Home / Baby Bows and Sorority Sisters: A Midwestern Fashion Faux Pas

Baby Bows and Sorority Sisters: A Midwestern Fashion Faux Pas

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As we age, there comes a time when it is necessary to pass the torch of things we once were to younger generations. (I'm 25 now, but I round up to 30.) Previous pageant queens relinquish their crowns to newer, shinier plastics, and former record holders surrender their titles to stronger, springier athletes.

It's a short distance between late-breaking story and yesterday's news. The older we get, the harder it is to be a headline.

Fortunately for me and my naiveté, it wasn't until my arrival at the University of Oklahoma that I realized this truism would soon apply to me. I hate to boast, but I feel you should know I was Best Dressed in high school. Hold your applause. I took my position quite seriously.

Throughout college I vigilantly maintained my unique, albeit impractical, personal style (and I ruffled more than a few feathers with said style, which is always a good indication that one's look is working). Despite my less than desirable fashion-locale (Shawnee, America = shopping-barren-wasteland), I kept up on the trends, and I graduated still feeling like a fashionista, regardless of my age.

That all changed when I came to OU.

Beyond the fact that I'm a haggard grad student now, and thus am too jaded and exhausted to care, I simply cannot keep up with the apparel of my Debutant Sorority Princess counterparts. These girls must shop 23 hours a day (the other hour being reserved for parties at the Fiji house)…and they most certainly have more cash to burn than I, what with their Daddy-provided expendable incomes.

Ahh, to be the offspring of a Texas oil baron. Louis Vuittons, Dior sunglasses, and UGGs (ugggggh) are a dime-a-dozen here. If you don't have these basic accessories, you do not register on the Fashion Radar. I — a former fashionista and Best Dressed title winner — have none of the above.

Therefore, when I waltz into my undergraduate Journalism History class (a course I now have to take as it was not required for my BA, which further supports my suspicions that I went to a pretend school), I drop my bags, silence my phone, and settle in for an hour and 45 minutes of Couture Research ala Undergrads. No, I do not pay attention in class; it's a 4000 level course, so it is my right as a Master's student to feel I am above listening to the lectures. Trust me; it's science.

Typically I marvel at the ever-evolving styles to be observed. I saw a girl in a magenta sequined-beret last week; I kid you not. The clothes kids are wearing these days are retro, throwback, vintage, not a bit sensible, and utterly fantastic. Most afternoons I lust over designer pieces I will never own, and I almost always leave feeling like I need a "come to Jesus" talk from the God of Fashion (Dolce or Gabbana; either one will do).

But last Thursday, as the lecture began and I thus prepared to zone out, I noticed something startling. As I scanned the room, a new trend was evident to me amid the sea of heavily peroxided heads of hair. As this new style seeped into my fashion conscience, I became quite deeply disturbed.

Baby bows. I saw baby bows. Pinned to the perfect quafts and intentionally messy ponytails were baby bows.

For anyone currently confused by this terminology, think of it literally. Baby bows are exactly that: bows for babies. They're tiny, cheap, cheesy bows that people glue to bald baby heads, presumably to alert the world that this slobbering bundle of rolls is a girl, and God help you if you call her a 'he.' (New moms are weirdly protective of their children's gender integrity.)

These bows are dumb and unnecessary for babies, as they don't make newborns look any less like pinkish old men. But for sorority sisters, they're creepy – and I mean creepy.

What kind of message are you trying to send with an infant child's bow stuck to your head? What twisted daddy-complex does that address? I also noticed some girls had branched out beyond the baby version, wearing the super tacky, cloth headbands that have giant bows on one side.

I wore one of those once – when I was 5. It was a fashion faux pas then; and if I were to wear one now, well, it would be an atrocity for which I would invite you to lock me up at Griffin Memorial and throw away the key.

Hold me to that, please. I'd rather be trapped in a padded room as a crazy patient than walking the streets as a fashion victim.

I was incredibly demoralized by this clear disregard for actual style. If Gianni Versace saw what I saw — Gucci bag and True Religion jeans topped off with a pink satin hairbow from Gymboree — he'd roll over in his grave, twice. I swear to it. There is no excuse for this trend. I bought into the return of fluorescents, and I'm almost on the plaid-shirt-dress bandwagon, but baby bows are an outrage and I will not stand for it.

Therefore, as I teeter on the cusp of handing the style baton to these young sprites, I've decided to hold my Best Dressed fashionista title for a while longer. It is a vital role being a trendsetter, and I just don't think these kids are ready.

In the spirit of being an inspiration to others, I've once again begun perusing the pages of Vogue magazine, and I've made return voyages to my old shopping stomping-grounds. This weekend I bought a dress I daresay I do not need (the rebirth has already begun). Until I see a complete extinction of the horrific baby bow trend, I will dutifully adorn myself in skinny jeans and Free People hippie shirts (and I'll carry my fake Louis Vuitton, but if you tell anyone it's fake I will cut you).

I have to do what's best for society. I have to be me, and I am Best Dressed 2002. Now leave your baby bows at the door.

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About Abigail Hess

  • Kelly

    I am an undergrad at OU and I just stumbled across your article. THANK YOU for writing this!

    The baby bow trend is terrifying, much more so than even the short shorts and faux-fur uggs in freezing weather.

    Thanks for adding some humor to my boring work day 🙂

  • Clarisa

    I go to Texas A&M (which has never been know for having any style or being trendy in the least bit) and I thought this horrific trend of sorority girls with baby bows was just here. It is good to know that I’m not alone. I too held a best dressed title and feel like I alone add flare and style to this school. Thanks for writing this article, you made my day!

  • Katie

    I am a sophomore at OU and was researching trends in sororities and came across this. It’s PERFECT for what I’m doing. I’m an art student and my next project is to come up with a propaganda strategy (think Obama’s HOPE poster as an example) and advertise it somewhere. I am creating a poster that says GO GREEK with all of the things girls in sororities wear, since it seems like in order to be in one, you have to own a North Face jacket, tights, bows, and uggs. Look for it in Dale Hall in the next few weeks! 🙂 Thanks for your amazing article! I agree 100%