Fashion: Comfort vs. Individuality

by Cougar News Contributor 2,559 views0

By Rylee Holwager

College of the Canyons student Katelyn Terena wakes up at 6 a.m. every morning, eats her breakfast, brushes her hair and teeth, but is always faced with the same question: what am I going to wear today?

Will it be:

A) black jeans and a crop top

B) an “off the shoulder” top with some blue jeans,

or will it be

C) her signature look: ripped mom jeans, an oversized hoodie and Vans.

The answer is, and will always be, C.

“I normally don’t get much sleep so I just wake up and throw things on just to get to class on time,” said Terena. “Me not looking good at school is reflecting that I’m exhausted and I’m just trying to get through the day.”

With the extraneous struggles that come along with being a college student, the majority of people simply feel that fashion in college is more so about comfort and wearability rather than self-expression. 

“I (have to) dress properly for school but also comfortably enough to last a whole day in clothes,” said student Jorge Aguila. 

This pressure on as to what to wear leaves some even questioning if the hassle is worth it. “On days where I don’t feel like trying, I don’t feel bad about my baggy clothes or disheveled hair!” said student Galilea Guzman. 90% out of a survey conducted on 50 COC students agree that just by simply being a college student, their overall fashion is affected.   

“I rarely have gone shopping since school has started. School and homework take up the majority of my free time,” said Terena, another student. 

Almost all college students surveyed responded that they love to go shopping, but only about 32% do it on a monthly, or less, basis. Their favorite stores being primarily the ones at the local mall, but also taking advantage of thrift store clothes in order to decrease their own carbon footprint. 

“If the industry doesn’t change, and it’s fashion business as usual, the apparel industry’s climate impact is expected to increase 49% by 2030,” according to the Global Fashion Agenda of 2017. 

The correlation of college students being educated about the environmental impact of the fashion industry vs their own personal shopping pleasures is almost uncanny.

The McKinsey Global Fashion Index only predicted that the industry growth of 2019 would be 3.5 to 4.5 compared to the doubling of clothing production from 2000 to 2014 ( 

Thrift shopping has become a very popular trend amongst America’s youth because not only is it better for the environment, but because it is cheap and allows for more freedom and individuality to be expressed through the clothes that are purchased.


“When I don’t have a long school day ahead of me, and I’m not wearing leggings and a hoodie, I love to be as extra as I can with my style. Thrifted clothes are my favorite because they are so unique and I personally feel that I’m expressing myself and my style more when I’m wearing them,” said student Lejai Goodman.

In the sea that is college, the fact is you will find a lot of sweats, leggings, hoodies, and hair in buns. However, this does not count out everyone due to one widely adopted ideology – “look good, feel good.” 

“(I)t bolsters your self esteem because it makes you feel yourself and believe in your attractiveness,” said Aguila and 93% of the surveyed, also agree with him.

“I personally will do makeup to make myself feel better or dress up to feel better mentally,” said Caitlyn Clericuzio. 

When you just put even a little bit more time and effort to what you are wearing, it immediately satisfies that gratification that it was worth it. If someone has complimented you on what you are wearing before, it immediately has the same confidence boost threaded into it, and everytime you put that article of clothing on you are reminded of that one time when you truly felt great in what you were wearing. The truth is fashion stimulates a larger portion of our mood then society would think. 

Even in high school when it was all about the brand names and dressing “cool,” if you were wearing something that fell under those guidelines, you felt like you belonged in some sense. 

But “fitting in” in high school is outdated at college, which shifts the entire fashion dynamic. 

“When you get to college, people are a lot more open and you can wear whatever you want without being bullied,” said student Hunter Barella. “In fact if you break the mold most will compliment (you,) I’ve found in my experience.”

Confirmed by COC representative Eric Harnish, COC has no dress code policy. This allows for the student body to fully indulge themselves in the luxury of expressing who they are through their style and fashion.

“Fashion to me is just one of the many facets in which people can express themselves and find confidence whilst also creating the persona that the world sees,” said student Emily Moss. 

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