A couple weeks back, as I was digging through the Bengal Stripe’s archives (which while unfortunately retired, is still as relevant and well-written as ever) I found this piece by Nico about graduating school and moving away from the “scholarly look.” Nico’s lament about moving forward into the working world spurred a realization that for me the opposite has been true.
As I come down the homestretch of my collegiate career I’ve only been drawn further into the referential world of OCBD’s, khakis, and Weejuns in some sort of desperate attempt to get my last few reps in before I’m deemed “too old” for all that. As if to get entirely literal with the whole idea, recently I’ve become a wholly obsessed with blue and white university striped OCBD’s.
For years now I’ve worn a blue or white oxford almost every single day, but I had never been drawn to their candy-stripped offspring until this past year after being criticized for being too stubborn in my shirt choices. Although when it finally came time to buy a new shirt, I couldn’t stray too far from the blue and white, and so a university stripe oxford was just about as far as I was willing to go. Since then that shirt has become one of my favorite possessions.
Just like it’s peers, the banker stripe and the butcher stripe, the university stripe name derives from those that wore them: mid-century college students who took pleasure in wearing their oxfords threadbare and seeing their stripes softly erode into barely-there blues. These past few months, as I’ve subbed out my normal solid blues and whites for university stripes, I’ve felt like these students of the sixties, living in my stripes day and night, watching them inevitably fade away like undergrad memories. All I can say is, here’s to hoping they both don’t disappear entirely.