May 2, 2002

Subterranean Style

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In the tradition of narcissistic journalism, it would make sense for this column to focus on its creator’s own personal sense of style. But, if reflected upon, this column has focused on the columnist’s perception of style since its turbulent beginnings in August 2001. So, to partially give into her narcissistic impulses, while still clinging to some semblence of integrity and humility, this final column will pay tribute to the souls who have variously served as an inspiration, an emergency aid kit, and a natural caffeine boost for her own styling sensibilities while providing a few style adventures.

Lauren Kennish

It was the Wednesday before Spring Break. Wines class let out and we all met at the Regency for happy hour. Ah, the merits of being legal and owning a Cornell Card. JD, Tina, CP, you, and I all enjoyed a few glasses of wine which you all so generously editorialized given your new-found knowledge. You were drunk, and I had a column to write. Thanks to you, a collection of bathing suits, and the porno-style wood-paneling at the College Ave. pad, a fashion shoot was born. Because of me and a few glasses of Reisling, you bared it all in the hottest bathing suits for break. You showed the campus how to sun bathe in style, and you proved you’re a friend to the “N”th degree.

Julia Durgee

I had worked at Mademoiselle Magazine for three months styling photo shoots, and when it came to covering style for Spring 2001, you still showed me up! Your eye and your pencil crafted one of the best daze covers I’ve had the pleasure of publishing. Working with you on the style for Fall 2001 photo shoot was yet another experience that helped to convince me that you’ve got a brightly painted, gracefully sketched future stretched before you.

Granea and Grandma

I’ll never forget the day that Granea gave me her coral pink, wool, A-line skirt and the matching mock turtleneck that she wore in the 1950s. Or the day that Grandma pulled a sleek, black wool cloak from the ’40s, with an oversized collar, out of her closet and declared that it was mine. These were the women who made me understand what true style was all about. Because, although I’m glad that white gloves and hoop skirts aren’t the only fashion option for females today, you both helped me to appreciate the ideals of class, refinement, and the grace of fashion.

The ’80s

Sure, they’re a passing trend, but this was the time that I and many of you were first introduced to fashion. When I was just a wee lass I can remember my mother saying that Madonna was a pig. Even at the tender age of six I didn’t agree. More than anything I wanted black, high-top Reebocks, an off-the-shoulder shirt, and lace gloves. I remember eating fruit roll-ups, watching Madonna sing “Like a Virgin,” and wondering if my mom would let me wear black leggings under a black ruffle tiered skirt. She wouldn’t, so I turned to Michael Jackson. I soon transformed one of my white Easter gloves and my dad’s old fedora into a outfit worthy of a six-year-old wannabe. These fashion fetishes may not have lasted (thank God), but they certainly taught me that style was about doing what you want regardless of how eccentric or unfashionable it may be.

So that’s it. That’s the silly, unsophisticated explanation for what Subterranean Style was all about, where it came from, and the person who tried to keep it afloat with something original and something to keep people reading. The best thanks I ever could have received was about a month ago. I approached five different people to be in the column so that they could share their sense of style with all of you. Each one said no thanks. They saw too many people on campus looking at the column and too many of their friends read it. To those five people who rejected me, and all of you readers who motivated them to deny my request, thank you — and don’t wear jean jackets with jeans.

Archived article by Laura Thomas