Mounting debt compounded with recurring double-digit tuition hikes has forced several students once able to blindly follow expensive trends to shamefully wear ridiculously outdated clothes.
“I have no choice,” lamented mechanical engineering junior Sarah Paulsen. “It’s not like I wanted to wear my yellow Abercrombie jacket and plaid Burberry scarf all winter. They don’t even match. I just couldn’t afford to buy anything else.”
Paulsen, who admits to buying “whatever’s cool” at a given moment based on everyone else’s opinions, said this summer she will wear the same capri pants and really tall black foam flip-flops from a few seasons ago.
“And I hate to say it, but I’m probably going to be wearing my black sunglasses with the yellow lenses,” Paulsen said shortly before breaking into tears.
Paulsen’s plight mimics those of thousands of University students who have found their steadily decreasing bank accounts to be a barrier to carefree spending.
What makes the poverty-stricken, fad-following students’ situations even sadder is the fact the Midwest is
notorious for consistently being months – if not years – behind the rest of the nation in fashion.
“This state is especially pathetic,” said Gary Grosse, a Design Housing and Apparel instructor. “Grunge wasn’t even a blip on Minnesota’s fashion radar until 1995. The rest of the country had moved on long before that.”
Grosse, who really believes there is such a thing as a fashion radar – he said that wasn’t just a figure of speech – is one of those really fashionable guys who always looks good and everyone secretly thinks is gay. He said he feels sorry for poor college students, but not that sorry.
“People. Come on. There’s just no excuse,” Grosse said as he forlornly pointed at a pair of girls wearing handkerchiefs on their heads.
Many students say they blame the state Legislature for withholding funds from the University and driving up the cost of higher education.
“I pay so damn much for my classes, I can no longer afford to buy things and abandon them a month later when they’ve gone out of style,” said Ted Kruger, a University marketing senior. “It’s really stifling. I’m not as cool as I used to be.”
“And damn that Jesse Ventura,” Kruger added. “Like he cares if I can afford a hot new wardrobe every two months. He’s, like, a millionaire or something. Why doesn’t he just give us some of his money?”
Asked if his dwindling savings account made any difference in whether he would continue to abide by current fads, Kruger said, “Man, when I graduate and get a job and start making some real bank, I’m going to be the trendiest bastard ever.”
Claire J. Daily found this story to be among the most depressing and pathetic she’s ever reported. She welcomes comments at