CMC men: It’s time for a fashion consultant

A drawing of a machine above a conveyor belt, depositing clothes into boxes on the conveyor belt. The machine is labeled “CMC” and the boxes are labeled “uniform.” into the boxes go a t-shirt, a pair of pants, and a pair of flip flops.
(Nora Wu • The Student Life)

Dear Men of Claremont McKenna College (CMC),

The reign of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) shirts, pajama pants and flip flops has been long and difficult to watch. But it is now time to retire your go-to ensemble and embrace a new era of fashion.

Men’s fashion at CMC is stagnated in conformity, but some students believe this actually has a positive influence on campus.

“It is free like there’s no judgment on what you wear,” Len Korol CM ’25 said. 

No one should ever feel like they have to dress in a certain way or style to fit in and if you are perfectly content and comfortable in the way that you dress now, then you shouldn’t feel the pressure to change that.

However, there also seems to be a pressure to NOT care about what you wear, to the extent that men at CMC are almost discouraged to experiment with their style. Because the broader environment is usually underdressed, people don’t feel comfortable dressing up, because that would make them stand out. Athena Ke CM ’26 named this as her least favorite aspect of men’s fashion at CMC.

“There’s no pressure to be at least decent when you have to be,” Ke said. “The overwhelming fear of overdressing … I don’t think it’s just about people having bad taste. It’s people lacking motivation or confidence to make a change, to dress up a little bit.” 

Another aspect of fashion that some CMC men seem to miss or lack is the value of fashion as a reflection of your identity. “I don’t think [CMC men] use [fashion] as a means of self-expression. Even if they do, they [all] come off as the same guy, ”Ke said. 

Shiah Sarkowsky CM ’25  added: “Exploring your own fashion is, by and large, an extension of exploring yourself. Don’t be afraid of the judgment of others; you care way more about yourself than other people care about you.” 

We have to destigmatize dressing up for no particular reason. Being able to wear whatever you want without feeling judged does not only extend to underdressing and dressing comfortably, but also to any other type of style or aesthetic. The most important thing is that you have the freedom to choose how you want to dress, and that everybody feels comfortable in their choice.

Are you feeling inspired? Ready to elevate your wardrobe and try out some new looks? Well, the students of CMC and I have a few tips for you.

“The reign of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) shirts, pajama pants and flip flops has been long and difficult to watch. But it is now time to retire your go-to ensemble and embrace a new era of fashion.”

Anastasia Nikolaeva CM ’25 suggested adding some basics to your collection.

“A classic, really well-fitting pair of jeans, and a really well-fitting black or white t-shirt,” said Nikolaeva. “I know that sounds simple, but I think that you can never go wrong with that.” 

What’s even better is that you probably already have these items in your wardrobe, or if you don’t — then it’s time to invest in a timeless, good quality pair of jeans that is going to not only last you a lifetime, but is also going to be a staple in your wardrobe.

Let me speak your language for a second: You gotta invest in this stock (a good pair of jeans) that will secure you a future return on your investment.

Sarkowsky gave some timely advice if you are considering purchasing the Adidas Samba sneakers.

“If you’re reading this now, once it’s published, you’re a little late to the Samba game,” Sarkowsky said. “So just be a little bit more patient. Wait till the next thing comes, it’s probably coming very soon.”

Again, don’t invest when the stock is high. Look out for the up-and-coming stocks and invest while they’re low (I’m a literature and philosophy major). One of the main things that can ruin an outfit is the shoes, especially if you sport athletic sneakers with a pair of jeans or cargo pants. I would suggest investing in a timeless pair of sneakers, like Nike Dunks, Jordans or Air Force Ones. Time has shown that they aren’t going anywhere and their versatility is yet another plus.

And some general advice? Get up ten minutes earlier in the morning. It’s not going to make a huge difference to your sleep schedule, yet according to José Najas CM ’25, it will make a massive difference towards the quality of your outfit —and, in turn, in how you feel throughout the day.

“If you wake up, and you put some effort into your appearance, that rounds a mentality of discipline and effort that then translates over to different activities you are going to do throughout the day,” Najas said. “If you wake up and just throw whatever you want to throw on, that might not set that same kind of perspective on how your day is going to look.”

Korol shared a few words of encouragement and inspiration to all CMC men.

“I think we’re at an upward trend,” Korol said. “We may never dress as ‘in style’ as Pitzer College, but we’re taking steps and one day maybe we’ll get there.”

I truly believe that we can all, as a collective of students at CMC, create a more supportive environment for experimenting with fashion. So the next time that you see someone sporting an outfit that catches your eye — compliment them, no matter their gender.

Elizaveta (Lisa) Gorelik CM’25 is from Moscow, Russia. She wants the men of CMC to know that her door is always open for any styling/fashion advice.

An earlier version of this article misattributed quotes to Len Korol CM ’25 and Shiah Sarkowsky CM ’25. It has been corrected. TSL regrets this error. 

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