Archive for Friday, August 12, 2005

Mathis: Try a new look without falling into the Gap

August 12, 2005


Welcome to Kansas University, Class of 2009! (Or 2010. Or 2011. Can't rush these things, you know.) After a lifetime of learning how to be the person your parents or friends wanted to be, you've arrived at college with a blank slate, ready to become the person YOU want to be.

Many of you will find that "College You" isn't so very different from "Home You." Many others of you, however, will experiment with new identities and new ways of presenting those identities to the world. The process is most obvious during the early months of one's freshman year - when, say, a young woman might try dressing like a hippie and wearing full makeup at the same time.

It's cute, really.

To help speed you through the process, I've enlisted the help of my friend Caterina in identifying the major campus social groups, and how you'll want to dress to fit in. Caterina's a KJHK DJ with a cutting sense of humor and style - she's Lawrence's own Mr. Blackwell!

Here's some of the major categories:

¢ HIPSTERS: Lawrence, once the hippie capital of Kansas, has in recent years morphed into the hipster capital of Kansas. And the demands of hipster fashion are constantly changing.

"The 'Are you a redneck or are you a hipster?' look is on its way out," Caterina said. "Thrift store finds are not. Now that ironic used T-shirts are just about bought up and picked over, cling to the one you have - because you can't find the real deal anymore."

Proper footwear includes retro-style sneakers. Men should go with aviator-style sunglasses, while Caterina says women wearing vintage Gunne Sax should apply the following rule to their selection of shades: "Anything your mom would've worn in the '70s."

Music choices: Any Joy Division or Nick Drake ripoff; the Decembrists.

¢ HIPPIES: Their power is diminished in Lawrence, but hippies haven't become extinct.

"The true 'trustafarian' look is dreadlocks," Caterina said, "combined with a really, really expensive Columbia Sporting Goods coat that only mountain climbers need."

Music choices: Bootlegs of Phish and the String Cheese Incident.

¢ FRATERNITY BROTHERS: "White baseball cap is still the rage after 10 years," Caterina said. "Flip flops - even in winter. Cargo shorts - even in winter."

Here's the newest thing, however: pastel-colored Polo shirts with the collar flipped up.

"It's very 'Miami Vice' meets Choate," Caterina said. "Tight-rolled frosted jeans can't be far behind."

Out: Trucker caps.

Music choices: Maroon 5, John Mayer.

¢ SORORITY SISTERS: Members of this group can often be seen attending class in low-cut sweatpants with a logo of some sort on the seat. By evening, Caterina says, a late-era "Sex in the City" fashion sense reigns.

And hair, she said, must be worn straight: "Curls are for Sarah Jessica Parker only."

Music choices: See fraternity dudes.

¢ WANNABE-KELLI-OSBORNE-PUNK-ROCKER: I'm not familiar with this group myself, but Caterina insists they exist.

"Dye your hair something like 'She-Devil Red,'" Cat advises. "And you've got to wear spiked belts, with lots of eyeliner."

Music choices: The Donnas, Joan Jett.

If none of these options appeals to you, don't worry! You've got four (or five, or six) years to be whatever you want to be and dress how you want to dress. So be creative, be dramatic, be weird. It's your best chance to stand out.

- Get your Cup O' Joel in Tuesday's Pulse section of the Lawrence Journal-World, and visit more blogs online at


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