Spring fashion comes to ‘Cuse
Spring fashion comes to 'Cuse
This week in Syracuse temperatures started to hit the 70s, even going into the low 80s, sparking members of the Syracuse University community to strut on the promenade with their best outfits. With the added pressure of schoolwork and life obstacles, it can be hard to find the time to dress in the morning. However, many students say that they tend to feel better when they are wearing something that they feel confident in.
SU senior Coco Goldstein said that she prefers to dress up because it helps her feel a sense of control over her hectic schedule and sends her into her day with a confidence boost first thing in the morning.
“It definitely makes me feel a lot more confident. Some of these days I go to class and I feel like everything is falling apart around me. I might not have my assignments in or I might be stressed about work or other issues related to stress, so putting together an outfit allows me to have at least one area in my life in which I’m put together,” she says.
Goldstein said her fashion choices affect her demeanor, and when she feels confident she has more positive interactions with the people and environment that surround her.
Jasmine McIntyre echoed Goldstein’s sentiments.
“If I look good, I literally feel good. If I look good I will do whatever I want. Who’s gonna tell me no?” The confidence with which McIntyre spoke was reflected in her red cropped tank top, low-waisted pinstripe pants, Jordan sneakers and big brown sunglasses.
Her friend, Lindsey West, shared similar views towards her campus fashion, saying that growing up in the South, she was more reluctant to experiment with her clothes than she is going to Syracuse.
“If I wore this in the South they would be like, ‘What are you wearing,'” West said gesturing to her white cowboy boots, cow print shorts, cat-eye sunglasses and black ribbon neckwear.
“Any long path is a runway,” McIntyre said, “Guess who’s gonna strut in these boots.”
Sophomore Eric Ticse felt the same.
“I like to do whatever I can to make my body feel like what my mind is telling me. And that could be with my shirt, my pants, my shoes, socks, eyeliner, whatever. Now that I think about it, it kind of helps me understand where I’m at in the morning,” he said.
Senior Malia Riviere said that she finds herself to be more productive throughout the day when she feels confident in what she is wearing. Riviere said that when she first started dressing up to go to school, it was a way for her to gain a sense of confidence and self-expression.
“I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself, and as someone who used to be shyer, I found it was a way to break my shell a little bit more,” she said.
Sophomore Zoey Rouane had an interesting take. She is from France, and said that the culture at home was to never dress too casually to go to class.
“Fashion has always been important for me. I love looking cool and confident. It’s a way for me to present myself to the world and be as authentic as I can be,” she says. She believes that confidence is the most important factor in dressing up.
It was clear among students that the ability to dress how they feel best expresses themselves has a big effect on their confidence levels and their self image.
However, the significance of fashion is not unique to students.
Professor Rawiya Kameir says that, while she now tends to prioritize comfort and practicality over aesthetics, her clothes are chosen mindfully and her “uniforms” that she often gravitates towards for teaching have the ability to impact her mindset. She often finds herself trying to balance this with something that many women have experience: feeling the need to dress in a way that satisfies the expectations of men in school and in the workplace.
“For a long time, because I was working in an industry where I was constantly surrounded by men, I realized after the fact that I subconsciously changed the way that I dressed because of how I was being perceived,” Kameir said.
This is a reality that many women face in the workplace, feeling forced to adapt one’s style in different workplaces, based on socially fabricated “norms.” Kameir said that when she left the industry, and now that she is primarily teaching, she made a big change from bodycon dresses to more casual and comfortable wear, eventually evolving to become her personal style.
Even now, Kameir says that she has been judged for what she wears, but in a very different way than before. She said that now, being younger than many of her colleagues coupled with her style has impacted how she is treated in the workplace. She already came into the position with fears that she would not be taken seriously based on her age and appearance.
“There are older men in particular here who wear cargo shorts, and that’s fine I don’t have a problem with it. But they are treated very differently because of the perception of their stature, because it is gendered, it’s racialized, it’s also very much age-based. There’s a perception that certain demographics have earned the right to be casual and kick back, that they’ve paid their dues and others of us have to just conform a little more,” she said.
The students also shared that they have received looks, judgment, or comments regarding the way they dress in the past. In fact, while all of them report receiving backlash, none of them let it stop them from expressing themselves how they wish, or from limiting their creativity.
Riviere said that she gets comments such as “How do you look so cute?” or “How do you dress up?” which she says is often insinuating that others “could never have the time,” or implies that she cares too much about putting on a well-thought-out outfit every day. Nonetheless, she doesn’t let these comments affect her or impede on the confidence her style brings her.
“It’s so much more about how it makes me feel versus dressing up for the people around me. I just explain that getting dressed is a fun part of my day and something that makes a boring school day a little more interesting,” she said.
Tisce says that he was no stranger to criticism when he was in high school, but that the only way to combat judgment is to show that it doesn’t affect you.
“The more that I show them I don’t really care, they’re like, ‘Eric you’re the only one who can pull that off,’” he said. “I think anyone should be able to feel that way.”
From all of the interviewees, every fashion choice was intentional, and every personality was encapsulated. And while trend culture is extremely prevalent on college campuses, there is clearly a large section of the campus community that supports dressing how you feel best rather than dressing for a trend or to fit in.
As Ticse said, when thinking about personal style, the focus should be on finding clothing that represents you authentically and to your core.
“Obviously everyone is a victim to social media trends and what people [or] celebrities wear, but for me, the fun of it should just be in going to a random store and finding a funky weird piece of clothing that for some reason you love.”