It feels like just yesterday that we were all wearing jean skirts, and rocking out to Sean Paul’s “Temperature,” but as it turns out, those days are long gone. It’s been a full decade since headbands, tiny Abercrombie ruffle skirts and tank tops with bows on the shoulders were the norm. And while we know the fashion choices have changed since the days of yore, two of our writers Veronica Ruckh (the moldy oldy) and Cristina Montemayor, the newest (and youngest) full-time additon to our team decided to delve into the differences sororities have undergone over the past ten years.
2006: I mostly dressed up for class. I had my days where I looked like absolute trash — definitely on exam days — but I hid from the world and made sure I didn’t have letters anywhere on my person so as not to humiliate myself or my chapter with my ratchet-ness. Someone looking like shit in class (and in letters!) was considered disrespectful to your chapter — mainly because if people thought your sorority was a bunch of hobos, you could hurt the chapter’s reputation. In the spring, we wore sundresses. In the fall and winter, we wore leggings, and sweaters. We almost never left the house without makeup, and even if it was a “hat day,” we tried to style our hair at least slightly beneath the hat.
2016: I’ve literally never worn a dress to class. I don’t even think I’ve ever worn jeans. Every sorority girl’s uniform is a t-shirt with letters on it, norts, and either jesus sandals or tennis shoes. The bigger the t-shirt, the better. In the colder months, we trade in our norts for leggings and riding boots. Hair is pulled back into a messy bun and makeup is either from last night or not there at all.
2006: Email was our main form of communication with the chapter. Facebook groups had not yet been popularized, so it was the only way to get messages out quickly. Unsurprisingly, we had about a million a day. Some were formal, but most were jokes to dog on each other. I think I addressed my entire chapter as “slamwhores” once in an email about t-shirts, and I distinctly recall an infamous subject line: “Liz Thompson just shit her pants in the library.” She hadn’t, but after mocking her relentlessly, about twenty people offered to come bring her clothes within five minutes, because #sisterhood.
2016: Emails are usually reserved for more important chapter matters. Our main form of communication is definitely Facebook groups. Either way, every message all starts the same: “Hi, ladies!” What follows is a sweet but passive aggressive request to pay your dues, sign up for study hall, or do your philanthropy hours. It always ends with “(your sorority) love!” It’s completely two faced, but with the backlash we’ve seen from leaked sorority emails and Facebook group screenshots, we’re not taking any chances.
2006: Standards was the enemy, and the chapter was a united front. We did everything we could not to let each other get in trouble. My friends once fed me chicken nuggets and water (which they told me was more vodka), then danced with me at a mixer “Weekend At Bernie’s” style so that no one would notice how wasted I was. Several girls from my pledge class were once carried out of crush party — kicking and screaming — by a bouncer, and E-Board’s response was that the venue was too strict and we’d no longer be using them. Unless you were throwing up, jailed, or hospitalized, we did what we could to keep each other out of standards meetings. No one played “mom” unless someone was seriously at risk.
2016: Anyone can be written up for anything. If you simply tripped at a mixer and someone saw and thought you were too wasted to walk, you’re going to standards. Standards doesn’t care about the truth. If anything you did could jeopardize the sorority’s reputation on campus, you get punished. I once got sent to standards for simply TALKING about hazing. Standards is the enemy, and not even your sisters are your friends.
2006: I have specific memories of being at chapter during t-shirt orders. Our PR chair literally stood at the front of the room and said “Raise your hand if you want a medium so I can get a head count. If you don’t raise your hand, you’ll get a small.” This was a mildly humiliating experience for the five to ten girls who had to publicly announce that they were slightly bigger than their sisters. You didn’t want to be branded with that scarlet letter M for medium. The giant t-shirt trend started later in my college career, and the man-sized shirts were worn only as trophies. It meant you fucked a Sigma Chi last night, and you wore it to brag about it if your chapter was the kind to brag about such things. The t-shirts you actually ordered were to be worn with cute shorts, jeans, or jean skirts. They were tight on your boobs, and loose on your waist and you cut a ton of them into off-the-shoulder shirts or tank tops. If you didn’t take a pair of scissors to your tee and cut the shit out of it, you wore a white cami underneath.
2016: The unofficial rule is to always order at least one size up. For most of the chapter, that means large. Even if you’re a twig, you still order a medium. If anyone orders a small, they get the side eye from the whole chapter.
2006: I have never made a cooler in my life. This is a trend that started in the south, and thanks to the world wide web (mainly this website), eventually crept its way across the country. My only formal gift to my boyfriend was my presence, and maybe a blow job. Maybe.
2016: We fucking love coolers. We make them for our boyfriend/hookup/date’s formal, date event, birthday, and we even make them for our sisters. Yes, they take hours and will inevitably get banged up if you give such a beautiful piece of art to a guy, and yet we still continue to do it. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, so I have to pay someone to paint a cooler for me, but what are my other options? Not give my date a cooler? That’s social suicide.
2006: The only real social media platform we had at the time was Facebook, for which I’ll be forever grateful. You kids have it tough out there. We took our digital cameras out with us at night, and it was generally a few days before we posted a new album to Facebook, after we’d had the opportunity to go through and delete any pictures we didn’t like. We had “rules” not to post anything with alcohol if we were under 21, which some people took more seriously than others. Personally, I just put exec on limited profile and went about my day. There was no real fear of anything being leaked to the media or the rest of the internet, so this was definitely my profile picture for a little while.
2016: In most chapters, posting a picture with alcohol in your hand is forbidden, even if you’re 21. It’s “unclassy,” and “an inaccurate representation of the sorority.” For some of the more strict chapters, you can’t even post a picture holding a red solo cup, even if you’re clearly at your niece’s second birthday party. If you’re so brave as to Instagram a picture of you drinking, standards will make you take it down so fast, your head will spin. If you curse or are vulgar on Twitter, you get it trouble. Even Snapchat isn’t safe from Standards anymore. They say it’s because as a member of the sorority you’re held to a higher standard and if you’re applying for a job one day you don’t want your future boss to find questionable tweets or images of you, blah blah blah — it’s still annoying.
2006: Formal, much like it sounds, was a formal event…at which you got so trashed it was borderline dangerous. Fraternities generally had a weekend away to the beach or the mountains if you’re close enough, while sororities had a snazzy sit-down dinner because we weren’t allowed to do overnights. A lot of girls wore gowns, and freshmen sometimes recycled their prom dresses for the event. Even if you didn’t go floor-length dress, your cocktail dress was still something pretty fancy that would be appropriate to wear at a wedding. For as nice as we looked, though, the objective was still to black out. “Looking pretty, getting shitty” was the unofficial formal motto.
2016: We still get dressed up to get messed up, but most of our dresses are short, tight, and hail from Forever 21, Tobi, or whatever online store we shop from. The only formal thing about formal was the venue, which keeps changing every semester because everyone gets too trashed to ever be invited back. Formal is the one occasion where standards looks the other way and actually lets people have fun, because it means school is almost over and no one cares anymore. It’s the most ratchet event of the semester where even standards gets totally and completely sloshed.
2006: Everyone likes to believe that the world of public shit-talking is new, but no no. While there are now apps like Yik Yak, we had Juicy Campus, a pink and blue forum where people went batshit nasty. And I will tell you this — I was absolutely supposed to hate it. It was terrible, and mean, and there were nasty comments about individuals. There was even a search function, so you could look up what had been said about anyone in the past. And I read that shit like it was a fucking newspaper. It was essentially a gossip column on what was going on in the Greek community, and I could not resist.
2016: Yik Yak is the devil. It has caused so much drama since its inception, which was entertaining at first, but then it got nasty. Sororities were embarrassingly exposed as Yik Yak posters and some sororities even banned Yik Yak altogether. Luckily, I think recently everyone got bored of the stupid app and went back to calling bitches out via subtweets.
2006: Recruitment was cut-throat, and bitchy, and hard work. We put on a little bit of a show for the PNMs, and acted a little more bubbly than we probably were in our day to day lives, when behind the scenes, there was a senior with a vein popping out of her neck, possibly about to have an aneurism because we weren’t jumping high enough. But at the end of the day, you got closer to your sisters by the end of it.
2016: Same. But now we also blow glitter. .