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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Deis fashion relief after European adventure

Published: September 11, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

Brandeis couture: Tyrone Calliste ‘11 models his stylish shades.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

Brandeis couture: Tyrone Calliste ‘11 models his stylish shades.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Returning from a semester in Spain, I admit, I feel a little displaced, especially when it comes to fashion. After all, where are the t-shirts with the scandalously deep V’s or the tight jeans with a bedazzled skull on the pocket? And then there’s women’s fashion. For anyone who has not had the pleasure of witnessing harem pants in action, let me tell you, that after a semester of wincing every time a girl strutted by in these baggy pants (think MC Hammer) with fitted ankles, you’re not missing anything.

However, I’m not here to discuss the finer points of European fashion. Rather, I’ll attempt to reconcile my experience in Spain with the more subtle fashion of American college students. There were a few things that I knew were a no-go for the Brandeis campus right off the bat. Namely, that sequined dress with the feathers that was on sale at Zara. (While still a bit of a novelty over here, Zara is to Spain as H&M is to America. One street in Seville boasted three Zara stores.) So I put that dress in the box of clothing that will hopefully still fit and look age appropriate upon my return to Europe.

While the sequined dress may have flown during a night out in New York, Boston is decidedly more bookish and casual. However, dressing for the Beantown suburbs does not necessarily mean donning a Red Sox cap. Now how does one begin to dress as a Brandeis student? Well, for upperclassmen, it means eschewing most Brandeis apparel, except for the most subtle pieces. After all, this isn’t Penn State.

Besides the general lack of school pride as displayed on their clothing, Brandeis fashion is pretty diverse. There are the kids who still cycle through the five outfits their mothers picked out for them before they were dropped off freshman year.

There are also the hipsters with their Wayfarer sunglasses, plaid shirts and select vintage pieces – probably an act of rebellion to the outfits their mother picked out for them. And then there’s the in-betweens, both guys and girls, who throw on a nondescript t-shirt and jeans and head to class.

Unlike Spain, where publicly wearing sweatpants of any kind draws odd looks and “the tighter the better” is the general rule of thumb, it is surprisingly refreshing to be back at the Brandeis campus. While Brandeis certainly does not have the architecture to rival any street in Europe, in comparison with Spanish fashion, the Brandeis student body does a remarkably good job of incorporating the subtleties of style.

Fashion in Spain is decidedly more blunt. Over there, my Spanish equivalent would wear black parachute pants, a neon shirt, with heavy black eyeliner and a black lip piercing that just looked like an overgrown mole. So, in the end, perhaps this is one thing from my experience in Spain that I can transfer to my life in the States. After all, I’d look slightly out of place walking up Rabb steps in harem pants.