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ISSUE 118 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/1/2004

Fall Fashion

By Adrian Vaagenes
Contributing Writer
and Ian Vaagenes
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 1, 2004

I usually don't feel a need to speak out about anything. Protests are boring, and what do they change anyway? A bunch of hippies get high and chain themselves to trees. I saw enough of that in high school. But in this case I feel I must say something -- no, I am divinely compelled. Am I speaking out against racism, hate or politics? No; I'm speaking out against the poncho. A horrible scourge has descended upon campus and the entire fashion world. In a time when everything vintage is "cool," many people fall into the trap of incorporating everything 1960s and 1970s into their wardrobe.

But where will it end? Who knows? Within a year, people will be wearing zubaz and leather ties. The past problem with these fashions is that no one was able to pull them off. No one in the history of the earth was able to pull off the poncho with one exception: Clint Eastwood in the Sergio Leone classic "A Fistful of Dollars." While I applaud people who want to be daring and creative with fall fashion, it also pays to be smart. A square, carpet-like cloth with a hole cut in the middle doesn't even sound cool -- let alone make anybody look good.

Now I know what you're saying, "What's the big deal? They're just clothes." To that I say, if clothes make the man , then they can make the campus. It's not that difficult to try to dress with at least a child's sense of fashion. To do this, there are a set of simple rules that must be followed:

Know your body shape. This means pay attention to direction to the stripes, and above all wear clothes that actually fit. Now, I'm going to be blunt here, but I'm using technical terms so that's okay. A scrawny kid never looks good in a baggy shirt or two t-shirts at the same time. People know you're a toothpick; it just looks like you're trying too hard to cover it up. If you're overweight, don't wear clothing that is too small for you: it highlights what you might not want to display. That was politically correct, wasn't it?

Color coordination is essential. The best rule of thumb when layering two shirts is to take note of the contrast of your hair color to your skin color. The amount of contrast should dictate the color contrast in your choice of apparel. For example, a pale blonde kid looks best in color shades that are close to each other on the color wheel. This rule is more of a guideline, and if you find that bold contrasting colors work for you, go for it. On a slightly related note, I feel the need to address the issue of the color pink. Men, you're finally able to indulge in whatever crazy fantasy that I don't want to hear about and wear pink. But, don't crap your pants and go overboard, buying pink pants and a pink sweatshirt because pink only works with a good collared shirt or short-sleeved polo.

Buy a nice pair of kicks. A good pair can do more for your image than almost any other clothing item. And retro is so totally "in" right now. As a straight male I can't believe I just wrote that & but it's true. Puma, in particular, has some really fresh styles that allow you to add a whole new matching dimension to your wardrobe.

Designer does not equal cool. The great thing about the retro look is that it doesn't have to cost a fortune. You can look good for under $100 by going to a vintage clothing shop or even Goodwill. Northfield even has a great consignment shop run by the high school called the Clothes Closet. While many people think that buying anything from J.Crew or Banana Republic and slapping it together will make them cool, this is simply not true. Walk into any upscale designer store and guess what you'll find? A rugby shirt. At one time rugby shirts were pretty cool, but the rugby shirt has been on its last gasp for a year. Remember, while Banana Republic and J.Crew tend to carry many trendy clothes, they are still trying to make money. They count on the fact that many people just aren't up-to-date on style. Don't be one of those people!

And finally, layering is where form should meet function. Layering is the key to many a wardrobe; sometimes, however, clothes just don't work together. Currently, for example, there's a Gap ad campaign featuring Mark Wahlberg wearing two collared shirts. Now, Marky Mark may be cool, but he's not Christopher Walken. Thus, he is unable to pull off the dual collared shirts. Honestly, there's no purpose to it. It only makes you look like you think you're King Kong or something. This is where form meets function. Two collared shirts just don't have a function. Layering should be purposeful. Wear a corduroy jacket over a collared shirt and an undershirt because you can take them off if you're hot.

So, unless you happen to be Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western and you're in a tough battle against Ramon and you need to hide metal plates under your poncho so that each shot he takes ricochets a bullet off and kills one of his men & restrain your Clint Eastwood idolatry.

P.S. If you're reading this Clint & I love you.

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