For the last few weeks, black and white posters for a fashion show called “Fashion Speaks” have found my hallway. I tried to walk by it quickly, trying to hide the quick flit of my eye towards the peppery posters.

Tipsy last Tuesday, I couldn’t help myself. No one in sight, I leaned in to look closely at Princeton’s best amateur models’ best sexy-faces. I was entranced by the black-clad ladies with their perky posture and their too-cool-for-school swagger. I wasn’t quite sure what look the boys were going for. I think maybe the “That reminds me of this one time on my gap-yah” look.

I was sufficiently curious that I read the date underneath the black and white snapshot and was distraught to discover that I had missed the festivities by three days. Fashion spoke last Friday, and I missed it.

But it did get me thinking: fashion probably does speak volumes about us when we’re not even trying to send a message. Let’s see what YOUR wardrobe might be saying about YOU without you even realizing.

Let’s start this off simple with RAIN BOOTS—one of the easiest things in the world to criticize.

Rain boots—I postulate—were once a useful item. They kept water at bay when it fell from the sky, and facilitated puddle jumping. Instead of hiding their utility behind a façade of fashion, however, rain boots scream out their function with their ridiculous oversized calf-covering top portions and their Ronald-McDonald oversized toes. But the thing has come full circle, and the simple, utilitarian ethos has itself become a fashion statement here at Princeton. Exceptions abound, but I’ve found that in general the more simply adorned and quietly functional the rain boots, the more elite and “in” the wearer.

Now for an easy corollary: BEAN BOOTS.

In a way, duck boots by L.L. Bean are the most logical extension of the rain boot craze. They are just as waterproof and offer almost all of the puddle-jumping good times, but they are in fact so simply adorned and so quietly functional that they can on rare occasions be worn inside of pants and thus hidden from immediate view. To me the tiny rubbery toes protruding from the bottoms of jeans say, “Yeah, I’ve got duck boots. But I’m too modest to show you what $120 worth of molded rubber and leather looks like.” However, Bean boots on boys do plug what I see as a crucial hole in men’s footwear. They look very old-worldsy and very posh, they’re far less obnoxious than their close cousins from Timberland, and, most importantly, they’re functional. Also they embrace alliteration, which is something I wish there were more of in the fashion industry.

For a change of pace: BLACK JEANS ON BOYS

Full disclosure: I own black jeans. Honestly, I hate them. Every time I wear them I feel like a wannabe hipster who wants to look clean without losing that edgy crust. I don’t have the checkered belt to go with them and I don’t sag them below my butt and mine aren’t nearly as tight as true skinny jeans, but I disgust myself nonetheless. Unfortunately my girlfriend loves them, and she’s trained me à la Pavlov to understand that wearing the jeans means I’m entitled to some TLC. Damn my tiny male brain.

Winter’s over so thank God we’re done with MONCLER JACKETS.

I can’t imagine a worse looking winter jacket. Every time I see one of those dull-shiny, puffy Moncler winter jackets I want to throw myself off a bridge. I would not buy a Moncler jacket even if I were on vacation in St. Petersburg in the dead of winter with only board shorts and tank tops, and people were giving them away for free. I wouldn’t even take one if they were offering to give me $800 along with it, which (coincidentally) happens to be price of those foul jackets. When I see them I think of marshmallows, and then I think of Homestar Runner, and then I can’t get the Fluffy Puff commercial outtakes out of my head and I want to die.

Spring’s beginning, so hallelujah for SUNDRESSES.

Every guy loves a lady in a sundress.

And another positive one: BARBOUR JACKETS.

Barbour jackets are one of the only things in the Ivy Club dress code that I legitimately wish I had. They’re casually classic—or classically casual. They hearken back to simpler times when we were all hunting foxes on our estates in North Hammington in the English countryside. I have this recurring dream where I’m flying a biplane and I’m dusting my crops on a cool, dewy spring morning and I land in a field near my humble house and I take off my aviator glasses and take off my leather skullcap and jump down from the cockpit to kiss my gorgeous wife and we’re both wearing Barbour jackets, which look worn from years of hard labor on the farm. It’s just a dream, but it could come true…do people still fly biplanes?

This one is just bizarre: MORPHSUITS.

Times when morphsuits are appropriate: NCAA Tournament, live on ESPN. Times when morphsuits aren’t appropriate: all other times. Technically, morphsuits would be illegal under France’s new anti-burqa laws. I think it’s high time we pass similar laws here. Not to coldly and undemocratically demonize a people for their religious attire, but to stop people from showing up at Charter Friday and aggressively soliciting high-fives. Seriously—I just want to know whom I’m high-fiving. Take off your morphsuit and show yourself!

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