To enlighten the few of you who don't leave your homes and also have no access to the news where they talk about this constantly, it's a little (read: REALLY REALLY) hot in most of the country right now. Given the fact that today was the first day of 2012 that can officially not be called winter, it's a bit unusual that temperatures in both South Bend and Logansport, Indiana, have passed the 80-degree mark every day for the past week. It essentially seems that the United States as a whole has forgotten what springtime is and has simply passed straight to summer. This time last year, students were probably still wandering around Notre Dame in snow boots and parkas beneath our old friend, the South Bend Permacloud. But this time this year (or, to use the more common term, "today"), the students of Our Lady's University were gallivanting about in flip-flops and shorts. In observing my fellow Domers, I noticed some distinctive wardrobe trends developing, which I will explain in the post below. So, friends, here it is - the guide to the official uniform of a college-campus summer.
For the male of the species, the uniform of these sweltering summery days is easy to master. Essentially, college-going gentlemen have two options when the thermometer starts to hover around 85. The first is the "I enjoy cruising on my yacht/I am a frat star" uniform of brightly-colored khaki shorts, Sperrys or flip-flops, and a t-shirt or button-down. In a world where the cargo shorts that won guys "Best Dressed" in high school have somehow become synonymous with a complete lack of mastery of the ways of clothing, variations on this frat star outfit are the only acceptable outfit choice for the discerning 18- to 24-year-old male. The loophole to this rule comes in the form of athletic garb. Basketball shorts and a t-shirt or lax pinny are, for some reason, always okay - and, if you're actually doing something athletic out on the quad, basketball shorts alone become an acceptable outfit, as well. (I think I speak for women everywhere when I offer a hearty thank you to the unofficial governing body of college fashion, wherever you are, for allowing this particular loophole.)
We ladies can enjoy a bit more variety in our hot-weather uniform. There are three basic options. As with the boys, one acceptable choice is athletic wear. Strangely, this seems to be the first outfit that becomes acceptable as temperatures begin to rise. If it's 60 degrees, a girl may get some weird looks for jeans shorts and a tank top, but switch to some running shorts and a bro tank and no one will question you. This is probably because shorts are acceptable for working out no matter the temperature, but let's not kid ourselves - those tribal-printed Nike running shorts do not mean you did an hour on the treadmill today; they mean you didn't feel like wearing real pants. Regardless of motivation, though, athletic wear (with pretty much any shoe in the world, possibly excepting, I don't know, stilettos) is always acceptable on hot days.
The second option available to college ladies is the female equivalent of the frat star uniform: the "I'm using the temperature as an excuse to be this naked" outfit. This can take thousands of forms. Jean shorts, shorter iterations of the fellas' bright khakis, and even bermuda shorts are all acceptable bottoms. (I'm holding on to a desperate hope that rompers had their moment last summer and will return to being socially unacceptable in every way again this year, but should that not happen, rompers will fit with this uniform, as well.) The top half of this uniform can be pretty much anything, as long as it gives the impression that the wearer is hot in every sense of the word and as long as the skin-to-fabric ratio is horrifically skewed in favor of skin. In a trend of which I am personally quite fond, we're in this wonderful place right now where the fashionable way to dress when it's hellaciously warm is by tossing on clothes so large they basically never touch your skin. Many of these giant hippie tops would not be that revealing were they to fit like normal clothes, but since they're purposely made tent-like enough to be perpetually falling off, they still manage to be slutty! Basically, the rule for hot-weather tops for girls is this: if your grandmother would think that it A) came from the closet of a streetwalker somewhere on the Equator or B) is a homemade tool for hanging potted plants, wear it!
The final option for the college girl hot-weather uniform is, of course, the sundress. Sundresses are great for a variety of reasons. First, they spare you the burden of having to wear real pants/having to wear pants at all. Considering I actually screamed at one of my friends yesterday for wearing long jeans, it should be obvious that if there's one thing no one wants when it's hot outside, it's real pants. With the sundress option, your newly-Spring-Break-tanned legs are completely free! Assuming you don't mind shaving your legs (or getting strange looks from classmates when you don't bother shaving your legs), this is fantastic. Another great thing about sundresses is that, nine times out of ten, they're actually still pretty slutty - but they're disguised as semi-formal. Think about it. They're often incredibly short, and they rarely feature straps any wider than those found on your uniform-issue gladiator sandals. Were you to take the average sundress and alter it into an equivalent tank top and shorts, it'd be pretty risque. As it is, though, it's simply cute - and even acceptable for somewhat fancy occasions like church or a date. (Note: that last option is completely irrelevant to Notre Dame, because we don't know what dating is here. Anything in the world is acceptable to wear for the dining hall date you're probably freaking out over, because it's the dining hall.)
So, folks, there you have it - the official summer-day uniform for college students everywhere. Follow these guidelines and you can't go wrong! Of course, it should be mentioned that all these rules fly immediately out the window when it comes time for that ultimate springtime spectacle of costuming, bookstore basketball. I made that transition only because it should also be mentioned that, as of about twenty minutes ago, I am on a bookstore basketball team. Are you all done laughing yet? No? You're still not? Okay good. Expect a blog post on that as I'm forced to attend actual games and stuff. Hopefully I will score lots of touchdowns! Humiliating or only somewhat humiliating, though, I know one thing about bookstore basketball - if this week's weather is any indication, we won't be doing it under the watchful eye of the Permacloud.