“What’s the deal with …” CI Cabinet fashion?

They all smile. They all give directions around campus. They all clap and cheer during the laser light show. And they all match.

Ever wonder what the deal is with what the Colonial Inauguration Cabinet members are wearing?

Assistant director for orientation Renee Clement Baldwin said it’s important for the cabinet members to have standard attire.

“The administration expects to see them in a certain uniform,” Baldwin said. “So administrators can say to people, ‘look for a person in a white shirt.'”

Those are some nice white shirts. The orientation leaders each receive three white CI polo shirts and three pairs of khaki shorts to wear during the orientation sessions. The University also provides them with CI jackets to wear indoors and backpacks in order to carry around all the gear they need throughout the day – things such as their CI training books and notepads.

“We provide the things they need in order to carry out their job duties,” Baldwin said.

The Colonial Cabinet student leaders, CIHQ, look at popular stores, such as J. Crew and Abercrombie and Fitch, to decide where to purchase the shorts for the cabinet members. Baldwin said some shorts styles they looked at were not fitting for CI, such as the “weathered look that is in right now.”

“They can’t be drawstring and they can’t be too casual,” Baldwin said. “I don’t want to say they have to be professional, but they have to be nice.”

Cabinet members, whose days start at 7 a.m. and typically end at 2 or 3 a.m., are only allowed to choose their own shoes and belts – “It’s the only way they can personalize their outfits,” Baldwin said.

Cabinet members are also not allowed to carry their cell phones throughout the day and will receive one more piece of CI attire on the first day of orientation, but Baldwin wants to keep it a surprise.

The total cost for all this CI gear? “I don’t want it to be public knowledge,” Baldwin said. “It’s not anything the University community would benefit from knowing.”

Most men’s shorts listed on J. Crew’s Web site cost about $48 per pair and most women’s shorts are priced at around $38 per pair.

Add it all up and what do you get? Unless it gets a discount, GW probably spends more than $4,000 on shorts alone for its CI cabinet (how much do custom CI polos ring up at?). That’s some pretty expensive clothes. But then again, so is the school.

-Caitlin Carroll

“What’s the deal with …” is a new weekly feature in the Style section. If you have a suggestion for the column, e-mail features@gwhatchet.com

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