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Wearing My Letters On my Sleeve

Photographed from left to right : Rachel Elia, Kappa Alpha Theta Omega Chapter CEO, Kristen Clure, Kappa Alpha Theta Omega Chapter CLO

    Coming from a small mountain town, I was never one for wearing brands. Those shirts that said ‘Adidas’ or ‘Nike’ across the chest always seemed so forward to me; I never really understood them before. That was before I came to Berkeley and the Bay Area where you wear your brands on your shirt, your pants, and your shoes to show how proud you are of where you came from or what organizations you support.

    This was such a new concept for me, moving from a place where brands were frowned upon to a place where it was actually encouraged that you ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ so to speak. This idea of wearable billboards that displayed what I felt like was an advertisement strays outside of the way I express myself with what I wear.

    In a world where what you wear is taken to mean so much about who you are, I had to make the decision as to whether or not I would be comfortable incorporating these types of brands into my lifestyle. Would I wear that obscure band tee shirt and ignore the fear of being called a hipster when I ran into my friends? Or would I instead wear the striped shirt which instead said ‘I’m still creative but I’m not trying to hard to tell you what I’m interested in.’

    The decision to show and plug what organizations I was apart of was constantly surrounding me as I everywhere I looked I’d see students wearing either their Berkeley gear or their Greek letters, and then it happened to me too; I finally joined Theta.

    Being involved in the Greek community is such an influential part of my college experience; it has shaped a large portion of who I am, and how I dress. I made the conscious decision to wear clothes that I feel like express me rather than clothes that would represent my organization. There’s this constant commotion between wearing my letters across my chest and wearing an outfit that expresses who I am as an individual.

    While I will always be proud to be a Theta, that should not mean that I need to broadcast to everyone what sorority I am in. Instead, I’d rather wear my letters around in a more subtle way. Keychains, clipboards, or flags -- these are ways I’ve found I can subtly include my Greek letters in my day-to-day life without having to incorporate them into my outfits.

    These products helped me find a balance between wearing what I was comfortable with and also showing off how proud I am to be apart of such a powerful group of strong women! While I still wear my letters from time to time, I can still carry them around with me close to my heart.


UC Berkeley class of 2021. My heart is in the mountains, and with any corgi I see. I'm interested in writing, yoga, running, hiking, boxing, playing piano, music, adventures, and studying psychology and anthropology.
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