In this modern world of horrific warfare, partisan politics, and vitriolic campaign ads, seeing individuals and institutions suffer at the hands of unfair attacks has become an everyday occurrence. Such assaults on the innocent must be fought by those who are capable of providing resistance, and so today, I feel myself called to defend a recent, but vital, SMU tradition, one that is much belittled and frequently denied the respect it deserves. The poor, helpless victims in this case are the flipped collars of SMUʼs polo-clad population.
Surely youʼve noticed the phenomenon. And the first time you saw it, you were probably confused as to why an eighteen year old appeared to look as if he or she had gotten dressed in the dark. But upon closer inspection, you might have realized that the vertical collar had, in fact, been ironed and starched and- gasp- purposefully framed around the face like a light pink version of Count Choculaʼs vampire ensemble.
A lot of naysayers cringe at the flipped collar, seeing it as a return to the 1980ʼs. But nearly the entire undergraduate population of SMU was born during those ten years, so they canʼt have been all bad, right? Others decry the trend for being too “preppy,” but come on, is being crisp and put-together really so terrible? Conversely, Cosmopolitan Magazine advised its readers this summer to try flipping their collars to add “a splash of color around the face.”
Iʼm no fashionista, so when I defend the flipped collar, itʼs not due to my adherence to some stylistic principle. Does it look ridiculous? Admittedly, yes, it does; and anyone who says differently is either lying or delusional. But the next time you walk across campus, try looking at the flipped collar from a different angle, one that doesnʼt take this fleeting trend too seriously. After all, seeing someone sporting a popped collar is a lot like catching someone singing along to the radio in their car: it makes you shake your head because he or she is making a fool of his or herself, but ultimately, it makes you smile a little, too.
So to those of you out there who curse us collar-flippers for refusing to wear our polos like “normal people,” calm down and try taking the popped collar at itʼs face-framing value: itʼs just harmless fun.
Article by Gaines Greer ’05
Original Publication: 10/4/2004