Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wearing Your College Logo On Your Sleeve (Or Your Chest, Or Your Leg): It's An American Thing

I love my alma mater. And I kind of like letting everyone know I love it too - especially in Washington state, where I'm constantly surrounded by a sea of purple, "GO DAWGS", sweatshirts or burgundy, "GO COUGS" sweatpants (plus the occasional "PLU Lutes!" or "WWU" baseball caps). Even my dad still wears his "Mount Holyoke Dad" t-shirt I bought for him during my first-year with pride. You go, Dad.

I have two pairs of MHC cheer shorts that are so worn, the elastic is now non-existent and the letters are starting to rub off. But I still wear them around the house.

But outside of the US ... I don't really feel a need to broadcast my university, though a lot of Americans do. Just sit on the Islington towpath for a while and watch the joggers go by: 90% of them are American and 99% of them will be wearing their alma mater across their chests. You go, dudes. There's nothing wrong with this. I'm just saying that it's an American thing.

Sometimes when I'm homesick, putting on my MHC sweatshirt makes me feel somehow more American again. When I do this, John kind of pauses, looks at me and goes, "MOUNT HOLYOKE!", in a really, exaggerated American accent. "HEY Y'ALL, I WENT TO ... MOUNT HOLYOKE!" Then I slam the door in his face.

Anyway, as someone who's lived in the UK for over five years now, I can identify Americans by attire pretty quickly, if they wear the following:

1) Northface. A must. I saw a group of six Americans walk in the other day with six different variations of Northface jackets.

2) Coach. Specifically, a monogrammed Coach bag.

3) Uggs. Actually, the combination of Northface, Coach, and Uggs seems to be the uniform-du-jour for female visiting students and tourists abound.

4) College sweatshirt. You went to an Ivy and want everyone to know? That's cool. You didn't but you still want everyone to know? That's cool too.

The funny thing is, it seems like there's demand in the market for similar collegiate attire in the UK ... except for the fact that no one walks around with "BATH UNIVERSITY" plastered across their chest or down their sleeves. Not really. It doesn't really have the same effect.

So stores like Jack Wills have succumbed to making the "collegiate-chic" look cool and sell faux university-branded tops. In fact, they dub themselves "University Outfitters: Fabulously British". No, there's nothing more un-British than big logos. Leave that to us.

In the meantime, I'm going to buy a pair of those sweatpants up there and pop into Tesco. I WENT TO MOUNT HOLYOKE, Y'ALL!


  1. I'm ablaze with Bucky the Badger (UW-Madison for folks that don't know) whenever I'm on my bicycle. Even have the stickers. (ps. Went to U of M though and should really have a Gopher all over the place, but doesn't quite put fear into people like the badger does :))

  2. My parents have a lot of Oregon Ducks stuff ... I guess I had a sense of college pride instilled in me at an early age!

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  4. I love everything about this post! Mount Holyoke sweats are the best when longing for home, but i also completely see how "American" it is to brand yourself with your attire. And the Northface jackets! And backpacks! When i was living in Uganda i could always tell who was and American expat by their Northface backpacks!

  5. Thanks, Lizzie! Northface ... it's an universal "American" thing. :)

  6. Its really American thing check out this online store for more high quality clothing especially in Badger Sweatshirts | Next Level Apparel


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