Out with the old, in with the new; that’s what New Years is for. Having learned from the mistakes of the past, a new year is time for a new beginning. As a sophomore looking back at 2011, I noticed that my freshman enthusiasm had crashed into the reality of classes, p-sets, and the need to find a career lucrative enough to pay off my college debts. I holed myself in my room, without going to the student theater shows and lectures I had formerly enjoyed. Worse still, my increasing workload led to a stagnant routine: a while-loop of note-taking, studying, and sweating over exams. Surely there was more to college life than this. I was supposed to become a well-rounded adult, not a workaholic.
That’s why I resolved that 2012 would be a time for change. This year, my old world would end apocalyptically and a new one would spring from the ashes.
This year, I would become fashionable.
If you’re thinking that this goal doesn’t sound terribly life-changing, I assure you it can be. Clothes can inspire you to think and act differently. I find myself giggling more when wearing kimonos and waving my arms around when wearing long, floppy sleeves. Nothing beats boots for a feeling of pride and a confident stride. Dressing up as the person I want to be can be an important step to becoming that person. After all, if you wear a mask long enough, it fuses to your skin and becomes a permanent part of you.
After making up my mind, I needed to implement my plan. Being a practical-minded sort of person, I wanted to make sure I was sufficiently insulated for the Boston winter and that I could run without endangering my ankles. My new style should be classy yet with minimal fuss so I won’t have to rely on the advanced technique of layering. For inspiration, I consulted online fashion blogs, searching for a person with my approximate body type. I didn’t find such a blog, but I was inspired to work with my existing wardrobe, dressing up the wide collar of turtlenecks with jewelry and relying on accessories such as scarves, earrings, and hats. After some test running, I determined that flat-heeled boots would be the best option for both fashion and ability to move faster than a hobble.
Not only was it important to figure out what to wear, but I also had to decide where to wear it. My theory is that you mentally divide the world into “home” — where you feel comfortable and let yourself go — and “outside” — where you try to project an image of yourself to the world. In high school, it’s easy to tell that your “home” is inside your house and your “outside” is school and work; however, the distinction is less clear in college. You probably don’t dress up to lounge around your dorm, but what about classes, dining, or hanging out with friends? A too-expansive “home zone” leads to wearing sweatpants and rumpled pajamas to class, the epitome of comfort over appearance. In the end, I decided to leave my free “Wings Over Somerville” T-shirt in my dorm room and apply more effort to my appearance when I go to class, see shows, and venture into the city.
As with all New Year’s resolutions, I will have to remain vigilant against backsliding, resisting the temptation of pulling on an old T-shirt and sneakers on a rushed morning. To keep me on the straight and narrow, I’ve decided to plan my outfits ahead of time, so that I’m not stuck with the dregs of my closet on laundry day. Since people are more likely to spontaneously eat when food is in front of them, I’m applying the same principle to my jewelry, keeping it on my dresser so I can “impulse dress.” I hid my T-shirts in my drawers and hung my nicer clothes in the open for easy access.
Once I went on a brief shopping spree and raided my mom’s closet for silk scarves, I was ready to face the new year with a new look. Whenever I face people in public speaking, interviews, or dating, I’ll hopefully dazzle them all with my nouveau couture.