Dress the Part

Dress the Part: Animal House

Dress the Part Animal House 1 Dress the Part: Animal House
Animal House (1979). Dir. John Landis. Costume design by Deborah Nadoolman Landis. Starring John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Thomas Hulce, Karen Allen, Donald Sutherland.

A loving tribute to the college life as lived by writer Chris Miller in the early 1960s, National Lampoon’s Animal House has passed into the annals of history as one of, if not the best college movie of all time. Loaded with sartorial goodness, worthy of emulation, the classic collegiate look showcased here has inspired generations of guys, and even a collaborative collection between J. Press and Urban Outfitters.

The costume designer for this film was frequent Landis collaborator Deborah Nadoolman, and she ably and capably channels the spirit of the classic American collegiate look. Ready for a fall semester at Faber College, the wardrobes of the cast are loaded with great cold weather pieces that we can pick up for ourselves. So put on your pledge pin, and get ready because it’s rush week at EveryGuyed, with our Lookbook feature, on Animal House.

Delta Tau Chi

Delta House is a name that’s passed into infamy and fraternity legend. Whenever people picture the worst of fraternity excess, or need to conjure up a straw man for the sake of argument against the Greek system, Delta House is invariably the house they picture.

There’s no arguing that these guys throw one hell of a party though, and look great doing it. The core of the Delta look is a classic New England American look, with a fine layer of disheveledness and carelessness painted overtop. Far from making them look sloppy, this actually gives them that extra dashing look.

The base of the look is classic, with pieces like shaggy shetland sweaters, paired with button down shirts, and smart looking sportcoats. Loosen the tie, forget the top button, and don’t worry about ironing the button-down shirt, to achieve the right Delta look. Colors should generally be dark, as showcased by Boon, Pinto and Katy.

Dress the Part Animal House 2 Dress the Part: Animal House

Omega Theta Pi

If Delta House is the new school, Omega House is tradition. The classic collegiate look lives just next door in a much nicer house, though if it’s any consolation, their parties are a whole lot worse.

However, we just have to acknowledge that there is an appeal to the Omega look. It’s that classic all-American athlete look. Mr. J. Crew, taking Miss Lily Pulitzer out on the town. While the core of the wardrobe is the same as the Delta look – button-down shirts, sweaters, and sportcoats – the look is finely polished, and immaculately maintained.

The looks are brighter, with emphasis on colors like pale yellow and light blue. To really put this look over the top, bust out a varsity jacket, or letterman jacket or cardigan, as seen on the Omega gang below.

Dress the Part Animal House 3 Dress the Part: Animal House


The film’s undisputed sartorial high point however, is Eric Stratton, the one that the Deltas call Otter. A ladies man in the 1950s Hugh Hefner mold, Otter is always ready with a witty retort, confident in any situation, and always decked out in the most outrageous, yet somehow workable outfits.

Otter breaks from the Delta orthodoxy, with colorful, sometimes outrageous outfits. His wardrobe is matched by his big personality and boatloads of charm. For tricks on getting that big, confident personality aspect down, check out EveryGuyed’s Fight Club feature.

As for the clothing, try to pick one big statement piece for each outfit – the red check blazer, the madras golf pants, the multi striped shetland sweater – and built around it. Compliment it with more subdued, plain pieces, to draw the eye to the statement pieces.

Dress the Part Animal House 4 Dress the Part: Animal House


The looks in Animal House are easy to achieve if you break them down and pay a bit of attention:

  • Delta House: A messy, but fundamentally clean look. Wrinkled shirts, older sweaters, peacoats, and dark colors. Don’t worry about looking like a bit careless.
  • Omega House: A classic, clean, All-American look. Ironed shirts, bright colors, turtlenecks, and other classic conservative elements for an immaculately pressed look.
  • Eric ‘Otter’ Stratton: The high point in male evolution, Otter’s look is predicated on that classic movie charmer formula – big personality, plus loud clothing, equals movie magic. Be confident, be charming, be stylish, and everything else will fall into place.
  • Tip: For extra pointers on getting that Ivy look, check out our earlier Lookbook feature on The Ivy Look.


All new pledges should use the comments box below if they have any questions or concerns about the pledge process. Chapter pledge officer Li will be on hand to answer any questions.


Xiaoli Li
Xiaoli Li is an often-missed former editor at the EveryGuyed network. He's currently working as a freelance writer, and probably yelling at a soccer game somewhere out there.
Xiaoli Li

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What's on your mind?

    • An outrageous omission by a careless (possibly drunk) writer! An addition to the piece has been made, crediting Ms. Nadoolman.

      Thanks Natasha, for spotting and pointing this out to us!

  1. Hey Li, What about a shout out to the Costume Designer of Animal House? Me! I worked closely with the writers (Doug Kenny, Harold Ramis and Chris Miller) to get the look right with the approval of the Director John Landis and the collaboration of the actors – that’s what costume designers do! We help the actors channel memorable characters!

    • Our collective embarrassment at your omission here grows more and more with each passing moment. We’ve added a credit to the opening paragraph, and I’d like to apologize for not crediting you for your role in designing the costumes for this classic.

      Best regards,

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