If there’s one thing that stands out about fashion at Stanford, it’s its diversity. From urban to preppy to downright random, no two students’ styles are the same. But if you pay attention as the weeks of the quarter pass, you’ll realize that the style habits across campus are eerily similar. The effort put into looking put-together (or tastefully not) increases and decreases like a sine curve, ultimately ending at the lowest possible point. Here’s a week-by-week guide as to what you can expect your habits to look like.
You’re as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as your freshman day of high school and ready to make the best impression on your professors, your TAs and your classmates. You also realize quite quickly that campus is full of amateur paparazzi (or nosy tourists who take pictures of you living your *best* life). With practically the entire world looking at you, you feel it’s time to break out the cool kid clothes that make you invincible, the ones you’d wear if you purposely decided to bump into that cute guy or girl from Coupa. Every morning this week you wake up before your alarm goes off (cue dramatic gasp) and jump into the wrinkle-less clothes you laid out the night before. You take a moment in the mirror to appreciate the lack of black circles and bags under your eyes but tell yourself not to get used to a rejuvenated appearance.
Now that you’ve been through one week of classes and sort of know where they are, you can — and one hundred percent deserve to — sleep in a few extra minutes. In the midst of dreaming about a cumulative 4.0 GPA, your roommate reminds you that class starts in 20 minutes, and it takes half that time to bike to the Engineering Quad. Instead of the fancier outfit you tossed in a pile on your explosion-of-a-desk, you opt for a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. You brush your hair and wash your face. You’re comfortable but presentable. Week 2 is basically “Casual Friday” every day.
The first major assignments and midterms happen this week, and you’re starting to panic (but only a little). Procrastination manages to paralyze any and all progress you should’ve made days ago, but an invite to Late Night is just too tempting to pass up. You still haven’t done laundry this quarter, so the clothes left in the closet are a hodgepodge of pieces that either have holes, smell weird or could double as rally gear. You’ve already seen people show up to class in unicorn onesies and sombreros, so you decide there’s no shame in being a spirited student during both lecture and section.
With the quarter barely halfway over, the organizational state of your room represents your emotional state. The only thing that’s keeping you together is the unfolded pile of (clean!) laundry sitting on the bed, on the chair, on the floor, on your roommate’s bed, on your roommate’s chair, on your napping roommate. Your clothes may be so wrinkled that they’re unidentifiable, but at least they smell fresh like a field of daisies. They definitely need to be ironed. Do you remember how to iron? Someone on your hall must have an iron or maybe a steamer. But that takes time, and you have approximately 4872 things on your growing to-do list, so the clothes will be wrinkled for another week.
When someone asks how you’re doing, the immediate answer always seems to be “Hanging in there” or “It’s Week 5” or “Eh.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re a STEM or a humanities major. Everyone looks the same and acts the same and suffers from the same amount of work. You’ll have the same thousand-yard stare and frown lines from studying for hours in the basement of Green as the person sitting at the table next to you. You’ll both be wearing the Stanford sweatpants or flannels that you slept in the last three nights. What’s the use of changing if you’re comfortable, right? Plus, they’re technically clean because you haven’t worked out in them (or been to a gym in three weeks).
You’re probably still stressed out from last week’s assignment marathon. The professors bless you with a short break of *normal* readings and problem sets. Of course, these won’t even be touched until after Halloween because … well, it’s Halloween. Instead of doing another load of laundry like a responsible college student, you rifle through what’s left of the clean clothes in your closet to find something that vaguely resembles a costume. You find a pair of cat ears, a borrowed Hawaiian shirt and neon sunglasses from the career fair. Match those items with the sweats you still need to wash, and you’ve got a uniform for the entire week.
Daylight Saving Time gave you an extra hour, but you’re not feeling any more awake come Monday morning classes. It’s cold when you wake up and gets dark by dinner, so motivation is at an all-time low. Rain is also in the forecast for the first time this quarter. You realize after getting soaked on the way back from class that you don’t have a rain jacket. Amazon Prime to the rescue! While you’re spending money, you might as well order what’s been in the shopping cart for two months: a few posters of Barack Obama, some patterned knee-high socks, a Mickey Mouse waffle iron and a Schrute Farms t-shirt. You’ll be sporting the t-shirt and knee-highs paired with whatever isn’t soaking wet for the rest of the week.
Remember in elementary school when you counted down the days until vacations? That definitely doesn’t change in college. With only five days separating you and a week of no classes, your mood is bound to lighten up. The long-awaited Big Game looms in the near future as does sleep, sleep and more sleep. And yet, you’re still bogged down with short-term assignments due by the end of the week. Maybe a half-load of laundry with your favorite clothes could make things better. Maybe even just laying in the clean, warm pile of laundry would be comforting. Who needs clothes anyway?
As you sit at your desk studying and munching away on fries from Late Night, you wonder why exams that occur during the second-to-last week of the quarter are called midterms. You decide it’s quite ironic. Even though you should be studying for finals, you’re cramming for an exam whose material will be tested again in two weeks. You’re lucky you have an entire closet full of freshly washed clothes from Thanksgiving break because there’s not a chance laundry will be done anytime soon. It’s probably the first week in a long time you’ll show up to class wearing something other than dirty sweatpants. Maybe you’ll go the extra mile to put on a semi-nice outfit.
Ah, Dead Week. The bittersweet end to what was a very, very long quarter. You’re burnt out, and your clothes are, too, thanks to the merciless industrial dryers that only work half the time. What’s left of your clean clothes is scattered about the room, mixed in with the several Stanford sweatshirts and sweatpants you’ve worn for the last few weeks. Instead of washing them, you spray a little perfume or cologne to freshen them up. You might even sleep in the same clothes you go to class in. With a final presentation at the end of the week, you make sure your lucky underwear is clean and ready to work its magic.
Contact Emily Schmidt at egs1997 ‘at’ stanford.edu.