October 23, 2003

Campus Couture

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I don’t know if it was the country music perpetually playing in the background or the old school leather seats that looked like they haven’t been replaced. Whatever it was, it made me feel right at home. Let me tell you about back-country USA, a.k.a. my Upstate New York hometown. It is a place where style and fashion do not rule, no one owns anything by today’s hottest designers, and no one really cares what anyone else is wearing. This is what I love about the State Diner — it’s a little piece of small town America right in Downtown Ithaca. Diner fashion culture is a rarity among fashion magazines, but one certainly worthy of review.

Plaid work shirt

Clearly no one is dressing to impress at the diner, but if you want to fit in, guys, you’re going to need a plaid work shirt. Any farm supplier will do. Try this Carhartt version over a pair of jeans with work boots. Actually, it doesn’t matter what you wear it with — just wear one.

Trucker Hat

It just so happens that the trucker hat is a fashion statement this season. But the hats on the runway aren’t the authentic trucker hat that you’ll want to have when visiting the diner. No, you need the real deal. Vintage all the way.

Vintage leather biker jacket

There’s something sexy about the words “vintage, leather, and biker.” This is a diner must and the more worn, the better. Look for detailing on the back or fringes as an added bonus. Check out individual suppliers for the unique vintage, literally well-worn jackets.

1980s Tapered Pants

Fashion goes in cycles, and we often see trends from decades past return to store front windows. Diner fashion shows that the 1980s tapered pants look is back. Look for faded denim, polyester, corduroy, or cotton — doesn’t matter so long as the legs are too short to cover your socks and the cuffs are nice and snug.

Pleather bag

Accessorizing is key. Dress up your diner apparel with a bright-colored pleather handbag. The wilder the better, so also look for faux snake skin or leopard print patterns.

Logcabin sweater

Mom and grandma know best — you know their clothes are way more comfortable than yours, especially those big wool sweaters you might wear around the ski lodge in winter with a big mug of hot chocolate in hand. Don’t hit the diner scene without one.

Archived article by Laura Borden