Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

“Drug rug” offers hippie-chic style

One of the most ubiquitous trends on campus this season has been the emergence of the Baja pullover, or what many affectionately refer to as the “drug rug.” The sweater has been a staple of a certain hippie-chic crowd for years now, however it is enjoying somewhat of a comeback as of late with both male and female coeds around campus sporting them. Since the trend has become so popular recently, designers of all sorts have begun experimenting with their own take on the pullover. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the drug rug’s resurgence is the ways in which people are wearing it to give it a more modern approach.

The concept of the Baja pullover originated in Mexico, where the square print was used on hoodies, jackets and vests. Traditionally, the print was used on serape blankets and rugs. The drug rug initially caught on in the 1970s when groups of hippies and so-called “stoners” began wearing the striped hemp pullovers. To these groups, the article signified their easy-going approach to life and their refusal to conform to the buttoned up aesthetic that defined the 50s and 60s. Suddenly youth culture began to take on a more relaxed attitude towards style. Similar to today, the drug rug was often paired with jeans, preferably bell-bottoms, and in addition the true hippie often grew his or her hair out. Perhaps this was the beginning of a different mode of dressing, of the casual ease and nonchalance that so many today try to emulate in their dress.

The trickle-up effect from all sorts of people wearing the hoodie on the streets has also been interesting to witness. Various designers have begun to incorporate the trend into their collections. A few seasons ago Proenza Schouler designed a luxe version of the pullover that went on to sell out at the nation’s top retailers. Their hoodie was so popular, in fact, that they have brought it back in a different version for their fall collection. Other labels such as Mara Hoffman and Elizabeth and James have all done their own versions of the rug for spring and fall. These designer riffs also incorporate different prints into their adaptations — the use of stripes as opposed to squares in the hemp knits has become increasingly prevalent. What typically remains constant is the kangaroo stash pocket, which allows the wearer to store their phone, keys or lighter. These versions range in price points, but it is certainly entertaining to see drug rugs hanging in stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Perhaps this is in keeping with the tribal trend that seems to be reoccurring everywhere, and of course this was all just in time for the various music festivals that took place this past summer.

Many might wonder about how exactly to wear the drug rug without appearing too hippie-dippy. Rest assured there are various ways to wear it without looking like one is attending a Woodstock revival. Guys should look for rugs in grays, blacks and charcoals with fits that stray from the loose suiting of the original, though this is not exactly advisable as the garment usually dictates that the more color and design the better. Men should pair it with a fitted jean and a fun high-top sneaker. Women, on the other hand, have a lot more options when it comes to how they choose to wear the article. One of the most common styles being seen is the pairing of the drug rug with a skinny jean and riding boot; leggings will also suffice. Girls can also pair the pullover with shorts and a cute sandal or flat. The pullover is one trend that can be easily accessorized, as it will look great with headbands and chunky or stacked bracelets. One accessory that will be a must to pull off the trend is a sense of style in confidence. There are certain connotations that come with the drug rug: it is important to have fun with it and not take yourself too seriously.

Conor Murphy can be reached at [email protected].

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Mexican ThreadsNov 30, 2011 at 4:52 am

    You can find them online at Mexican Threads.