Arts, Column

Jasen: Self-expression Through Fashion

We spend our days surrounded by people who often share similar experiences to our own. It is easy to feel lost in this sea of college-aged students also searching for their purpose in life. How can we differentiate ourselves? The answer is simple: fashion. 

I’ve come to realize that the way in which we dress is our own little way of telling the world who we are—or at least who we desire to be. Our style is a reflection of our uniqueness and individuality. As Miuccia Prada said, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world.” 

We definitely take on a more preppy aesthetic at Boston College. We have certainly helped to keep J.Crew in business over the years. The Vineyard Vines store in Chestnut Hill gets quite a few customers as well. It is now autumn which means Patagonias and Golden Goose sneakers will be regularly seen around campuses. When winter rolls around the L.L. Bean boots will begin to make their frequent appearances, as will the Canada Goose parkas. 

The BC style, however, cannot be simplified to just boat shoes and khakis. Many students take on a more spunky approach to fashion, using unique clothes as a way of distinguishing themselves. An example would be one of my classmates Michael—one of BC’s sartorial iconoclasts. Often seen walking around campus in his iconic white leather platform boots, his distinctive style is both bold and authentic. 

Like many students on BC’s campus, Michael’s fashion style is a form of self-expression, a tool that allows him to fully present who he is to other students, and to counter people’s perceptions of himself. His style, which fluctuates based on his feelings and emotions that day, also reflects his own aspirations—he tries to dress as someone he would look up to.

Fashion continues to change and so do we. Our evolving style reflects the growth we experience in life. My guess is you won’t be leaving Linden Lane in the same outfit you entered. Our sense of style stems from more than a materialistic pursuit—it is the desire to express ourselves. Some days we wish to fit in, other days we hope to stand out. The beauty of fashion is that it allows us to do both. Sometimes having the perfect outfit gives us the little boost of confidence we need to conquer the day. 

Fashion also allows us to do something rather special, which is to take on the role of time travelers. Many students at BC discover their own artistry in fashion by pulling trends from different periods of time. There have been fashion staples that have defined every decade: bell bottoms and platform shoes in the ’70s, shoulder pads in the ’80s, the classic leather jacket of the ’90s, and the velour tracksuits of the 2000s. We’ve witnessed countless trends making a comeback at some point or another. Sometimes this is a good thing, other times it is not … dare I say low-rise jeans?  

The influence fashion has had on society cannot be overstated. Fashion is always evolving. It is a reflection of the current time. An important aspect in learning about the arts or the humanities is learning about people’s fashion. 

You certainly won’t mistake BC’s campus for the streets of Paris or Milan anytime soon, but the next time you are in a rush to get ready in the morning remember that the outfit you chose tells a little part of your story. We live in a world where it can be easy to feel unnoticed or misunderstood. Fashion gives us the wonderful opportunity to express ourselves as we wish.  

Life is full of endless possibilities, as is your closest. Be true to yourself and let your unique style blossom. As the great Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashion fades, style is eternal.” 

Featured Graphic by Olivia Charbonneau / Heights Editor

November 7, 2021