When I was in college, I was not at all interested in wearing my institution’s tees or sweaters. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my school, but there just seemed something cheap about wearing my $9.95 generic college tee when it wasn’t game day. Having gone to a big state school that was obsessed with college sports, maybe it was my own form of personal rebellion – wanting to stand out amidst my classmates. But looking back I feel a bit ashamed I don’t have a single hoodie or tee to my name after five years in undergrad and graduate school. So in my bout of nostalgia, I bring you three reasons why you should (proudly!) invest in college merch.
Everyone LOVES their alma mater. There’s a reason why “where did you go to school?” continues to be one of the mostly widely used ice breakers of all time. Whether you believe it or not, where you go to school has a lot of influence on your life during and after college. I’ve used my alumni network to find jobs, connect with old friends, learn something new or find comfort when feeling a bit homesick. It’s crazy how running into someone from your college can boost your spirits, rouse up old stories or just bring back a sense of familiarity that we all miss. For this reason, I’ll throw on an old college tee on a Saturday while shopping, etc. and I’m always surprised by who I’ll meet just because my shirt says “Nebraska.”
Ohio State Shirt, $28, homage.com
There will be more acceptable opportunities in your life to wear college gear than you think. Yes, it’s hard to imagine a time where you’ll wear your college hoodie outside of tailgates and game days, but you will. In nearly every workplace I’ve been at, HR has hosted an alma mater day or sports day where it’s acceptable to forego business casual for your favorite sports shirt. Then there’s the sports bars, theme parties and social gatherings you’ll go to, all of which at some point will include you wearing an old college tee. Plus, at some point you will end up going back to one of your college’s sporting events, and there’s no better feeling than coming back to campus and wearing a shirt you bought when you went there. There’s sentimental value. And what about down the road, when you’ll want to pass that valuable merch onto kids, nieces, nephews, etc. who will ultimately think your “vintage” college gear is cool?
Rutgers Fitted Tee, $28, shopschoolhouse.com
With more fashionable options than ever, why not? When I first started college way back in 2005 (ouch), I had about zero fashionable college options. There were boxy $9.95 shirts or Adidas Climamax shirts, and neither of those fit into my wardrobe at the time (nor do they now). In fact, it’s probably why 3/4 of the college shirts I own were freebies from campus groups. But now there are SO many options. From fitted and featherweight tees and vintage prints/styles to supersoft hoodies, pullovers and zip up jackets that don’t look like they were made for a demographic ages 18-65, you can look cool in college gear. If you can’t find it at your bookstore, LMGTFY. The internet has a wide array of gear, from vintage on ebay to newfound favorites, and it’s all a click away.
UNLV Varsity Cardigan, $70, shopschoolhouse.com
The bottom line? Be grateful that cool college brands and garments exist, and proudly wear your favorite college tee. I promise that it will come in handy someday, and you’ll never regret having an extra college hoodie around.