For $50 You Can Buy …
Following on my “style for college students" post, I thought I’d suggest some "under $50" options that I think would work well for students. Above is what I sometimes wear on weekends if I have errands to run, but I think it can also work for someone in college. 
Shoes: The canvas shoes are a collaboration project by Billy Reid and K Swiss, and they’re on sale right now at J Crew for $30 (use the code OURTREAT). I think they work well with casual chinos and jeans. If you want other options, LL Bean Signature sometimes discounts their blucher and ranger mocs to about $50, and I think they can be worn with the same things. 
Sweatshirt: The grey sweatshirt above is by Onassis. The fit on their website looks skinnier than how mine wears, but perhaps they had the model size down (or maybe they changed the cut). Either way, it’s a decent, casual sweatshirt, albeit thinner than other models on the market. For other affordable options, check out Uniqlo and J Crew (the second of which offers them in grey and navy). J Crew’s cost over $50, but hardly a thing in their store doesn’t make to their end-of-the-season sales.
White tees: I usually wear my sweatshirt over a Levi’s 1950s pocketed tee, but those don’t seem to be online at the moment (they might have them in-store though). A similar model seems to be the pocketless version. If you wait, those go on sale for about $9. Hanes’ beefy tees are also good, cheap beaters. For more options, look into Alternative Apparel (which I know Jesse likes), American Apparel, Uniqlo, J Crew, and Velva Sheen. 
OCBDs: You also can pair the grey sweatshirt with an oxford cloth button-down, which in turn will give your collarline some more structure. The cheapest ones I know of are at Uniqlo, but Brooks Brothers and Land’s End Canvas will often discount theirs to about $35. Here’s some striped ones from Brooks now for about $40.  
Jeans and chinos: My preferred jeans are 3Sixteen’s SL-100x, which I think are one of the best values on the market right now. They’re expensive, but the fit and quality of the denim and construction are excellent. For something cheaper, check out Uniqlo’s Made in Japan line or Gap’s selvage jeans. For something cheaper still, Levis has a bunch of options, so long as you stay clear of any pre-distressed stuff. The non-raw, non-selvedge stuff won’t age as beautifully, but they’re also much more affordable. Alternatively, you can wear the above with Uniqlo’s vintage chinos, which are on sale right now for $40. Jesse has recommended them in the past. 
Belt: Finally, I bought the belt above for $20 at a local jean shop, but you can buy nicer belts from Voyej, Corter, and Don’t Mourn Organize.
The best thing about everything here is that nothing requires much maintenance. I know most college students don’t have time to iron their clothes, polish their shoes, or do any of the other recommendable things for clothing care. The stuff you see above are all items you can throw on, not pay too much attention to, and not worry if things get stained. These are the kind of clothes that look better beat up than brand new anyway. Pretty much ideal if you sleep in libraries, go to parties where cheap beer is often spilled, and don’t even own an iron. 

For $50 You Can Buy …

Following on my “style for college students" post, I thought I’d suggest some "under $50" options that I think would work well for students. Above is what I sometimes wear on weekends if I have errands to run, but I think it can also work for someone in college. 

  • Shoes: The canvas shoes are a collaboration project by Billy Reid and K Swiss, and they’re on sale right now at J Crew for $30 (use the code OURTREAT). I think they work well with casual chinos and jeans. If you want other options, LL Bean Signature sometimes discounts their blucher and ranger mocs to about $50, and I think they can be worn with the same things. 
  • Sweatshirt: The grey sweatshirt above is by Onassis. The fit on their website looks skinnier than how mine wears, but perhaps they had the model size down (or maybe they changed the cut). Either way, it’s a decent, casual sweatshirt, albeit thinner than other models on the market. For other affordable options, check out Uniqlo and J Crew (the second of which offers them in grey and navy). J Crew’s cost over $50, but hardly a thing in their store doesn’t make to their end-of-the-season sales.
  • White tees: I usually wear my sweatshirt over a Levi’s 1950s pocketed tee, but those don’t seem to be online at the moment (they might have them in-store though). A similar model seems to be the pocketless version. If you wait, those go on sale for about $9. Hanes’ beefy tees are also good, cheap beaters. For more options, look into Alternative Apparel (which I know Jesse likes), American Apparel, Uniqlo, J Crew, and Velva Sheen
  • OCBDs: You also can pair the grey sweatshirt with an oxford cloth button-down, which in turn will give your collarline some more structure. The cheapest ones I know of are at Uniqlo, but Brooks Brothers and Land’s End Canvas will often discount theirs to about $35. Here’s some striped ones from Brooks now for about $40.  
  • Jeans and chinos: My preferred jeans are 3Sixteen’s SL-100x, which I think are one of the best values on the market right now. They’re expensive, but the fit and quality of the denim and construction are excellent. For something cheaper, check out Uniqlo’s Made in Japan line or Gap’s selvage jeans. For something cheaper still, Levis has a bunch of options, so long as you stay clear of any pre-distressed stuff. The non-raw, non-selvedge stuff won’t age as beautifully, but they’re also much more affordable. Alternatively, you can wear the above with Uniqlo’s vintage chinos, which are on sale right now for $40. Jesse has recommended them in the past. 
  • Belt: Finally, I bought the belt above for $20 at a local jean shop, but you can buy nicer belts from VoyejCorter, and Don’t Mourn Organize.

The best thing about everything here is that nothing requires much maintenance. I know most college students don’t have time to iron their clothes, polish their shoes, or do any of the other recommendable things for clothing care. The stuff you see above are all items you can throw on, not pay too much attention to, and not worry if things get stained. These are the kind of clothes that look better beat up than brand new anyway. Pretty much ideal if you sleep in libraries, go to parties where cheap beer is often spilled, and don’t even own an iron. 

Style for College Students
There’s no kind way to put this: college students are some of the worst dressed people in America. I say that as man who has spent the last eleven years on college campuses – four as an undergraduate, two as a researcher, and five as a graduate student. This has been at three universities, but with many visits to other schools throughout the years.
To be sure, students are in a uniquely hard bind. They’re broke, very busy, and have little time for gainful employment. Not having a lot of time or money doesn’t lend itself well to picking up nice things. Plus, as a graduate student instructor, I’d rather see students spend more time on their studies than worry about what they should wear.
Still, dressing well in college isn’t that hard. Especially when the bar is set so low. So, in an effort to help students smarten up, I’ve come up with some tips.
Focus on Smart, Mid-quality Basics
The downside to being a student is that you’re broke, but the upside is that you can have a complete wardrobe with very few pieces. No need to worry about having separate weekend and weekday wardrobes; it’s just off to class and libraries for you. So, focus on buying mid-quality, versatile basics. Don’t go for anything too nice. Whether you’re getting straight-As or barely passing class, your lifestyle in college will be mostly rough on clothes and probably not very hygienic. Get things like decent jeans that can take a beating, or thicker merino sweaters, not thin cashmere-blends. Build your wardrobe off grays, blues, and browns, so things can easily coordinate without you needing to have to put in too much thought.
Upgrade 
The best way to not look like a college slob is to not dress like a college slob. Instead of graphic t-shirts, pick solid colors tees. Better still, try to wear shirts with collars, as they’ll help frame your face. Plaid flannels for fall, colorful madras for summer, and stripes year-round will help make those button-up shirts look less like office-attire. Long sleeve polos can also work, so long as they don’t look too fratty (I like Kent Wang’s). 
Instead of ratty or pre-distressed jeans, pick up a solid pair of dark, raw denim jeans that fit well. Levis is relatively cheap and easy. Maybe add a pair of chinos and corduroys too, so you have other things to wear.
Instead of college-branded sweatshirts, get merino sweaters. Club Monaco’s are pretty good on sale (they also offer a student discount year-round, which you can stack on top of sale prices). Cardigans can also work in theory, but they’re much harder to fit well than a simple crew- or v-neck sweater.
Instead of flip-flops and running shoes, get camp mocs, boat shoes, plimsolls, or desert boots. Clarks desert boots are a particularly good option if you’re on a student budget. You don’t have to put too much care into them besides applying some Obenauf’s LP for the beeswaxed versions or waterproof spray for suede, and the crepe soles will be comfortable for long-walks. Jesse has some other suggestions here as well.
Finally, there’s no alternative to cargo shorts, sweatpants, or basketball shorts. You just have to stop wearing those (unless, you know, you’re exercising or playing basketball).
Don’t Overdress
I know this site is often about sport coats and ties, but unless you’re a member of the Model United Nations or College Republicans, I encourage you to not wear ties as a college student. There are some campuses where this is normal, and you’ll know when you’re at one, but for everywhere else, you’ll just look out of place and over-dressed. For many campuses, sport coats may also make you stick out in a bad way.
If you really want to wear a sport coat, tweeds and corduroys can look a bit more natural on a college campus. For everyone else, I encourage reaching for more causal options. A vintage peacoat can be had for $50-75 through eBay, Vintage Trends, or a local thrift store. You can use this guide to help date your peacoat finds. For something new, check Fidelity.
There are also some go-to brands for decent, cheap(ish) outerwear. LL Bean Signature, Land’s End Canvas, and J Crew can be workable once they have their end-of-the-season sales (when things will be discounted 50-75%). J Crew also has a student discount, but only for in-store purchases. Additionally, Land’s End mainline is probably be less well-suited for a younger person, but this oilcloth jacket might be a good Barbour alternative. It can be had for under $100 if you wait for the right coupon codes. You can read Broke & Bespoke for a review. Lastly, Ben Sherman’s Harringtons can also be had through eBay for about $80.
And the Standard Advice
Add to this the standard advice.
Learn how clothes should fit. We have a few guides you can read through here. You have more wiggle room as a young, college student, but avoid things that are skin-tight or overly baggy.
Find a good alterations tailor and bring as much as you can to them. There are very few things a good alterations tailor can’t improve.
Make a wish list and tightly edit it. Make sure you’re building a wardrobe, and not just a collection of outfits. If something doesn’t mesh well with the other things you plan on buying, strike it off your list.
Set a budget and shop slowly. Especially at this age, your tastes can change rapidly, and if you buy everything now, you may find yourself regretting it next semester.
(Photo by John Morgan)

Style for College Students

There’s no kind way to put this: college students are some of the worst dressed people in America. I say that as man who has spent the last eleven years on college campuses – four as an undergraduate, two as a researcher, and five as a graduate student. This has been at three universities, but with many visits to other schools throughout the years.

To be sure, students are in a uniquely hard bind. They’re broke, very busy, and have little time for gainful employment. Not having a lot of time or money doesn’t lend itself well to picking up nice things. Plus, as a graduate student instructor, I’d rather see students spend more time on their studies than worry about what they should wear.

Still, dressing well in college isn’t that hard. Especially when the bar is set so low. So, in an effort to help students smarten up, I’ve come up with some tips.

Focus on Smart, Mid-quality Basics

The downside to being a student is that you’re broke, but the upside is that you can have a complete wardrobe with very few pieces. No need to worry about having separate weekend and weekday wardrobes; it’s just off to class and libraries for you. So, focus on buying mid-quality, versatile basics. Don’t go for anything too nice. Whether you’re getting straight-As or barely passing class, your lifestyle in college will be mostly rough on clothes and probably not very hygienic. Get things like decent jeans that can take a beating, or thicker merino sweaters, not thin cashmere-blends. Build your wardrobe off grays, blues, and browns, so things can easily coordinate without you needing to have to put in too much thought.

Upgrade

The best way to not look like a college slob is to not dress like a college slob. Instead of graphic t-shirts, pick solid colors tees. Better still, try to wear shirts with collars, as they’ll help frame your face. Plaid flannels for fall, colorful madras for summer, and stripes year-round will help make those button-up shirts look less like office-attire. Long sleeve polos can also work, so long as they don’t look too fratty (I like Kent Wang’s). 

Instead of ratty or pre-distressed jeans, pick up a solid pair of dark, raw denim jeans that fit well. Levis is relatively cheap and easy. Maybe add a pair of chinos and corduroys too, so you have other things to wear.

Instead of college-branded sweatshirts, get merino sweaters. Club Monaco’s are pretty good on sale (they also offer a student discount year-round, which you can stack on top of sale prices). Cardigans can also work in theory, but they’re much harder to fit well than a simple crew- or v-neck sweater.

Instead of flip-flops and running shoes, get camp mocs, boat shoes, plimsolls, or desert boots. Clarks desert boots are a particularly good option if you’re on a student budget. You don’t have to put too much care into them besides applying some Obenauf’s LP for the beeswaxed versions or waterproof spray for suede, and the crepe soles will be comfortable for long-walks. Jesse has some other suggestions here as well.

Finally, there’s no alternative to cargo shorts, sweatpants, or basketball shorts. You just have to stop wearing those (unless, you know, you’re exercising or playing basketball).

Don’t Overdress

I know this site is often about sport coats and ties, but unless you’re a member of the Model United Nations or College Republicans, I encourage you to not wear ties as a college student. There are some campuses where this is normal, and you’ll know when you’re at one, but for everywhere else, you’ll just look out of place and over-dressed. For many campuses, sport coats may also make you stick out in a bad way.

If you really want to wear a sport coat, tweeds and corduroys can look a bit more natural on a college campus. For everyone else, I encourage reaching for more causal options. A vintage peacoat can be had for $50-75 through eBay, Vintage Trends, or a local thrift store. You can use this guide to help date your peacoat finds. For something new, check Fidelity.

There are also some go-to brands for decent, cheap(ish) outerwear. LL Bean Signature, Land’s End Canvas, and J Crew can be workable once they have their end-of-the-season sales (when things will be discounted 50-75%). J Crew also has a student discount, but only for in-store purchases. Additionally, Land’s End mainline is probably be less well-suited for a younger person, but this oilcloth jacket might be a good Barbour alternative. It can be had for under $100 if you wait for the right coupon codes. You can read Broke & Bespoke for a review. Lastly, Ben Sherman’s Harringtons can also be had through eBay for about $80.

And the Standard Advice

Add to this the standard advice.

  • Learn how clothes should fit. We have a few guides you can read through here. You have more wiggle room as a young, college student, but avoid things that are skin-tight or overly baggy.
  • Find a good alterations tailor and bring as much as you can to them. There are very few things a good alterations tailor can’t improve.
  • Make a wish list and tightly edit it. Make sure you’re building a wardrobe, and not just a collection of outfits. If something doesn’t mesh well with the other things you plan on buying, strike it off your list.
  • Set a budget and shop slowly. Especially at this age, your tastes can change rapidly, and if you buy everything now, you may find yourself regretting it next semester.

(Photo by John Morgan)

On Writing and Dressing Well
For my day job, I teach college courses on economic development. My students are smart, but many come to college not knowing how to write a basic paper. I get paid to teach them about development, not English, but in the course of reading so many students’ essays, I’ve come up with a few ideas on how they can generally improve their writing. I think some of the same lessons can be insightful for those interested in dressing as well.
Let’s start with what’s wrong with their papers. Students often abuse thesauruses and write long, needless sentences, many of which are not arranged in any coherent order. Their papers frequently lack theses, and when there is one, it’s unclear how each part supports their conclusion. 
My general idea is that students can improve if they just write simply and unpretentiously, erring on the side of clarity. Two strategies would be to use shorter sentences and edit things down as tightly as possible. They should also avoid using fancy words to dress up their prose and instead focus on communicating a strong, central idea. Simplicity, clarity, and coherency. Have one meaningful thing to say and say it well. 
The basic principles for dressing are similar. Of course, some men should just pull up their pants and wear jackets that fit. Among men who already put in effort, however, most would fare better by not trying so hard to look “stylish.” Not unlike students who try to force sounding sophisticated, these men should strip away needless details and accoutrements. Tightly edit things down, use simple garments, and express one idea. 
They should also ensure that there’s some coherency and harmony. Wearing avant-garde designer sweaters with traditionally tailored sport coats, for example, doesn’t work. Nor do denim trucker jackets with neckties, frankly. It’s important to keep things in-synch by sticking within the same aesthetic family, seasonal mood, and level of formality. This is the sartorial equivalent of supporting a thesis.
Of course, there are many men who are incredibly stylish and break all sorts of these “rules.” Hirofumi Kurino and Yasuto Kamoshita, both of whom work for United Arrows, are two perfect examples. Dressing is also more of an art than writing about social theories, so there’s more room for creative license. 
However, if you’re a novice, I think you would do better by taking the basic approach to dressing. Rely on simple things, edit things down tightly, and make sure each piece supports another in some harmonious manner. Maybe that’s a madras shirt, khaki linen pants, and brown leather loafers for a causal summer weekend. Or it’s a navy suit, white shirt, black grenadine tie, and black oxford shoes for an evening charity event. Whatever it is, have a thesis and express it clearly and concisely. You can, of course, one day move to more creative forms of expressing yourself, but not before you’ve learned how to write a basic paper. 
* Special thanks to Stephen for helping me edit this article.

On Writing and Dressing Well

For my day job, I teach college courses on economic development. My students are smart, but many come to college not knowing how to write a basic paper. I get paid to teach them about development, not English, but in the course of reading so many students’ essays, I’ve come up with a few ideas on how they can generally improve their writing. I think some of the same lessons can be insightful for those interested in dressing as well.

Let’s start with what’s wrong with their papers. Students often abuse thesauruses and write long, needless sentences, many of which are not arranged in any coherent order. Their papers frequently lack theses, and when there is one, it’s unclear how each part supports their conclusion. 

My general idea is that students can improve if they just write simply and unpretentiously, erring on the side of clarity. Two strategies would be to use shorter sentences and edit things down as tightly as possible. They should also avoid using fancy words to dress up their prose and instead focus on communicating a strong, central idea. Simplicity, clarity, and coherency. Have one meaningful thing to say and say it well. 

The basic principles for dressing are similar. Of course, some men should just pull up their pants and wear jackets that fit. Among men who already put in effort, however, most would fare better by not trying so hard to look “stylish.” Not unlike students who try to force sounding sophisticated, these men should strip away needless details and accoutrements. Tightly edit things down, use simple garments, and express one idea. 

They should also ensure that there’s some coherency and harmony. Wearing avant-garde designer sweaters with traditionally tailored sport coats, for example, doesn’t work. Nor do denim trucker jackets with neckties, frankly. It’s important to keep things in-synch by sticking within the same aesthetic family, seasonal mood, and level of formality. This is the sartorial equivalent of supporting a thesis.

Of course, there are many men who are incredibly stylish and break all sorts of these “rules.” Hirofumi Kurino and Yasuto Kamoshita, both of whom work for United Arrows, are two perfect examples. Dressing is also more of an art than writing about social theories, so there’s more room for creative license. 

However, if you’re a novice, I think you would do better by taking the basic approach to dressing. Rely on simple things, edit things down tightly, and make sure each piece supports another in some harmonious manner. Maybe that’s a madras shirt, khaki linen pants, and brown leather loafers for a causal summer weekend. Or it’s a navy suit, white shirt, black grenadine tie, and black oxford shoes for an evening charity event. Whatever it is, have a thesis and express it clearly and concisely. You can, of course, one day move to more creative forms of expressing yourself, but not before you’ve learned how to write a basic paper. 

* Special thanks to Stephen for helping me edit this article.

Q and Answer
Sam writes:
Having (relatively) recently graduated high school, I have decided that I have crossed the threshold into adulthood, and I would like to dress the part. However, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been wearing graphic t-shirts and the same five or six pairs of jeans which are covered in god-knows-what of irremovable stains.
 During what I want to say was August, a French Connection retailer was having an end of summer sale, so I grabbed a white oxford and some pinstripe slacks which I have fallen in love with and want every excuse to wear.  Now, I am at a point where I don’t know what my next purchase should be. I can’t buy an entire ensemble due to my lack of funds, but I want to make one solid purchase. Something that will be that one bridge from my adolescence pile of clothes to a gentleman’s wardrobe.
First of all, you’re still college aged.  There’s no need to be Alex P. Keaton and wear a suit to class.
I’d focus on upgrading your casual wardrobe.  Don’t wear stained clothes.  Whatever clothes you have that have stains, give them to the goodwill or use them as rags.  Get yourself something plain that fits, even if it’s some t-shirts from Target.  Get yourself a decent pair of blue jeans - Levi’s 514s or 501 shrink-to-fits are a good starting point.  Maybe a pair of slim-fitting J. Crew or Canvas chinos.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Pinstripe pants are incredibly difficult to wear.  For one thing, pinstripes are traditionally a business pattern.  For another, they’re traditionally limited to suits.  So pinstripe odd trousers are very limiting.
Focus your money on flexible basics.  Oxfords are great.  So are solid color t-shirts.  Good blue jeans.  Converse Jack Purcells.  Get to the other stuff once you have a foundation.

Q and Answer

Sam writes:

Having (relatively) recently graduated high school, I have decided that I have crossed the threshold into adulthood, and I would like to dress the part. However, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been wearing graphic t-shirts and the same five or six pairs of jeans which are covered in god-knows-what of irremovable stains.

During what I want to say was August, a French Connection retailer was having an end of summer sale, so I grabbed a white oxford and some pinstripe slacks which I have fallen in love with and want every excuse to wear.  Now, I am at a point where I don’t know what my next purchase should be. I can’t buy an entire ensemble due to my lack of funds, but I want to make one solid purchase. Something that will be that one bridge from my adolescence pile of clothes to a gentleman’s wardrobe.

First of all, you’re still college aged.  There’s no need to be Alex P. Keaton and wear a suit to class.

I’d focus on upgrading your casual wardrobe.  Don’t wear stained clothes.  Whatever clothes you have that have stains, give them to the goodwill or use them as rags.  Get yourself something plain that fits, even if it’s some t-shirts from Target.  Get yourself a decent pair of blue jeans - Levi’s 514s or 501 shrink-to-fits are a good starting point.  Maybe a pair of slim-fitting J. Crew or Canvas chinos.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pinstripe pants are incredibly difficult to wear.  For one thing, pinstripes are traditionally a business pattern.  For another, they’re traditionally limited to suits.  So pinstripe odd trousers are very limiting.

Focus your money on flexible basics.  Oxfords are great.  So are solid color t-shirts.  Good blue jeans.  Converse Jack Purcells.  Get to the other stuff once you have a foundation.

Q&A!
Over on the MaxFunForum, woodysallen asks:
 I’m the guy who has a tendency to think he looks great walking out the door and when I arrive to class have people ask “what’s the special occasion?” or “why so dressed up?” and then I feel like an asshole. should I worry about that, or just feel proud that Im the only one who’s actually yearning to look nice/dress his age.
I don’t know exactly how old you are, woody, but this is certainly a problem for the budding style maven — and the grown-up one, for that matter.
The key issue here is that men’s dress is ceremonial, and always hinges on the occasion.  The meaning of your clothes is as much about context as it is about the clothes themselves.  This is particularly true for young people.  Why do goths wear black?  It’s not functional, it’s symbolic.  Just like when Alex P. Keaton wore a necktie.
When you’re in high school and college, most of your peers will assume you’re trying to send a message with your clothes.  “Neutrality” of style may vary depending on where you are — at my school is it was a slovenly version of indie rock style, at yours it may be an American Eagle polo and shorts.  Dress differently, and you’re sending a message, whether that’s your intent or not.
Choose your clothes based on the message you want to send, and understand that if you show up at high school in a coat and tie, people will think you are trying to send the message you’re better than them or more adult than you are.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up when the occasion warrants, or that you can’t dress sharply at any level of formality.  It doesn’t even mean that you won’t, from time to time, hear “what’s the occasion?”  But when you do hear that question, you should have an answer.

Q&A!

Over on the MaxFunForum, woodysallen asks:

I’m the guy who has a tendency to think he looks great walking out the door and when I arrive to class have people ask “what’s the special occasion?” or “why so dressed up?” and then I feel like an asshole. should I worry about that, or just feel proud that Im the only one who’s actually yearning to look nice/dress his age.


I don’t know exactly how old you are, woody, but this is certainly a problem for the budding style maven — and the grown-up one, for that matter.

The key issue here is that men’s dress is ceremonial, and always hinges on the occasion.  The meaning of your clothes is as much about context as it is about the clothes themselves.  This is particularly true for young people.  Why do goths wear black?  It’s not functional, it’s symbolic.  Just like when Alex P. Keaton wore a necktie.

When you’re in high school and college, most of your peers will assume you’re trying to send a message with your clothes.  “Neutrality” of style may vary depending on where you are — at my school is it was a slovenly version of indie rock style, at yours it may be an American Eagle polo and shorts.  Dress differently, and you’re sending a message, whether that’s your intent or not.

Choose your clothes based on the message you want to send, and understand that if you show up at high school in a coat and tie, people will think you are trying to send the message you’re better than them or more adult than you are.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up when the occasion warrants, or that you can’t dress sharply at any level of formality.  It doesn’t even mean that you won’t, from time to time, hear “what’s the occasion?”  But when you do hear that question, you should have an answer.