As students return to Ohio University from summer break, the dreaded question of “What am I going to wear?” hangs heavily in the unseasonably warm September air. But every year OU is splattered with a wide array of styles and aesthetics, making this campus an ideal place to observe the fall semester fashion trends.
For many people, going the vintage route has been a successful way to express themselves through their clothes. There are many different fashion designers and brands that are fan favorites on campus.
Eva Miller, a freshman studying environmental studies, possesses a love for vintage clothes.
“I'd say some of my favorite designers are probably Roberto Cavalli, Save the Queen, Decidual, so a lot of like these vintage designers that use a lot of silks and a lot of like bright prints,” Miller said.
A major contributor to the rise in the vintage style is likely the increase in thrifting, which has increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to NPR. A number of students see it as a more sustainable and budget-friendly shopping option and have thus turned to their local Goodwills for back-to-school clothing.
George Turner, a sophomore studying urban planning and sustainability, tends to take the thrifted route when shopping for clothes.
“I usually go for thrifted clothes,” Turner said. “I think these are thrifted (jeans), so I just try and reuse things.”
Some Bobcats use a general color palette that reflects the aesthetic they identify with the most. This palette can be curated by a number of things, ranging from natural influences to cultural backgrounds.
Salma Zerhouane, a sophomore studying journalism, takes inspiration from her heritage when picking out her outfits.
“I tend to go for greens and browns and neutral colors,” Zerhouane said. “I'm also an Arab, so a part of that is headscarves and gold jewelry…I just feel like my culture just tends to inspire me.”
Fall has been off to a very warm start; September has had days where the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to WTOL. This can make it very hard for students to embrace their styles.
“I’m in a hard place because I'm ready for fall, I'm ready to wear long sh*t,” Turner says. “But it's still way too hot out. I tried to go with long (clothing) that wasn't too overbearingly hot.”
A big part of college for new students is finding themselves and pinning down their own unique identity. Even as many students start to try new things and experiment with fashion, it can still be intimidating.
“Honestly, (I haven’t seen people similar to my style), which kind of makes me a little sad because in some ways it makes me scared to wear what I want to wear,” Miller says. “I see so many people that are like just dressing for comfort. Which I love to do, but at the same time, I want college to be like a place where I can express myself.”
Despite this, OU is still very much a smorgasbord of looks. Everyone on campus, from touring high school students to seniors finishing their degrees, showcases a large display of aesthetics.
“I think OU is very diverse, like what people are wearing,” Zerhouane said. “I try to dress up for class just because it makes me feel better. But yeah, I see a mix of this but also more on the hippie style. Eclectic styles.”
While style and fashion may not be everyone’s passion, most people can agree that clothes are important. Whether it’s a Dolce Gabbana top or a pair of Nike sweatpants, it’s something that impacts the everyday lives of all people. The resounding piece of wisdom that college students seem to be following as the fall semester begins is simply to dress for happiness.
“Be yourself,” Turner said. “Wear whatever you want.”