November 29, 2005

Cornell Couture

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Stalkers we may have been, but stalkers we had to be to catch candid shots of Cornell students in their daily best. Sure Ezra founded “an institution where any person can find any study” and we do have a Textiles and Apparel major, yet how will we ever make it outside of this place if there is no Appearance 101? You may argue that outward appearances don’t matter, but along with the birds and the bees, the fact of life is that what you look like does matter. How else do we account for so many different styles of clothing on campus – better yet, why do we wear clothes at all? Perhaps modesty kicks in and we adorn ourselves in modified fig leaves with each choice coming from a different branch. (Excuse my lofty metaphor, but keep reading.)

Here at Cornell, the branches are plentiful. Each leaf doesn’t fall far from trend reports. So let us see, how the styles have trickled down (though modified) from the pages of the top fashion magazines to the cement of Ho Plaza.

According to, which shows the fashions from the pages of Vogue and W Magazine, there are several trends that made their way onto fall 2005 runways: the “frontier” look (think big furry hats and sherpas), the sixties mod look (think Edie Sedgwick and Austin Powers), the “Russian invasion” look (think Kremlin, not Lenin) and the return of black (think monochrome). There is a trickle-down effect with couture fashion. While on the runway these looks may seem outrageous, they are able to transition into our everyday lives, and Cornell students, you are a prime example of this theory.

The return of the mod-look in recent times has Twiggy wannabes jumping for joy. Black and white contrasts, geometric shapes and youthful looks abound in this time of the 1960s revival of the British modern youth movement. And just where can this look be found here on campus? Believe it or not, it can be found in the computer bag. Computer bags may be protective packs, but they are also a rectangular shape that encases a technology that is as hot as the space race was in the sixties.

And what kind of message are PTP carriers giving off? Sure, they don’t really count as part of an outfit, but really they do – most especially because you can actually buy them in quite a variety of styles. For example, choosing black leather shows you are professional, you are traditional or maybe you just don’t really care like the youth of the sixties. Whatever the case (haha case), even your computer container can communicate cartloads (there’s some alliteration for you); you are a hot young technological thing worthy of the first walk on the moon – plus you have the smarts for it as well.

Yea, the “Next Big Thing” sounds like a link to a trend report, but it is instead a trend itself, as reports. And while the haute couture poofyness of designer wares does not exactly translate to Cornell students in the form of beautifully constructed garments of luscious fabrics, our poofy jackets are a nice and bountiful alternative. I bet if a survey was done that measured how many poofy marshmallow-like coats there are on this campus, there would be enough to make Rice Krispies for the entire world plus Mars. Maybe everyone realizes the poofiness’s resemblance to a fluffy marshmallow before being jammed between graham crackers and cioccolata since rarely will you ever see anyone wearing a white one. And besides inducing images of s’mores by the fire, these jackets give off the impression that one is willing to keep his or herself warm. The “bigger is better” trend has made its way onto the Cornell campus in the form of the big down quilts you see people sporting while on your way to class. We wear coats so that we may be warm and perhaps keep in ‘poof’ with our fashion superiors.

And we have yet another throwback to the past with looks of the American frontier coupled with the Russian look (picture Anastasia Romanov furred out for a snowy day). With the Ugg-olution and the rise of the furry boot there has been plenty of the Frontier-Russian look. Rough, rustic, animalistic, warm and furry, these boots embody – er, foot – the look of the times. And the boots, paired with long coats in camel-tan color tones and high hair complete the look. Again it shows we care to keep warm and healthy, but more importantly it further shows our entrepreneurial, adventurous spirits that want to explore new lands and find our own gold and while living the dream of the fantastical Anastasia minus the tragic elements of her family’s story. So, suit up in your cossacks, big hats and hairs, furriness, and booted feet and discover new lands and secrets.

I remember that I used to pretend that drinking Kool-Aid with a spoon was like taking medicine. Maybe I was trying to convince myself that these powders that magically turned into gem-colored liquids were somehow beneficial to my health, but I don’t think I was smart enough to know that they were actually bad for you-.but the point being no matter how weird I drank my Kool-Aid and no matter how you wear your hair or how weird your clothing choices are or how weird you look in general, you still look like you. So go drink some red Kool-Aid and let your red tongue show what school you get up and get ready for in the morning and how you turn the trends into your own styles.

Archived article by Jennifer Rice
Sun Assistant Design Editor