July 17, 2006

Looking Fashionably Frosh

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By Dana Mendelowitz

Are you still wearing turtleneck shirts and elastic ankle sweatpants? Or are you aware that elastic ankle sweatpants are suddenly part of every chic girl’s summer wardrobe? Either way, it is essential that you learn to dress for success! The Cornell campus remains a fashion haven despite being located in a fashion void like Ithaca. Whether you’re sitting in class, studying in the library, lunching in a dining hall, reveling at a frat party or bar hopping in Collegetown, it is essential to be clothed properly.

Keeping Warm in Style

Fleece jackets are imperative to keeping warm in the bitter Ithaca climate. In the fall they can be worn as a lightweight coat and in winter they are a pleasant layer between your outfit and your winter coat. However, as stylish as North Face fleeces were in middle school or high school, other brands are far trendier nowadays. Companies like Patagonia and Columbia offer different styles and materials so that your fleece can be more personal and a better reflection of your own style. If you are planning on bringing a North Face, definitely put your name into the label; chances are that you are going to wear that fleece to a party and by the time you go to retrieve it, the other three hundred people at that party wearing the same black North Face will have already mistaken yours for their own.
A scarf is another essential item that will keep you warm from the fall until the winter. Scarves can be a unique fashion accessory. “Ithaca winters can be really cold, but a scarf or a hat can keep you warm. A colorful patterned scarf makes any blah winter coat seem a little bit brighter while keeping you nice and warm,” says Megan Belkin, ’06. Scarves come in a wide range of colors, prints, lengths, widths and materials and can also be worn in a variety of ways. So spice up your winter wardrobe and avoid the winter blahs and wear a scarf!

Carrying Your Books to Class

Backpacks and single strap sling body backpacks are highly functional; they carry a ton of books and leave your hands free to hold the bar on the TCAT bus or carry a latte. However, such bags are not generally fashionable. They are large, cause students to hunch over due to their weight and are generally poorly designed for the chic student. Fortunately, LeSportSac has designed a simple backpack that comes in all of their prints that will still look chic for the well dressed female student. Although Northface and JanSport have been popular for years, male students can still pull off those styles of bags, as long as it doesn’t appear that the student is ready to go hiking through the gorges. Swiss Army also makes nice backpacks that can be used by both male and female students.
Instead of carrying backpacks, messenger bags and totes are easy to carry and definitely stylish. Although L.L. Bean boat totes and Herve Chapelier nylon totes are totally passé, companies like Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Gap and Target carry seasonal totes that are sure to carry your books from class to the library. Longchamp totes are still in style; Megan Belkin said “I could not have survived the last four years without my Longchamp tote. It was so durable, went with everything, and fit all of my books and notebooks. Totes and messenger bags are a great way to be both fashionable and functional and they can dress up any outfit.” Messenger bags come in anything from leather to nylon and canvas and are all class appropriate. Dave Zukof ’08 agrees that “messenger bags are cooler than backpacks … I started to wear a backpack to my internship this summer but then I bought a messenger bag because it seemed better for work.”

Looking Chic While Spending Days in the Library

When a Cornell student sets out to spend a day studying in the library, they really mean that they are spending the entire day in the library. A student absolutely must be comfortable while sitting on those hardwood chairs for hours at a time. Yet comfort does not have to be embraced at the expense of fashion. Sweatpants and other relaxing outfits can most definitely be chic. Forget the sweatpants you got from your high school varsity sport team. Girls can wear fold-over yoga pants, leggings, terry cloth, velour sweats (depending on the season, of course) or even stretch jeans. Guys will find sweats anywhere from Puma to Abercrombie. Evan Tyner ’08 said “sweatpants are the essence of comfort and when done right can have the same stylistic effect as jeans.” But, wearing sweatpants does not necessarily mean that you have to wear sneakers, a sweatshirt or even a whole sweat suit. A nice contrast to sweats is a sweater, a casual blazer or moccasin shoes.

Good luck packing for school. Don’t forget conservative outfits for class, fun outfits to go out in, shorts for when it’s hot, layers for when it’s cold and a reasonable sense of style. And remember, if you are smart enough to get into Cornell, then you are definitely smart enough to dress yourself fashionably!