April 27, 2010

Fashion Your Seatbelts!

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Some of you might not know this, but mostly thanks to Julie Block ’10, I started my tenure at The Sun writing book reviews my sophomore year. The first book I reviewed was Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, which I started reading while sunbathing in Cascadilla gorge with my dear Bavee and finished in four total hours in the periodicals room in Olin, where I disrupted the pin-drop silence with an outburst of laughter and several punctuated giggles. And now I’m here, as a senior, writing the last of my fashion columns.

Because of the way Sun editorships work, I have been privileged to work with seven — yes, seven — editors, so thanks Rebecca, Julie, Peter, Ann, Ted, Ruby and Peter (best of luck next semester you last two). I have never once in my time as columnist meandered or not actually discussed something pertinent to the subject at hand. So, now I’m gonna use this column to reminisce, dole out my remaining opinions on fashion and whatever else I feel like and shout-out to my besties hardcore (if this were Twitter or Facebook, I would @ sign everyone and link you to their profiles).

The moniker of my column, “Dressing on the Side,” is a product of a beginning of junior year trip to Friendly’s with my Linguistics buddies Becky, Pavel and Jared, all of whom are at least partially responsible for me actually completing my Ling coursework since they are much quicker on the uptake then I am. Other suggestions for the moniker included “Skirting Trouble” and from a different source, “Fashion Your Seatbelts,” which, if I ever have another column, I definitely might use.

Unlike many other Sun columnists, my columns are pretty uncontroversial; in all of two years, I have only had two comments online, one adding information and the other from my lovely sophomore roommate Allie, whose amazing style and company I have sorely missed this year. The one exception to this was a very strong reaction to my review of the 2009 CDL fashion show, which, in a letter to the editor that went unpublished (but I have my sources outside of The Sun) described my review as “flippant and shallow in its understanding of fashion” and went on to say that, “In the future, [the writer] would appreciate if The Daily Sun would send a reporter whose criticism will be worthwhile and respectful of CDL’s community of hard-working knowledgeable designers and show producers.”

This may seem like water under the bridge, but I have never in my life been accused of being either flippant or shallow (if anything I am often too serious or thorough), and I view the role of the critic in the formation of all creative forms as essential — such that insinuations that I simply discuss the history of the organization or dote blindly on the designers is insulting and “shallow in its understanding” of the fashion world. I should be clear that I am totally amazed by the work and competence of many of the artists on this campus, including members of the CDL, of which there are far too many to name.

Just had to get that out there, but now we can move on. Favorite memories from writing this column include a text from my friend Brian Peterson last April after I advised that pants with a lot of volume were an excellent choice; he said “Nice article.i will def be wearing full bottoms this summer” which pretty much made my day/I still have that text on my phone. But probably the best memory of my column, and one of the best things that’s ever happened to me was, after my column a few weeks ago about sandal fashion, a Birkenstock representative got in touch with me … and they’re sending me a free pair of sweet sandals. (Matt, if you’re reading this, they haven’t come yet but I’m super stoked).

The goal of this column was to be informative and entertaining, with the end result hopefully being happier Cornell students; I believe that in finding your own style, within your means, everyone can become happier in their own skin; remember that you are all beautiful and your health and happiness are of the utmost importance.

And now the shameless shout-outs begin. To my mommy, for everything, and for all the amazing clothes and style, to my pops for the editing and for holding strong with his Hawaiian shirts and handkerchiefs, to my sis who doubted my fashion sanity for a while but who now asks for my advice, and I hers; I love you all. To my sophomore dancers — you are adorable, fashionable and talented beyond belief; I am so excited to see you continue to grow. To A-Zero — thanks for leading me to B-boying fashion, dance and history and for shaping my research into the future.

To my purple plaid Adidas sharing Emma — thank goodness you hated NYU and came here; you are so fly. To Morgan for the bright colors of your wardrobe, for your rainbow painted nails, your amazing sandal tan and, most importantly, your custom-made Converse; chika-chicka-aah (with appropriate hand gesture). To Sam — one day you will grow into your fabulous self and rock a poncho like nobody’s business, and I can’t wait. To Lynne-bear; your eyes are hauntingly beautiful, as is your soul; thank you for the Rice-crispy memories. To Virginia, for the simplicity of your aesthetic and your no-drama perspective, for your dancing, for your silly noises; what will I do without you? And to my favorite Yankees hat-wearer, thank you for always picking up an extra copy of The Sun for me on column days, for always reading and for everything.

And to my readers, to my classmates, to my professors: Thank you. Next year I will be starting a Ph.D. in Dance Studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus. But it has been a pleasure writing for you all, and I wish you all the best in the future; think of me when you need to get dressed for it.

Original Author: Alex Harlig