clothes that make me happy.” As a fellow Senior, I can most certainly relate to Rotter on this one!

I caught up with Chris McCann ’16 and Marissa Morte ’16 at the Deli to discuss their must-have items for fall and how they plan to incorporate them into their Kenyon Style. For McCann, the Rustic Merino Elbow Patch Sweater from J.Crew is a necessity once the weather begins to cool. Commenting on women’s must-have items, Morte says “Printed Pants and Driving Mocassins will be big for fall”. When asked about her definition of Kenyon Style, she responded with one word: “Intimidating”.

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A Perfectly Put-Together Pair: McCann is wearing a Vineyard Vines oxford and belt with J.Crew Club shorts and Driving Mocassins and a Fossil Watch. Morte is wearing a Lilly Pulitzer dress with a Monogram Necklace from Etsy, H&M shawl, and J.Crew flip-flops and Starfish earrings.

The transition to Sophomore Year is also intimidating: Good-Bye, Freshmen Quad! Hello, South Campus (or in my case, Mather)!  Sophomore Year is filled with choices, ranging from major selection to a new social circle. Similar to McCann’s response on Kenyon style, each new year on campus “has potential.” The beginning of the school year is an opportunity for reinvention: preppy, All-American style, as demonstrated by McCann and Morte, is a tried and true classic.

Nevertheless, Kenyon style comes in all shapes and sizes. A good case in point? Stephan Beavers ’14 and Issa Polstein ’15, two tall gentlemen I spotted on my walk to Club Olin. On Kenyon style, Beavers gave one of my favorite responses, “Boho Clean-Cut,” while Polstein blankly stated, “People who care way too much trying to look like they don’t care.” As an upperclassman, one develops a Kenyon Go-To Outfit, or as I refer to it, “The Uniform.” For Beavers that means a fitted, cotton t-shirt tucked into slim slacks and a pair of Creepers fit the bill. “A button-up shirt, tucked in,” has been a go-to for Polstein since childhood.

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Beavers is wearing an Express Cardigan, H&M t-shirt, Blank Denim, Vans High-Tops, AJ Morgan Sunnies, gifted to him from Andrew Pochter ’15, and jewelry from various festivals and a ring bought in Vatican City!


Polstein is wearing an impeccable thrift store ensemble: a tasteful floral print shirt, herringbone blazer with elbow patches, a Kenyon Bookstore Crest belt, J.C. Penney Sunnies, and Steve Madden Jazzman oxfords.

And last but not least, I met Emily Carter ’17 outside of the Bookstore, where I was curious to hear her take on Kenyon style as a First Year. “Athletic Hipster,” Carter replied. “But, maybe that’s just the people who hang out in our room,” her roommate interjected. I couldn’t help but chuckle at her response.

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 Carter is looking chic in her sister’s Adriano Goldschmied skinny jeans, her Mother’s Barney’s NY sweater, J.Crew Chambray shirt, Topshop Oxfords, a necklace from a vintage market in Paris, and a Fjallraven backpack.

From First Year to Senior Year, Kenyon style is anything but easy to define and most certainly, far from boring!

One response

  1. Kenyon College style is “intimidating”. Why? Because everyone goes out of their way to look nice and put together. Even the sports guys wear the high, black athletic socks all the time (which are effing expensive!). Whatever happened to flannel pajama pants and baggy shirts with holes in the hem from years of wear?

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