Dare to be different when dressing for class

UK boasts one of the most diverse communities in the state. However, is that diversity apparent when walking around? Ethnically and culturally yes, but stylistically not so much. In fact, many of UK’s own have subconsciously boxed themselves in with very little room for growth.

It’s called the “UK uniform” and if you look around, you will see it every day. While slightly different versions of the same thing, when the seasons change and outfits rearrange, the safety zone is never left to reach fashion diversity. Therefore, what constitutes the UK Uniform?

Let’s start with the fellas:

The summer sun shines bright on our old Kentucky home, so dressing temperature appropriate is key. The UK uniform’s unspoken guidelines mandate one of two shoes should be worn: Chaco’s, or Sperry’s. No sock’s necessary for these bad boys — better to let it all air out.

Moving upward, the uniform insists that khaki shorts are the move. Slightly too short for comfort, the brand isn’t important, but the fit is. But, what do you wear to accompany this getup? The choices may overwhelm you.

If a T-shirt is a must, then something relevant is important. Anything UK is good, anything with the letters of your favorite fraternity, better. If you’re looking to impress, pick a polo. Any polo, as long as Polo Ralph Lauren makes it. Or, if you’re out on the town, when choosing a button up — but it better be Polo — keep in mind the fit.

Kentucky summers are hot so the shirt should be loose and only slightly too long. My theory; the length of your shirt should make up for the lack of length in your shorts.

When the seasons change so do the styles — for better or for worse. As the temperature drops the fellas retire their Chaco’s and welcome their Duck Boots. Often tied too tightly: because you never know when you’ll need to sprint, these shoes signify the official advent of autumn. Add a little length to those khakis, trading in the shorts for pants, and the sartorial mastery continues.

Fit is still key as it is important not to wear anything too tight. Think, “what kind of khakis would my dad wear,” then go get a pair. Loose fitting and long, they usually cover the majority of the Duck Boots rendering them useless in keeping you dry. Now throw on your favorite black North Face full zip, or a half zip sweater and the world is yours.

Let’s not forget the ladies:

With all the summer heat surely girls want to bring their “A” game, right? So, what should they wear? Luckily Chaco’s come in women’s styles too.

When feeling sporty throw on your favorite pair of leopard print Nike Free’s. You will also find the ladies sporting Nike running shorts, because the summer heat can make an afternoon stroll feel like a half marathon. Couple this with an over-sized T-shirt — UK or Greek themed are ideal — and the outfit is golden.

When it’s game day in the Bluegrass, the cowgirl boots come out. Blue dresses and red lipstick complete the day’s outfit. Don’t get me wrong, this game day tradition can be a beautiful thing, but is it too much to ask for a little variety?

Unfortunately, UK summer style can’t last forever.

Ladies like to switch it up a little more than the men in seasons, but the uniform is still very much alive. Come autumn, duck boots take over campus, but so do knee high brown boots and Hunter rain boots. Couple any of the aforementioned footwear with a pair of black leggings and an oversized sweatshirt and you’ve done it. If you’re really feeling frisky throw on a scarf — because it gets chilly out there – and brace yourself for compliments aplenty.

However, UK isn’t a catholic high school, so why do so many students wear the same thing? Pride? Tradition? Lack of creativity? You decide, but one thing is for certain, there is definitely an unspoken UK uniform. Don’t take it from me, look around the next time you’re on campus. Maybe check your own closet and ask yourself, do I just want to fit in?

College is supposed to be about paving your own way and defining your own style, not going with the flow. So, my challenge to the UK uninformed students is this: try something new. Push the envelope a little bit and do it with confidence. You’re only young once and believe me; you have the rest of your life to embrace the mundane and un-imaginary. Be bold.

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