By Grace Fernicola (III)
Let me take you to a simpler time. Your alarm clock rings, you drag yourself out of bed, and the daily ritual of getting dressed commences. Students might have designed their outfit for that day around an event at Pingry, plans after school, or even something as cavalier as their mood that particular morning. But now, after almost a year of living with COVID-19, morning routines have dwindled down to throwing a sweatshirt over a pajama top, sliding our feet into the fluffy slippers next to the bed, and, if there is time, a quick comb through the hair—comfort we never could have imagined before the dress code was relaxed.
This style is neither limited to Pingry students or 2020. For years, American fashion has been trending towards more comfortable, casual clothes. Pre-pandemic sales of “leisure wear” had already been increasing due to people of all ages becoming more interested in comfortable workout clothes, rather than stuffy business clothes. As such, with the onset of the pandemic, sales of “leisure wear” at companies like Lululemon and Nike have skyrocketed.
Fashion forecasters are now saying that comfortable clothes may be here to stay post-pandemic. So don’t fret. We will most likely not have to throw our sweats to the back of our closets as the world slowly returns to normal. Pingry may even make the current relaxed dress code permanent, so we can all enjoy our day in pajama pants and hoodies for school years to come. Great news, right? Well, maybe not.
Despite the benefits of our current quick and low-maintenance dress routines, wearing sweats all day might have some unforeseen negative consequences. Psychologist Carolyn Mair stresses that wearing certain clothes can affect people’s moods and confidence. Mair stated that “clothing is fundamental in how we are perceived. In turn, this affects our sense of self-worth and ultimately, how we see ourselves compared with others, our self-esteem.” A prime example of this is the effect of wearing baggy clothes. Baggy clothes are often associated with sadness or depression, and dressing the same way every day for months on end can make you feel bored and unmotivated. By continuously making the same dreary, drab clothing choices, the days become indistinguishable, especially in the already blurred time of remote learning.
As we start to move forward this year, I would suggest getting out of bed and dressing in something different than what you wore the day before, as even doing something this small and simple can actually help break the monotonous routine of our days, even going so far as to make us feel more put-together and productive. Psychologist De’Von Patterson said, “Some people may have an easier time being productive if they recreate the cues associated with their productivity. If they’re getting dressed, that puts them in the mindset to work or study.” Brightly colored clothes or a pre-pandemic outfit choice once in a while might lift our moods and help us focus as we sit down and prepare ourselves for online classes.
How we dress is a form of self-expression, and it is a way to present ourselves to the world in our own unique way. Many people think of clothing as an important part of their individuality, especially with there being multiple style variations in society today. “We live in a very visual world,” says Susan Swimmer, Creative Director of Evie Marques jewelry and a former fashion editor and TV commentator. “Clothes are your instant messaging system. They reflect how you feel and how you project that to the world.” The common leisure-wear outfits we now see so often in our school halls have become an unofficial uniform, leaving little room for individuality. Some students may be missing the opportunity for the creativity that we had each morning before the pandemic. The loss of the opportunity to control the way we present ourselves to others at a time when we cannot control so much of what is happening in the world around us can cause more stress and sadness, whether we realize it or not.
When you wake up tomorrow morning, do not be afraid to switch up your clothing choices for the day. Small steps like these might be the first steps in returning to the normalcy that we all crave, even behind your mask and plexiglass.
By Maile Winterbottom (VI)
When Vogue announced that its new issue would feature Harry Styles, the general reaction was ecstatic. Styles would be the first man to be on the cover of Vogue individually—a monumental moment for gender equality in the industry. Over the course of his career, Styles has been known to dress in a way that disregards conventional gender roles. Last year, he rocked a tutu and tights for a shoot promoting his appearance on Saturday Night Live. For his interview on the Howard Stern Show, he accessorized his outfit with a delicate pearl necklace over a lace collar. Looks like these have proven time and again that Styles is unafraid to break gender norms in fashion—and look badass doing it.
It was not a surprise, then, that Styles’ shoot with Vogue featured him wearing a number of more “feminine” outfits. The cover shows him wearing a grand blue dress with ruffles coming down it and a blazer overtop. In another look, he wore a sweater vest with a checkered shirt and chained belt. His fan base was overjoyed to see Styles in these barrier-breaking looks; but to others, including author Candace Owens, these outfits infringed much on traditional gender norms. On November 14th, Owens started an uproar when she replied to Vogue’s tweet announcing the November issue that featured Styles; she replied with the bold statement that “there is no society that can survive without strong me . . . Bring manly men back.” Her tweet condemned Styles for wearing more feminine outfits by implying that he was not ”manly” enough. Owens’ claim proves how many of our society’s gender roles are strongly enforced through fashion. These certain standards for what is expected to be worn by women and men—and how they differ—are just one of the many toxic norms that our society accepts. The general public, especially Styles’ fan base, was not happy with Owens’ tweet; chaos ensued on all social media platforms. Numerous people defended Styles, calling him even more “manly” for having the courage to break the status quo through his outfits. On December 2nd, two weeks after Owens’ tweet, Styles seemingly ended the controversy by posting an Instagram photo with the following caption: “Bring manly men back.” In the photo, he is wearing a powder blue suit with a chiffon undershirt and is taking a bite out of a banana. This post shows Styles’ confidence in less conventional attire; he knows that he is “manly” no matter how he chooses to dress himself—and so should every young boy seeing that post.
By Maile Winterbottom (VI)
This fall, a range of new fashion trends have come into style; however, they may not be so unique after all. From zebra print, which was “totally hip” in the 2000s, or patchwork denim from the ‘70s, fall 2020 has borrowed trends from past decades.
A new wave of 2000s fashion trends has swept the scene recently, from “babydoll” shirts to playful and chunky chains and animal print; baguette bags, originally supported by 2000s icons like Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears, are becoming popular again almost two decades later. Tracksuits have also been well received – and yes, the same ones your gym teachers may opt to wear. Whether it be the bedazzled Juicy Couture tracksuits famously worn by Kim Kardashian, or muted pastel velour tracksuits, tracksuits are here to stay.
Funky prints, sweater vests, and large pants from the ‘70s are making a comeback in 2020 too. Emma Chamberlain can be seen on social media rocking a pair of hot pink spotted pants identical to a pair that teenagers in the ‘70s would have drooled over. Sweater vests are vogue-ish right now, so be prepared to start digging around in your parents’ closets. Whether on their own or paired with a collared shirt, sweater vests make a cute addition to any outfit. Patchwork denim also joins the numerous ‘70s fashion trends being brought back this season. People opt for denim with mixes of dark and light blue denim, or an even more colorful mix, like pink and purple.
Leather is everywhere this year, calling upon one of the biggest fashion trends of the ‘80s. Whether it be an oversized leather blazer to top off an outfit or a pair of statement leather pants, leather is a trendy addition to any outfit. Along with this, menswear has been popping up lately. In the past, celebrities like Zendaya and Cara Delevingne have been known to break gender barriers in fashion and rock menswear looks at red carpets. This season, oversized blazers and slacks took up the women’s fashion scene, bringing back yet another fashion trend that was hot in the ‘80s.
It is not uncommon to revive fashion trends from the past, but this fall, it seems that almost every hot style has vintage roots. One can only excitedly anticipate what’s to come for fashion in 2021 and what items we’re going to have to steal from our parents next.
By Kristine Fu ’19
During this bleak winter season, comfort is the priority. Many girls are sporting cozy shearling jackets and teddy coats to stay warm. Though, despite the winter aesthetic of oversized sweaters and leggings, there are many exciting fashion trends on the rise at Pingry. What was once dismissed as kitschy and gaudy is making a comeback; animal prints have been spotted on skirts, turtlenecks, and even phone cases! Pair your favorite basic sweater with a leopard print skirt or finish a monochromatic outfit with faux snakeskin shoes. On a night out, wear a leopard print coat with heels for the “city-girl look.”
With the spring season only a few weeks away, it’s time to break out the Lilly Pulitzer dresses and pastel skirts, as this year’s spring trends are reminiscent of Sixties fashion. The counterculture of the 1960’s represented a rebellion against the values of traditional society. During this time of social upheaval, mainstream fashion was radically changed with the emergence of Bohemian fashion. The same trends of flared sleeves, fringe jackets, and flowy peasant dresses can be seen at today’s popular clothing stores, such as Free People and Forever 21. Embrace the Boho-chic style with floral print dresses and embroidered denim jackets. For a comfortable and stylish outfit, wear a pair of flowy and flared pants with a plain tee-shirt.
With the revival of Sixties Mod, you’ll be seeing lots of brightly-colored culottes and tweed tops this spring. If you’re looking for the essential mini dress, find one with a fun and flirty print, like polka dots or colored stripes. Though once regarded as a fashion faux pas, mixing prints is in vogue once again. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with the broad color palette. This was the era of bold, innovative, and creative fashion that broke all the rules and created new trends. English model, Twiggy, popularized the plaid mini skirt, which had initially shocked the public. Leopard print was born in the wardrobe of the first lady and Sixties fashion icon, Jackie Kennedy. Yves Saint Laurent’s knee-high boots demonstrated that fashion had both functional and aesthetic value.
As the Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli once said, “In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.” Whether it is mixing prints or trying a vintage trend, take a fashion risk this season to find your own style. The values of individuality and self-discovery were fundamental to the counterculture revolution.
By Kristine Fu ’19
With the end of winter break, we are reminded that the annual Snowball Dance is approaching! This year, Snowball is on Saturday, January 26th. It is a night to relax, hang out with friends, and take pictures in our beautiful dresses and handsome suits. For some, dress shopping can be overwhelming; there are dozens of dress websites and endless choices for cut, color, decals, etc. If you don’t know where to start, I would recommend perusing through the Revolve website or the Nordstrom site, both of which have a wide variety of options and brands. H&M ($) offers a wide range of styles, from elegant crushed-velvet dresses to eye-catching sequin dresses. For monochromatic bodycon dresses, check out Lulus ($$). Their wrap and skater dresses are typically solid colors, without flashy details. On the other hand, Zara is your go-to for avant-garde styles, such as studded dresses, snake print, and silk chain-print. Free People ($$$) is known for its unique designs with ruffles, lace, jacquard fabrics, and classy floral prints. Consider Rent the Runway ($-$$$) if you are interested in wearing haute couture like Chanel or Versace for less. This company is also a practical option since you will likely only wear the accessories and dress once a year.
The final recommendations for finding the perfect outfit: 1) For those who shop online, be sure to buy your dress early! Avoid the panic when your dress arrives the day before January 26th and ends up not fitting right. 2) Dress for confidence! Your dress is a form of self-expression, so you should feel confident and comfortable in whatever you choose.
By Kristine Fu ’19
Despite this season’s dreary weather, fall fashion is as colorful and vibrant as ever. This season, pastel-colored corduroy skirts, shearling sweaters, and studded ankle boots are in vogue, while floral sundresses and denim shorts have become a distant summer memory. In women’s fashion, Brandy Melville persists as the most popular clothing brand, as students opt for flowy Tilden pants and comfortable striped tops. Zara’s stylish skirts and dresses are also seen frequently in the halls. In men’s fashion, Vineyard Vines shirts, Patagonia sweaters, and Sperry Top-Siders remain wardrobe staples.
One easy way to spice up your look is with a statement piece. A pair of tassel earrings or chunky bracelets from Francesca’s can complete almost any basic outfit. At Zara, you can find striking and creative shoe styles, such as snake-print ankle boots, tweed ballet flats, and platform sneakers.
As an eco-friendly alternative to fast fashion, thrift shopping has been making a comeback! Especially because 90’s fashion is now à la mode, shop at your local thrift store for all the latest trends: mom jeans, Tommy Hilfiger polos, and velvet tops. Don a pair of matrix-style or cat-eye sunglasses from the 90’s for a retro look, rather than a cliché and overpriced pair of Kurt Cobain clout sunglasses from Urban Outfitters. For true haute-couture lovers, many thrift stores sell designer clothing for less. I love to visit The Realreal in SoHo, New York and try on vintage Valentino dresses and Yves Saint Laurent leather jackets. Thrift stores are museums of past trends. So, keep an open mind and take your time exploring all the quirky and unique pieces.
Nia Phillips describes her look in the photo to the right: “My jacket is actually from my mom’s closet and I distressed the pocket. My pants are from a thrift store in Bound Brook. My shoes are from Nordstrom Rack, and my shirt is from GAP.” For first-time thrift shoppers, Nia recommends shopping at major cities where you can find a variety of styles.
As John Galliano famously declared, “the joy of dressing is an art.” Whether your style is inspired by the gorgeous autumn palette or by chic looks from 90’s, stay bold and creative!
By Kristine Fu ’19
This past winter had such unpredictable weather changes that we were left confused as to whether we should grab our snowcoats or umbrellas. After what seemed to be an interminable winter, temperatures have finally started to rise. Spring fashion at Pingry is typically marked by the onset of floral dresses, pastel colored skirts, and Lilly Pulitzer, but this spring, try something new! Culottes and trousers are in high demand this season for their versatility and comfort. Culottes are a type of pants that resemble a skirt. Less restrictive than black jeans, culottes have the same “flowy” feel as a skirt. Culottes comes in an assortment of styles: denim print, stripes, linen, and more. Many women’s trousers have a flared hem and some are more restrictive at the ankles. Another style of pants worth trying is Bermuda shorts. Despite its stereotype of being tourist clothing, Bermuda shorts have been reimagined. These shorts have a distinctive summer feel and come in a variety of prints, ranging from Hawaiian to gingham.
Here are some summer essentials:
- The denim jacket can be paired with any dress or top. To make it unique, choose different styles like acid wash, distressed, cross ribbon detail or even personalized.
- Since the so-called fashion rule mandates “No white after labor day,” take advantage of the summertime to wear white jeans with every outfit.
- Sunglasses are not only essential to your wardrobe but also to your health! Protect your eyes in style by trying on classic Ray-ban aviators or even the ever-popular clout goggles.
In footwear, there are so many exciting new styles to try. Of course, Pingry footwear essentials include Sperry Topsiders, Birkenstocks, and Jack Rogers sandals.
Keep the following styles on your radar as well:
- Mules are a style of shoes that have no back or constraints around the foot’s heel.
- Slingback pumps are characterized by a strap that crosses behind the heel or ankle. These heels have a retro flair. Their 1-2 inch heels make them great for daily wear.
- Espadrilles are marked by soles made of braided cord. They go well with any preppy outfit.
- Slides have gotten a makeover this season. They can come with a variety of details: bejeweled, pearl detail, metallic, fringed etc.
- Platform sandals give you an extra 2-3 inches in height and can be the perfect fit to any summer outfit.
- Platform derby shoes are my current favorite shoes for its durability and polished style.
By Kristine Fu ’19
The start of the winter shopping holidays begins with Black Friday–a day when retailers hope to turn a profit and our animal instinct of consumerism is unleashed. This past Black Friday, out of all the clothing retailers in New York City, I found myself spending four hours at ZARA (granted, one hour was spent in the horrendous line!). The sale of 30% off was not what attracted the five hundred people in the store; it was the winter fashion line that defied standard winter wear. In past winters, I had relied on Madewell and Anthropologie for quality sweaters, but I had always found the $90- $130 price tag a bit steep. Moreover, the plain grey sweaters lined in my closet were beginning to look more like a uniform than an expression of personal style.
As for new winter trends, tweed is making a comeback! There is nothing more iconic than the Chanel tweed piece. Coco Chanel’s use of the fabric was considered quite revolutionary, as it was inspired by menswear. Tweed is made by weaving the warp and weft, and it uses a variety of different kinds of threads. The unique combinations of colors and the overall irregular appearance makes it a personal fashion favorite. At ZARA, one can find tweed skirts ($39.90), their matching tweed tops ($35.90), tweed dresses of a variety of colors, and even tweed and denim combinations.
Culottes and trousers have become popular as well for their versatility, comfort, and effortlessness. Culottes are flowing pants that resemble a mid-length skirt and are usually paired with a statement belt. They come in a variety of styles ranging from pleated to ribbed. Rather than wearing restrictive black jeans everyday, opt for a pair of culottes or trousers.
Suede and fur coats are timeless winter staples, but be sure to always buy faux! Faux fur is cheaper, easier to clean, and just as fabulous. There is no better way to stand out from a crowd of black puffer jackets than to wear a faux fur coat. Faux suede feels the same as real suede, but is much easier clean and is more resistant to liquid than leather. Not only is suede soft and chic, but it also can be paired with anything. This winter, be sure to dress warm, but also – stay fashionable!
By Kristine Fu ’19
Although the summer season of sundresses and denim shorts has sadly ended, fall is the perfect season to mix and match your summer wardrobe with cozy sweaters and cardigans. With temperatures rising and falling from 50 to 75 degrees in a single week, it may seem difficult to dress appropriately. However, it’s always a good idea to dress in layers during seasons like this, especially since some areas of the school are freezing cold while others are extremely warm. Cardigans and vests are definitely good investments for this season because of their versatility, simplicity, and comfort. Plaid shirts, which can be worn by men and women, will forever remain the staple item of fall fashion. New trends and looks in the hall for girls include: wide hoop earrings, flared sleeves, and Steve Madden flats. New trends and looks in the hall for boys include: rolled up khakis and basketball jerseys on dress down days. Both genders, however, forgo on the “no white after Labor Day” rule, opting for classic white sneakers. Frequently seen in the halls are Sperry topsiders, which are designed to be boating shoes. The rubber sole and comfortable lining makes it a sensible choice for girls and boys. As the weather starts to get colder, leather boots are a good way to keep warm while evoking elegance and style.
Although private schools like ours are stereotypically depicted to be preppy and pastel, don’t be afraid to break away from the trends and express yourself! The beautiful fall colors are perfect for inspiration. Rajeev Doraswamy (V) gives some tips on men’s fashion: “I like wearing vibrant fall colors like a bright maroon and even matching the color themes of my collared shirt with my pants.” Kat Deliargyis (V) also agrees that color is a highlight of this season commenting, “My favorite part of fall fashion is the colors, especially in eye makeup and statement earrings. It’s all about the really funky stuff.” There is no better time to experiment with gold eyeshadow, peach blush, or a Bordeaux lipstick than this season. Kat also brings up a good point about statement jewelry. Any ensemble can be dramatically changed when paired with a layered necklace or a set of tassel earrings. One of my favorite things to do is to go to flea markets in Chelsea in New York City to find unique pieces of jewelry.
There have also been exciting new changes to the school dress code, which now allow for shorter dresses and skirts (at 4 inches above the knee) and tailored T-shirts. On the other hand, the dress code for dress down days will be more strictly enforced, officially banning sweatpants and pajama wear. While some may argue that limitations restrict creativity and self-expression, as Mr. Shilts said in my sophomore year English class, “under limits, one becomes even more creative.”