By Elly Leavitt
Do you find yourself making daily pilgrimages to Starbucks for soy lattes? Would you rather give up your firstborn child than surrender your Lululemon leggings? Do the phrases “small liberal arts school in the woods” or “thrift store flannel” strike fear into your heart? If you answered yes to any of those questions, this may be a sign that you’re headed for a 14 on the pH scale. Through a strong Greek presence, die-hard football and party cultures, a love for all brand-name clothes or a campus-wide worship of Starbucks, these 10 colleges embrace the Basic in all of us.
With infamous campus-wide parties taking over on Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day (it’s called “State Patty’s Day” for a reason, people) and 89 fraternities and sororities currently active, Penn State pretty much embodies the antithesis of a small hipster school. PSU’s school pride prevails more on campus than Hawaiian shirts at a frat party. “Game days and sporting tailgates are a huge thing at Penn State and nothing will ever beat the excitement on campus on a Saturday football game day,” Penn State freshman Erika said. As far as the clothing goes, brand labels and Greek icons dominate. “If its rainy or snowy outside you can pretty much bet that every girl will be wearing Sorel or Hunter boots. You will see a lot of people wearing Greek letters or the names of various organizations on sweatshirts and tanks at the gym and also in class,” Erika added. If big schools and even bigger parties are your thing, be sure to check out Penn State for a low-key Basic environment.
If you want the stereotypical Southern school in a college town, look no further than Texas A&M. Think of Texas A&M as your typical football-as-a-religion, fraternity and sorority driven campus. With 58 Greek-letter organizations, the Greeks represent thelargest membership-based community. “Comfort Colors tee shirts, J. Crew and Hawaiian shirts are all the rage. Overly large sunglasses/t shirts, Nike shorts and yoga pants are considered a classic style,” Kevin, an A&M senior studying Engineering said. “No self-respecting Aggie would be caught dead without at least one of these articles of clothing displayed at any time.” If you don’t take your coffee with a spoonful of Basic, you should head to UT-Austin. “Starbucks is literally the most popular establishment in College Station. There’s always a line,” Kevin added. Keep your inner Basic constantly content at A&M.
When you think “LA” the first words that pop into your mind probably include quinoa, yoga and spray tans. So it only follows that a school located in the heart of the city would be the perfect haven for collegiates looking to embrace their inner Basic. With the option to choose between any of LA’s trendy clubs and the ever-present tailgating scene, Bruins know a thing or two about throwing down. With over 70 Greek organizations active on campus, UCLA embodies a basic betch’s dream. The fact that LA calls itself home to several drive-thru Starbucks establishments only makes that dream better. Bonus points for having easy access to In-N-Out, AKA the most widely-recognizable Instagram meal on the planet.
With 52 percent of undergraduate women on campus involved in Panhellenic, TCU reps one of the highest percentages of sororities in the nation. “Greek life is very prevalent at school. I think, especially for freshman, that Greek life is an important way to meet people and make friends,” finance student and senior Anna said. Greek life plays a big role in the social scene for the first couple of years, at which point students take advantage of bars like The University Pub and The Aardvark. Given the dominant football culture, tailgating tradition at TCU is practically a religion. You can see the southern prep vibe just by looking at students’ outfits walking around campus. “A lot of girls wear sorority t-shirts and guys usually wear a polo and shorts,” Anna continued. “We definitely don’t have a hipster vibe.”
While a lot of UCSB does the California surfer stereotype proud, a fair amount of Basic exists around campus, running rampant in the Greek system. Since Greek life is animportant part of the student culture, it’s fair to say that Cali Basics thrive at this school. “There was a point where I thought I might kill myself if I heard ‘Lean On’ at another house party,” pre-law senior Sherwin said. Pop open a Corona and float over to Deltopia, a huge party where students get wasted on the beach at UCSB. Coincidentally, Deltopia makes for the perfect backdrop for all those “candid-but-not” pics we love to hate. “Whenever there’s a nice sunset on the beach, I have to avoid Instagram,” Sherwin said.
For a small school, Wake Forest’s Basic level deserves the Starbucks Gold Status. With social life essentially dominated by the Greek community for the first few years and a love for all things preppy and branded, Wake manages to maintain the impressive balance between rigorous academics and a devotion to the Basic lifestyle. Alex, a sophomore politics and international affairs major, joked about the school’s preppy rep. “Students here like to brag that we’re the reason brands like Southern Tide, Vineyard Vines and Patagonia are still in business. Wake Forest might also be the reason that bean boots are on perpetual back order.” The Carolina Cup is an annual Mecca for basic betches to let loose and party in the best way possible. Event attendees come wearing their finest Lilly Pulitzer prints and floppiest sun hats to drink under the pretense of watching a horse race.
Tailgating culture? Check. Campus-wide addiction to overpriced leggings and sratty tees? Check. A vibrant Greek community? Check. “I think that we don’t believe that we have a ‘basic’ culture at UVA but we do,” commerce senior Haley said. Any school with a “guys in ties, girls in pearls” mantra is unapologetically Basic, and UVA makes no attempt to hide this in embracing its game day tradition, which dictates that girls wear sundresses and guys wear ties. Fashion takes priority, sometimes even over football (too soon?). “For girls, the UVA stereotype is a brand bitch. We’re talking Longchamp, Tori Burch, Lululemon, Chanel. To be underdressed is equivalent to sin. For guys, most wear backwards flat bill caps, Hawaiian shirts, or Vineyard Vines,” Haley said.
This big state school with an even bigger sports culture may breed Basics, but their school pride and loyalty goes unmatched. “People are hesitant accepting jobs that are too far from Norman for them to come back to the games on the weekends,” senior business student Jennifer said. Students love OU for its football team (ranked fifth by ESPN) and social scene, where 25 percent of students wear Greek letters. Spending their weekends at date parties and tailgates, some students even take to dressing like each other. “Style is pretty uniform here; big t-shirts, Lululemon leggings or Nike running shorts with tennis shoes are the norm,” Jennifer said. “I worked at Diesel over the summer and most people thought I was working at a gas station.”
UGGs and Northface fans, rejoice: If you suffer separation anxiety from your favorite brand labels, check out Michigan. “For girls it’s rare to see someone wearing bottoms that aren’t Lululemon leggings. Boys aren’t much more original,” international studies senior Jacqueline said. As a big football school—Michigan boasts the biggest football stadium in the world—U-M Basics know how to party. “Tailgates are huuuuge. People in Greek life get up at like 5 a.m. to start drinking,” Jacqueline said. Widely anticipated events include the Mudbowl, where frat members literally just play football in the mud. Speaking of Greek life, the University of Michigan doesn’t slack in that department. “They say only like 17 percent of the student population is in Greek life but it feels like it’s about 80 percent,” Jacqueline said. “Greek life people could definitely as a group be categorized as basic (obviously with exceptions).”
Located in a city known for its luxurious lifestyle, the University of Miami is the premiere destination for the most basic of Basics. “I would say Miami is very brand-oriented. I feel like the students tend to gravitate towards the luxurious lifestyle that Miami represents, which can clearly be seen by what they wear,” senior international affairs major Beatrice said. With major events ranging from the D1 football games and tailgates to the Ultra music festival in the spring (bring out the flower crowns), Miami offers its students several entertainment outlets to indulge their inner Basic. You might have seen the viral Delta Gamma recruitment video, where the sorority created a legit music video with the help of a special production company. Plus, it helps that Starbucks always lies around the corner to keep their pep up for any and all extracurricular activities. “There is always one student in class with a Starbucks coffee cup and depending on what time you decide to go there will be a massive line waiting for you,” Beatrice said. With luxury brands, over 2,400 students involved in fraternities and sororities and nearby beaches to ensure a 24/7 tan, Miami students know how to enjoy everything being Basic has to offer.