By Tress Klassen
Inspired by NYC’s Fashion Week, I decided to live the life of a legitimately fashionable woman for a day. Since my idea of a fashion statement is wearing green Converse in place of my typical purple pair, this promised to be one hell of a day. My prediction? Trials, tribulations, and terror.
Tribulation #1—The Preparation
It’s 2 a.m., and 40 pages of microeconomics has transformed my brain into a giant lump forlornly whimpering, “I just don’t understand!” And I have yet to figure out what exactly constitutes a high-fashion look. Hoodies, jeans, sweaters, and a lonely blazer make up my wardrobe—even I realize that’s decidedly not the makings of a fashionista.
I quickly discover the perks of living on an all-girls floor: after 30 minutes of knocking on doors, I return to my room bearing many a gift from those with more style: dangly jewelry, painfully high-heeled boots, a pea coat that looks very expensive, leggings, which may not be high-fashion but are beyond necessary for survival in the 20 degree weather, and a shirt dress (apparently shirt dresses are known for their “classic silhouettes” — thanks fashion-major-friend!).
I get up an hour earlier than normal, and I wonder, why does 7 a.m. feel infinitely earlier than 8? I’m positive the mere 60 minute difference has created a sort of space-time continuum shift because 7 a.m. has never felt so maliciously unwelcoming, and I think that it may actually be 3 a.m. in reality. (These are my sleep-deprived thoughts. This is why I need sleep.)
Once I’ve ironed my hair and painted my face (I have no future in cosmetics), I get dressed and win the battle with my contacts (it’s an arduous process that reminds me why I love the simplicity of glasses). I’m ready to go to class after a final glance in the mirror. I feel confident about my attempt at fashion — but wait—there’s one glaring error. Let me just say, to all aspiring fashionistas—do not trim your own bangs.
Tribulation #2: The Bag
Do all fashionable women have one abnormally muscular shoulder? Maybe the Surgeon General should conduct a study, because this question may have some merit. I typically wear a backpack to cart around my laptop, textbooks, and notebooks. But using a backpack is probably the equivalent of a felony in the world of high fashion so I had no choice in the matter.
The night before, I had crammed all of my academic paraphernalia into a giant purse, and now I sling the bag onto my shoulder. I’m pretty sure it weighs as much as I do. I realize I should go ahead and schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. So I leave the dorm and head to class, and within about five minutes, the weight of my bag is practically separating my shoulder from its socket. I’m leaning so far over to the side that I’m practically bent at a 90-degree angle. By the end of the day I miss my backpack more than I miss the days before the Orange lost to Louisville, and I no longer have any idea how women carry bags on one shoulder and still have fully functioning arms.
Tribulation #3: The Leggings, the Shoes, and the Pea Coat
The pea coat wasn’t much of a problem. It just wasn’t very warm — good thing Syracuse is known for its balmy weather. And once my feet went numb, the 4-inch heels were downright comfortable! Eventually the tripping subsided and I developed a very voguish lurch that kept me upright.
But the leggings! Either my legs freeze extremely easily or every other legging-wearing woman has found hypothermia-proof leggings because there is no way that everyone who wears leggings is as cold as I was that day. Every time the wind blew, I shivered so hard that my knees knocked together. And because this is Syracuse, the wind never relented, and I never stopped shivering.
Honestly though, the cold wasn’t the worst part. No, the worst part was the terror of humiliation and indecent exposure. Picture this: I’m walking through campus, shivering, feet aching, shoulder throbbing, but feeling all right because at least I’m sort of fashionable. Then, with no warning, there’s a flash of tactile realization that my bottom half feels utterly exposed. The moment of sheer terror as I look down, wracking my brain for any shred of a memory: did I put pants on this morning?
And then the instant ends, because yeah, I’m wearing leggings, so it feels like there’s nothing on my legs, but in actuality, nothing’s wrong. The horror lasts maybe half a second. But those half seconds add up throughout the day, and that panic gets tiresome.
By the end of the day, I’d come to a conclusion. Fashion is always uncomfortable, usually time-consuming, and occasionally terrifying.
But, of course, that’s just my verdict. So I leave it up to you to decide, but I’ll end with a final word of advice: when wearing leggings in public for the first time, write a reminder on your hand:
“Don’t worry, you are wearing pants.”
Tress Klassen works as the opinions Web editor at The Student Voice. She is a freshman magazine major at SU.