UC Santa Cruz does the time warp for "Dress Like It's 1965 Day"

Event kicks off campus's 50th anniversary festivities

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Students went all out with their mid-1960s fashion stylings.
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UC Santa Cruz students blended creativity with authenticity during the on-campus dress-up event.
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This group of celebrants -- including UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal -- got into the spirit with vintage clothes.

Students, staff, and faculty wore scarves and skinny ties, Peter Pan collars, gloves and fedoras, coats and dresses with bold geometric patterns, and hornrim glasses.

As it reached a critical mass of people and intensity, "Dress Like It's 1965 Day," an event kicking off UC Santa Cruz's ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations, drew more than 200 people, some of them dancing the pony, the twist, the frug, or some strange combination of the three while British Invasion bands blasted in the background.

Women went all out with big "bump" and beehive hairdos, held together with an eye-watering amount of hairspray. Check out some highlights on Instagram and Tagboard

While some went for a formal 1960s look with dark suits or pastels and pearls, others embraced a more wild and bold approach for the noontime party in Quarry Plaza. Ellie Stayner (College Eight '17, environmental studies/film and digital media) wore a floral paisley get-up she found at a costume shop downtown and completed the effect with tall white go-go boots.

Before getting this assembly together, she consulted her mother, who witnessed the 1960s first hand. Her mom instructed her to use "cat's eye eyeliner."

UC Santa Cruz history professor Greg O'Malley did his research too. He rocked an Andy Warhol wig, and made sure to hike his plaid trousers way up like the Rolling Stones did in 1965.

For Kelly Graber (College Eight '17, sociology with a minor in education), dressing up with a fuchsia dress and headband took her straight back to a "more free-spirited" time, "but in some ways it was also more formal. Guys wore skinny ties. Girls wore dresses. You don't really see that so much anymore."

The result was an immediate flashback to the days long before she was born when UC Santa Cruz was a landscape of fields, trailers for temporary housing, and lots of cows mooing in the background. And while most revelers had to search vintage clothing stores for inspiration, pioneer staff member Jerry Walters, the campus's inaugural director of housing, just brought out a few items he'd been saving in his closet for years, including a jaunty cap, plaid jacket, and skinny tie.

Chancellor George Blumenthal showed up wearing a fedora he found at the Closet Capers costume shop in Santa Cruz, while campus provost/executive vice chancellor Alison Galloway got some compliments for the pillbox hat she made herself.

The party would not have been the same without the loud, rocking songs from those times.

Cassandra Cronin (Crown '15, anthropology and art), KZSC's station manager, did intensive research when building up the playlist for the celebration. "I tried to get into the nuggets," she said, referring to "deep cuts" or "B-sides" on long-playing records and singles. She also perused set lists from concerts in 1965.

"We're playing the Rolling stones, the Kings, the Seeds; anything with the word 'the' in front of it is usually what I'm going to play," noted Brandon Olesky (Crown '15, computer science), a KZSC DJ and the campus station's new media director. In those days, bands were aiming to get a fuzzier tone by using high wattage or low-quality amps, he said. "They didn't want a clean guitar sound. They wanted a dirty guitar."

At several points during the festivities, a group of young protesters banged drums and marched through the celebration. Sometimes their chanting and pounding fell in sync with the beat of the British Invasion bands.

One of the reasons for the student protest was the UC Regents vote in late 2014 to approve a tuition hike of as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years to help cover rising costs and to expand the enrollment of California students. The decision triggered system-wide protests as well as state Senate and Assembly proposals to avoid steep tuition hikes.

The day's best costumes will be chosen by alumna and Mad Men Co-Costume Designer Tiffany White Stanton (Kresge '03, psychology).

UC Santa Cruz's 50th anniversary festivities, which will continue throughout 2015, will celebrate the achievements of the first 50 years, while also illuminating the future of UC Santa Cruz. The events, on and off campus, offer opportunities for engagement with alumni, the campus community, local residents, and students.