The Colgate Scene
January 2005

Fashion, fads

[Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Every era has its trends, and those who buck them.

Today, when it comes to fashion, many Colgate students are conventional, says Elisa Benson '06, a Maroon-News columnist. "The general Colgate student is well-dressed and brand name-oriented." Many follow a 21st-century interpretation of the early 1980s clean-cut "preppy" look, with popular items being Lacoste shirts, pearl earrings, flowered Vera Bradley bags, khakis, and puffy ski vests.

Yet, to be sure, not everyone "pops their collar" on campus. As San Francisco native Tiffany Chu '07 observed: "When I first came here, I was like, `Why is everyone wearing their grandmother's jewelry and using their grandmother's bag?' My friends and I have more urban wear." Wearing long, dangly earrings and men's ties as belts or hair ties are also popular items with female students. And in a scan of students traipsing the stairs alongside Little Hall, the occasional head of purple hair will pop out.

"Also, everyone has so much pride in Colgate, we wear a ton of Colgate attire. I was hanging out with some friends this summer and they wanted to know why I had so much Colgate stuff," Chu remarked. In fact, 47 percent of students asked own one popular item: a belt with the Colgate seal woven into it.

Health and fitness is another big trend on campus. "The gym is always packed," said Chu. Rather than soda cans, many students tote Nalgene water bottles to class, rehearsals, and study sessions.

Several fads have a social bent: "The Lance Armstrong Livestrong bracelets are very popular right now with both students and faculty," observed Susan Tahsler '06 of the yellow rubber wristbands marketed by the Tour de France champion to raise money for cancer research. Pink rubber breast cancer awareness bracelets have popped onto wrists all over campus as well.

Hands down, the most intriguing student fashion statement on campus is also the most ironic: impractical footwear, from flip-flops in 25-degree weather to women's sandals and boots with four-inch, narrow high heels. Perhaps it's a way of thumbing their noses at the rigors of the central New York climate and campus topography. But, as seen here, even footwear is a chance to exhibit that Colgate spirit.

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