With Fall, Students Turn Coats
Cooler Weather Replaces Khakis With Dark Winter Flannel
In the natural world, leaves turn color to signify the fall.
At Harvard, you can tell autumn is near when first-years shed their summer khakis and don darker winter attire.
College students are interested in rugged outdoor looks, said Gary Proulx, a manager at The Gap in Harvard Square. "Right now barn jackets like those in J. Crew are in demand," he said. "People are interested in traditional New England styles."
Big flannels, suede jackets and retro sweaters are also "in," said Carmen Carrasquillo, a sales clerk at Urban Outfitters. And dark fall colors like crimson and green are popular, said Chris Ells, a clerk at The Lodge.
But shunning the latest fashion trends, Harvard students from warmer climates seem to be more concerned with getting warm than being "cool."
And for those who are just entering their first Northeastern winter, the details of the warm-coat search can prove confusing.
"My brother took me to retail outlets in Maine," said Jimmy Quach '98, a San Francisco native. "As soon as I went in, I told the clerks 'I'm not from around here, I need help,'" he said.
Hawaiian native Wendy F. Hanakahi '98 went to New Jersey with her sister to buy a winter jacket. "I wanted to get my winter clothes when it was cold but not too late," she said.
"Students from warmer climates get cold faster," said Maura Brine, a clerk at James F. Brine, Inc. sporting goods. "A lot of students from California buy earlier (than locals)," she said.
"Companies were not prepared for last year's cold (winter) so we sold out of winter stuff in December," Brine said.
"This year local people don't want to get caught off guard," she added.
"Sales are excellent," said Eric Gray-Kennedy, a sales clerk at Structure. "It's getting colder earlier and we're meeting our sales goals."
Freshman Parents Weekend, coming soon, is also a boon to sales, said Proulx from The Gap. "When parents come, they buy clothes for their kids," he said.
But the coldest students from the warmest climates also have parents who live the farthest away.
Some unfortunate students who ended up in Cambridge unprepared for the early chills will get a boost--and some financial help--when they make their big purchase in the next few weeks.
The Financial Aid office offers the Winter Coat Fund to help needy students from warmer areas buy winter clothes.
The money for the coats comes from the Kimball Fund, established around the turn of the century by an alumni widow, said Menzel Professor of Astrophysics and fund administrator David Layzer '46.
"We've had very nice letters thanking the fund," he said. "Such a small bequest has done an enormous amount of good."