Buckle up, y’all. This one’s gonna be a messy topic, and I’m not going to apologize for any of it.
Truthfully, this is not something I’m looking forward to discussing, but when addressing Southern culture, at least here in Auburn, this is something that cannot be overlooked.
Now that the weather is warm and beautiful, the spring clothes are coming out.
For the Northerners, it is still a lovely 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and that is a sign that spring is in the air.
In the North, when the end of May finally rolls around and we are granted those first beautiful rays of sunshine we break out our spring and summer clothes, too.
The professionals take off the pantyhose, but for most, pencil skirts or even pantsuits stay. When it gets really warm, we might have a sleeveless dress that goes to the knee.
For more casual affairs, we wear sundresses, flouncy skirts, and of course, the American staple: Shorts.
You’ll find all different kinds of shorts from jean, cargo, bermuda, capris – you name it.
You’ll see yoga pants in the dead of summer for those headed to the gym.
Aside from yoga pants or spanx for the exercising-lovelies, you may see a pair of Nike shorts or two.
That’s it. Just one or two.
Actually, before I came to Auburn I wasn’t aware those shorts had a name.
But my fellow Yankees, believe me: In other parts of the country, at least here in the South, these shorts have a name, and they have what seems to be a religious following.
I wish this was a joke, but, alas, it is not.
Here in the South, or at least the Deep South, females dress in Nike shorts, over-sized T-shirts or leggings with chacos or sneakers on a daily basis. The shirts are so large and their shorts are so short that it creates the appearance the girl or woman isn’t wearing pants.
This is considered a Southern “style.”
(Yes, every female I’ve encountered who wears this awful fashion combination calls it “style”).
Ladies, it’s not a style. It’s laziness, and it is something to be ashamed of.
I abhor this “style” so much, it makes me crinzge to have to capitalize the word “Nike” as if it has value or importance.
I am so embarrassed for those who are apart of this Nike/legging/huge T-shirt following. And when I say “those of you,” it is thousands of you. In the case of Auburn’s campus: You. Are. All. Clones.
For those who don’t know, I am not exaggerating.
If you have visited a college campus in the Deep South, a high school, middle school or even church this is the “uniform” you will see.
Take a gander:
That’s right. A big-ass T-shirt that barely covers your bottom, among other things.
I thank the model in this photo for lifting her shirt up to bare her goods, because I wasn’t sure if when she sat down she’d be winking at me.
For those of you that aren’t from the South and think this look isn’t a Southern one, it is.
First things first, check out the negative blog posts that have been done about the “Nike short epidemic” (Yes, this is what I’ve named it). From:
to Austin, Texas
to, yes, of course, Auburn University.
(Side note: Discussions from Northern schools about this are non-existent because in the North, we do not dress like this if we aren’t planning on exercising).
This last one from Auburn, isn’t a blog post, though.
This is a column that was featured in the official student newspaper, “The Plainsman” three years ago.
Like any newspaper, “The Plainsman” only prints what’s real, and what’s newsworthy.
A regular columnist and former editor for the paper, Kelly Tsaltas, wrote this gem about how the ladies and gentlemen of Auburn “can do better” by dressing themselves a little more nicely.
All joking and jeering aside, I found this post spot on.
She tore the beloved Nike shorts, XXL Tees, and Leggings as pants trends apart, and told Auburn students that it doesn’t take any longer to dress a little better.
I wholeheartedly agree with her, and applaud her for her bravery.
Unfortunately, I do have to say “bravery” because the response she received was unreal.
You can read about it in a follow-up article “The Plainsman” did just five short months ago here.
The article’s title, “Catching Up With Controversial Columnist” says it all.
This poor girl was victimized for speaking out against Nike shorts and the XXL T-shirts or leggings that go with them. If you didn’t read the article, (if you didn’t, you should. It’s downright fascinating and MIND-BLOWING at the hate this girl received), Kelly Tsaltas received personal attacks and even threats, including threats to her home address in response to her anti-Nike short column.
How UNBELIEVABLE is that?
That type of harassment is never okay, even if these girls were defending something worth defending, but no. They were screaming violence in the name of Nike.
In my opinion, it’s absolutely horrendous behavior, and I can’t help but be morbidly disgusted by it and the short itself for this reason.
With the hate this opposing girl received aside, we need to examine this fashion statement a bit more.
As we’ve already discussed, this horrid “fashion” trend generated here, and it is a current Southern female claim-to-fame. They are proud of this manner of dress, and they will shout it from the rooftops in happiness, or as we learned from Tsaltas, in blatant hatred.
To give them a chance to defend themselves, I’ve asked some of my fellow female Auburn students about their love of Nike shorts, and here’s what they had to say:
(Please note: Last names have been omitted for privacy purposes)
“It’s just always been the style,” said Marissa, a junior in psychology here at Auburn. “It’s uniquely part of our Southern charm.”
“Anyone else in the country who tries to copy the look is just copying us,” a freshman named Kara claimed. “If you’re not from the South, you wouldn’t understand.”
Well sorry, I don’t understand, and I’m alright with that.
First thing’s first, you guys need to WAKE UP.
You DO NOT look attractive.
You LOOK LIKE a circus tent.
But more than anything? You look SLUTTY.
That’s right. Come at me, feminists. I’m slut-shaming my own gender. (Kind of).
I asked a girl how, in the Bible Belt, where you’d think modesty is so important, any girl would feel comfortable wearing shorts to their butt.
Her eloquent reply was: “We don’t wear shorts to our butt. We wear Nike shorts.”
Oh. You don’t wear shorts that leave little to the imagination?
This is a photo I took two days ago at a baseball game for disabled children in Opelika.
THIS is how a young volunteer was dressed and parading herself around in the outfield:
“You don’t wear shorts to the butt” MY ASS! Pun extremely intended.
Y’all are looking like you are CONSTANTLY doing the “walk of shame.”
Ever heard of that? The walk home in the big over-sized T-shirt you had to borrow the night before in the aftermath of a one-night-stand?
Bada bing. You’re looking like a walking hook-up waiting to happen.
Good thing no females from Auburn read my blog, though, because if they did I might be more hated on than I already am for my Yankee-ness (see my post from last Thursday here on that).
My heart goes out to you, Kelly Tsaltas. It’s a shame you’re graduating. I would have loved to look you up and get some coffee or a bite to eat. I think we may have been fast friends.
Southern women weren’t the only ones I interviewed, however.
“When they’re wearing their Nike shorts they’re not in the best of moods,” said a Southern man who asks to remain anonymous because his sisters own numerous pairs in every color of the rainbow.
To his declaration about bitchiness and these shorts, I replied: “But they’re always wearing Nike shorts,” and he said, “Well… yeah. I never said those who wear them were nahce.” (Hooray for linguistics).
Nearly fifteen thousand Auburn girls sport this look, and that’s your general opinion of their niceness?
That has been mine for the most part, but this came from him, a native, not me!
I guess I’m not alone with thinking the desire to look like a hoe, act like a snob and look like a clone go hand-in-hand here at AU.
“I think Nike shorts look good, though,” this Southern gentleman continued.
“Do you think Nike shorts look good on the hanger or they look good on the ass?” I asked.
“It depends on the ass… honestly,” he said with a laugh.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse – it isn’t just the young and fit that wear these far-too-short shorts.
So do the middle-aged.
Take a look:
I took this on my way to class this morning. This woman was approximately 55-60 years of age, and she’s caught on to the trend, too.
I guess if you’re a Southern grandma, it’s alright to sport your short short Nike shorts too, just like your grandbabies.
The middle-aged mothers and older adults aren’t the only ones to look out of place with them, either. The girls who would be considered obese wear them, too. (I’ve thought about photographing that, but I didn’t want to be mean and judge someone’s weight on the World Wide Web).
For those of you thinking I’m already being mean by hating on these Nike-short wearers, I will admit I’m being a bit harsh. It’s been hard watching and hearing these sea of clones annoyingly giggle and defend their horrible fashion for the past three years, so I’m a bit fed up.
PLEASE NOTE: I recognize that not every single person who wears these shorts are bitches or stuck up. I do not judge you when I see you in a pair of Nike shirts and your big T-shirt. I may roll my eyes at the thousands of you in general because it’s just sad.
Haven’t you guys ever heard of something called individuality?
I’m serious. I thought our generation was all about “being our own person” and “fighting to express ourselves”?
How, when you look like a carbon copy of thousands of others around you, does wearing Nike shorts allow you to be your own person?
Sure, there are fashion trends that catch on nationwide. Uggs are huge up North. And I admit the same thing could be said for those who wear them. However, Uggs are just shoes. They aren’t an entire outfit.
It’s such a shame you guys feel you have to hide your bodies or individualities behind the same exact baggy clothing as every one else.
“You’re not from the South, so you just wouldn’t understand,” I’ve been told so many times.
Girls have also told me, “We wear this because we are so confident in ourselves. We don’t need to wear boob-hugging tops to show guys we’re attractive.”
Makes sense, y’all. So you just show off your snapper instead. Jesus must be nodding in approval.
“The Nike shorts are way classier than Sophie shorts, which you’ll see on WalMart.com” said Lauren Klepack, a fellow journalism student. “But Nike shorts just emerged within the past 5 or 6 years or so.”
Well lucky, lucky me. I arrived just in time.
At this point in my Auburn career, I can’t help but count down the days to when I won’t be gawked at for wearing my pantyhose and flats, jeans and cardigans or leopard print. I look forward to not hearing whispers of, “Wow, wonder why she looks different?” as I pass a soliciting sorority on the Haley Concourse. (Yes, that has occurred on more than one occasion).
The North is known for its fashion in places like New York City and other metropolises, but even in the more rural areas of Upstate New York we just wouldn’t wear this sort of thing and be proud of it.
Perhaps this contributes to my disdain for Nike shorts.
In all honesty, we wouldn’t be caught dead looking so sloppy on a daily basis. A hangout day? Maybe. But everyday? Not a chance.
Because of this, I have fun laughing at this Southern trend with my Northern friends while I’m home, but more than anything I just hope this Nike short trend is just a fad.
(I’ve heard they were popular back in the 70s and 80s… so the South’s behind the times. Go figure).
I hope that when I come back to visit Auburn in a few years, this horrible horrible style will be gone. I hope that when I return, I can be proud of Auburn’s appearance.
Have some self-respect, y’all. Showing that much leg is just as bad as showing a ton of cleavage.
I can’t wait for the day the Nike short is a thing of the past. I hope this day arrives.
Hopefully future Auburn students will demonstrate a little more class in their daily dress.
After all, first impressions mean everything, and if someone’s first impression of you is you in a baggy T-shirt that hides your baggy shorts, it’s not a good one.
Take it from someone who’s made a first impression of it herself.