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What we wear

Emily Howald, Assistant Scene Editor | Monday, November 10, 2003

Look around you. Everywhere you turn you see the same thing: Abercrombie, J.Crew, Banana Republic – preps. Notre Dame is known for its homogenous mixture of students, and that isn’t in reference to race or religion – I am talking about preppy dressers.At our school, students look far too much alike. A feature in W Magazine said that “Notre Dame’s student body is for the most part closely knit, homogenous and conservative.” The lack of diversity alluded to is primarily diversity within the closets of the student body. When I walk down the sidewalks of this campus, I feel like I am looking at the pages of a J.Crew magazine. People are either wearing articles of clothing from the above-listed stores, or are sporting the ever-popular bookstore brand. Although many students feel that the bookstore is the most popular pseudo-brand name that fills their closets, many say that it is also a sure-fire way to know that they will fit in. I can remember a game we used to play at the dining hall where we actually counted the amount of people wearing Notre Dame apparel. We have yet to find a table of students where at least one person wasn’t wearing Notre Dame apparel. To be honest, usually the odd man out is the one who isn’t wearing any Notre Dame clothes. So let’s face it, the bookstore is popular. It is essentially a mini-trip to the mall that is only 40 steps away, and well, it reminds a lot of people of Nordstroms due to its size and splendor.Female students also frequent a new trends store in the local area entitled Inspire Me. The store recently began advertising in The Observer, and employees say that sales have rocketed since the printing of the advertisement. “I used to always go to the mall – I suppose I still do, but Inspire Me has nice, preppy clothes that are also stylish and fun,” said junior Brin Anderson. “It’s not a big change from what the girls usually wear here, it’s just a step up from the usual Abercrombie and Banana [Republic].” The men of Notre Dame have a bit less of a choice selection, but they certainly also appear to be less picky. No offense boys, but we don’t expect much of a change from the typical Notre Dame T-shirts and then Abercrombie pants. Throw some Polo into the mix, and you have the Notre Dame equation figured out.I have actually talked to students from outside Notre Dame who have made jokes about the way our student body looked. Some referred the pro-ND wardrobes as cult-like, although they were more freaked out by the waffle logo in the dining hall. It is funny how people comment on about our lack of diversity in fashion yet still say that we still display a relatively good fashion sense. I say who cares if we are fashion-forward? In my opinion, homogeneity is a sign of unity. We have other things to concern ourselves with outside of fall’s newest trends. Although the article in W magazine pointed out that we “channeled their competitive streaks into academics, and athletics and a deep-seated camaraderie that is evident on campus,” there is nothing wrong with that. Although the campus lacks fashion diversity, the mix appears to work for most students. No one appears extremely out of place, and it appears as though most students understood what they were getting into when arriving on Notre Dame’s campus.There is so much pride and such an aura of closeness among the students that this whole issue of dressing the same is not something to be ashamed of, but something to be proud of. So we are preps, big deal. We are still students of the University of Notre Dame. In my eyes, this is a great place to be whether we are fashion forward, diverse, or backwards. We actually have it better than those schools considered to be fashion forward. We are part of the Notre Dame family, the very preppy and homogenous Notre Dame family.

The views expressed in the this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Emily Howald at [email protected]