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The Dartmouth
February 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Throwing Fits on the Green

One writer uses last week’s weather as an opportunity to examine his classmates’ fashion choices.

20220426 unseasonal clothing by kamilla.jpg

I have been completely deceived.

My week three was positively luxurious. With two of my classes having temporarily moved online, I spent my afternoons lounging on the Green, doing my readings while laying back on a picnic blanket and enjoying the bright blue skies. While it was concerning that I now considered 60 degrees to be tanning weather, I relished the fact that I could (finally) wear shorts again. It was looking like spring had finally sprung — and with it any vestiges of winter depression had disappeared.

For most of the week I continued under these delusions of leisurely frolicking, excited for the summery weeks to come. So I was appalled when I walked out of my building on an otherwise nondescript Saturday morning to find that not only had the temperature returned to a chilly 30  degrees, but there was actually snow falling from the sky.

I felt like this past week was a dreary return to pre-spring break weather, but my hours spent relaxing on the Green allowed me to take notice of my fellow Dartmouth students’ outfits. Amidst my readings and random dog sightings around campus, many of us sprung at the opportunity to wear something a little different. While some people jumped at the chance to wear short sleeves, others clung to their down parkas. And when the temperature dipped back down, I saw many who continued to wear their shorts and flip-flops, maybe as an act of defiance. 

There is, of course, that time-worn classic: The guy who, regardless of temperature, can always be spotted sporting flip-flops as if it were the middle of July. On one morning walk to Foco, I asked Zach Ojakli ’25 about his choice to wear shorts despite the 40-degree weather. 

Despite being from outside Washington D.C., Ojakli didn’t seem to be bothered by the chilly morning. 

He commented that “after that long winter, everyone is just trying to take advantage of the warm weather as soon as they can, so I’m definitely doing that too.” Unfazed by the chilly morning, Ojakli held out hope that the afternoon would be a little warmer.

He said that his clothing “might be a little unseasonal in the morning, but not in the afternoon. That’s just how Hanover weather works.” 

Others, like Cooper Whalen ’25, took an even more extreme position on the cold-weather shorts debate. Being from Vermont, Whalen seemed to have no problem wearing flip-flops even on a cloudy and windy morning. 

“Basically anything above 50 degrees is a justification to wear shorts,” Whalen said. 

Sadly, as the temperature took a turn for the worse this week, even the most steadfast flip-flop wearers began to disappear, so I instead got an interesting look at some students’ cooler weather pieces. 

On one sunny but chilly day, I spotted Sam Ford ’23 sporting a shearling leather jacket. While Ford said it wasn’t exactly a springtime getup, she said it made the perfect “cozy outfit, which is good on days like today.” Ford added that she was inspired by the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” where a similar jacket is featured. 

“I used to watch that movie when I was younger, so I wanted a jacket like this. I had a hard time finding one and then I found this vegan leather one that was perfect,” Ford said. 

Ford wasn’t the only student I interviewed who put quite a bit of thought into her outfit. Rebecca Xie Tu’23 caught my eye in a colorful cardigan with tufted flowers. Xie lamented our current transitional phase of spring, which is “still too cold for the spring ’fit,” but said that her cardigan provided the perfect “texture and pop of color.” 

Xie said that the eye-catching cardigan was pre-owned, and shared that her passion for sustainable fashion influences the way she buys her clothes.

“I love Poshmark and Depop,” Xie said. “I usually do keywords, like ‘cardigan,’ and I just find something I like.” 

The outfits I spotted around campus certainly spanned the spectrum from nonchalant shorts-wearers to sustainability aficionados. Often, people’s fashion choices meant a lot more than just the clothes they were wearing — whether it was a childhood memory like Ford’s or an environmentally conscious choice like Xie’s. Even the stubborn flip-flop wearers seemed to be proving their mettle against the frigid New Hampshire mornings. 

My foray into others’ fashion showed me that there’s usually some intentionality, whether a lot or a little, behind what people choose to wear. Even though I dreaded walking to class on yet another dreary day, seeing people’s colorful choices — and the occasional flip-flops guy — made my day just a little brighter.