Leave a Comment
Using fashion to battle the winter blues of spring semester
January 28, 2023
Something about the first week back after holiday break makes me feel so ridiculously lazy. January is supposed to be the month of resolutions and starting over, but when you’re a college student, there is only so much energy to go around, and school somehow just brings out the exhaustion in all of us, and it is visible.
That first full day of classes is always thrilling in a way. There is a breath of fresh air, and a bit of optimism as you look down the barrel of the semester. You sit in those first classes doing the opposite of what you’re supposed to, but your adrenaline is pumping and you can’t stop fidgeting with excitement about what lies ahead. My mouth always feels like I am going a mile a minute, catching up with professors and peers, listening to what they did over break and for what our class endeavors will be.
I feel as if first day excitement is a universal emotion felt by everyone, and sparked by so many different reasons. For me, I am excited to look around to see all the new bags and clean shoes that most folks got as gifts over the break. I always expect to see some swanky boots of any kind, and the wearer making big eyes at me as I stare, very obviously looking for someone to comment on them. I know this look so well, as I am a shopaholic and have perfected the face. There is nothing better in the world than showing up on a big day wearing something new.
Hopefully that something new was a coat, as the weather here in Southern Illinois is still now in the dead of winter and an insufferable game of inconsistency. Although we call this the spring semester, I forget that the first half of it is in winter months and enveloped by cold weather. It is so frustrating because it limits you to either jeans or sweatpants, as there aren’t many options in times like these.
The first day back on campus was surprisingly warm and sunny with a light breeze, allowing us all to show off a little. Everyone was dressed well that day, and I would have expected nothing less. I was delightfully met with everyone dressed in what seemed to be confidence boosting outfits. Then, on the second day, a freight train. Remember that one gorgeous day, well forget about it, because day two was frigid and raining. I woke up that morning and glared back and forth from out the window to the neatly placed pile of clothes that I had so sweetly laid out for myself the night before, really thinking through if I wanted to even try to look put together that day.
I was quickly comforted once arriving on campus and taking a glance around to see mostly sweatpants and hoodies. I sighed a breath of relief knowing that I was definitely not the only person in the world that morning who woke up and made the decision to be lazy. Somehow, I ended up making that same decision every morning for the rest of the week, but that is how it goes. The ball is moving, but it’s starting slow.
Sitting in the sewing lab at our machines, gabbing away about pretty much anything that came to mind, my fiend Lisa said to me something that follows true to the latest big trend. “I just wish it wasn’t so cold so I could wear skirts.” she remarked. Bingo. I erupted into voracious agreement, carrying on with her about how much we love skirts, and that not being able to wear them right now is a pain.
Strutting runways for the spring/summer collections of multiple designer houses like Givenchy and Bluemarine and more are skirts of all different lengths, volumes, and fabrics. A notable guest of many collections were specifically denim skirts, and I don’t mean the itty bitty things of the early aughts. I mean that type of jean skirt that would normally be paired with a bouffant hairstyle and some nylons. Long denim skirts are getting popular, and I must be honest, I am on the bandwagon. Many designers even opted to make fully denim ensembles, or what many would refer to as a “Canadian Tuxedo” or Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake at the American Music Awards circa 2001. Don’t cringe at it yall, just embrace it.
I noticed a lot more loose fitting garments this week, which piqued my interest in why. I am so used to seeing form fitting Shein tops that actual natural fiber sweaters and loose gauchos kinda shocked me, but then I remember that Carbondale has its own fashion identity in a way, and I believe that I have stated that in publications in the past. You start to get neutral, and more earthy. Clunky things and accessories become more attractive, and suddenly you have entwined maroon into more than one outfit a week.
Freshmen come in their first semester bringing in a sense of self identity and expression through their clothing, representing who they are and where they came from. Coming back into second semester, Carbondale vibes have rubbed off on you and you have been welcomed into a very specific aesthetic. I used to think of it as a sense of camouflage, but I would rather think of it now as a form of unforced unity.
With actual spring time coming ahead, I am excited to see what actually takes foot in fashion. Lately, It feels as if we are in this endless loop of a bit over designed goods in that late 1990s going into the early 2000s style. This nostalgic style is of course cute, but now starting to feel over designed, as we are still seeing it through fast fashion brands all the way up to the top of the chain. It is hard not to turn your head and see someone that looks as if they just stepped out of a Hillary Duff film, and I was really into it, but it is definitely starting to become boring.
It is a very fun juxtaposition between the fashions that are popular in Carbondale, and what is popular in more up to date places like New York or even St. Louis. I am not calling our little town left behind, but just a bit more slow to follow. It is interesting how trends briefly stop here, latching on to some, but letting go of few, allowing people to really explore their own sense of style.
Carbondale, and of course SIU, are captivating safe places for all different walks of fashion, and I truly believe that that is what keeps this place so unique. There’s plenty of bad here, but if you look around there is much more beauty than you would expect. The one thing that this town has that a lot of people look directly over is that it is a place for growth.
Whether that growth be through your mental state, or your education, maybe even in your style, this place is a unique place to be while you carry on with that.
Leave a Comment