Corrigan: I spent a day in college girl uniform and this happened


I stumbled across this meme the other day depicting a college-age male wearing the unofficial college uniform — leggings, an oversized T-shirt and a Polo canvas cap — and I spit out my Cheerios laughing.

First of all, I was shocked at how good I thought the guy looked in the typical leggings outfit, but mostly because the person who put this meme together shared my observation that this outfit has become ubiquitous among women on campus. 

Let me start by saying that I love the look. These girls have achieved a certain cuteness that I don’t feel that I’ve ever managed to harness. This cuteness stems from the whole “I just woke up like this” vibe. It’s like if the days of legwarmers and leggings paired with enormous chunky turtlenecks and the frizzy pube-like perms of the 80s (I’m looking at you, Molly Ringwald) had a baby with a middle-aged dad who takes the little league team to Pizza Hut after practice. That pairing shouldn’t work, but somehow, it does.

Now, I’ve been a jeans girl all my life. I’ll probably have to be cut out of my trusty, dusty Gap 1979’s once the rigor mortis has set in, so leggings are a bit out of my comfort zone.

Nevertheless, I committed to a day of wearing this college girl uniform, and these were my observations.

I own four pairs of leggings. These leggings are worn every day for one hour or so when I’m sweating and contemplating ending it all on the treadmill.

They’ve probably seen better days, but I’m broke, so these will have to do. I paired them with my dad’s T-shirt that I sleep in, and a pair of long turquoise socks. As for my hat, I had nothing that really fit the outfit guidelines. I’ve noticed that most of the hats are some faded pastel color, and many of them are Ralph Lauren Polo or Vineyard and Vines. Again, I’m broke, so I wore what I had. This happened to be a black, ill-fitting Dave Matthews Band tour hat of my mom’s that I was embarrassed we even owned. 

My initial thoughts were, “Wow. I’m so comfortable.” Swiftly followed by, “Oh no. I don’t have the right underwear on for these leggings,” and “Do they kind of smell like sweat?”

Nevertheless, I stepped out into the world with my Dave Matthew’s Band hat held high.

I fit right in with the rest of the girls in my class. The comfort of my outfit soon matched the comfort of fitting into a crowd. I felt like one of them. Nevermind that my newly purchased YETI thermos only had water in it: I had drank the proverbial Kool-Aid.

By the end of my day, I felt free. My legs felt ready to do a cartwheel at any moment. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself, mostly because I was wearing the unofficial campus uniform. I felt camaraderie with my fellow female campus students. For the first time in my 22 years, I fit in.