Slob Nation

by Shawn Presley

you look good, you play well. That's my motto. Well, not really. It's the sentiment of baseball player Nate Lotze '14 (see page 6), and I hear what he's saying. As we look at Kenyon style in this issue of the Bulletin (see page 28), I've taken note of how much high fashion has permeated everything from the Oscars to Sports Illustrated, which in its May 6 issue devoted almost as much ink to Ian Poulter's pink and plaid sportswear as to his golfing skills. Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger P'13 recently confessed to spending more than $500,000 on clothes since 2010. Supermarkets are lined with magazines full of red-carpet fashions. The television show What Not to Wear is about to end a successful ten-year run, but Project Runway is still going strong.

The irony? Americans have never looked worse. Too many people believe flip-flops and shorts are just as appropriate at church as the beach, red is great for funerals, and tennis shoes go perfectly with the regal robes and sashes of commencement ceremonies. IBM made news in 1995 when it relaxed its strict dress code. America has never recovered.

But there's still hope. I was relieved to see the recent burst of press around a course taught by a professor at the University of Notre Dame titled "A Nation of Slobs." Linda Przybyszewski is "dressing down a nation for not dressing up," CBS News said.

"I think style just moved toward simplicity, and eventually slipped into stupidity," Przybyszewski told CBS. She's right. Students at Notre Dame are wearing pajamas to the dining hall. Przybyszewski, who sews many of her own clothes, sees dressing as an art. It's her crusade to revive it.

Clothing shapes what others think of us even if we don't want it to. It's easy to assume, for example, that the guy in the well-tailored suit ahead of you in the morning coffee line is headed to the board room or his corner office. Who's to say he's not a construction worker headed to a funeral?

You'll find creatively dressed students in these pages of the Bulletin. One has expressed his individuality via Cookie Monster lounge wear, but he's happily headed in the opposite direction of the dining hall. If, like Przybyszewski and me, you've started to lose faith in America, look to Lotze. Unless you see those baseball cleats at the dinner table. DeliciousFacebook FacebookStumbleUpon StumbleUponDigg Diggreddit reddit