Revamped, reinvigorated, and redesigned, the Brown Ugly Christmas Sweaters arrived back in the campus bookstore last week in what is sure to become the latest pioneer of Brunonian self-parody high fashion. Released now in September, the sweater is innovative, and quite literally ahead of its time.
Following the wild success of last year’s sweater—an awe-inspiring appropriation of secular Nordic imagery into tessellated arabesques reminiscent of early-Middle Eastern art—the bookstore released its new line that manages to incorporate the best of its predecessor’s themes while exploring a bold new frontier in maximalist iconography. In a wonderfully coy gesture, antlers and a red nose adorn Brown’s bear mascot, reimagining our vicious predator as a familiar and friendly spirit of the holidays. The work of a true genius, the sweater should be another triumph for the bookstore, a paradigm-shift in the campus’s sartorial sensibilities.
Perhaps in your rush to buy — if you’re into that kind of thing — your textbooks during the past couple of weeks, you looked at, tried on, or even bought some swanky new Brown apparel. And maybe, given this semester’s generally horrendous winter weather, you wanted to beef up the sub-arctic section of your closet. A Brown sweater or sweatshirt would be a great addition to your wardrobe, right? Well, as long as you can free yourself from paralyzing indecision over the seemingly unlimited options you have. Seriously, there are too many kinds of sweaters for sale, particularly crewnecks. We’re here to give you our favorites so you can cut through the Brown-themed clutter. Note: I’m a man, and, though I tried to keep this list as unisex as possible, but I apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge about the women’s section of the Bookstore.
10. Ralph Lauren quarter-zip. Death to this and its kind. This isn’t even one of our fake colors (see #8). I’m not at all a fan of the name-brand invasion of the book store (see: Under Armour). You’re paying upwards of $100 for a little white guy on a horse. If you grab some binoculars, however, you can see a Brown logo. I think.
9. Fake football jersey. Ok, I understand what the goal was here. You get to look like you just spanked URI in the Governor’s Cup, without the mud stains, concussions, or athleticism. The execution, however, is lacking to say the least. We were founded in 1764, not 17… 64.
A little known fact about Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri is that she is a Rhode Island native. Although she was born in London, Lahiri grew up in Kingston, RI, after her parents immigrated to America when she was two. Her father is a librarian at URI, and was seated front and center at her talk, hosted by the Brown Bookstore, on Sunday. The event consisted a reading from Lahiri’s new novel, The Lowland, which deals with four generations of an Indian-American family that moves to Rhode Island from Calcutta, and discussing her work with poet William Corbett. (Ed. Fun fact! Mindy Lahiri, the protagonist of The Mindy Project, is named after Jhumpa Lahiri.) Read on for a breakdown of what I learned from one of our home state’s most prolific contemporary authors:
We love the Brown Bookstore. Over the past few years, we believe it has tailored its selections to our needs and has become creative with its apparel offerings, both in terms of brands (read: Polo) and items (read: those badass blue sweaters with the large “B” on them).
We are very happy to help out the Bookstore evolve even further to meet the ever-changing needs of the Brown community through our First Annual Bookstore Poll! Responding to this incredibly short survey will help the Bookstore supply you with the Brown swag, gear, and essentials you need as a Brown student… and if that isn’t convincing enough, one lucky respondent will receive a $50 gift certificate to the Bookstore!
Think of this as your opportunity to let the Bookstore tailor its apparel and goodies to your needs. Fill out this survey to help the Bookstore make all of your apparel-filled dreams come true.
Alright, alright, Grandma, we get it — you want tangible, wearable evidence to prove that your grandchild goes to Brown so you can brag to all your friends in book club. You’re being annoying, but we totally understand…we’re kind of a big deal.
The pressure’s on from all angles to return home from school with tons of Brown apparel for everyone: friends, parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings, etc. In purchasing a gift from any college bookstore, three criteria must be met: The gift must 1) boast name of college (the bigger the better), 2) be practical and 3) tasteful. Although everyone (predictably) will want you to buy them a T-shirt or sweatshirt with BROWN plastered obnoxiously across the front, you should consider purchasing something a little more unconventional… because now you can. The Brown Bookstore has stepped up its game this semester and has a lot of new (and bizarre) merchandise for us to choose from. Here are some gifts that will render the recipient speechless and still satisfy our three criteria for purchasing college swag:
Because everyone wants a Brown student’s nuts… especially if they’re gourmet.
Last October, Jeffrey Eugenides ’83, author of Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides, published The Marriage Plot, a novel that follows Brown students from their 1982 Commencement through their following year in the harsh real world. Although the ensuing literary hoopla has subsided, I still haven’t forgotten the relatively extreme existential crisis the book triggered in me.
I’d picked up a copy at the Brown Bookstore and settled into a Blue Room sofa. As I flipped through the pages, moving through the Commencement-day flashbacks, it slowly began to dawn on me that I was messing with the fabric of time and space. I WAS A CHARACTER IN THE MARRIAGE PLOT EVEN AS I PERUSED IT. How did Jeffrey Eugenides know my life?
“Ok, calm down,” I reminded myself. “First of all, it’s set in the 1980s. Secondly, Eugenides went to Brown, so obviously he’d know the day-to-day existence of an average student.” But I still couldn’t shake the feeling he was writing about me. Consider the evidence: