From fly to fugly: The Backpage style guide

Dana Thompson

Good Style

Fifi von Grotenboten is known around campus for her razor-sharp style. “I had this jacket made at a custom leather shop in Milan. I hand-picked the cow,” she boasts proudly in her trademark “trumpet with a stuffy nose” voice. “The top is made out of old curtains stolen from the palace of Versailles, and the miniskirt was a gift: from Madonna.” When asked about her cutting-edge boots, she looks slightly away. “I got them at, uh, Goodwill,” she says. I note that neither boot has a single scuff; they’re obviously brand-new. “Okay. OKAY!” she says. “I got them at Nordstrom, but you can’t be a real campus style icon unless you find something implausibly fashionable at Goodwill!” Bursting into tears, she runs off.


Neutral Style

“So, um, how long exactly is this gonna take, because I have lab in a couple of minutes, and I promised my partner I’d be there on time,” is the opening remark of Hector Clemons. Upon being asked to elaborate on his personal style, he gives me a look that can only be described as “quizzical.” I ask him to describe what he’s wearing and where he bought the various elements of his outfit. “Um, ok, well, I am wearing some tennis shoes from . . . somewhere . . . and some regular jeans, I guess, that I think my mom bought for me . . . uuhhhh . . . and I’m pretty sure I got this shirt at Goodwill or something. Oh, sorry, it’s a blue shirt.” He doesn’t seem impressed when I tell him he made a great thrift-store find. “Oh, um, thanks. I’m gonna go to lab now. Thanks. Um, bye.”


Bad Style

Wingdum Hasselbrand peers down at me from the tree in which he is perched. “Ba-GAAAAAWK,” he says in what is actually a pretty remarkable impersonation of a chicken. Upon being asked to describe his getup and how he composed it, he switches to his native tongue. “I’m wearing a pair of mini-lederhosen stolen off the back of a rare German leprechaun on my recent vacation to Sweden,” he says. “I am also wearing a cummerbund, an eye patch and a raincoat. I am currently barefoot.” When I ask him where he got these items, he looks at me as if he doubts my sanity. “A secret agent, a pirate, and Goodwill. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to ask these guys an urgent question.” And, switching back to chicken, he stealthily approaches a squirrel.