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The McKelvy House Scholars invite the campus to join them in a dinner discussion of “Fashion as an Expression of Identity” Sunday.

The meal will begin 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street. Marquis Scholar Briana Niblick ’06(Hatboro, Pa.), who is pursuing a civil engineering degree and an A.B. degree with a German major, and Charles Felix ’08 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a double major in biology and English, will lead the discussion at 6:30 p.m.

“Perhaps [the perception of fashion as an expression of identity] is the reason why we notice if a woman looks awkward in a certain dress or a man looks awkward in a certain suit,” observe the scholars. “Perhaps it is the reason why we notice if a man looks awkward in a certain dress, or a woman looks awkward in a certain suit. Unconsciously, we associate certain fashionable traits with certain people.”

Niblick’s and Felix’s discussion is based on the idea that fashion is strongly connected to identity and the perceptions of others. To begin an examination of fashion and its variations among social groups, the students offer the following questions:

  • Are current male or female fashion trends, especially those popular at Lafayette, reflective of an individual’s persona?
  • To what extent does fashion represent or misrepresent certain communities or social movements? Can fashion trends represent societal progress?
  • Are we, as a society, too obsessed with appearances? Are we too obsessed with plastic surgery? Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider plastic surgery? Or should we remain true to our “natural” state (the state in which we were born and that we would be in without any cosmetic changes, ranging from dyeing one’s hair or changing one’s sex)?
  • Most importantly, what are your opinions about current fashion trends? Do you think there is any relationship between fashion and identity for certain groups?

Links to suggested readings for this topic and more information about the McKelvy House Scholars program, as well as downtown Easton businesses, are available on the group’s blog web site.

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Weekly Sunday and occasional Wednesday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each person’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

Previous discussions:

Feb.19 – Social Darwinism
Feb.12 – Stereotypes
Feb. 5 – Reading as a Virtue
Jan. 29 — Sexuality
Nov. 20 — Value of Performing Arts
Nov. 13 – Blogging
Nov. 9 – Neoconservatism
Oct. 30 – Christian Right
Oct. 26 – Social Groups
Oct. 23 – The Shape of Things
Oct. 19 – Women in Creating and Sustaining Peace
Oct. 16 – “Slow Food” Movement
Oct. 12 – Hugo Chavez
Oct. 9 – Molecular Nanotechnology
Oct. 5 – Folk Music as Vehicle for Social Change
Sept. 25 – Freedom and Other Remembrance Issues
Sept. 20 – The Powerful Thrust of Language on Civic Arousal
Sept. 14 – Apathy
Sept. 11 – Why Do We Care about One Another?


Adam Glickman leads McKelvy House Scholars in a discussion of the darker aspects of humor.

Categorized in: Academic News