Class of 2010 brings home high fashion

By Zac Farber

Macalester students appear to be shedding their unfashionably thick, scaly skin in exchange for the gossamer beauty of modern fashion. Across campus, it is widely perceived that each successive incoming class’ fashion sense trends toward more expensive, more upscale, and more color-coordinated apparel with less rips, less black, and less duct tape.Macalester administrators, who generally stick around for more than the four years that each class occupies campus, say they have noticed a change in the way students dress.

“Kids are dressing up more,” Director of Alumni Relations Gabrielle Lawrence said.

“There is definitely less grunge for the most part,” she said. “There are a lot of high heels and purses.

“I never used to see purses. And there is that one guy who wears a skirt. That’s kind of cute.”

Some first-years are clad in chic attire befitting the middle pages of a New York magazine.

Complementing one enchanting first-year’s Citizens of Humanity jeans on a recent day was a Tiffany’s diamond necklace that peeked through between her Burberry-striped scarf and her American Apparel waffle knit thermal tee.

“Freshmen are constantly aware of the potential for social catastrophe that an out-of-season wardrobe creates, while juniors and seniors seem not to care if their cardigan matches their Uggs,” the first-year said.

Garbed in a puffy earth tone vest and a winterberry-colored, fringed scarf, Keelin Yenney ’09 shared her observations of first-year students.

“As an R.A.,” she said, “I consider the first years a lot trendier and hip.”

“The upperclassmen are still cute,” she was careful to note.

Upperclassmen are taking notice of the rising style of the underclassmen. Wearing a bulbous and slightly frayed North Face winter coat, Deborah Heller ’07 said she feels that “freshmen aren’t as outdoorsy and are more preppie.”

She tempers this sentiment, saying, “I don’t think our campus is very exciting overall. We could use more exciting dressers.”

Theories for the disparity in cross-class fashion sense abound.

Some think that laziness increases with the addition of time.

“After freshman year you don’t have to impress as many people,” Yenney said.

Wearing an azure Macalester Cross Country soft shell over a tangerine cotton tee with a lush aquamarine rubber band holding his flowing dreadlocks, Nick Carpenter ’09 disagreed.

“There doesn’t seem to be a unifying trend,” he said. “People that show up not caring continue to not care while some people look snazzy all four years.”

Another explanation is that the Freshman Fifteen forces students into less flattering clothes. Lawrence said she often sees students wearing “those elastic waistbands.”

The increasing geographic diversity of Macalester may correlate with the turning trend.

“The changing image of Macalester in the media draws a clientele from classier parts of the country that are more focused on mainstream fashion and less interested in making political statements with their clothes,” Courtney Jones ’10 said. The number of entering first-years from Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin has declined by six percentage points from the entering class of 2003 to the entering class of 2006.

Despite the numerous theories explaining the fashion shift phenomena, there is no universal consensus on its existence.

“Freshmen fashion is as foul as anything seniors wear,” Owen Rudloff ’10 said. “Everyone looks the same here-ugly.