For more than 130 years, people have used fashion to show their loyalty to Queen’s.

In 1884, the AMS selected the tricolour, red, blue and gold, to give Queen’s a distinctive look.

In the early 1900s, tricolour sweaters and scarves were worn around campus. Class pins and Levana buttons were popular.

In 1925, the tam was adopted, and the colour of the torrie (pompom) atop the tam indicated a student’s faculty.

In the 1950s, Queen’s got its own tartan.

Veterans enrolling after the Second World War enhanced this tradition. Accustomed to the camaraderie of military uniforms, Applied Science students in the late 1940s fashioned golden silk jackets emblazoned with their faculty, year, and a university crest. Over time, silk became nylon, and then leather, and the tradition spread.

Faculties got coloured jackets and students soon started adding bars to show their discipline of study.

[Queen's jackets]

[Queen's jackets]

Away from campus, jackets became a walking advertisement of someone’s connection to Queen’s. On campus, every Homecoming became a fashion show of bygone classes sporting their heritage jackets. Over time, students embellished their jackets with personalizing details.

As jackets grew more popular, rituals emerged: the university crest was affixed as a rite of passage at the end of the first year as “a pass crest.” Each class designed its year crest. Queen’s students wore their jackets with pride.

Engineering students took the jacket culture to new heights. First-year students were banned from wearing their jackets until they completed their first-term exams. Before that day arrived, they were forbidden to even touch the sacred leather. Ever inventive, they collected their new jackets and kicked them home along the streets. Exams over, the annual “jacket slam,” a day-long pummeling of the jackets into instant antiques, followed on the sidewalk outside Clark Hall. Finally, a coat of gentian dye (rumoured to honour the engineers who perished on the R.M.S. Titanic) rounded out the tradition. This dye has since been replaced by another product due to health concerns.

[Queen's jackets]

[Queen's jackets being slammed to the ground]