A Bwog Staffer accidentally stumbles into NYFW and gets severely humbled (despite being a Barnard student).

Every day I choose to make my life a little more difficult by digging through my closet for an extra five minutes looking for something to wear, only to throw on some combination of sweater, jeans, and maybe a coat or jacket. All this effort and for what? To sit in class, then a dining hall and maybe a library? To stomp around campus, huffing and puffing up staircase after staircase? Yet every day I wake up and choose this unfortunate fate for myself. Some days it’s exponentially worse, and half an hour later my desk and bed are buried beneath a pile of clothes. Other days the stars align, the wardrobe gods bless my day, and I’m satisfied with the first articles of clothing I pull out of my dresser. This is rare. Mostly I end up walking out the door to see everyone else’s wonderfully coordinated selves. 

I bring this up because I went downtown this past weekend to run some errands and maybe find a coffee shop to hole up in and study, unaware of the ongoing fashion week that seems to infest the streets of New York every two weeks (after some research it’s actually only twice a year). Clad in the usual sweater and jeans combo, I emerged from the subway and was immediately struck by the hoards of people that packed the streets, more so than the usual sidewalk-blocking clusters. What didn’t help was that I was in SoHo, one of those places that screams high fashion and seems laden with endless, huge, sleek shopping bags that really only contain one shirt. Lines of people backed up the walkways underneath the scaffolding, photographers crowded around an unknown Instagram influencer. People posed in front of window displays and old church courtyards in impeccably coordinated outfits, patterned coats, sleek handbags, and pointy shoes. Floor-length fur jackets, jewel and neon-toned fabrics, huge sunglasses; it was all there. 

The whole thing was overwhelming. Dressed in my everyday sweater and jeans, I felt supremely more underdressed and unfashionable than usual. This glitz and glam far outpaced the already high expectations I had found on campus. I was previously under the impression that in college it was supposed to be okay to wear clothes you would otherwise refuse to be seen in; loose pants, a sweatshirt that definitely should have been put in the laundry, and slides or slippers of some sort. Even after arriving on campus, I have been able to settle with the fact that this might not hold, especially as a Barnard student. The stereotypes exist for a reason! This explains the closet digging! 

But this day in particular I felt I did not stand up to the well-dressed notoriety of my school, not because of what I had painstakingly sifted through my closet for, but because I was surrounded by the So not only does it feel socially unacceptable to wear anything less than at least not-sweatpants on campus, but stepping off of campus raises the standards even higher, making a somewhat campus-acceptable outfit boring and basic. There’s a sort of layered standard of dressing. Throw normal expectations out the window, raise them a bit, and then raise them a bit more, because not only do I live on Barnard’s campus but that campus resides in a city where the sidewalks are jam-packed with civilian runway models. Why can’t a girl just wear a normal outfit or an outfit that would be fine anywhere else except New York, during fashion week, on a campus of non-dresser-downers?

Catwalk via Premium Paris