Individualism vs. trends


I would like to think that the general Laurier population is pretty trendy on an objective level. However, since fashion and style are so subjective, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,  I think it’s time to rethink what it means to be a stylish individual.

That being said, after much observation around our campus, here is my Sex and the City inspired question of the week: is it possible for a student to be stylish and an individual at the same time?

Now this isn’t to be judgmental or preach individuality versus conforming to the masses. As a student, I know that between readings, exams and essays, most of us are only focused on keeping enough caffeine in our bodies to function.

Even I, don’t even consider myself to be very inventive when I get dressed in the morning. With the exception of sweatpants, I usually just pull on the first three to four items I can easily spot in my closet.

My roommates call me the “Fashionable Roommate,” yet they fail to recognize that my lazy girl style can be easily duplicated.

As Coco Chanel said, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

One explanation I can think of for style remaining the same is our dependence on basics. Basics are the items of clothing that can make anyone look street-style ready without trying too hard.

Off the top of my head alone, I can think of at least five great basic pieces for Fall: dark wash skinny jeans/jeggings, a chunky knit cardigan, black flats, knee-high boots and the classic white t-shirt.

However, it appears that even the trendiest items of clothing are becoming “basics”.

That Aritzia bustier tank that used to be reserved for bar-hopping nights? I now own the same tank in five different colours and it’s more likely to be on a person sitting next to me in class than waiting in line at Phil’s.

When observing my fellow students, it’s easy to see what’s trendy for this season: canvas backpacks, combat boots, loose-knit sweaters, non-prescription “hipster” glasses and anoraks.

Coloured or patterned denim is still going strong as well as last year’s strong presence of moccasins, lace shirts and of course, WLU spirit wear. As a committed shopaholic, 80 percent of what I’ve listed, I have stuffed in my closet somewhere.

So, are we all just so stylish that we can’t help liking the same things? The answer isn’t that simple. Unfortunately, Chanel got it wrong: fashion doesn’t fade. Previous fashion trends keep coming back and are constantly re-invented with slight changes.

We have been re-living the 80s for the past six years through our clothing. When leggings first started to make a comeback in 2006, they were supposed to be worn underneath mini-skirts. It’s terrifying to think that presently the 80s are slowly being switched out for the 90s. And with our leggings, we rock cropped tops and over-sized plaid. The 2000s is definitely the era of nostalgia.

Furthermore, fashion does not stop to take a break. Our favourite fast fashion outlets like H&M, Costa Blanca, Dynamite and Forever 21 are constantly re-stocking their shelves and that could be the real problem.

It’s so easy to mindlessly pick up something that’s been knocked off the runway and mass-produced that we don’t even realize that we all end up dressing the same.

I don’t suggest that we all start sewing our own clothes or dressing like Susie Bubble; I think that it’s okay to blend in.

In the myth of university where this is the time to really be yourself and burst with individuality at the seams, I think that it’s okay to still think of yourself as separate from the girl across the room who’s wearing the same American Eagle cardigan as you are.

Except if everyone is wearing sweatpants. I won’t condone that.


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