Dressing for winter

To the Editor:

Upon reading your “Sartorial Observer” column last week (“Sartorial Observer: sizzling style advice for snowy days,” March 2), I was shocked and disappointed by the advice given. I myself do not profess any sort of religious devotion to fashion. I don’t know the thematic styles of this year’s runway, or which celebrity wore that piece on this date. If you had asked me which style icon immortalized Hunter boots before reading your piece I would have been completely clueless. I do, however, love clothing and style as a form of expressing myself, and in this regard your article, rather than giving useful advice, was condescending and quite frankly unhelpful. If I wanted to know that layering and camel coats were in I would read Seventeen magazine. That is not to say that I disagree with the writer’s frustration at the apparent lack of sartorial gumption at this school, I just think she sends the wrong message. She ultimately ends with the assertion that “keeping warm and expressing individual style can be done simultaneously,” but independent of this last statement, she uses most of your column to harp on other people’s sartorial choices. I’m not saying that sweats and hoodies are stylistically equal to a peacoat and a pair of nice leather gloves. But if you can rock “Limited Too colors” and look fresh doing it, I say all the power to you. Also, I think we all need to take a deep breath and admit to ourselves – hard as it may be – that we live in Williamstown, Mass. Alexander Wang probably couldn’t find it on a map if he tried. This geographic reality has two implications. For one, it’s freaking cold. Secondly, we are college students in the middle of nowhere. Personally, a peacoat doesn’t cut it for me during these cold winter months. When it comes to comfort, and especially warmth, looking slim and stylish ranks a definitive second. I did like the writer’s appeal to start “utilizing smaller articles of winter clothing,” but likening Williamstown students to Michelin men is neither necessary nor helpful. Different people use clothing in different ways, and a sartorial advisor’s duty is to encourage a more fashionable mode of individual expression. As a Williams College student interested in style, I really don’t want to hear that I can go online and buy an oversized beanie from Urban Outfitters. I know that I can do that. I would, on the other hand, be curious to hear the fashion secrets of Williamstown. How can I, given that I am a broke college student living in the middle of nowhere, enhance my wardrobe? I know the Women’s Exchange offers a cheap thrift store alternative to Nature’s Closet. But what else is there? Style is not about conforming to the latest trends and runway fashions. Not everyone looks good in the same thing. Williams students need advice on how to embrace their own individual style, whether it be haute couture or a simple cardigan and jeans.

-Rachel Kessler ’13

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