The Sartorial Student – Week Three

Sophie Partarrieu 30 January 2010

Sophie Partarrieu explores the Panda Phenomenon

If you had told me two months ago that I would now be wearing a panda on my head, I would have snorted. Loudly. To begin with, I’m French. We just don’t do these things. Also, I just couldn’t picture myself prancing about Cambridge bearing the face of a fat mammal on my forehead. But now… look.

So, what suddenly made wearing this fuzzy bear ‘cute’ instead of just … odd? To start with it was a Christmas present from my boyfriend. Sometimes in life, you just have to take one for the team. And sometimes that involves two bobbly ears, black eyes and a snout. Before you start to worry, it isn’t made from real panda. That is probably against several laws. Ask PETA.

However, my furry friend has turned out to be extremely useful in more ways than one. First of all, for bad hair days. The kind when you step in front of the mirror and realize it’s not big enough for you to see the extremities of your knotted mufasa-like mane.

Just reach for the hat, whip a strand or two of hair out at the front and suddenly you’re ‘hipster’. Oh, and avoid black Lilly Allen like eyeliner. Two pairs of round, black eyes staring out at people is creepy. Although you might get a long, pondering look from that cute boy in the front row. Up to you, really.

Rule number two. Don’t wear all black, especially with a white t-shirt. Just don’t. It is not cool or sexy and really not funny. Rule number three: the panda hat must accompany you at all times. It’s not just a hat, it is a companion. Not to mention really useful in the snow; and so much quirkier than a polar bear hat. Rule number four: don’t confuse panda hat and panda. You are not allowed to chew, scratch and snore all day.

All this said, buy it, wear it, flaunt it. There hasn’t been a sexier bonnet made in years. I can see your raised eyebrows. You just aren’t convinced. I mean, it’s a panda. It looks stupid. But look around you, everyone has it (promise). And everyone here means Cambridge students, and we’re smart.

Just don’t listen to those people out there who will chirp in and tell you that pandas pee on themselves.

Sophie Partarrieu