Experimenting with fashion trends on the Hill
While many students on campus sport what Georgina Greenough '12 describes as "designer jeans and a Patagonia fleece, topped off with Uggs or Bean boots," others look to break the mold with their innovative fashion choices.
Colby Couture As far as fashion on the Hill goes, "we're a pretty good-looking campus," Greenough says. "The boys at Colby, whether their mothers shop for them or they're doing it themselves, [are] doing a pretty good job."
Lena Frostestad '12, a costume designer for Powder and Wig, says, "it's fun to get inspired by what other [students] wear. Usually people are very aware of what works for their body and what doesn't," she says.
Still, "every single person at Colby has a plaid flannel shirt," Frostestad says. "And it's really comfortable. I feel like at Colby, people go for the more comfortable look one to three days a week."
"Everyone here is really preppy, but I wouldn't classify myself as preppy," Julia Deutsch '12 says, who hopes to see more variety in students' clothing choices.
"I've never seen more pastel polos in my life," says Spencer Phillips '12, who grew up in Portland, Oregon. "I've embraced the preppy culture. Colby is definitely preppy, there's no doubt about it." Deutsch describes the average girl on campus as wearing a "J.Crew-inspired outfit with a cardigan and collared shirt in jeans and khakis," while a guy is "the stereotypical 'bro' [with a] collared shirt, jeans [and] a North Face."
"For the most part I think people look pretty put-together," Deutsch says. "There's definitely a look at Colby, [but] I wish people would experiment a bit."
Still, even the most original dressers can't help but partake in certain trends. "I [have to] admit I do have a pair of Bean boots and I kind of like them," Deutsch says. "When the weather calls for it you have to wear your snow clothes, but I try to avoid it."
Bean boots exemplify how "form and function meets style," Phillips says. "When you think of Bean boots you think of winter in Maine, and I guess subsequently you think of Colby." "I have yet to succumb to the North Face fleece," Greenough says. "I do want one, though, I'm not going to lie--one of the really soft ones."
Doing Something Different
Due to the prevalence of "flannel and sweaters and Uggs on campus, it's nice to see someone who will pull out a dress in the morning," Frostestad says, and Deutsch agrees. "Even when it's cold out I still walk around in a dress and leggings," she says. "I'm from London so I guess my aesthetic comes from there. I like dresses because they're more fitted and pouf out at the waist, and I love funky headbands."
During her high school years, Deutsch and her friends enjoyed "reading Elle magazine for inspiration" and attending London Fashion Week, which gave Deutsch a first-hand look at the latest trends.
"I guess I'm not as flamboyant as I am in London," she says. "There are just certain outfits that I wouldn't wear to class."
Greenough, who also grew up in London, "stayed loyal" to European stores like Topshop, but spending summers in Maine introduced Greenough to American chains like Urban Outfitters, J.Crew and American Eagle, which also influence her style. Her other favorite stores include Free People, BCBG and Saks Fifth Avenue.
"I think the cross-Atlantic dressing is cool because you can take stuff back and have unique stuff no one else has," Greenough says.
Even moving from one coast to another provides ample opportunity to experiment with new trends. Leaving San Francisco to attend college on the East Coast greatly influenced Frostestad's style. "The only boots I'd ever owned before coming to Colby were Ugg boots," Frostested says. "I never did skinny jeans before, but now I'm obsessed with them. I do a lot more layering, just because of the temperature. I've also gotten really into pea coats and scarves because they go with the weather."
Unlike some students who roll out of bed five minutes before class and throw on the nearest pair of sweatpants, Deutsch sacrifices sleep in order to perfect an outfit.
"If I have class at 11, I wake up at 8:30 and I'll shower until 9. Then I pick out my outfit and do my hair and figure out what headband and what jewelry goes [with it]," she says.
Even those who maintain a faster morning routine still look stylish, according to Frostestad. "People know beforehand certain outfits that work. They can still get dressed really quickly and just throw on makeup and be ready in half an hour or 15 minutes. It takes just as much time to throw on a pair of jeans...as sweatpants. Why not wear something nicer and more put-together?" While girls on campus tend to dress nicely, guys generally settle for "a lot of sweatpants," Hannah Parnes '10 says, who writes a fashion blog in her spare time and maintains a look that is "sort of a New England style, pretty classic with some bohemian twists."
"But at the same time, being stylish is just being comfortable with yourself, so if they're comfortable wearing sweatpants around, then more power to them," she says.
Phillips says that guys' outfits are "pretty casual, but there's definitely the Nantucket reds. It's a weird mix of sloppy-easy...with preppy casual that I've never seen before."
However, a little extra effort can positively impact students' appearance, especially when trying to impress professors, Frostestad says.
"In general, fashion is just a fun way to show who you are. In a college environment you meet a lot of new people, and what you're wearing is going to impact what people think of you. If you just put in the extra minute in the morning, it will make a huge difference."
Whether shopping at high-end department stores or scouring the racks at the local Ken-A-Set thrift store, students on the Hill are able to find a variety of pieces to complement their style regardless of their price range.
"I can think of a few friends who--when we go to Freeport...definitely splurge, but I have my other friends [who are more] Bohemian chic, so there's a mixture of [how much people spend]," Deutsch says.
Frostestad says she is "really good at going for the less expensive stores like Forever 21 and H&M, and going toward the sale racks for the more expensive stores. I'm sure other people are wearing Chanel shoes," she says. "My whole thing is about being very fashionable on very little money, and I do think it's possible to do so."
Although Waterville offers limited shopping options, "the local T.J. Maxx is fun. You can find good stuff there," Greenough says.
Ultimately, however, fashion is all about the right kind of experimentation and presentation.
"Life is too short, why blend in?" Greenough says. "Dress to impress."