A Day in the Life — To Walk in the Shoes Vest of That Girl

By: Emmie Martin

There’s always that girl. She sits in class in an… um… interesting outfit. I’m not much for fashion, so maybe there are some trends I haven’t caught on to yet. However, I’m guessing she’s not making a high fashion, couture allusion with her off the wall attire. She probably just dresses a little weird.

I applaud her for wearing whatever she pleases without regard to the opinions of others. But at the same time I wonder: how much do people even care?  Do the students on this campus ostracize the free-dressers or do they embrace the individuality? Or are they altogether indifferent? Being the thrift store loving, will-turn-any-occasion-into-a-costume-party person that I am, I have acquired a few interesting articles of clothing. This is my quest to find out how students really view eccentric clothing choices. Yep, for two days, I was that girl.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The 80’s suffered its share of fashion faux pas, most of which can be found at various thrift stores and garage sales nationwide. However, in my possession I have a ridiculous knee-length, long-sleeve, rainbow, flower print, the-80’s-actually-threw-up-on-this-dress kind of a dress. It’s wonderful, really.

As I walked down Comstock to my 9:30 a.m. class, most people around me were clearly still half-asleep. But as I turned, I audibly heard a guy behind me ask, “Where is she going in that dress?” What? I’m just going to class.

When I entered my morning lecture, one of my friends in the class looked at me, did a double take, and confusedly whispered “oh.” I nonchalantly asked her if she liked my dress. “Oh, yeah,” she replied, appearing caught off-guard. “Me too,” I told her. “I like this dress.”

Other friends in the class didn’t comment on my dress, although I am positive they noticed it. Maybe I am just so quirky already that it was expected from me.

Either way, I decided not to tell anyone that my attire was part of my own social experiment. I just wanted to observe their reactions as though they thought I was being serious in my outfit choice. But throughout the morning no one made any comments- good or bad- pertaining to my outrageous dress.

Although I received a few longer than appropriate stares, no one took visible notice of my outlandish dress, so after my 5:00 p.m. Spanish class I finally cracked. It was time was for actual feedback. I needed to know what people thought of my outfit. I was frustrated with the silence of my peers, so I explained my attire to a friend and asked her initial reaction to it. Surely she knew me well enough to catch on to the joke, or so I thought.

“Well,” she said laughing. “I thought it was kind of strange, but I didn’t want to say anything.”

At dinner, I proceeded to ask two other friends their impressions, which were met with positive feedback. “I just thought you liked colors,” one girl mentioned. “Going for a vintage look,” someone else added.

Upon arriving back at my dorm that night, I met a floor-mate in the lobby. “Cool dress,” she commented, without even being prompted for her opinion.

I liked the differing opinions my call for feedback initiated. People actually liked my 80’s dress! Although I knew it was outrageousness from the day I purchased it, I love that dress.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It is cat vest day. I own a vest with pictures of cats all over the front, again a thrift store find. Personally, I would wear it everyday if I could. But that’s just me.

Everyone on my floor applauded me for busting out the cat vest in public, but again, I was met with silence from classmates and bystanders. No one made audible comments on my walk to and from my 9:30 a.m. class. None of my classmates remarked on my vest, even as I walked in slightly late.

It could be silent judgment, and it was probably indifference, but I like to believe that my peers embraced the vest. After the positive reactions my previous outfit obtained, I had faith in my fellow students to accept my newest fashion statement.

Verification of my hopes came in my next class when a random girl came up to me and remarked, “That’s a cute vest.” My vest? The one with cats all over it? Thank you, random stranger. You made my day.

Bottom Line:

I will never know what the people I passed on the sidewalk thought of my experimental clothing. Whether they accept the eccentricities found on campus or silently judge those going against the grain will remain a mystery. But, honestly, I don’t care. At first I was nervous about being that girl. But now I’m glad I can wear whatever I want without social repercussions. Some people will like what you wear, some people won’t.

The most important conclusion I gained from my quasi-social experiment is that I can now wear my cat vest in public. And I plan on doing so. Meow.

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