How to HOBO: A student’s guide to bumming it up

Hobo fashion is no joke.

The weirder you dress, the better it is.

Jeanette Klein, a.k.a. ‘Nifty Nette,’ Hobolympics coordinator, always dons a floppy felt hat.

For Samantha Kinder, a.k.a. ‘Campfire Carrie,’ dignitaries coordinator, her identifying article of clothing is a flower that matches Dirty Lil’s.

Ben Carper, a.k.a. ‘Barefoot Benji’, security coordinator, has a signature shoeless foot.

For the everyday hobo, Kinder recommends skirts because they allow her to “dance and jump around.” But bandanas, jackets and gloves are also staple wardrobe pieces.

Klein and Kinder suggest going to Goodwill, Wal-Mart or any store’s clearance racks to find articles of clothing. Kinder said as a hobo “you wear the clothes that you can find.” 

Buying clothes that aren’t the best quality means there is no guilt when all but destroying them. 

“I take normal clothes that I have and don’t wear and rip holes, sew patches, to make them look worn,” Klein said. 

The most important thing, Kinder said, is to be comfortable and confident in the outfit you choose. For Carper, this means wearing one shoe.

“I choose to be barefoot,” Carper said. “Part of it is I really enjoy the freedom of it. I like to walk around barefoot and feeling what it’s like.” 

Klein and Kinder also encourage students to dress like hobos all week, not just on Hobo Day.

 

Components of a good Hobo Day/Week outfit:

1. Dirt

No, it doesn’t have to be real dirt.

“You can use eyeshadow,” Kinder said. “I use the dark stuff I never actually wear on my eyes.”

 

2. Patches and holes

This helps make the clothing look worn and rugged. To add some authenticity to your outfit, try sewing on the patches yourself. Even if you’re not very handy with a needle and thread, don’t worry — it just adds character.

 

3. Bandanas or hats

If you can’t get your hands on either one of these, there’s no need to worry. A strip of fabric can be used instead as a headband.

“It’s super nice to have a good hat to sleep under at night to cover your face up,” Carper said.

 

 

4. Buttons

Any good SDSU hobo has buttons, it’s just common sense.

 

5. Gloves

They not only keep your hands warm, but also protect them from hot fire coals and candle flames, according to seasoned hobo Carter.

 

6. Bindle

For the newly discovered hobo, a bindle is a stick with a cloth on the end containing a hobo’s belongings. A good bindle includes items such as food, an extra sweater, socks, knife, whistle, shoes, items to sew with, etc.

 

7. Layers

“I definitely recommend layers because then you can have a coat for a blanket vest or a pillow if you need it,” Carper said.

With layers, the SDSU hobo can mix and match different colors or patterns that don’t match to add their own unique personality to the outfit, and it’s OK because it’s Hobo Day, said Jeanette Klein, Hobolympics coordinator.

 

8. Authenticity

“I try to be as authentic as possible,” Carper said. “What that means is having a spoon on my outfit that I eat with every day, a pot, a bindle stick that actually has socks in it. All the patches on my outfit I sew myself and there is a real hole there. I try to make my outfit as authentic and useful as possible.”

 

8. Shoes or no shoes, either way

Foot protection can be nice, but not necessary, especially when there is nicer weather.

“Cutting out the front is always a good idea, or go the one shoe route,” Carper said. “Get your laces loose, let ‘em drag on the ground a little and if you’re worried about going barefoot put an extra pair of shoes in your bindle.”