By Kristen Hunt
During a completely remote fall semester, students at the College had to adjust to a new way of learning. Everything — including fashion — was affected by the reality of Zoom. With the absence of attending in-person classes, the idea of dressing up to attend online classes feels odd to some students.
“You should be comfortable in what you are wearing considering we are in a pandemic and forced to take classes virtually,” said freshman psychology major Katie Kline.
Regardless if students opted to abide by the restrictions of the College’s Spring Flex plan and live on campus or attend class in the comfort of their own homes, Zoom calls are inevitable for students, as the majority of courses the College offers are being held remotely only. Whether it is through virtual lectures, club meetings or Greek life events, students will have to once again experience the reality of spending a lot of time on the computer.
Spending hours sitting in front of the computer and listening to a Zoom lecture simply does not make fashion a huge priority this semester.
While most students wish to be chatting with professors in person, mingling with their best friends in the dining hall or studying at the library, many are attending virtual office hours, making the most of virtual club meetings and emailing professors about WiFi issues.
“For me, it’s not a huge priority to dress up fancy for online classes, so I typically wear casual clothes,” said freshman nursing major Kaitlyn Ann Mendoza, “But I still try to match what I’m wearing in order to feel put together so I’m able to attack the day. A casual sweater and joggers is my go-to look.”
Mendoza chooses to dress comfortably as her math and science courses do not require much camera time, but she believes it’s important to mix both comfort and personal style in order to create Zoom outfits that enhance confidence.
“I feel like dressing up depending on the occasion, but most times I go with sweatpants and being comfortable because that is what I’m most confident in,” said Kline.
Before the College went virtual, putting together outfits was a way for students to have fun, and express themselves through personal style. Whether that was through throwing on a unique pair of jeans, a professional shirt or a simple College accessory, students were excited to showcase fashion. Now, they are beginning to see fashion as an instrument of their performance in class.
“For more serious online meetings I would go for a more professional look but if it’s just a normal class where my professor doesn’t really care, then I wear what is comfortable,” Kline said. “When I’m comfortable I tend to pay attention better.”
Angeles Melesio, a graduate student at the College’s five-year urban elementary education program, has a lot on her academic plate this semester. With the task of student teaching on top of her regular schedule, Melesio understands the equal importance of presentation and comfort.
“I mainly prioritize comfort because spending all day sitting at a desk is not ideal or comfortable at all,” said Melesio. “So, for me, it’s important to wear something that makes me feel good while I’m in class or student teaching. I mainly wear sweatshirts or loungewear when I’m in class.”
For fashion-loving Christina Farah, a sophomore accounting major, losing the ability to go all out with new styles is disappointing. However, comfort still remains a priority.
“I love fashion! Outside of Zoom, I like to keep up with the trends. Denim jeans, with booties, and a leather jacket is my go to fit!” said Farah. “But on a typical online Zoom day, I like to wear leggings with a hoodie.”
Despite the heartbreaking absence of fashion at the College, what is of greatest importance is that students do whatever they can to stay happy and healthy during these times — even if that means wearing pajama bottoms to class.
“I believe that if you are comfortable and confident in what you wear to online class, and what you are wearing isn’t a distraction to yourself or others,” said Kline. “It really doesn’t matter what you wear.”