A week ago, I had never heard of The Pants Store, “normal” jewelry, or the boutique down the street from Ally’s MeeMaw’s house. Now, fully indoctrinated into Bama Rush TikTok, I’m pissed there isn’t a Pants Store near me. I’m about to drop $1,000 at Kendra Scott. And I’m about to go have dinner with someone’s MeeMaw so I can shop at all these apparently adorable boutiques. I have never been so invested in the inner workings of the University of Alabama’s sorority rush process as I have been over the past five days — and neither has anyone else apparently.
On Saturday, Aug. 7, beautiful chaos hit Bama’s campus as thousands of girls began the university’s week-long sorority recruitment session prior to the start of school. Slowly, then all at once, TikTok users’ For You Pages were inundated with young hopefuls, known in the sorority world as Potential New Members (PNMs), documenting their Bama Rush journeys — starting with their outfits. The most recognizable Bama Rush TikTok videos are “Rush OOTDs” in which PNMs stand in front of the camera, list off the various aspects of their rush outfits and where they bought them, and move out of the way for their roommates to step up and do the same.
Quickly, more PNMs jumped on this bandwagon, flooding FYPs with a daily account of their looks which usually included thick Southern accents, comically enthusiastic voices, and hilariously mispronounced designer names that further endeared these women to TikTok’s users. Soon, viewers could recite the brands from memory: jewelry from Kendra Scott, shorts from Lulus, shoes from Steve Madden, earrings from SHEIN, ring from someone’s deceased grandmother, dress from The Pants Store. What I’m sure no one expected, particularly the PNMs themselves, was how deeply invested the rest of the world would become not just in their outfits, but in how their rush journeys ended. Bama Rush was the reality show and the Rush TikTok OOTDs became your favorite contestants’ confessionals.
The process, of course, produced some frontrunners. Viewers waited with baited breath for regular updates from PNMs like Makayla (@whatwouldjimmybuffettdo), Hailey (@illegallyblondeholliday), Emma (@dollypartonwannabe02) and her roommate Haylee (@hayrayofgoldensunshine), Sidnee (@sidnee.beavers), @thisisnotiz, Bella (@lil.millsy), and more as they jumped through open houses, sisterhood rounds, philanthropy rounds, pref nights, and bid day on Sunday, Aug. 15 to land in their new homes — or to land nowhere at all. From start to finish, the entire experience was illuminating, addicting, and, of course, gave everyone a new slate of brands to shop and outfits to recreate. Ahead, the best Bama Rush TikTok OOTDs that’ll pull you down this Panhellenic rabbit hole if you’re not there already.