Don't dress to impress

In the fashion world, September is synonymous with style. All the best fashion magazine issues are released, bringing forward the start of the much-anticipated, yet fleeting fall season.

For those of us whose summer jobs came with a uniform, September also brings the freedom to choose what we’ll wear.

Few elements of the approaching school year induce the heart-pounding excitement as much as deciding your “look” for the next eight months. Suddenly, the outfit ideas seem infinite; the occasions that could accommodate even the most impractical of pieces seem just as numerous.

It can be tempting at this time to focus on the choices of our peers — how they dress, how they speak and think about their clothing. It’s great to take inspiration from our classmates and often the best ideas come from this kind of collaboration, but this is the start of a new fashion season. Take it as a challenge to dress exclusively for yourself.

How many of us have stood in front of our closets, entirely at a loss for what to wear, with other people’s hypothetical criticisms echoing through our heads? This yearning to impress others, be they our friends, profs or significant others, stifles our own creative nature.

Looking around campus, or most university campuses for that matter, you’ll notice that striking trends emerge. Think of leggings, Hunter boots, messy buns. The list goes on. This sartorial “groupthink” permeates our social interactions and seeps into our morning routine, stopping us in our tracks right at the closet door.

Breaking from the mould is scary, but once you’ve done it, the feeling can be exhilarating. Soon you realize that there was never a need to cater to the interests of others with the clothing you put on your own body.

Your personal style becomes a much more accurate reflection of your taste.

This process of dressing for yourself, rather than to please others, can be extremely empowering. Throughout the school year we do a lot for other people. We complete our assignments, buy gifts for friends and often volunteer during our spare time.

Getting dressed each morning is an opportunity for to do something just for ourselves.

So this fall, try to take some small step towards dressing for yourself.

Maybe it’s buying something you really love, but think is too risqué. Maybe it’s a funky new haircut. Maybe every time you stop to consider whether someone else will like your outfit, you go for it anyway.

Whatever it is, make sure you do it for personal reasons, regardless of what’s trending. This September, the focus is you.

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