Fashion is a prominent aspect of life at Boston College. We live in an environment in which we all strive to dress to impress, keep up with the latest trends, and advertise the most reputable brands possible.
With the cold winter weather upon us, BC has been sporting the now-familiar plethora of Bean Boots, The North Face and Patagonia jackets, Lululemon leggings, and J. Crew sweaters. It seems like nothing ever changes from year to year.
What about in years past? What winter fashion trends have taken BC by storm, and how has campus fashion changed throughout the years?
As I looked back on previous editions of The Heights, I was surprised to find not how drastically different fashions of the past are from today, but rather how similar they are.
Sure, there are multiple short-lived fads-trends that only lasted a season and today seem irrelevant. For example, the Jan. 18, 2000 article of “Tipping Your Hat to Winter Weather,” describes the newfound craze of wearing winter hats around campus.
It notes that during that winter, many more students were wearing winter hats than the year before, and not just to keep warm, but simply because they liked wearing them.
Alison Lawlor writes, “The most popular types seem to be the fleece caps that fit snuggly on one’s head and the light knit wool ones with earflaps and strings. Hand-knit hats, hats with bells, and hats with pompoms have also been sported about campus.”
And that doesn’t just mean that hats were worn on the head-they were also worn as body accessories. As Lawlor writes, “Some wear the hats in pockets or attached to a belt.”
Similarly, in her Jan. 29, 2002 article, Jessica Rosen writes, “fashionable winter clothing also fights off cold weather…Abercrombie may not sell snow boots, but there is a whole world of acceptable, even fashionable, clothing for the cold.”
I highly doubt that students today would buy snow boots from Abercrombie, even if it were an option. Rosen recommends buying Columbia gear, saying that it’s relatively “common around campus.”
The Arctic 180s earpiece, described as a “Polartec muff [that] hooks around the back of the neck, covering the ears from behind,” and fleeceneck gators, described as something “much like a turtleneck minus the rest of the sweater and fit snuggly around the spot most people forget to cover up,” were recommended to students to help combat the cold.
While Columbia is still a relevant brand on campus, I can’t remember the last time I saw an Arctic 180s earpiece or fleeceneck gator, bringing into doubt the longevity of trends like our beloved infinity scarves and knit head-wraps.
However, despite these drastic changes in fashion trends, I was more surprised by how similar BC students’ fashion choices in any season have remained throughout the years.
In the Jan. 29, 1996 edition of The Heights, Kristin Turick writes about how waking up last minute and going to class in “your well-worn jeans and your favorite t-shirt” completely stands out from the “suits and ties, skirts, and dresses…being worn (gasp!), not by the professors, but by the students themselves!”
Turick wonders why BC students tend to dress up more, a trend that is still pervasive today, noting that girls tend to dress up more than guys and that people spend more or less time on their outfits depending on their mood.
As Turick explains, “It seems some people are taking the old adage ‘Dress for success’ very seriously. While a skirt or tie isn’t going to raise your GPA on its own, it does make you more attractive, indicates an interest, and gets you noticed.”
In a final intriguing find in The Heights from Jan. 21, 2010, Jordan Mendoza describes her recent experience in Paris, widely considered the fashion capital of the world, and compares it to fashion at BC.
Mendoza notes, “perhaps the most striking difference between the fashion in Paris and, say, on campus here in Chestnut Hill is Paris’ sheer trendiness.”
She compares the “ubiquitous lazy Boston College girl uniform of skinny jeans shoved into a pair of Uggs and a North Face” to Paris’s ultra-chic “knee-high boots with tortuous heels, high-waisted, slouchy pants that crop at the leg, tucked into tasseled ankle boots, plenty of camel scarves, all-black ensembles, and lots of fur.”
It seems to me that despite various short-lived trends, BC students maintain a consistent fashion sense.
While BC dressers may not always make the most chic or risky style choices, it’s undeniable that there is a certain comfort that goes along with sticking to the more well-known, mainstream brands we love.