When we wake up, we all make a decision as to what we wear and how we want to look for a particular day. The cold weather definitely guides our decision, and comfort is the next concern. Most college students love to dress comfortably in sweat pants and a big hoodie — it’s a uniform in every student’s wardrobe. Although I rarely leave the house in sweats, I have my own comfort outfit (made up entirely of blacks and whites). Being a student with little time and early classes has also taught me that it is inevitable to not have a bad hair or outfit day. Large knits and sweaters are easy to throw on with some boots. They’re my absolute favorite because they make me feel like I’m being covered with a security blanket — they’re warm, and it’s that much easier to blend in. As silly as it sounds, it’s always been a daring dream of mine to wear that bold leopard print coat to school or pair my leather jacket with the blue-green sequin romper on Fridays without receiving such a massive amount of curious and blatant attention. I can only imagine how people are going to take me seriously if I wore my colorful heels to school. In the same way that outspoken people can sometimes be received negatively, clothes are no exception.
In a magazine article that I recently read titled “Why can’t a smart woman love fashion?”, novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie described her experience of working in the corporate world and having to abandon a part of her unique fashion sense in order to be taken seriously. It made me realize that I have made my own accommodations to my wardrobe since attending college in Duluth. In this school especially, boldness isn’t liked. In my first semester, I even went out and bought a $50 gray hoodie without the slightest bit of interest in it only because every one else was wearing something similar. (It has only been worn once and now lays on the bottom stack of my drawers.)
So why can’t a smart woman love fashion? To many, it seems like such a frivolous attempt at being attractive, or some mark of silliness. When a woman dresses too nice for school, it’s a way of saying that she’s looking for attention; when at work, she’s just looking for an easy way out. A fancy purse says that she spends unnecessary money on material things and a bright lipstick translates to too much make-up. It seems like only in magazines are women allowed to be superficial, though even models get criticized.
There is no reason why fashion has to be taken so seriously. Even when we were small kids, we were already wearing what was considered fashionable — blue or pink. They always say that clothes don’t define our personality, but I believe it does in some way. We should reserve the right to wear whatever makes sense to us. When it all comes down to it, everyone has the same goals throughout the day — get work done and go home. The choice of clothing, however bright or flashy, shouldn’t insinuate anything less about a person.
My last year of college can be described as the transition stage. I’m just starting to become more comfortable with bringing out the statement pieces in my wardrobe that I’m always saving for a grand event that’s likely never going to take place. Maybe it’s the graduation jitters or the idea that I’ll finally be able to do my own thing in the real world (still sounds terrifying), but I’m happy to start being a little bit bolder.
BY CINDY VU Columnist