SU students embrace chance to show off their back-to-school fashion

Making a post-quarantine fashion statement

After a year of virtual class and pajamas, students are itching to show off their fashion chops on campus.
Published: September 22, 2021

Online classes are no longer an option for students who opted to return to campus this fall. This reality of in-person-only classes put an immediate end to the days of rolling out of bed fifteen minutes prior to an eight a.m. zoom lecture. This means no more being tucked into beds while taking notes, no more waiting to shower until after class, and no more tuning into lectures in your pajamas.

Though days of slippers and sweatpants are gone, students across campus have been taking the return to in-person class as the perfect opportunity to dress up. The NewsHouse spoke to three students about how they choose to express themselves through clothing. All three expressed their love for taking charge of how others see them, and the renewed confidence they feel when they go to class feeling good about their appearance.

Back-to-school fashion 2021: Rachel Cramer

Secondhand Statements

Rachel Cramer returned to the Syracuse campus this fall after taking classes last year fully remote. The magazine junior said if she could describe her style in one word it would be “eclectic,” as it evolves with her changing personality she explains.

Cramer said over the year she spent remote, she took the time to explore her interests in clothing and fashion and found that the choices she makes about what she wears are impactful, they inspire her in other aspects of life.

“It sparks my creativity,” Cramer said. “It makes me feel confident, makes me feel like I have a purpose in my creativity and that I can execute it appropriately.” She explained how she sees dressing for in-person classes as an opportunity to express herself to those around her and promote conversation and connection.

Cramer buys most of her clothing secondhand, she said that over quarantine she found time to explore what types of clothes she looks best in, and feels best in. She hopes that by wearing what makes her happy, she can try to influence people around her to do the same.

“I want to make it a comfortable place for people to do what they want, wear what they want, and push their boundaries.”

Chic Combinations

Noa Putman, who was also fully remote last year, has returned to campus for her junior year and is back to dressing up for class. Since Putman was young, she’s had the same formula for putting together chic outfits.

“I’m somebody who likes to pick a piece and then I kind of dress around what I’ve picked out,” Putman said. “It’s a lot of upcycling my old fashion but getting a lot of current pieces that I enjoy, and then I’ll base it off that.”

Putman explained how, like any student, she finds it easy to slip into the much more casual option of sweatshirts and sweatpants to class during the winter, but how something about being dressed in the clothing she loves makes her feel differently.

“It honestly just gives me a little bit of a push in class to be there, be present,” Putman said. “It’s expressive and it’s about confidence. When you dress to your character or how you are feeling, even if that’s comfortability or like dressing up, I think it just helps you navigate with a little more confidence than you usually would.”

Back-to-school fashion 2021
Back-to-school fashion 2021

Urban Undertones

As a sophomore studying fashion design, Jace Williams is no stranger to putting together a stellar fit. To Williams, fashion means so much more than what people put on their bodies. He’s a strong advocate that clothing should be what you want it to be, a form of self-expression, which is how he finds inspiration for what he wears daily.

“This is my way of self-expression, showing people who I am and how I want people to see me,” Williams said. “I love throwing on random clothes that I like and walking out of the house, playing music, feeling like I’m the main character of my story.”

Williams spent a month in New York City before returning to campus this fall, and he said that cultural immersion had an impact on his views on fashion in a major way.

As his style evolves, he echoed what both Putnam and Cramer said. The idea behind fashion in people’s daily lives, in class, or even at home is not to please others. Rather, it’s about making yourself feel motivated and comfortable in your own skin.