Sweatpants, Hair-Tied: Have the Claremont College Students Given Up?

The fall semester is almost at a close—a statement especially unbelievable to me as a senior because it means I only have one more semester left at the place I’ve come to call home. 

With it being the end of the semester and
the beginning of Southern California’s ‘winter’ season, the majority of students
will say “screw it,” and bring out soft grandpa sweaters and an array of
differently stained sweatpants. Don’t worry, though; I have no intention to berate you for wearing sweats as you head into exam week. On the contrary, I, myself, will be rocking my coziest lounge wear. 

As the inevitable surge of comfy clothes appears across the campuses, I can’t help but wonder whether our generation has given up in terms of
decorum and dress. Yes, this question is a little Carrie Bradshaw, but I’m not trying to be melodramatic.
With the rise in popularity of yoga and athletic wear, brands such as Lululemon
and Nike have a tight hold on the market and seem to be the new crowned queen and king of the fashion game. 

Comfortable seems to be the word most college students would
use to describe the aesthetic of an average weekday outfit. While the word isn’t bad in and of itself, there seems to be an influx of millennials
who would rather wear the uniform of Mark Zuckerberg during his Harvard days
than actually try to cultivate decent outfits spotlighting individuality and
creativity. 

I understand that students at the 5Cs are busy, and sometimes there isn’t
enough time in the morning to spend an
hour in front of the mirror crafting the perfect outfit. I get it, but college students back in the late 20th century were able to make the grades
and still show up to class looking put-together and stylish. 

Don’t believe
me? Google ‘Student Riots of 1966’ and observe the outfits students wore even in the face of police batons and possible bloodshed. Still not convinced? Search for images of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of the sit-ins were led by college
students, all of whom featured on-point outfits while peacefully
protesting for their rights. Our generation definitely lags behind previous
ones in terms of style—I think it’s time we change our reputation.

With the new year approaching, I urge you to take a look at your
closet. Do you like what you see? Do your clothes help others gauge your
personality, creativity and pride in yourself? I sure hope so, but it’s not over if you find that they don’t. Consider making your resolution one that will help you change how you present
yourself to the world. 

My boarding school enforced a dress code, making all students dress in business
attire (thick blazers and dress pants) to create an atmosphere of
professionalism in the classroom. While donning a blazer every day was sometimes a drag, I
think the ideology behind the rules is worth some consideration. When you dress as if
you are completing a job, even if attending classes is your job of the moment, your work ethic and
productivity improve. 

The great Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You
lost control of your life, so you brought some sweatpants.” 

His criticism is a
bit harsh—maybe you just couldn’t manage to stay on top of your schedule one day, or perhaps you’ve pulled two all-nighters in a row. But in most situations, his words ring true. 

The next time you start to pull on a pair of yoga pants, stop yourself, and think what would Karl do—if Karl wasn’t an insanely rich fashion snob, that is. He would put the stretchy pants down and put on a pair of well-fitted jeans and a cute sweater at the very least.
Students of Claremont, in the spirit of the new year, let’s try to dress up a
little more during the spring semester. Who knows, your grades might even improve, along with your style.

Chabrina Bruno PO ’15 is a religious studies major with a minor in studio art. She loves to collect vintage clothing and jewelry. 

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