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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State: The Uniform

Iowa+State%3A+The+Uniform
Illustrations by Maggie McGrath

As the students of Iowa State prepare themselves to venture out onto campus each morning, they are confronted with the choice of how to present themselves amidst the vast sea of over 30,000 faces. For many students, clothing serves as more than just daily attire, but a form of self-expression and personal identity. A college campus is a melting pot of diverse backgrounds and cultures, all unified to form a singular identity. In a setting where such an abundance of different individuals are intermixed, clothing can serve as a key communicator and a first step in finding like-minded individuals.

While the state of Iowa is not widely recognized for its fashion and style, this does not mean the impactfulness and significance of dress holds any less than in other regions. Even in the heartland of Iowa, where cornfields and rolling grasslands dominate the landscape, style and dress continue to hold significance and purpose within each community. 

Throughout college campuses across the country, the prevalence and impact of style trends can be readily observed amongst its student population. At Iowa State, these major trends and styles can be deconstructed into a few encompassing categories.

 

The Flannelista

Illustration by Maggie McGrath

The flannel: holy grail and centerpiece amongst the wardrobes of countless college males. Comfy, casual and classic, this look is the bread and butter for those looking to find that perfect medium between stylishness and comfort. Particularly popular in Iowa’s frigid winter climate, the flannel is often layered with a hoodie and paired with a set of comfy sweats. While some use this easy-going style to highlight their extravagant shoe collection, many elect to keep the look casual with a pair of all-white sneakers such as the fabled Air Force 1.

The Flannelista exudes both comfort and confidence. Proponents of this popular midwestern look often opt for workwear and outdoor recreation brands. The Flannelista showcases their style with poise, comfort and a touch of charm, making this trend a staple of the campus fashion scene.

 

Top Brands: J. Crew, Carhartt, L.L.Bean, Polo Ralph Lauren

Popular Majors: Business, Marketing, Agriculture

 

Effortless Athleisure

Illustration by Maggie McGrath

For many college females who crave a wardrobe with both functionality and fashion, effortless
athleisure has become one of the hottest choices. This style has skyrocketed in popularity over recent years, allowing college women to seamlessly transition from the class to the gym, all whilst remaining effortlessly stylish. The style is often centered around a pair of leggings or joggers, allowing for optimal movement during active days packed with classes, workouts and errands. Complemented with oversized sweatshirts and cozy pullovers, the look effortlessly exudes a laid-back vibe. While a major selling point of Effortless Athleisure is its sheer functionality, the style is often paired with boots such as UGGs or other non-athletic shoes for added comfort.

As one of the most popular emerging styles amongst college-aged females, it is backed by some of the hottest brands in today’s fashion, such as Lululemon, Aritzia and Alo Yoga. Many of these brands are endorsed by some of today’s top social media influencers, further contributing to the style’s recent traction.

 

Top Brands: Aritzia, Lululemon, Alo Yoga, UGG

Popular Majors: Kinesiology, Psychology, Event Management

 

 

The Graphic Guy

Illustration by Maggie McGrath

The Graphic Guy’s style is one which emanates individuality and self-expression. With endless possibilities of colors, designs, shapes and sizes, the Graphic Guy is able to effectively communicate their own personal identity and interests to the rest of campus with ease. This Graphic Guy’s style is often topped off with a pair of statement shoes. Whether it be a fresh pair of Jordans or some crisp new Nike Blazers, the Graphic Guy’s footwear always seems to steal the show.

From vintage band tees to merchandise from a favorite sports team, the graphic tee is able to convey a wide range of values and interests with a simple design. On a college campus where it often can be difficult to find like-minded individuals, a simple graphic tee can help bring those who share similar interests together. Whether purchased from a thrift store or a luxury designer, each outfit tells a story about the individual and has the ability to forge new connections and friendships.

 

Top Brands: Champion, Nike, Patagonia, Converse

Popular Majors: Engineering, Finance, Accounting

 

Denim & Docs

Illustration by Maggie McGrath

Centered around the iconic black leather ankle boot, the Denim & Docs style is one that emanates creativity and confidence. With its distinct yellow stitching and chunky soles, Doc Marten boots can add a touch of flare and edginess to any outfit. Often complemented with a pair of wide-leg denim, the look creates a sophisticated yet casual feel. With the popularity of secondhand clothing on the rise, thrifted garments are often incorporated into the Denim & Docs look to add a sprinkle of character and uniqueness. The use of wide-leg denim also lends a vintage-inspired aesthetic to the outfit, while the cropped sweaters and oversized hoodies they are often paired with create a casual yet fashion-forward aesthetic. 

The Denim & Docs style allows college females to express their creativity and rebelliousness while still embracing comfort and authenticity. The style has become more than just a fashion statement, but a form of self-expression and identity that resonates with college females looking to make their mark on campus.

 

Top Brands: Doc Martens, AllSaints, Brandy Melville, Levi’s

Popular Majors: Apparel, Merchandising and Design, Journalism, Education

 

Throughout Iowa State and universities across the country, student style choices reflect the identities, cultures and trends of their respective student bodies. While not every individual falls into a given category, examining trends in styles like these can provide insight into a campus culture. These trends can often be traced to movements, values or interests within the student community. Style choices act as a form of self-expression and have the ability to help students find their place in the midst of a massive and often overwhelming community. On college campuses across the nation, style choice and clothing continue to act as a beacon for students to express themselves and create new connections.

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