COLUMN: Making the first impression with stray spinach and college fashion

Style Scripture


Fashion columnist Brielle Saggese visits the Lucky Brand flagship store as one of the company's summer interns. Saggese uses her fashion experience to analyze human culture. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

First impressions are weird. First dates, first classes, first meet-the-parents – we fret about what others will think. We wonder if our necklines are too low, if our hair is out of place or if we have lettuce in our teeth. 

And even while the person sitting across from you is likely running through the same laundry list of insecurities, you both do it. You judge — one of you silently noting the spinach behind the other’s incisor and them in turn wondering if you meant to skip a button.   

In the spirit of awkward first impressions, I’d like to introduce this column, Style Scripture. Here’s the place where I’ll commentate on aspects of college student style and analyze it all, from the spinach to the sweatpants.   

But unlike your girlfriend’s parents who may look down on you for wearing frat tanks to family dinner, fashion commentary isn’t just about judging what we wear, but questioning the broader implications of why we wear it.   

Often, fashion is considered unworthy or vapid subject material. Even I will concede that Cosmo’s jean recommendations based on your astrological sign may lean toward the weaker side of journalism. But this column and others like it support a different observation of style.   

Why were Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits as much a point of discussion as her tax breakdown? Why did United Airlines feel that strongly about a passenger wearing leggings on a flight? Who knew that people cared so much about female legislators' sleeve lengths while speaking in the House Chamber?   

We can see that fashion matters because we continue to write about it, read about it and get worked up about a presidential candidate’s affinity for shoulder pads. In fact, we let fashion matter so much, we sometimes don’t even look at the clothes because we’re using them as a lens to look at everything else.   

From politics and power to gender and sexuality to biology and evolution, style points to the way we allow our bodies to represent the world. And as college students living in the current state of world affairs, that representation sure has a lot of meaning.   

Ask your average college student about Hillary’s pantsuits, and they might mumble something about feminism, power or make a general analysis on the meaning behind what she wore. But what about their own style choices?   

Maybe you wake up one morning, go to your closet and throw on the nearest hoodie and jeans for an 8 a.m. class. Maybe you’re just now getting home, still in the bandage dress and heels from the night before. Or even still, maybe you sport a Kelley business suit by day and subscribe to a questionably sexist party theme later that night.    

What you wear, how you wear it and the thought behind these decisions deserves a good once-over – so make sure to check for that stray spinach before heading out the door because this column is ready for your first impression. 

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