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Hot Tips: Grad Day Fashion

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By Eric Baskauskas & Brandon Kosters
Illustration by Eric Baskauskas

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for your whole life: snorting Ronald Reagan’s ashes off the bill of Spielberg’s baseball cap at the Oscars after-party, having just made history as the first male to win “Best Supporting Actress.”

Just a minute. Before you hit that point, you must formally accept your diploma from SAIC.

As you know by now, we’re all about subverting conventions here. “Exploring,” if you will. So much so, that we’re not required to wear the traditional cap and gown ensemble at graduation.

This raises two very important questions about your wardrobe as you prepare: 1.) “Is this too hideous and tacky?” and 2.) “Is this not hideous and tacky enough to look ironic?”

Dust off your propeller caps and polish up your ass-less chaps, and why don’t you have us sit in the dressing room with you for good measure? Hot Tips is gonna pimp your swag, grad-style.

ENDLESS SUMMER
Graduation is the first day of the rest of your life. Technically so is today, so that’s actually not a big deal. Show the world you’re prepared for what lies ahead by picking up some gray sweatpants at Target before the ceremony. Don them with your most prized T-shirt from 1997. Bring your own beef jerky.

PORK AND CIRCUMSTANCE
Speaking of beef, leave the meat suit at home. Lady Gaga’s trendsetting ways may be tempting to replicate, but beware: Graduation is being held in Millennium Park, home to numerous forms of wildlife who will peck you clean before you can say,“Here, kitty.”

WEAR DEODORANT
Ha! As if.

SHARE THE GLOVE
Don’t fret, there’s plenty of American Apparel to go around. If your friend already has the sheer neon green unitard, it’s okay. Step down the rack a few inches and grab yourself one in neon lime.

THE FIX IS IN
Your U-Pass expires three days before the ceremony, but that’s no problem for the proactive SAIC grad. We pride ourselves on our mobility. Bring your bike! Of course, it can be hard to slow down on those fancy fixed-gear cycles, so kill two birds with one stone. Show your parents and friends where all your rent money really went by riding that thing right across the stage to grab your diploma. It’ll look sweet tucked in the spokes as you ride to work at Starbucks on Monday.

MOUSTACHE? MUST YOU?
Yes, it’s very impressive that you can walk around looking like there’s a caterpillar resting on your upper lip. ’Staches worked great for Walt Disney and Hitler. So congratulations. You’ve joined the ranks of one of the most virulent anti-semites of all time. And that German dictator.

If your studio work has been so insipid that you can only be remembered for your facial hair, think more along the lines of a Colonel Sanders, or the subtler Rosanne Barr.

TOXIC
College is all about finding yourself. It’s not what’s on the outside that counts. Fashion is a mere symbol, a signifier of how you feel inside. Before you graduate, eat a pound of fresh-cut roses and bathe yourself in Britney Spears’ new fragrance, “Radiance.”

MINOR THREAT
Everyone knows that nothing says “I’m an adult” like one of those tuxedo shirts. They also know that nothing says “I’m young at heart” like a diaper. Avoid sending mixed messages and find a happy medium. Show off your youthful zest for life as well as your newfound secondary education wisdom by rolling across the stage in one of those human-sized hamster wheels. Any prospective employers in the audience will be impressed.

MAKE LIKE A TREE AND BLEND IN
So you’ve taken out so many loans to earn this degree that you have to forfeit a kidney to the black market, your first-born child to Satan,* and almost certainly the next 55 years of your life to Starbucks.* You basically have to attend this ceremony, if for no other reason than you may never again be able to afford to taste champagne. Or strawberries even, barring the conception of strawberry-flavored Ramen.

But all the pesky relatives. Those dweebs you’ve made a concerted effort to avoid throughout your stay here.

Adhere foliage to your collar and leafy branches to your sweater. Practice sustaining tree-like poses for hours on end. A yoga class may prove helpful.

Immediately after you’ve accepted your diploma, you’ll haul ass to the Lincoln monument in Grant Park, where you’ll pretend to be a fresh budding tree until everyone is gone. This may be the one situation in your life where an animal or homeless person urinating on you will indicate that you’re doing a good job.

*Supposing that the two are not interchangeable.

CERTIFIED ART BUFF
Soulless hipsters will crack jokes at your expense if you overdress. Remember to wear a smile … and nothing else.

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