Sep 222004
Authors: Ryan Chapman

It occurred to me recently that my dad was right.

Not about mowing the lawn being a great way to build character and not about a dirt rub being the best remedy for an open wound. But rather that it doesn’t matter what your clothes look like as long as they are functional and efficient.

“Function before fashion, Ryan,” he would say, meaning, of course, to stop whining about the pathetically uncool outfit I was forced to wear.

This wisdom rang through my head last week as I strolled across campus and noticed how practically guys are dressing these days. (Note that I will be referring from this point on only to male fashion. It has been brought to my attention that I have no idea how to explain anything related to females and that trying would cost me any chance of a date for the remainder of my time here at CSU).

Take sweatbands for instance. Once a necessity only for professional tennis players and the occasional shooting guard in the National Basketball Association, sweatbands have become this season’s must-have accessory for male students. What could be more needed by the modern student than a way to prevent excessive sweat from leading to a loss of pencil control? I know I hate it when right at the most integral point of note taking, sweaty palms cause me to lose my grip and throw my pencil to the floor – so much for tidy notes.

Now some would refer to wearing sweatbands to class as “stupid” or “excruciatingly lame,” but my father and many other fathers would seem to see this as a simple solution to a common problem; much like the use of bleedings to cure illnesses in the Middle Ages.

Another clothing invention that has just recently become popular with function-minded gentlemen is the capri pants. Yes, I’m referring to the super-short pants made popular in the late ’90s by middle school girls, and no, they aren’t gone. Imagine for a moment having the convenient ability to wade a flooded river or dig up a few fresh clams all while on your way to composition class.

Also, the annoyance and aggravation of hot ankles is a thing of the past when you are sporting capris; your ever-important ankles stay cool no matter what the weather brings.

We don’t have enough time this week to delve into the plethora of advantages that go along with trends such as the rubber clog, the flipped-up collar and the ever-popular tongue ring. Fear not, though, as it is safe to assume that those standing strong in support of these fashion statements have little regard for how ridiculous they look and are interested only in the higher virtue of usability.

So the next time you see your friend’s new outfit and suddenly have a violent attack of dry heaves, I urge you not to chastise him relentlessly, at least not right away. Instead, remember what you have learned here today and be sure always to look for the positive even in the most heinous of fashion statements.

And look often to the one quote of our time that I personally will never forget… “Function before fashion, Ryan.”

Ryan Chapman is a junior marketing major. His column runs every other Thursday in the Collegian.

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