Should We Care About What We Wear for Online College?

 

Fashion Staff Writer Emma Treacy muses on the important role that fashion can play in boosting our mood and keeping us motivated as we endure the slog of rolling lockdowns and online college.

 

That piercing sound of the alarm going off each morning welcomes yet another day of lectures on Microsoft Teams and straining our eyes on blurry Zoom calls. This is the universal college experience this semester. One thing I deeply miss about on-campus college is getting dressed in the morning. Yes, you heard me. The simple act of choosing an outfit and putting it on. And somehow, I don’t believe I’m the only one. 

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

For those who see clothes as more than just practicality, who relish spending time putting together outfits in the morning, the university campus is our haven. There is no place that feels safer or as free to express yourself through appearance than a university campus. Fashion is a means of expression, an art form which allows us to pick and choose colours and styles just as one would with paints from a palette. The blank canvases of our bodies become masterpieces that brighten up the gallery of day to day life.  The thrill of putting on an outfit in the morning and truly loving it, that sensation of feeling one hundred times better just because you love what you are wearing. This wondrous portion of our lives has to been stolen from us by the pandemic.

Ok, so what options do we have? Sweatpants, a messy bun, bare face, oversized hoodie and a pair of fluffy socks from Penneys can only go so far. For the first week, I was enjoying the novelty of rolling out of bed and into a mismatched concoction of loungewear. I tried to convince myself that it was good for me not to care about my appearance. However, I soon realized that this was not a healthy mindset for me. Controversially, I believe that a passion for fashion is in fact healthy. Dressing for yourself is both enjoyable and therapeutic, it can boost confidence and add a sense of purpose to our daily routine.

Perched before our laptops from one day to the next, minimal face-to-face social interaction is depriving us of the beauty that lies in meeting people. Taking ideas and inspiration from other people’s style and simply just enjoying the clothes everyone around us wears, are just some of the facets of normality that we never knew we could miss. While online shopping has become too regular a habit for many of us, fashion beamed at us from our screens doesn’t provide us with the same enriching experience. Absent is the joy of being able to explore the colourful variation of style provided by a day on campus. 

Memories of grabbing coffees on campus with classmates between lectures and planning outfits for the upcoming night out in the town, still linger in our minds. The nightmare scenario of being on the receiving end of a boy-racer hurtling through a large puddle during a torrential downpour and absolutely destroying your coat and jeans. However, if this meant we could go back to normality, and the chatter of study breaks at the door of the library, I would take the hit. 

While we are all grateful for Canvas and Microsoft Teams for keeping our third-level education afloat during Covid, there is no comparison to college life as we used to know it. So, whether it’s an essential journey to the supermarket or simply a walk and a takeaway coffee, go to your wardrobe and pick out what makes you feel like a million dollars. Whether it be bootcut jeans and a jumper or most extravagant and eccentric piece of clothing you own, wear it with pride. The world needs your creativity and vibrant (even questionable) style choices now more than ever.