Clothing shouldn’t dictate social status on campus – The Daily Mississippian


The first thing I noticed when I visited Ole Miss during my senior year of high school was the humidity. The second was fashion. Although I have gotten used to the humidity in my three years at the flagship store, the fashion on campus and the culture around it still puzzles me. I’ve come to recognize, however, that fashion at Ole Miss is more than clothes: it’s a manifestation of our larger culture of conformity.

Before moving to Mississippi, I had never heard of “Golden geese” Where Hinton & Hinton buttons-down. Imagine my surprise, then, when I finally searched for these items on Google and found that they sold for $ 300 and $ 100 respectively. What I find most astonishing, however, is not the prices students are willing to pay for everyday clothes, but how apparently everyone on campus owns the price. same. wardrobe. I don’t want to criticize this seemingly universal sense of style if you know me, it’s too abundantly that I’m not qualified to criticize anyone’s fashion choices. I’m just pointing out the almost overwhelming popularity of certain brands and styles. What is considered trendy and stylish at our university has more to do with the name and price on the label than anything else.

Conformity, when it comes to fashion, is neither inherently bad nor unique to Ole Miss. However, it becomes problematic when clothing becomes a social currency. The inaccessible brands mentioned above are by no means outrageous prices compared to other clothing regularly seen on campus. When the ultimate goal is to appear expensive, we create a clearly class-oriented status construct. Just think of the people you saw campaigning outside the Students’ Union a few weeks ago for the personality elections to see how conforming to a specific style can help you progress to Ole Miss. If students need the “right” clothes to run for ASB, enter Greek life, or run for Homecoming Court, maybe we need to rethink our criteria. While the “right” clothes cost hundreds of dollars each, we’ve further isolated the “Ole Miss family” that we so often stress.

Fashion can serve as an essential mode of self-expression. It can also be a force of exclusion that separates the “us” from the “other”. There is a more nuanced conversation to be had about how the culture of the Ole Miss campus seems to encourage consistency and conformity on a multitude of levels. There are broader and darker implications of the displays of wealth and privilege on our campus. I have neither the wisdom nor the number of words to write about this here. What I can do, however, is encourage you to look around the next time you go to class and count all the brand names that are emblazoned in your immediate field of vision. I bet the number will surprise you.

Katherine Broten is a junior specializing in economics and public policy leadership from Farmington, NM.

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