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Is it bad taste to wear college colors if you didn't attend the college?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by PeterEliot, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    On a completely unrelated note, I was shocked to discover that not only do colleges have color schemes, so do specific degrees. I really wonder who makes this stuff up. A B.A. in Interior Design is "Bilberry," in case you were wondering.

    So if you wear a blue & gold sweater with a bilberry check, you can expect a lot of flack from highly-educated interior decorators.
     
  2. Morgan

    Morgan Senior member

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    From a short story by P.G. Wodehouse:

    Well, you know how it is when you're in some public spot and a stranger comes in wearing the old school tie. You shove a hasty hand over your own and start to sidle out before the chap can spot it and grab you and start gassing. And Barmy was doing just this when the barmaid uttered these sensational words:
    "Good evening, Mr. Briscoe."
    Barmy stood spellbound. He turned to the barmaid and spoke in a hushed whisper.
    "Did you say "╦ťBriscoe'?"
    "Yes, sir."
    "From the Vicarage?"
    "Yes, Sir."
    Barmy quivered like a jelly. The thought that he had had the amazing luck to find in the brother of the girl he loved an old schoolmate made him feel boneless. After all, he felt, as he took his hand away from his tie, there is no bond like that of the old school. If you meet one of the dear old school in a public spot, he meant to say, why, you go straight up to him and start fraternizing.
    He made a beeline for the chap's table.
    "I say," he said. "I see you're wearing a ..."
    The chap's hand shot up to his tie with a sort of nervous gesture, but he evidently realized that the time had gone by for protective measures. He smiled a bit wryly.
     
  3. LaoHu

    LaoHu Senior member

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    From a short story by P.G. Wodehouse:

    Well done!
     
  4. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    In the USA, as others have pointed out in threads of this sort, college sweatshirts are widely sold as souvenirs, to supporters of the college's athletic team, parents or other relatives of students, etc., and there is certainly no stigma of fraud in wearing such.

    Whenever I see somebody wearing an "Oxford University" sweatshirt, I don't even bother to ask if they have been to Oxford because I know they haven't. Any real Oxonian's loyalties lie with his college not the abstraction that is Oxford University.

    While college scarves were popular at Oxford in my day and are still sold by places like the Varsity Shop there (so I assume some people must still wear them), do people in any numbers wear them at the Ivy League colleges? To tell the truth, I was oblivious to the existence of these garments stateside until I too saw them in the J. Press catalog.
     
  5. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    When I was in school, collegiate scarves were worn fairly widely at the Ivies.

    I see them only rarely these days except for the odd big sporting event.

    - B
     
  6. Amiens

    Amiens Well-Known Member

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    It's considered bad form to wear regimental or varsity ties to which one doesn't have a personal claim.
    On a related note the striped tie whose link is above, is; in common with all the American-style striped tie; strictly speaking advertising one's illegitimate origins.
     
  7. DandySF

    DandySF Senior member

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    I wouldn't be concerned about it, especially when the same colors can represent different schools. For example UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan share the same colors, blue and gold.
     
  8. Prince of Paisley

    Prince of Paisley Senior member

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    Of all the schools in all the world, how many colours are left to us plebs to legitimately wear? I think this "rule" is pretty preposterous in a day and age where universities are more like sausage factories than colleges of a select and learned brethren.

    And honestly, I think the likelihood of ever been challenged for wearing the school colours of someone else's alma mater whilst strolling around a big city are (unless you're a PG Wodehouse character) quite small.

    Maybe don't wear school colours to a job interview though - that's where it could really count against you if you are found out (or even if you're legit and your potential boss is from rival school).
     
  9. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

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    On a related note, how long does one have to attend the school to qualify for wearing the colours? I went to Oxford for a summer class and would love to be able to pretend I actually went there legitimately instead of the piss poor state University I went to over here.
     
  10. BevisFrondFan

    BevisFrondFan Well-Known Member

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    It is bad form to wear the colours of any institution or organization with which you have no connection and effectively a fraud as you are asking people to believe that you are something you are not. However, as you say, it is sadly common in the USA.

    Many universities in the USA have substantial state government funding and as such are connected to taxpayers of the state. Furthermore, wearing of colors is most commonly a show of support for the sports teams and not an implication that one is a student or alumnus.
     
  11. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    On a related note, how long does one have to attend the school to qualify for wearing the colours? I went to Oxford for a summer class and would love to be able to pretend I actually went there legitimately instead of the piss poor state University I went to over here.
    There's actually an answer to this. Were you or, rather, are you a member of an Oxford college? At Oxford and Cambridge, once you become a member of a college, you are a member for life. This isn't just rhetorical. There are actually some privileges that go along with it. For example, most colleges have a few rooms which are available for college members to stay in while visiting. College members usually also retain dining privileges. Knowing Oxford and Cambridge colleges, you probably also retain the right to walk on the fellows lawn on midsummer's day or something. Note that being a college member doesn't necessarily imply getting any sort of degree. Anyway, if you are a member of a college, you have a perfectly legitimate right to bedeck yourself in your college colors which are, unfortunately, typically pretty ghastly. I'm sure they seemed a good idea at the time but the middle ages apparently had a different color asthetic than does the modern world. BTW, JLibourel is completely correct about the college v. university loyalty. So if you want to have any chance of pulling this off, do not, under any circumstances, run around wearing an "Oxford" t-shirt. Everyone will think you went to the University of Mississippi, which is not exactly the effect you are going for.
     
  12. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I particularly like London U., Harvard, and Yale Berkeley colors.
    I note there is no comma between Yale and Berkeley. Do the colors represent Berkeley College at Yale ... or perhaps Berkeley Divinity School at Yale?
     
  13. KingOfTheForum

    KingOfTheForum Senior member

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    Been checking out J. Press's extra 25% off sale, and saw some of their winter scarves. They're so pretty that I figure I might as well stock up on a few while they are cheap. I particularly like London U., Harvard, and Yale Berkeley colors.

    I've never worn school colors before. I know that everyone wears regimental colors that got nothing to do with their own histories--but is the same true for school colors? Come winter, will anyone look at my scarf and go "Hey, are you a ______ grad too? What year?"




    How do you know that they're "school colors" if they don't have the school logo on them? Maybe you're implying the the logo is present. If it's not, then I don't think you have anything to worry about.
     
  14. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Moderator

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    In the USA, as others have pointed out in threads of this sort, college sweatshirts are widely sold as souvenirs, to supporters of the college's athletic team, parents or other relatives of students, etc., and there is certainly no stigma of fraud in wearing such.

    Whenever I see somebody wearing an "Oxford University" sweatshirt, I don't even bother to ask if they have been to Oxford because I know they haven't. Any real Oxonian's loyalties lie with his college not the abstraction that is Oxford University.

    While college scarves were popular at Oxford in my day and are still sold by places like the Varsity Shop there (so I assume some people must still wear them), do people in any numbers wear them at the Ivy League colleges? To tell the truth, I was oblivious to the existence of these garments stateside until I too saw them in the J. Press catalog.


    Maybe a century ago, Jan. My brother is a Balliol College Fellow, he read Mathematics there, and he has "Oxford University" teeshirt, and maybe a sweatshirt too. He also has a cap and gown, and all of that other, legitimate, paraphenalia, as well. He wears none of it, as far as I know. My father read at St. Edmond's College at Cambridge, and I know for a fact that he wears a Cambridge University sweatshirt regularly. I think that it was a gift.

    Students at Harvard wear "Harvard Crimson" gear all of the time. A lot of the girls have "Crimson" emblazoned across their asses.
     
  15. savilerogue

    savilerogue Active Member

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    To my mind it depends on whether the tie you are wearing simply has colours which coincide with a college or whether it was specifically produced for the college and/or its alumni. I own a red and navy striped tie - no one has ever asked me when I served as a Guardsman because it's obviously a generic item of clothing.

    For me, if you know you are wearing a tie which has been produced specifically for a club/college/regiment that you are not a member of, then you are a bit odd and should be wary of being pulled up on it if the colours are distinctive.
     
  16. savilerogue

    savilerogue Active Member

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    How do you know that they're "school colors" if they don't have the school logo on them? Maybe you're implying the the logo is present. If it's not, then I don't think you have anything to worry about.

    I'm not so sure about this myself. The colours of my alma mater are so distinctive that I would spot them a mile off without a logo. I've never seen them reproduced coincidentally in any item of clothing.
     
  17. lasbar

    lasbar Senior member

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    I wouldn't be concerned about it, especially when the same colors can represent different schools. For example UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan share the same colors, blue and gold.

    I don't think people will think in terms of colours...

    Most people will not recognize universities colours.

    If you wear a garment with a recognizable logo or indignia,you might take the risk of passing for an idiot and a fake...
     
  18. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    Anyway, if you are a member of a college, you have a perfectly legitimate right to bedeck yourself in your college colors which are, unfortunately, typically pretty ghastly. I'm sure they seemed a good idea at the time but the middle ages apparently had a different color asthetic than does the modern world.

    For most of my life I labored under the same delusion that the college colors of Oxford (and Cambridge) colleges had some high heraldic antiquity (in the case of those that were founded in the Middle Ages). However, according to the website of the Varsity Shop (www.varsityshop.co.uk), they are the ones who devised the respective college colors in the 1850s. In other words, they are scarcely older than those of many American state universities!
     
  19. lasbar

    lasbar Senior member

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    I will wear an Oxford varsity rugby shirt without any hesitation...

    I'm just a sucker for a great traditional rugby match...
     

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