Almost as important as the way you smuggle your hot chocolate and Baileys into your tailgate is your decision of what to wear to Homecoming. I love wandering up and down the aisles of cars and smoldering grills just to see the ways people show off their Williams pride. Homecoming is a sort of topsy-turvy day in the fashion world. What is generally taboo is encouraged – polka dots on top of stripes wrapped in cow-print, flannel layered over knits with pants tucked into knee-high socks – all, of course, in the gloriously subtle combination of purple and gold.
I have the utmost respect of the people who don the most daring outfits. There was one guy who wore a gold corduroy jacket with matching pants that had appliqué purple W’s all over them. Another girl took a purple sweatshirt and hot glued black cow spots and a cut out of an udder onto her stomach. The whole outfit was topped off with a headband, onto which she attached cow ears. Popular this year also seemed to be tattoos with the Williams insignia. I saw dozens of students with festooned faces, and all the while I couldn’t help but think: Will those wear off by class on Monday?
Almost as characteristic of Homecoming as those who dazzle us with their school spirit (don’t think I didn’t see you girl with the metallic gold leggings with purple and gold striped socks) are those who channel the other avenue of Homecoming fashion: the classic, Northeast prep aesthetic. That’s the category I fell into – I wore my purple rugby with gold accents, khakis, Bean Boots and waxed cotton jacket. As I was noticing the more festive outfits, I was also realizing how many people had on those sage green-waxed cotton jackets over purple button downs, rugby shirts or v-neck sweaters with jeans or khakis and Bean Boots. This would also be a good time to address footwear. After having wrecked two pairs of shoes the past two Homecomings while walking around that muddy field, I have finally learned that the best way to avoid wrecking another pair is to just wear rain boots or other footwear that is built with the intention of getting beaten up. After I returned to my room with my boots covered in mud, all I had to do was wash them off and they were good as new. I wish I could have said the same for my friend whose boat shoes got suck in a veritable sinkhole of mud.
But quite possibly my favorite sartorial emblem of Homecoming are those cream sweaters with the purple W. They simultaneously remind me of classic collegiate 1950s style and the Ron Weasley sweater from Harry Potter. It seems like getting one is almost as competitive as that football game going on a few yards away. They’re only available during Homecoming at one booth, which seemingly has a very limited quantity of each size. If you want one, you have to get there early. I ran into an alumnus from the Class of 2010 who was brimming with excitement after having just copped one after years of arriving at the booth just a few minutes too late. What’s even better is that the sweaters are unisex and you can wear them in a bunch of ways. One girl got an extra large sweater and belted it over leggings. A few feet away, I saw a guy with the same sweater over a purple striped button-down shirt. I have refrained from getting one the past few years because of their generous fit, but I learned this year that they can shrink a ton – all you need to do is just pop it in the dryer. You can bet that I’ll be clamoring to be first in line for one next year.
After having left the crowds of purple-and-gold-clad fans, I couldn’t help but feel inspired – inspired to step out of my stylistic comfort zone, imitate those in their cow-print leggings and more aggressively display my Williams pride … or at least get a pair of those gloves with the purple and gold pom-poms on each finger tip. Those looked like fun.