As I sit here writing this on Chapin Beach, one thing is clear: spring is upon us. And that means, students of Williams College, one thing: It is time to start caring about how you look. Gone are the frigid days of winter when you can get away with sweatpants, Bean boots and your black North Face parka. Your excuse of Seasonal Affective Disorder is no longer valid, so put away your heat lamp and break out your most flattering shorts.
If one thing is clear about this school, it’s that the student body as a whole does not care enough about how they look. I get it: academics come first here. None of us got into this school for looking cute (Well, maybe a few of us did. *Wink*). People here often see fashion as a silly, superfluous pursuit, never stopping for even a moment to consider its importance. How you dress is the first step toward a first impression, with people making a judgment before words are even exchanged. You would never walk into a job interview looking sloppy or unprofessional, or so the Career Center hopes. I see life as one big job interview. You never know who you’ll meet on any given day, what connection will end up being valuable later in life. Hate to break it to you, college students, but people judge. Twist! Sometimes that judgment is based on how you look. We may have been coddled by the all-too-recent college application process, during which our minds and accomplishments were the most important factor in our success. But the influence of clothing is inescapable. Everything you wear makes a statement, even if that statement is that you don’t care how you look.
Do not mistake me, I am not arguing for homogeneity of style. What makes clothing great is that everyone can put their own twist on old concepts, or even try something totally new. There is no one product or brand that is always sure to possess qualities that work for everyone. What I am saying is that people need to put in the effort to find what works for them.
If you’ve been slacking off in your wardrobe choices, spring is the best time to turn over a new leaf. New beginnings! (or something) Easter! Even if the season took a little longer to reach Williamstown than anywhere else in the country, the point is that it’s here now and we all have another three weeks to make the best of it. Spring is a time for bright colors. It’s a time for shorts – you can finally expose your legs to the sun! It’s a time when you can test the boundaries of how naked you can be in public while still looking acceptable! Maybe the winter blues took a particular toll on your shape. If this is the case, then here is a shameless plug for the article I wrote on juice cleanses last February (“Juice cleanse purifies first-year,” Feb. 20). But if you’ve been keeping it tight, and since we’re at Williams, I suspect you have, there is simply no excuse.
A few tips are in order. Do not fall into the trap of just wearing athletic shorts and a T-shirt every day. I know, it’s comfortable. But is it really that much more comfortable? Were you raised by wolves? (If you were … this is awkward.) Having personally gone to a school with a strict dress code, I found that having to dress up every day gave, and continues to give, purpose in going to class every day. It shows your peers and professors that you take them seriously and that you put effort into more than just the reading. For all the ladies, just because it is spring does not mean that everything you wear needs to be emblazoned with flowers. Subtlety is a virtue. Guys – I feel that we have a collective reluctance here to dabble in the wearing of short-shorts. I do not understand. They are blatantly more comfortable, and look better on everyone. Yes, everyone. When I say short-shorts, I don’t mean to the level of public indecency, but a reasonable length between mid-thigh and above the knee is always kosher. Trust me on this one – you may get a little more action than you did before.
On a final note, I know exams are coming. That magical time of year when we all question why we came to college at all, let alone this college. It won’t be pretty. Papers won’t print and professors will throw last-minute curveballs that seem nothing short of unconstitutional. Among the weak, tears will be shed. But there is one thing you can control above all else. You can walk into your exam looking sexy (not too sexy, though, wouldn’t want to distract anyone). The way I see it, it’s very simple. When I look great, I feel great. When I feel great, I perform better.
So as you fall asleep tonight, obviously thinking back to this article and how relevant and witty it was, take a moment to consider what you’ll wear tomorrow. You might surprise yourself.