Dear New York Weather, Why Are You So Bipolar?: staying fashionable on Barnard’s campus when the seasons change

Like Josephine Bonaparte, you, too, can look sexy with 
the empire waist this fall!

By Caroline Thirkill

Brightenin’ up the Quad with some
fancy fall colors.

In the awkward not-quite-warm and not-quite-cold few weeks at the beginning of fall, a few interesting style choices have appeared on Barnard’s campus. In honor of the recent Fashion Week, The Nine Ways of Knowing presents a few old-school fashions that are rising in popularity again this fall.

Exhibit #1: The Long Skirt

The maxi skirt, denied its place on the runway for decades, has now returned to the height of fashion. This autumn, long skirts in neutral colors will be flooding the style scene. The student in the picture above has chosen to go with bright colors, perfectly blending this fall fashion with a wistful reminder of the dregs of summer. When considering which long skirt is the most fashionable, the recommended material is jersey or another light knit. It should be paired with a very simple tank top, or for more earthy styles, an open, small vest. Just beware that this style doesn’t slip from ‘relaxed freedom’ to ‘hobo chic’!

Exhibit #2: The Empire Waist

Got the empire state of mind?
Work that swag on Broadway!


A fashion named for Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, the empire waist is a MUST for short girls everywhere. But really, the empire waist has something to offer every body type. It lengthens the torso, so for those girls with long legs but a tiny top, this hem can help. The cut of the material can also make the bust seem bigger. But perhaps most importantly, the flare of material below the hem will help streamline everything chest down! Really, this style is the queen of all fixer-uppers. It is important to be careful when picking out clothes in this style though – an empire waist that is improperly tailored can create a false pregnancy look, so make sure the cut lays properly by trying it on before you purchase it. This technique can be seen as part of fashion styles from Ancient Greece, all the way to today’s baby doll dresses. While the height of the waist is variable, it is always around the bust, and creates the illusion of a longer slimmer torso.

Exhibit #3: Solid Colors (with details as accessories)

She goes to Westside, so of course,
you know she’s fashionable.

Thankfully, bright, solid colors are coming back into fashion. The last few years have been filled with tiny, multi-colored patterns that can sometimes feel a little seizure-inducing. A far better choice, both for the body and the eyes, are a bright primary color on a one piece. If a pattern is necessary, do what this girl did and let them be accents to the piece, rather than the whole cloth. The bright red draws the attention in this outfit, and the floral pattern isn’t dominating. The best thing about this trend is that it can apply to any cut or style, without being overwhelming. A nice touch to this style are tops or jumpers made out of lighter materials such as an airy cotton or silk. Just make sure to choose shades and fabrics that will look good and not clash.

 Fashion can be really easy and fun, as long as there is an emphasis on trying new things and dressing according to body type. It can be difficult to find things that fit, but don’t get worked up! Sometimes patience can really pay off when looking for the perfect fall outfit. Just take a deep breath, and try some of these recommendations for the autumn months!

Caroline Thirkill is a sophomore at Barnard College. She is majoring in English with a minor in Classics.

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3 thoughts on “Dear New York Weather, Why Are You So Bipolar?: staying fashionable on Barnard’s campus when the seasons change

  1. Cute clothes, but please don't tell me what I can or cannot wear based on arbitrary standards for “body type”. I know you don't have this intention, but this kind of language can feed into harmful body image stereotypes. Fashion (for me) can be about taking ownership of my image and having fun with the way I present myself: not being afraid to wear certain things because it might be “unflattering,” and not trying to constantly create the illusion of slimness. Sometimes that rhetoric can just be a veiled way of saying “here's how to avoid looking fat, because, obviously, wouldn't that be the worst fate imaginable?”

    Oh, and maybe it's not the best idea to trivialize a mental illness by using it as an adjective for the weather?

    xoxo gossip feminist

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