The Game: WTF Happened?

Those of you who spend a lot of time on Facebook or who have a large network of office worker friends who email humorous ephemera to lighten the day may have stumbled across a certain kind of meme known as WTF, which compare the past to the present, rather unfavorably to the former. Now it’s time for the Harvard-Yale version.

In 2011 Justin Earley wrote a piece for Handlebar Magazine on how the general decline of civilization is reflected in The Game, the annual Harvard v. Yale football rivalry, which is typically played in November. The game has been canceled for 2020. WTF happened indeed….

25 Comments on "The Game: WTF Happened?"

  1. That is not how the entire student body dresses. Go walk around tailgates and you’ll see plenty of tweed jackets, club/repp stripe ties, etc among current students and recent alumni. You might be hard-pressed to find any raccoon coats, though.

    Admissions to these elite schools has gotten more democratic, and as you let people in from different backgrounds, they don’t necessarily dress the same way that those who attended Yale in the 40s might have. Most certainly good for the school’s academic rigor, but clearly detrimental to its sartorial standards.

  2. Be interesting to see if the best and the brightest pictured in street sweats get us into another Viet Nam or devise Credit Default Swats the way the button down generation did.

  3. I find it diisgusting (as a 22 year-old guy) the way that most of my peers and the females in my demographic particularly, are carrying themselves and presenting themselves. Looking uneducated, and behaving in such a manner, are not frowned upon, but instead praised. I’m not saying that I don’t act like a young person, I certainly do stupid things too, but for God’s sake, act and dress like you care about yourself people; these kids, the-supposedly- best and brightest, look like they just finished casting for Jersey Shore.

  4. *disgusting

  5. Who wears a coat and tie to a football game? It’s about time “The Game” crowd began lowering their sartorial standards for a Saturday pigskin afternoon. Besides, who wants to spill beer on a beautiful Norman Hilton “Guncheck” sport coat, anyway? Besides, “Drew,” I really think the ‘Jersey Shore’ reference is a tad much!

    Also, “Credit Default ‘Swats’?”

  6. It’s almost as if these 18-22 year old college students don’t care about what some 30-50 year old niche bloggers and commenters think about how they should be dressing. How dare they!

  7. Bunty Mandrake | December 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm |

    I’m afraid I must side with Drew and Christian on this one chaps. My experience, as a 29 year old college student on his third degree, is that my fellow freshman really do not know how to dress appropriately for these most important of occasions. For Petes sake guys we are talking about tradition here! Last month my college had it’s annual slippery pig chase and I was horrified to see how many of these future lawyers, politicians and Bloggers were dressed in hooded sweats, denim jeans and sneaking shoes. A DISGRACE!

    …And to think that I was made to look a fool for standing at the side in my coon coat and smoking my pipe. If this were 60 years ago I’d be a KING on that campus!

  8. I’m not saying that coats and ties are necessary $Bill42, but look at the way the girls in the new photo are presenting themselves. Read the hats (trucker hats have a certain “trashy” image without the added text). These are students of Yale, supposedly one of the finest schools in this nation and globally, but they certainly look no more cultured, refined, or intelligent than the students of the community college where I grew up. In warmer weather it wouldn’t be a stretch to see these girls dressed like this:

  9. We’re not talking about the NFL here where obese middle-aged men go shirtless and paint themselves in team colors. A lot of people wear coat and tie to college football tailgates. Have you ever been to a tailgate before? This is not limited to Ivy League football by any means – go to a fraternity tailgate at a southern school and plenty of people wear coat and tie. I’m surprised that this is news to anyone.

  10. Indeed “the decline of civilization” is what it’s all about. The decline in sartorial standards is just one of the many symptoms.

  11. After reading the post &viewing the picture I laughed as I read the comments. I had the same Jersey Shore reaction when viewing the picture. But obviously whoever’s mother that is in the middle; the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. So I would not attribute bad taste as a generational thing.

  12. I really hate to condemn people on the basis of their attire. But, how standards have changed, even for church. The clergymen will say that they would rather have the people in church than enforcing a dress code, knowing more of the flock will stray. A local church has a sign out front, “Come as you are.” T-shirts and ball caps are the norm for all occasions.

    I was chastised in the 1980’s for wearing a navy blazer and khakis to work one day, too casual, they said. I remember going to the ballgame in a suit on a warm day in May. That day consisted of church, a nice lunch, and the game. A nice day all around. No wild behavior by any spectators that day.

    I’ve always thought people that dress like ladies and gentlemen will, for the most part, act like like ladies and gentlemen. If you look at U.S. history, even the poorest and most downtrodden immigrants tried to present themselves in the best way they could. Now, it seems the opposite is true. Look and act as outlandish as possible. Background and upbringing has nothing to do with it. Cheers!

  13. Although I do appreciate the humor in the post, I still don’t understand why people are getting upset. This is one picture of a select group. You could take a picture of the cast of the “Jersey Shore” and say “look how much the population of New Jersey has deteriorated” and it would be equally as stupid an argument. People still wear jacket and tie to college football games. It’s that simple. Hell, some people even work jackets/blazers (although without ties) to class.

    As far as “looking uneducated, and behaving in such a manner, are not frowned upon, but instead praised” – this is also not true of people at Ivy League schools. Complain all you want about the decline in style, standards, or intellectualism in overall American society, but I’d be willing to argue that Ivy League campuses are more resistant to these trends than almost anywhere else in the country.

  14. Forget about college. I attend a high school where I cannot where a simple button down and khaki pants without 20 people asking me what I am dressed up for. Nowadays it is almost socially unacceptable to look nice in an everyday setting, and the administrations want to enforce dress codes, yet preach being unique and having individuality.

  15. I agree with those who think it is not scandalous for students to wear sweatshirts to a football game. Hell, I’ll even admit that when I was at The University of Wisconsin my roommates and I would occasionally get breakfast on a Saturday at Mickie’s Dairy Bar hungover in our pajamas. But I agree that it would be great if people dressed appropriately for work, and it mortifies me when people show up to church in their shirtsleeves.

  16. FrationalBrohemian | December 11, 2011 at 8:14 pm |

    Getting sloshed on game day is nothing new. It’s just that the attire is generally worse now. But really, you’ll find poorly dressed Independents on even the best campuses.

  17. Regardless of whether it is the Big 3 or not, dressing standards have gotten extraordinarily casual across the board. I’m so over beards, distressed this, and vintage that. Most companies barely even have a defined casual dress code. My exceptional sales management instructor and author, Steven W. Martin, at USC had mentioned to not wear ties anymore on typical C-level B2B sales calls (typically with West Coast software and networking companies). So, my recent foray into traditional, dress, and Ivy style is rebellious and reactionary. After I started wearing bow ties and putting a little care in to what I wear, I have been garnering a lot of attention and compliments from my peers and instructors. It’s been my “cowcatcher”, “peacock effect”, and “pattern disruption”. Enough dumbing down for me… it’s time to dress smart and stand out as an individual.

  18. My company instituted a formal dress code in Europe two years ago; and it’s just a mater of time before it finds it’s way here in the U.S. Besides holding employees to a standard, a dress code can protect the employer if an employee suddenly decides to show up in a burka or some other offensive costume/dress.

  19. Working in the financial industry, our firm requires suit and tie at all times and casual Friday only means you can take off your tie. If anything more firms should be falling in line.

  20. “Forget about college. I attend a high school where I cannot where a simple button down and khaki pants without 20 people asking me what I am dressed up for. Nowadays it is almost socially unacceptable to look nice in an everyday setting, and the administrations want to enforce dress codes, yet preach being unique and having individuality.”

    -Yes, ‘Blake,’ perhaps you should forget about college….. Clearly, how one dresses is NOT directly proportional to one’s grasp of writing and grammar skills! I wouldn’t, if I were you, worry about your coat, shirt and tie selection for the day….Good luck in school, Blake!

    Furthermore, this “discussion” was supposed to be about the supposed and, “unfortunate(?)” decline of the presence of traditional Ivy Style while attending collegiate football games…. Hmmmm…..

  21. “Casual Friday” used to mean “wearing a sport coat instead of a suit is OK.” Now you tell us it means tieless? A suit without a tie is fine if you want to look like a pimp or a gigolo (or Tom Ford), but I think most men look much better wearing a tie with their suits.

  22. Wearing a suit or sport jacket without a dress shirt and tie gives off a very unkempt appearance. What’s the point of wearing a dress coat if you don’t want to look dressy? A golf jacket or sweater would make a more positive casual statement. With a tweed jacket, going tieless is possible with a nice BD oxford (collar open, with a tie in the jacket pocket, just in case). Adding a nice sleeveless vest makes the look better.

    A shirt buttoned on top without a tie looks terrible. Also wearing a suit coat with a t shirt or no collar looks even worse. Couple that with a 2 day stubble, popular in today’s ads, and you’ll look like someone from a 1930’s movie. I’m thinking of the movie Little Caesar, when Edward G. Robinson was on the lam at a flophouse, right before the police gunned him down. Or Jimmy Cagney, in the Roaring Twenties, at the end where he shoots Bogart and is ultimately gunned down by Bogie’s cronies.

    Maybe the girls love that unkempt outlaw look. I’m too old to know about that. Can any girl Ivys out there enlighten us on this?

  23. @Wriggles: I’m on board with you, but I think there is a bit more lee-way. I think a tweed jacket with an oxford looks good, particularly in situations where people are dressed casually (i.e. more casually than you). And I even think a tweed or blue blazer can work with a tennis shirt–sometimes–especially with khakis and penny loafers or Quoddys. Maybe that is best for a very young man or a quite senior man, someone who has a pass to dress comfortably. I am imagining a non-business setting, though. We should remind ourselves that a central part of being well-dressed is being comfortable. But in business settings, or at church, self-expression and comfort should yield to compliance with the norms. Well, the older norms, anyway. As for women’s preferences, the outlaw look has some weight. My girlfriend prefers that I don’t shave, for instance, even though I prefer to be clean-shaven. But one must still dress to impress. I think women appreciate it, even if they don’t go on record saying so. Thanks for your remarks. Cheers!

  24. Gabe,

    I’m pretty much on board with all you have to say, except this: “a central part of being well-dressed is being comfortable.”

    My only objection is what you mean by “comfortable.” If you mean that a man feels at home with himself and his clothes, then yes, that’s exactly it. On the other hand, if you mean “unrestrained by ties, belts, or tailored clothing,” then I disagree.

    But I’m pretty sure you mean the former and not the latter.

    The keys to looking good remain the same, even as fashions change: dress for the location and occasion, as well as the time of day.

    Which is what you were saying anyway.

  25. If you’re crazy enough to wear your finery to tailgating and the stadium– exposing it to booze, puke, and God-only-knows-what-else– then more power to you. Just please don’t think too ill of us mere mortals who limit our game day duds to polos and khakis.

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