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Death by Zeitgeist

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

By Devdoot Majumdar and Allison Lewis

staff writers

There are a number of reasons why we prevent the world from knowing we go to MIT. The roumor that our football team plays against high school teams is one, for instance. And though there’s nothing we can do about unfortunate midriff bulges, we can prevent you from wearing those midriffs.

So, one brisk Tuesday afternoon, we took it upon ourselves to capture a slice of what might loosely be called “MIT Fashion.” (All of the participants have signed ridiculous waivers attesting to the fact that they won’t sue us, as that has been a constant fear at this journalistic bastion since the blind date fiasco.)

Fratboy with Receding Hairline

Number 1: (Asian guy in stairwell)

The Look: Dorky Cool Gone Fishin'

Fisherman hat makes this outfit. It screams oh-so-dorky, yet awesome, especially cuz he wears it with such confidence, like he knows where he belongs (MIT), but still likes to have some fun. (Tip: If you don't feel completely confident and comfortable in what you're wearing, don't wear it. It won't look good on you.)

Hawaiian shirts are becoming cliche, but make any guy look instantly cooler (especially with the hat).

The cargo pants are way trendy (maybe a little too much), but look good on any guy. However, with the shirt and hat, the pants are a bit overkill (maybe try plain khakis?). He's wearing three trendy, standout pieces (the hat, the shirt, the pants), and might have been smarter to wear only one or two. Sometimes less is more.

He's messenger bag is also cool (and a trend! Count how many people in this article are carrying messenger bags).

Number 2: (guy smokin' on student center steps)

The Look: preppy + rebellious = hot

His outfit couldn't work any better together - it all matches, because the colors and the clothes are as basic, classic, and clean as they can be. Light blue (hot guy color) v-neck sweater-shirt, layered over a white tee, ironed khakis, and brown shoes. I'm guessing he's wearing a brown leather belt to hold up his pants (cuz even the things you can't see should work with the outfit. That means underwear, too). With the backpack and watch, the outfit is total prep-school, but the cigarette is just the rebellious touch he needs to make the look "cool." He's the counterpart to a naughty Catholic school girl.

(Tip: simple, classic styles and colors will work on anyone, not just rich, private-school types)

By the way, cigarettes are bad, bad, bad for you.

Number 3: (Dev's friend, doing her homework, on a student-center couch)

The Look: comfortable, studious, "I-don't-give-a-shit" (don't use this last description)

This is totally MIT trendy, nerdy. She's doing a problem set. Totally GAP in khakis and a tight blue V-neck t-shirt. To make it cooler, add a jean jacket. To make it hot, add silver hoop earrings. (Tip: Girls, wear jewelry!!!! It makes even the simplest outfit look pulled-together and fashionable. Accessories, or lack-of, can make or break the look. Then again, not many people at MIT even know what "accessorize" means. Accessories = hats, scarves, sunglasses, jewelery, watches, socks, bra straps, bags, shoe laces, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! They are to an outfit what hot fudge is to a sundae.)

Number 4: (Phil)

The Look: J-Crew goof-ball

He dresses well, cuz he wants to be loved, like a big, huggable teddy bear. He's out to please the girls. More simple, classic pieces, though maybe not as "clean" as Mr. Private School, above, which gives him "I-need-someone-to-take-care-of-me, iron-my-shirt-appeal. Well-groomed (fluffy hair!), and wearing khakis and a button-down shirt, this cutie looks like he's trying, but not too hard. He's got his sleeves rolled up and a friendly, "I'll-love-you-if-you-love-me grin." He's also got a messenger bag! And great eyebrows.

Number 5: (Cambridge kids)

The Look: So-Not-MIT

All three look effortlessly neat and put-together, sporty, not preppy. She's got unique, notable style: a light-colored tee layered underneath a V-neck sweater. This would look weird on most people, but works on her (she's confident). Her belt is amazing! (Brown, with artsy design). And she's got a brown bag to match. The guys on either side of her are dressed comfortably, but not too casually. Again, all classics: khakis, jeans, and layered sweaters over tees. Add nice brown shoes, and they'd be ready for a relaxed office environment. But, with the trendy sneakers, these three bring Cambridge-style to an otherwise style-less campus.

Number 6: (Alexis?) Totally classic

Three stars! Can never go wrong with jeans and a tight, white top! Looks classic and sexy, in a subtle way. And the layered necklaces (a longer one layered over a choker) only add to the outfit (yay for jewelry!). Nice, beaded jewelry calls attention to her neck and shoulders, the most overlooked, and often, most beautiful part of a woman's body. The colored sunglasses are way trendy (maybe too much), but work on her. Add the messenger bag (MIT trend?) and she's ready for class. Another thing to note: she's wearing a bracelet and not earrings. This is smart - the earrings with the necklaces would have been too much (unless studs or super-tiny). Too much jewelry, just like not enough, can ruin an outfit. Instead, she chooses to wear a single, silver bracelet (without it, her wrists might appear too thin, making her appear fragile and pale in her light colored shirt and jeans. Sounds like bullshit, but try it. If you're wrists are thin, add a bracelet, and see how! much healthier you instantly look).

Number 7: (last girl)

The Look: Mix-and-match

She's wearing all blue and gray, which could seriously wash out most people, making them appear drab, but it works on her, because she has bright blue eyes and bright red hair. Separately, I like all her clothes, but question whether they work together or not. But the way she wears them, you'd think so. Worn jean jackets are awesome, and hers is unique, with the randomly placed pockets and a jagged collar. So-not-GAP (which can be a good thing). The gray pants are classic, and not enough people wear them (they look good on most). But matching gray can be difficult (try pale pink, for a soft, sweet look, or hot pink or red, to make the look brighter and vibrant. Of course, black and gray are always perfect together and make anyone look wonderful and well-dressed, in a ready-for-the-office way). The blue shirt with the gray pants is an odd choice, but it's unique. The top of the shirt, slightly wrinkled and falling around the neck is sexy, and softens up the look some!

, which might have appeared too harsh and common if she had just worn a plain tee with her gray pants and jean jacket.