Hot Seams: Wash. U.’s unspoken fashion culture

| Fashion Columnist
Ugg boots such as these are frequently seen around campus. (MCT Campus)

Ugg boots such as these are frequently seen around campus. (MCT Campus)

It’s no surprise that many of us have had to wear uniforms at some point in our lives. If you wore them in elementary school or middle school, but not in high school, you probably celebrated your newfound freedom with a shopping spree. You finally had the opportunity to create an identity, a new image to express yourself.

Lucky you if you’ve never had to experience the torturous and stringent rules that come with uniforms. If you’ve worn a uniform for most or all of your life, this article is for you. Fast-forward a few years and you’re in college. Like everyone else, you’re still in the process of figuring out who you are and finding new avenues through which your personality and ideas can shine. Yet on my daily trek from my dorm to class, I see the same colors, the same book bags, the same boots and the same hairstyles; this monotony almost leads me to ask if Washington University has a secret uniform that I knew nothing about.

I am not saying that no one has a sense of style at Wash. U. Obviously, some students on campus really know how to dress well. Also, I am not claiming to be immune to the unoriginality that can sometimes be spotted on our campus. We all have our rushed days and this Midwestern weather does not always allow us to dress as well as we would like.

Thankfully, there is no explicit uniform here, but is there a hidden list of rules stating that every girl must own at least one Longchamp bag in either navy, black, brown or red? Or is it a requirement that all students, male and female, must don a black North Face fleece when the weather gets cold? Must we all wear Uggs around this time of the year? And really, when did leggings become pants? I’ll admit it, I myself own a pink Longchamp bag; I love it because it’s both sturdy and practical. But there are other functional and well-built bags out there.

As we shop, are we subconsciously influenced by peer pressure or the pressure to conform? What alternatives are there to this monotony? When it comes to Uggs, there are many different variations (and I’m not suggesting you buy fake ones): Michael Kors and Børn both offer “insulated” boots at similar price points. Instead of buying another North Face, consider purchasing a fur or faux fur coat, a wool coat or a down coat. Labels such as French Connection, Free People and even North Face have coats that can help you stand out. For a Longchamp bag replacement, take your time and look around—other well-made bags big enough to carry books and laptops do exist.

I encourage you all to think outside the box as you shop this holiday season. Find items that are unique and true to you. Don’t worry about what people will think. More importantly, have fun.

-Stay Stylish!