October 20, 2011

pants optional

Living around, practically on, a college campus brings it's own kind on entertainment. Particularly when you are not a college student yourself (wife of a graduate student doesn't count here) but are, rather, approaching middle age. We see all the normal stupid-college-student type of things, of course. The drunken walk home from the game. The drunken walk home from the bar. The drunken yelling a la Animal House. Last weekend I saw a girl lay down on the sidewalk and rinse her face in the gutter water (yuck, right? I bet her parents are proud) Finding students sound asleep in odd places is pretty normal too, they really seem to like the concrete benches that I find too uncomfortable to even sit on, but whatever.
What really fascinates me though is the fashion. Times, they have a changed since I was in college. Granted, the University of Oregon is not really known for its sharp dressers. People went to class in their pajamas most of the time. And I'm not just talking about those dreaded 8 am classes. They really just wore their pajamas most of the time. Or if not pajamas, really, super comfy clothes. Jeans were considered kind of dressy. People sat around in the dining hall reminiscing about their first pair of Birkenstocks. It was that kind of place. I thought it was the norm at the time.

Perhaps it's because we are in New York, or maybe it's a private, Ivy League college thing, but the kids here, the girls here particularly, seem to be very fashion conscious. In that, everyone wears the same thing so as not to stick out kind of way. When we came up to visit at spring break every woman, EVERY WOMAN, wore skinny jeans (dark blue) with tall leather boots and drapy tops. EVERY ONE. Even the guys were more often than not wearing skinny jeans with beefy ankle boot like things.

This fall it's been all about Hunter Rainboots. With jeans. With slacks. With skirts. With formal looking dresses. With suits. Lots of hot pink or bright red boots in addition to the standard black, but always Hunter. Preferably with Hunter rainboot liners folded over the top (with the Hunter label showing, natch) if it's a cold day.

I actually like this look. I've long been a fan of rainboots and I really like the almost to the knee style, which makes sense when you think about what is mixed in with the water on the streets of New York (serious, that girl washing her face in it almost made me retch). I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to buy a pair of $120 rubber shoes. I mean, you can buy rainboots at Target for $20 that look almost identical. But that's just the practical girl inside me.

The look I'm not too sure about, however, has emerged over the past few weeks as it's cooled down and turned rainy. This usually consists of a waist length sweater + t-shirt combination, Hunter boots or other tall boots, and tights. And that's it. Tights. No Pants. NO PANTS. These aren't leggings either. These are tights. When did pants become optional? I mean, I went to a school where shirts actually are optional according to the Eugene City Laws, but pants, pants were required. I must be getting old. Just seeming these girls without their pants makes me feel exposed. And cold. It's too cold to not wear pants. Hilariously, when I googled "Tights without pants" I found this. I couldn't agree more.

I'm also not sure about a style which seems to consist of nylons (black, but not opaque) heels or boots and the kind of shorts that we like to pretend we did not wear in the early 90's. You know the kind, pleated in the front with that weird yoke thing and a folded up hem. Those. Except way shorter. Something along the lines of this picture (which I found on Pinterest by looking up "shorts and tights" apparently it's a thing. I'm still unconvinced.) But at least she has something pants-ish there.

Lest you think I'm just poking fun at the girls, let me tell you about the boys in the architecture school. I saw a crowd of them streaming out of Will's building the other day trying SO HARD to look like beatnik designers. I had to work really hard not to laugh. It's like they had to wear a uniform. Black skinny jeans. Black sweater with no shirt underneath. Black, heavy rimmed glasses. Black or (gasp! An almost color!) gray scarf tied artfully around their neck. Everyone of them. (although, that's really nothing new. I think most architectural students, male and female, feel they have to sport this look at some point in their career) But again, they were wearing pants, so I can't complain.

Now let's be clear. I'm not a fashionista. I'm more of a fashion-notta. But even I know that you should wear pants. Pants are important! Let's spread the message. Pants, don't leave home without them! Who's with me?

(I even found this handy dandy press kit with printable Tights are not Pants flyers if you really want to help get the word out!)