Opening Letters

COLUMN: A Fall Fashion Report: Everything’s Cropped

fashion trends are ever-changing, and lately it seems scissors are responsible

Laura Buchholz, illustrated by Sierra Lomo |

As fall creeps up on us and swimsuits vanish from the racks at Savers to make room for sweaters, it’s important to know what the cool kids are wearing so you can keep up with trends and pretend that your life still matters. Which is why I feel that I need to inform you that I saw my first man in a crop top on campus this week. 

Now, given that here in the Midwest, we are about six years behind the coasts with trends, I should hesitate to say this is cutting-edge style. But here, in the land where jean shorts and polo shirts endure with the persistence of a prehistoric crustacean: it is. And so, to that first masculine-presenting person in a crop top: I salute you. 

A day later, however, I realized that my glee at seeing someone who was masculine-presenting braving a midriff shirt on a casual stroll had to be tempered, and so maybe men’s fashion had taken a smaller step than I had thought. But still. Crop top. 

As I write this, students are only starting to move into their dorms, and so the full fashion report is TBD. But after this morning’s walk, I can add two mustaches and a man bun (can we still call it a man bun?) to the list. Also, on a feminine-presenting person: overall shorts. And while I haven’t yet seen it on campus, I know from selling on Marketplace that young people are buying vintage sweatshirts with little butterflies and flowers embroidered on them – sweatshirts that used to be the domain of 50-something third-grade teachers with helmet hair but are now the provenance of the super cool. Good to know.

But it was a trend, like this is a trend, which will also someday become stupid, but not today because the future is now. 

Laura buchholz

I used to have a pair of overall shorts in the ’90s. I wore them a lot. A LOT. I wore them until a guy I liked but who was too cool for me and would eventually go on to be on TV like ALL THE TIME, even now – a fact I wish I would have known before I decided to like him – said, “Wow, you really like those shorts.” And I don’t think I ever wore them again because I am 78% composed of shame – a problem that today’s youth don’t seem to have. Good for them.

A young feminine-presenting person whom I wrongly assumed was a student living in the dorms just came to my house in a nice Subaru (probably not a student, dummy!) to pick up a Marketplace thing, and she was wearing a yellow shirt. Is yellow a cool color to wear now? I don’t know. Maybe she was just wearing a yellow shirt. She graduated in 2020, so she certainly knows more than I do. In any case, she’s not yet old enough to be scorned for simply continuing to exist. I look to these people for clues. 

While I was scanning my environment the other day, I saw a masculine-presenting individual scooting up the very steep university hill on an electric skateboard. When I was closer to their age, grown men (persons) in suits were scooting to their Wall Street jobs on Razor scooters, and it was pretty stupid. But it was a trend, like this is a trend, which will also someday become stupid, but not today because the future is now. 

Get your scissors and cut your T-shirts in half. It’s a new day, and it’s time for a change.