Tragedy of College Fashion

After graduating from college and not spending every day on campus, it’s easy to forget just the terrible fashion sense students have. Despite working at a major university, I often go weeks without stepping on campus. Our office is a few blocks to the West of campus, and most of my meetings and presentations are with staff who are also located off-campus. So when I do go back, I transition from reasonably dressed IT people to pure student clothing. Let’s take a look at just a few of the major players in fashion.

The first type is the Combine All Three! Girl. She’s easy to spot. You just need to go through this handy checklist:

* North Face Backpack?
* Yoga Pants?
* Ugg Boots?

Each in itself is not a crime against fashion, despite the fact that yoga pants should probably never be worn outside. But these girls decide that if one is okay, why not combine all three? First off you need to grab that average-quality yet expensive North Face backpack. Make sure it’s black, or you won’t fit in. Not enough time or too hungover to put on regular pants? Why not try Yoga Pants! They show off every jiggle on your thighs and remind everyone of when you used to drink less than a gallon of beer a week. Ugg boots can be good in the cold, but you need to combine them with the two other aforementioned items to really make a statement. A statement that specifically says: “I don’t care.”

The companion to the “Combine All Three! Girl” type is “Basketball Shorts guy.” Basketball shorts guy will also most likely have a North Face backpack: black, of course. But instead of yoga pants, he throws on a pair of overly large basketball shorts, no matter the season. It could be -3C and snowing, and he’d still be wearing those shorts. I suspect he thinks this shows that he’s a laid-back easy-going kind of guy, but I have another word for that: lazy. Be sure to top them off with a pair of overly large basketball shoes and a baseball hat.

Then we have the nerds and hipsters. Chucks, t-shirt, Timbuk2 bag, and headphones set them apart. They’re far too cool and important to be seen associating with the two types described above. They may be wearing obscure brands, or just really expensive ones that are made to look obscure. They may also be wearing clothing bought at Nordstrom that was designed to look like it was from goodwill. Or clothing they actually spent hours looking for at goodwill. This is success. To be fair, I most likely fall into nerd/hipster category.

For some reason, TAs feel like they need to take the nerd one look further, and actually find the weirdest piece of clothing or style possible. This sets them apart from the rest: as they have spent years refining their unique look to avoid thinking about the soul-crushing grad program they’re trying to survive in. One particular example is a TA who only wore identical pairs of leather medieval-style boots, but in either green or purple. Why? Nobody can say for certain. Everything about her was perfectly normal. Except the shoes. They ruined the entire outfit. Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

Then you have the professors, who always dress the part. Enough said.

And the professional staff, who always act like they’re overworked and rushing around. This is probably because they actually are overworked and rushing around. You’ll never find one without a lanyard and ID badge.

Note: Yes, this is like a previous story.

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