Jun 29, 2017



(RSS) Fashion Fridays


fashion-fridays

What to do with all those T-shirts you own

You’re in college. On top of that, you’re in a few clubs. At the University, that means you probably own dozens of shirts from different organizations and events.

Take myself for example: I have some general Virginia t-shirts, a publicity shirt from every First Year Player’s show since Fall 2012 and then general organization shirts — Cavalier Daily shirts (of course), Spectrum Theatre, Alumni Association shirts, and shirts and tanks from fraternity philanthropies — shout out to Sigma Pi’s annual Surf and Turf, a personal favorite of mine.

Every show, every event, every group we join all want us to help publicize for them. T-shirts are a great way to get people talking about certain causes and groups. I probably would not have known about Green Dot, had I not seen the shirt advertising the program. I would never remember the date of the latest First Year Players show. I would be remiss if I did not wait in line for a #HoosGotYourBack tee. And who can forget the popular “Love is Love” t-shirt made by the LGBTQ Center?

However, with approximately 20 University-themed shirts, one might ask “isn’t that a bit excessive?”

Why yes, yes it is! It is ridiculously excessive.

It’s important to celebrate the University community by purchasing swag and promoting the organizations of your choice. I love seeing the many ways in which U.Va. students create and display what is important to them. However, creating t-shirts for every event and club and organization is becoming overwhelming, to say the least. Is there no better example of the kind of privilege we experience on such a consistent basis here? We just accumulate things — in this case, t-shirts — that we rarely wear, to remind ourselves that we were a part of something?

As someone who personally hoards a ridiculous amount of clothing, I implore you to look through your wardrobe and trim the excess this week. Beyond all the University gear you have, think about all the t-shirts you have accumulated over the years. Do you need them all? No, of course not.

It seems that we have put a heavy price on collecting garments from different moments in our lives, and that leads to what I refer to as “Aesthetic Stagnation.” My advice for this semester is to think about all the t-shirts and gear you’ve collected since arriving at the University. Consider how often you will wear such garments after graduation — probably less and less as time goes on.

Start preparing early and wean yourself off of those shirts. Stop buying so many. I repeat: Don’t buy anymore. Find other ways to contribute to organizations and causes that you like. Support your friends by attending their events, liking them on Facebook, participating in their bake sales, and eventually — hopefully — maybe one day we’ll live in a world in which college students don’t make t-shirts for every single event for which they need to raise money. Let’s make the world — and our aesthetics — better.


Ponchos, The New North Face?

The poncho is a fun and exciting garment resurfacing in this year’s outerwear. Typically worn by women, the traditional poncho, as it originated among South American indigenous groups, is versatile, lightweight, comfortable and gender-neutral.

This year, expect to see more men working the poncho look. Since the onset of the 2010s men have — thankfully — been looking to diversify their wardrobes with inspiration from abroad. We’ve already seen the rise of men’s harem pants — or, joggers — and this style, too, is fantastic for versatility and unrestricted movement. This year, men’s wardrobes also involve greater emphasis on bright colors, floral prints and accessorizing, especially with scarves and watches. But men still have significantly fewer clothing choices than women — making ponchos a great step into the foray of comfortable garments that can be worn by both sexes.

Modern ponchos are also beautifully patterned, with sleek designs that are eye-catching without being distracting. They can be worn as loungewear, but are perfect for a classroom or dining hall setting during the winter months. Personally, I will almost certainly wear them around Grounds this season. In fact, I am being caressed by a poncho’s soft cotton fibers as I write this column.

One of the poncho’s most important aspects is the unique wearing experience it provides. Half cape and half robe, ponchos are simple garments with a superb vibe — plus they make great conversation starters. For those unfamiliar with the history of the poncho, it is worthwhile to do some research upon purchasing your first. There are many iterations of the poncho throughout the world, and many serve a particular cultural purpose. It’s a beautiful thing when practical fashion is able to teach us something about the world we live in.

Above all, ponchos allow cultures across the globe to grow just a little bit closer to one another. When we adopt wardrobes traditional to other groups, it shows that we value what that culture brings to the world. Ultimately, the influence of other cultures and styles is what pushes fashion forward.

I officially declare ponchos to be in. You’re welcome.


Finals Fashion Guide

It’s finals time! As the end of the semester swiftly approaches, students are more concerned than ever with what to wear to make a lasting impression before leaving for break. In these stressful last days, there are many different fashion dilemmas to be navigated.

Some of us are holding out to go home so we can do laundry for free. Others are too tired from studying to coordinate an outfit devoid of sweatpants each day. With the colder weather, we must chose to dress for the temperature outside or for the temperature of the sweltering lecture halls. The dorms are far too warm and the busses always seem to have just the right amount of draft to ruin your ride.

Never fear, readers, I can equip you with the skills necessary to make the best outfits during the most difficult time of the year.

Step One: Always Dress For Your Destination

Despite what your mother tells you, the 5-10 minutes you’ll spend in transit from your residence to class is not worth gaining the reputation of "that bundled blob" with all of your classmates. Also, more garments make you more likely to lose things and they slow you down as you pack up and go from place to place.

Step Two: Accessorize!

In the winter time, accessorizing is crucial to maintaining a top tier fashion presence while remaining comfortable. Don’t let bulky coats and shin-engulfing UGG boots stifle your inner fashionista. Go for a slim, padded-coat and focus on keeping your extremities warm. Invest in some warm gloves. You could even splurge and get the kind that are touch-screen sensitive — perfect for texting!

Always wear a hat; it helps your body retain heat and is the perfect combination of functional and fashionable. Socks are also crucial — you don’t want your little piggies catching frostbite and falling off!

Step Three: Make Use of Your Indoor Surroundings

When you’re pretending to study for finals in the library, make sure to stay away from those hard, wooden tables and chairs in Clemons. Find nooks and crannies with padded seating and cushions. A warm study space is the best study space. It will also help you to become more relaxed and remain focused on your work.

Keep your study wardrobe minimal, as you don’t want to take up too much space. Curl up with your harem pants and a sweater, and you’ll be the biggest distraction to your fellow students who won’t be able to keep their eyes off of you!

Step Four: Note These Special Exceptions

At this crucial point in the academic year, there are a few exceptions that may be made to some of my former rules for fashion success.

  1. It is now acceptable to be seen in public in sleepwear. This must not be abused, however. Going to the library (and ONLY the library) in sleepwear is a privilege and may cause discomfort among your peers if done in any other public setting.
  2. Socks and sandals are now allowed. If you weren’t already aware, wearing socks and sandals has been outlawed by the Fashion Powers-That-Be for a millennium. This exception may be made for those who are rushing to and from exams, and who need the easy access of slip-on sandals without the fear of catching a cold.

Just like staying warm, being comfortable is also important. Contrary to what many believe, dressing well does not necessarily equate to testing well. Don’t stress on what to wear these next few weeks. Be casual. Break the rules. Just try not to take up an entire booth in Clemons with all of your winter clothing.

Now that you have all the survival tips you need for this finals season, you’ll be ready to slay those exams in style, one free-response question at a time.


Celebrity Spotlight: Fergie Duhamel

Today begins a brand new segment of the fashion advice I typically dish out, with the first ever Celebrity Spotlight — a new feature in which I select a celebrity and effectively (I hope) expose all of that person’s fashion faux pas and success.

For the first celebrity in this new segment, I'll look at none other than the “Dutchess” herself: Fergie Duhamel.

Fergie has been a fashion icon for more than a decade. Her work with the Black Eyed Peas has made “Fergie Ferg” a household name, and her solo music career has brought her tremendous chart success. Let’s be honest, anyone born in the 90s probably knows all the words to “London Bridge.” We millennials grew up looking at Fergie, the pop princess who taught us how to spell words like “tasty,” “delicious” and “Glamorous.”

Besides being a fabulous speller, the not-so “elusive chanteuse” was always a fashion visionary. I still reminisce about her “Boom Boom Pow” phase during which she sported black hair and a flawless set of claws which gave Wolverine a run for his money. Who else remembers when she annihilated the runway during her performance at the 2010 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? And let us never forget her impeccable style and spray tan at the 2005 VMAs.

It seems, however, that all that progress was for naught. After a couple of years under wraps, Fergie recently decided to restart her music career with the subpar single, “L.A. Love (La La)”. One might ask, how can someone who has been a consistent fashion force since the early 2000s destroy their entire image with one music video? But this video — a sad, sad attempt at reclaiming a pop music throne — does just that.

The video features Fergie, alongside a slew of random celebrities, riding around on a creepy party bus, traveling to different cities and partying — definitely an ode to “I Gotta Feeling.” The whole concept never really comes together, though. Fergie looks out of place, and quite frankly, downright silly. She’ll be 40 years old in March and just had a baby; the idea of her riding around on a party bus with strangers in foreign countries is hard to buy.

At one point in the video, Fergie sports a lame light blue bikini. It’s not the bikini that is the problem though, but rather, the disgustingly cheap- looking tattoos that were put on her body. Whether they were painted on, or computer generated, they make her look ridiculous. A move like this is simply unforgivable. A little bit later, we see Fergie and her background dancers, straight out of 2002, doing an extremely awkward strut down the street, pretending that they can dance. We all know Fergie isn’t a dancer. She may not be the worst, but dancing around in a sports bra and a flannel is just unacceptable, Ferg.

Further, in this heinous music video, we see the leading lady sporting an enormous platinum blonde braid hair piece that is likely worth more than her career right now. When she isn’t dancing in between two white-faced Japanese women or two black girls, Fergie is hanging out with DJ Mustard and showing off her bus’ Beats By Dre speakers.

Overall, the video is a cheesy attempt at being current, while paying homage to hip hop culture. It could have worked if the song was actually good and if Fergie didn’t look like she was ignorantly making use of cultural appropriation tactics (i.e. Katy Perry). Hopefully we’ll get better music and fashion from this fallen popstar in the coming years — I miss the classy, sexy Fergie of “Glamorous.” No one wants to see a trashy almost-40-year-old woman on a party bus, outfitting herself like a 24-year-old Kesha. Until we see an improvement, I suppose the best thing to do is to just keep watching the video for “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”


Harem pants: The next big thing

A new fashion trend is sweeping across the nation and, subsequently, Grounds. It’s harem pants. They are in no way new, but have become increasingly popular with male shoppers. If you have seen them around town, you might not be familiar with the name. Loose around the waist and form-fitting around the shin and ankle, harem pants are easily identifiable.


Though they originated in various countries throughout Asia, harem pants in their modern form

were popularized in the 1980s by rapper MC Hammer. Other celebrities who have sported the garment include the vile Justin Bieber, the forgettable PSY and Jay-Z. Needless to say, don’t let these celebrities discourage you from going out and getting a pair for yourself.


For me, these pants are a godsend — they're everything I could want to cover my body's lower half. They are loose up top, where I want room for my legs to breathe, and allow mobility in my lower legs. If I ever find myself in the mood for running or doing any sort of cardio activity, I am ready.


They come in all sorts of styles and patterns. Some have a more formal feel, while others are loose and casual. I made sure to purchase some for every occasion: studying late in the library, going grocery shopping, going to class and going to church. Not only are these pants universally acceptable, but they are also a great conversation starter. Now that you know what harem pants are, you can be the coolest person in the room. Everyone will be in awe of your superior fashion knowledge.


I cannot wait to see this phenomenon take off this fall. I predict the market for harem pants will begin to dramatically increase in the next year. Do yourself a favor and hop on this trend while it is still new and exciting, just like Silly Bandz were in 2010. Don’t be left behind in the tide of fashion stagnation — your legs will thank you.

Harem pants: The next big thing

A new fashion trend is sweeping across the nation and, subsequently, Grounds. It’s harem pants. They are in no way new, but have become increasingly popular with male shoppers. If you have seen them around town, you might not be familiar with the name. Loose around the waist and form-fitting around the shin and ankle, harem pants are easily identifiable.

Though they originated in various countries throughout Asia, harem pants in their modern form

were popularized in the 1980s by rapper MC Hammer. Other celebrities who have sported the garment include the vile Justin Bieber, the forgettable PSY and Jay-Z. Needless to say, don’t let these celebrities discourage you from going out and getting a pair for yourself.

For me, these pants are a godsend — they're everything I could want to cover my body's lower half. They are loose up top, where I want room for my legs to breathe, and allow mobility in my lower legs. If I ever find myself in the mood for running or doing any sort of cardio activity, I am ready.

They come in all sorts of styles and patterns. Some have a more formal feel, while others are loose and casual. I made sure to purchase some for every occasion: studying late in the library, going grocery shopping, going to class and going to church. Not only are these pants universally acceptable, but they are also a great conversation starter. Now that you know what harem pants are, you can be the coolest person in the room. Everyone will be in awe of your superior fashion knowledge.


I cannot wait to see this phenomenon take off this fall. I predict the market for harem pants will begin to dramatically increase in the next year. Do yourself a favor and hop on this trend while it is still new and exciting, just like Silly Bandz were in 2010. Don’t be left behind in the tide of fashion stagnation — your legs will thank you.


My Struggle with Socks

Since the age of 12, I’ve struggled with the idea of wearing socks. I always hated those little pillowcases on my beautiful brown feet. I wanted my “little piggies” to be free, to not suffer and suffocate under a pair cotton prisons.

Wearing socks was such an ordeal. I had to find two matching ones. I had to make sure they were the appropriate length for the kind of shoe I was wearing (God forbid I wear knee-high socks with a pair of Vans sneakers).

It seemed tragic when I would see boys being ridiculed for wearing white socks with black dress shoes. Whoever made that a rule? There’s nothing inherently silly about that fashion choice.

In response to all this, in the eighth grade, I chose to stop wearing them. Much to my mother’s dismay, I found a new sense of freedom in not wearing these restrictive garments. It made every step I took feel somehow more connected with the earth. Not wearing socks was a rather sublime experience for me.

Come high school, though, I slowly began to realize that socks were my friends.

I had been ignorant of their mystique, beauty and liveliness. Wearing socks could propel my wardrobe into the stratosphere! With so many different kinds to choose from — argyle, striped, polka dotted, plaid — I couldn’t stop myself from experimenting with style and fabrics.

Many men may feel as though thinking about their wardrobe’s sock component is too time consuming. But socks can be a way to spice up your clothes. If you’re required to wear a boring suit to work every day, try using socks as a way to make your coworkers do a double-take as you walk into the office. If you’re a student who enjoys wearing sweats and shorts every day, try some patterned sweat socks and you’ll start getting all the right attention.

Socks are the kind of accessory which can be used in any occasion. They can make formal occasions more fun, take the boring out of business-casual and put the style into your gross, baggy gym attire. They are not as striking as neckties, nor as subtle as wristwatches or belts.

Socks provide the appropriate amount of attention to your wardrobe without becoming overly distracting. With that said, invest in some socks. Give your feet a treat!


Foxfield Races Edition

Dear friends, we have come upon one of the most exciting times of the academic year: the end. With fourth-years preparing to graduate, first-years worrying about finals, and everyone else working on their beach bodies, I am pleased to remind you that one of the most persistent University traditions is now upon us: the Foxfield Races. Colloquially known as “Foxfield,” this tradition proves to be quite the spectacle every year, which is why you need to look good for it.

Dressing up for Foxfield is like putting on your best white dress for Sunday morning church. You don’t need to dress well to walk around and party with your friends — while avoiding watching any actual races — but you need to dress well so everyone pays attention to you. That’s right, friends. This Saturday, it is perfectly acceptable to strive to be the center of attention within your social circle. Here’s how to do it.

What you need is, the “Color Pop” — a process which involves taking a nice outfit and adding a small subtle splash of color that offsets everything else.

Gents, wearing a green button down and an orange bowtie will get all the ladies talking. And ladies, now is the time to bring out that statement necklace to complement your favorite sundress.

Color Pops are a great way to help you accessorize and make the most out the typical U.Va. Foxfield style. Don’t just wear Chubbies shorts, gentlemen; that is simply not enough! You can do better.

If you’re going to wear Chubbies, then wear a pair of socks that offset the color of the shorts. Bright purples and greens will work well in most situations. Ladies, don’t forget that you have the advantage here. You all have a vast array of accessory choices compared to men. Try something new on yourself, like a hair bow, or some pearls, or maybe even a hat. The smallest Color Pop has the potential to make all the boys turn their heads.

This weekend is about being a spectacle. So go forth and be a bawdy, exaggerated spectacle. Take some risks with your clothes.

If you need any help this Saturday, I’ll be walking around helping people fix their fashion faux pas, so come find me. As my grandmother used to say, “If you look like a million bucks, you’ll feel like two million.”


How thrift stores saved my life

There was once a time, during my dark childhood, when I did not understand the importance of thrift stores. I thought thrift stores were all full of shoddy, tomato-stained hand-me-downs. I thought if you wore something from a thrift store, your clothes were inherently less-than and, by extension, you too were also less-than. It wasn’t until my late teens — when I began to make more independent fashion choices and actually pay for my clothes — that I realized how much thrift stores have to offer.

Wearing clothes from a thrift store is indicative of frugality, wisdom and fashion creativity — all character traits that are inherently greater-than. And who doesn’t want to be greater-than?

Thrift stores are wonderful — the smartest choice for the frugal shopper. My arch-nemesis has always been the idea of spending money. When I realized I could buy nice clothes for a cheaper price, I was enthralled. But many people don’t understand how wonderfully amazing this concept is. It’s a simple idea, really: you can purchase gently-worn (and oftentimes brand new) clothing from thrift stores at much lower prices than if you went elsewhere.

Now, I’m not telling you to throw out all your J. Crew clothes and stop by the nearest Goodwill. However, I am telling you mixing and matching — pairing a thrift store garment with something you already owned — is a great way to save money and still look great. I do it like it’s my profession. Most of the time, no one knows. If you’re afraid of your friends thinking you’re sloppy because you’re wearing something from a thrift store, you should find better friends.

There’s no shame in thrifting. It is so much fun, and you can always find interesting things. Some of my favorite shirts, jackets, ties and sweaters have come from thrift stores. Where else, other than a thrift store, would you find a sweater from the 80s with leather patches on it? Where else would you find gently-used flannels for every occasion? Not at a Nordstrom, that’s for sure.

Thrift stores allowed me to make my fashion choices more fun and daring. I have made extremely unusual purchases I ended up falling in love with all because of thrift store pricing. If you see a shirt with some wacky and interesting design for $2.50, you’re much more likely to purchase it than if you saw a similar shirt in a department store for $17.

Be like me, and try out my mixing and matching technique. You’ll save money on clothes, and you’ll turn all the heads this spring.


How do I look? The other age old question

“How do I look?”

Women and men of all kinds are known for asking this timeless question as they prepare to venture out into the world. It is an important question to ask, but why? Why do we need that second pair of eyes to critique what we’re wearing?

My answer: second opinions are crucial. No one wants to step outside with wild, messy hair, a crooked bowtie, or an unlaced Duck boot flailing to-and-fro. Without the help of that all-knowing best friend, we would all look ridiculous, with toilet paper stuck to our shoes and lipstick on our chins. It’s no different with clothing.

This holds true for realms of life other than fashion. Who wouldn’t want a friend to revise an essay for class? And what on earth would my column look like if not for a team of lovely editors to polish it before publication? Long story short, pretty much everything we do needs a second opinion.

With that said, ladies, don’t be afraid to ask if that dress makes you look fat. So what if it does? By saying yes, your friend is actually saving you from an evening of embarrassment. And you, gentlemen, don’t be afraid to get help tying that bowtie.

Whether you are waking up late and running to class, or dressing up for a night on the town, it’s important to make sure your fashion choices are error-free — you do not want me to spot you looking less than top-notch. Even if you don’t have a friend around to give you a second opinion, it is crucial that you use a mirror. In the fashion world, mirrors are your best friend. Use them. Love them.

Mirrors are the only thing that can save you from that hideous combing job or skipped belt loop. When you’re getting ready, just spend a few extra moments examining what you are wearing and how you’re wearing it, and I guarantee you will feel more confident about your entire appearance. Confidence is everything, people! So, never be afraid to ask “How do I look?” before going out, because even the most brutally honest answer will make a world of difference.











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