Editor’s note: “The Current Affairs of Campus Fashion” is a weekly column dedicated to exposing and exploring different fashion styles that exist on campus.
Well, we finally made it.
I’m happy that “The Current Affairs of Campus Fashion” lasted longer than The Daily fashion column from 1929 (or its occasional mention since then). Since the end of fall quarter, I have met some lovely people, seen some great fits, and taken lots of photos. For our final installment, I thought we would look back and hear advice from some past favorites.
“I always perceive myself far differently than others do and I’ve come into loving myself a lot more this year,” first-year student Colin Furlong said. “The best advice I could give to incoming freshmen would be to make queer friends and wear whatever you want. It truly doesn’t matter, so just express yourself however you would like.”
The idea for this column sprung up at the end of fall quarter, after feeling that our own campus had no sense of style. I sought to interview someone that I had seen in one of my classes who I thought defied the sea of Patagonia and Asics sneakers. As the first subject, Furlong introduced me to his circle of fashionable friends and helped introduce me to more diverse styles.
“I have been really working on knowing that I don’t have to only be one thing,” third-year student Hannah Jensen said. “I can dress in jeans and a flannel one day and a mini skirt the next. In that vein, it’s OK to be inconsistent in how you dress, but try not to pigeonhole yourself — college is the time to experiment and try new things.”
Jensen’s style fits a more European outlook that I was striving for during high school (my “Call Me By Your Name”-core aesthetic). Jensen’s Scandinavian influence helped me branch out and discover more students from around the world and feature more of their stories and perspectives.
“I definitely struggle sometimes to feel like a real person, and I feel viewed like an outsider sometimes just because of how unusual I appear,” first-year Kolibri Enson-Overstreet said. “But throughout the course of the year, I’ve kind of embraced that and accepted that I am just a silly character. Similarly, I would say dress for yourself above all else; you are your own avatar and it’s your duty to present yourself in whatever feels most authentic to you.”
After speaking with Enson-Overstreet, I found myself wishing that more people on campus could get out of their comfort zone and express themselves freely. It was nice to get that boost of confidence and talk with someone who shares similar experiences as me, despite having a different background.
“Keep trying new things and don’t worry too much about what other people are wearing, because there are three types of people: those that don’t care, those that want to fit in, and those that express themselves,” third-year student Hannah Wiggins said. “My insecurity came primarily from dressing for other people, and especially dressing for occasions like a bar or a party. It's OK and appreciated to show up in something that isn’t jeans and a crop top, and I wanted to shift more into that way of thinking.”
The only other person here who likes a little color in their wardrobe, Wiggins helped me shift my own style away from the neutrals that I tend to be drawn to in winter and into a more colorful landscape that has carried into spring. Though I wish I could find other students who prefer a little color in their closet, personal expression is a huge deal to me, and I was glad to talk with two people who carry that in stride.
“I have definitely overcome my weird relationship with my arms,” third-year student Suna Oh said. “I used to have eczema, as well as body dysmorphia with big arms — meaning I didn’t wear halter tops. Now I have come to terms and realized that mama works hard and is on the move, and my arms are gonna show it.”
Talking about thrifting with the UW student population is almost a right of passage, and I hope that this Earth Day, my column on fashion consumption habits made a positive impact on at least some readers.
“I would recommend going out of your comfort zone every once in a while, and most importantly, wear clothing that makes you feel confident and like yourself,” second-year student Sam Riera said. “Coming to a new city this year and exploring both it and myself has been very beneficial. If you’re coming from a different state … you may feel left out at first, but you just have to get out there, and fashion is a good starting place.”
My own advice to you, dear reader, would be to never listen to what a white twink has to say. Try to add some color to your closet — God knows our gray campus needs it.
If you stayed until the very end, or if you gave up before the first column was ever posted, I still want to wish everyone my sincerest thanks. Though I don’t believe this column is dead and gone, it will be nice to take a much needed rest. My biggest thanks to everyone who helped me with this wrap-up column.
Even if I knew you before or met you last month, I’ve enjoyed your company. Go forth UW and be fashionable. Despite what I said in the first column, you may have a sense of style after all.
Reach columnist Liam Blakey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @LiamBlakey2
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