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The Cavalier wears Prada

Asking myself “What would Miranda Priestly think?” as I get dressed for class

Cecy Juárez is a Life columnist for The Cavalier Daily.
Cecy Juárez is a Life columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

The transition from Zoom University to all in-person classes has been jarring for many of us here at the University. As a second year, I often feel more like a first year as I attend large college lectures and classes for the first time. One particular sentiment that several of my peers and I share is the utter shock of seeing the sheer number of people on Grounds. I didn’t know that so many people were students here!

But the most fascinating thing that I have observed from these past few weeks is people’s fashion sense on a normal school day. Before coming to college, I attended Catholic school since kindergarten. This meant wearing some unflattering and dull school uniforms for approximately 12 years of my life — I never truly had the opportunity to show off my style or see what other people would wear to class. That is, until now.

I’ve personally been enjoying seeing what other students wear around Grounds, and I’ve loved seeing all the different styles, from high-waisted jeans paired with flowery corsets to students clad in ‘90s-style top to bottom denim. I’ve seen people with mustard yellow pants strut across Jefferson Park Avenue on a sunny day, while others rock striped Guess shirts during psychology lectures. One of my favorite outfits so far was a girl wearing a Coca-Cola graphic t-shirt with distressed jeans and a bandana while sipping on Coke on the Newcomb patio. 

Now, as I try my best to settle into the flow of school, I am struck by an unexpected challenge — what should I wear to class? While this question may seem silly or superficial to some, it is something that I’ve been grappling with every weekday. 

I have been struggling to choose between cute outfits or staying in my pajamas to go to class.  Will wearing something more professional make others take me more seriously? Should I care about how strangers will perceive me? What if I wear something too over the top? Should I prioritize style over comfort? Do people even care about what I wear? These questions have been plaguing me every time I go through my wardrobe.

In my quest to find answers, I asked several of my friends how they decide what to wear to class, and I received a wide range of responses. Some of them said that they put a decent amount of effort into their choices, while others stated that they don’t really think about what they wear. The former group of people expressed that they want to make a good impression on their peers and that dressing nicely makes them feel good about themselves. The latter stated that they do not care about what other people may think and only dress for the weather.

Even though these two attitudes sit on opposite sides of a spectrum, I’ve come to realize that they are both entirely valid. It’s OK if you want to wear your best sundress to your statistics lecture or a snazzy polo to astronomy. No one will judge you if you wear a plain t-shirt and oversized basketball shorts to a discussion. The takeaway of my survey? Wear what makes you feel good about yourself. In the end, other people’s validation or judgment do not matter, but your education and mental health do.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to wear whatever my heart desires each day of class. If I’m in the mood to wear one of my nicer blouses and dress shorts, then I’ll show them off! I have been enjoying the challenge of coming up with a new and original outfit each day. If I’m running late and can only show up in what also happens to be last night’s pajamas — which has somehow already happened — I won’t feel insecure about what other people might think of me. I am here to enjoy college and all of its challenges, whatever that may look like.

Even though Miranda Priestly may not approve of everything I decide to wear, I am happy with the fact that whatever I choose will make me feel good about myself.