Campus & Community

Style by degrees: Harvard Business School

5 min read

For the Harvard Business School community, polished is perfect

Across the river from Harvard Yard, the classic, polished outfits of the business world dominate the fashion landscape.

Harvard Business School students, staff, and faculty are known for their spiffy style. For the health-conscious crowd, active wear makes an appearance, but bespoke tailoring, bowties and pocket squares, and refined handbags and shoes are the norm.

A timeless, clean aesthetic flourishes at HBS with Taniel Chan (clockwise from left), Olamide Oladipo, Alessandra Pelliccia, Nikhil Lohchab, and Christy Stine.
“I like to keep it pretty simple in terms of what I wear. I do like to mix prints. I’m Middle Eastern and I think that inspires the prints I choose to wear,” says student Janine Khraishah. Fashion icons: “I like Emma Stone because she is not afraid to mix it up with color. I like Amal Alamuddin because she is very good at looking classy but has fun with her style at the same time. And Michelle Tanner — it’s all about the ’90s.” Style at HBS: “It’s very fashionable but with a clean aesthetic. People look good, but not like they tried too hard to look good.”
“Be recognizable to cultivate a public persona that gives you strength, confidence, and joy,” says Sandra Sucher, professor of management practice. Fashion icon: “Iris Apfel has introduced the world to global fashion. And no one has done more to show the meticulous craftsmanship and gorgeous variety of beauty around the world.” Favorite item: “Scarves are a cheap thrill. You can have the same black jacket and wear it an infinite number of days and look different. And they are very different. It’s a way to personalize and commemorate. I’m wearing one that was my mother’s today.”
Student Taniel Chan’s favorite accessory is a watch his sister gave him for his birthday. “If I leave my house without my watch, it kind of ruins my day a little bit.” Style philosophy: “I like to be minimalistic when possible. I try to keep my outfits simple and clean. Something that doesn’t stand out too much, but that people can still appreciate from afar.” Reading: “What Money Can’t Buy” by Michael Sandel. “My guilty pleasure is reading The Economist.”
“I think fashion makes you look good, but style is what is intrinsic and makes you feel good,” says student Nikhil Lohchab. Style philosophy: “The core of the way you want to present yourself comes from your style.” Fashion icon: Tom Ford. Reading: “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer.
“I like to have fun and combine different styles,” says Christy Stine, assistant director of digital engagement for HBS marketing. Fashion icons: “They range from Alexander Wang and minimalism to Iris Apfel and her way of combining a million unexpected things.” Listening to: “I start the morning with NPR One. I like ‘99% Invisible’ and ‘The Writers’ Almanac.’” Reading: Patti Smith’s memoir, “Just Kids.”
Dylan Minor, visiting assistant professor of the strategy unit, favors pocket squares and bow ties. “They can have an amazing degree of variety,” Minor says. “They should complement, but not match, each other.” Style philosophy: “To be fashion-forward but not too forward. I really appreciate J. Crew and read GQ.” Listening to: “GoGo Penguin is my go-to music when I’m working.” Reading: “New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional” by Paul David Tripp.
“I like bags. I go crazy with bags,” says student Alessandra Pelliccia. Style philosophy: “Classy, simple, and quality. I don’t define myself as a stylish person, but I really value quality, tailor-made materials. I try to stick with natural materials like cashmere, wool, cotton, linen, silk.” Fashion icon: “A designer from my hometown, Brunello Cucinelli, who is very well known for his cashmere.” Reading: “I was reading ‘The Predators’ Ball’ over Christmas, but then we started school, and I’m just reading cases.”
“I find that dressing is a deeply personal thing and has a lot more to do with sense of self than with just clothing,” says student Olamide Oladipo. Style philosophy: “It’s very important to identify pieces that speak to you, to which you have an emotional connection or relationship, whether it brightens your day, or it reminds you of an experience or some aspect of yourself or your background. My own style is eclectic. It can be very polished. It can also be very casual. I’m drawn to lots of colors. But I love uniform dressing. I love wearing all navy or black with pops of color.” Reading: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. “My dad is a doctor and author, and he just wrote another book, a medical novel titled ‘A Patient Called Emma.’”
Nien-he Hsieh, associate professor of business administration, says of his personal style, “Simple, but not boring. With enough detail, but not fussy. Not conservative, but what I aspire to be is more classic.” Favorite item: “Glasses. They become part of your face. I’m amazed at the idea of glasses. I’m fascinated both by the physics and optics and how it actually works.” Listening to: “I love Bach. After having children and experiencing more emotion in my life, I appreciate Beethoven’s emotionality. And I’m a big fan of early 1980s New Wave music.” Reading: Nick Bostrom’s “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.”