Friday, 29 January 2010

That's what friends are for

Outside of the US, most people's knowledge of college sororities depends on how many times they've been able to sit through The House Bunny or Legally Blonde. According to Hollywood, sorority houses are filled with mean spirited daddy's girls who can't conceive of a world beyond their French tips.

So it's reassuring to discover that, for once, the dream factory is right on the money. It seems that sororities take the conduct, dress and appearance of their inductees far more seriously than any academic pursuits.

This week it was revealed by style website Fashionista that Cornell University's Pi Phi Sorority had issued a six page dress code for its pledges, to ensure that they arrived for rush week fully conversant with the dos and don'ts of student sartorialism.

As well as dictating what brands to wear or avoid, the briefing pack helpfully assesses each style sub-genre, incorporating 'casual chic', 'business casual', 'cocktail' and the bizarre-sounding 'skit and philanthropy' - helpfully explained as "brunch, somewhere cool and chic'".

Denim leggings are appropriate, as long as they're not from American Apparel, flat shoes are tolerated, and satin dresses should be avoided unless you have an eating disorder. Accessories are demanded, but the group's chair "won’t tolerate any gross plastic shizzzz... and demand(s) earrings if your ears are pierced".

Equally frowned upon are camel toes, ponytails and "fuck-me pumps" - so anyone styling themselves on the Pink Ladies need not apply. Strangely though, the brief also explains that the editor is 'weird' about watches. But don't worry, "I will have the time and will keep you informed." she adds. So that's OK then.

The Pi Phi website promises a chance to "meet our wonderful members and learn more about the values and experiences we've gained" as well as "the opportunity to make lasting joyous memories and lifelong friends" - despite the fact that this fashion guide is about as inviting as Warden Norton's welcome address in The Shawshank Redemption.

I guess the most we can hope for is that, as the old song goes, Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves. Because if this is what sisterhood looks like, they've really got no other choice.

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