Creative Comfort: Fashion During the Winter Term

With temperatures dropping, one writer explores how different students express themselves through fashion even in wintry weather.

by Emily Wadlow | 1/25/23 2:10am

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by Samantha Brant / The Dartmouth

It’s a routine — at 9:30 a.m., my alarm blares and I groan and squint against the bright light peeking around the sides of my blinds. Fifteen minutes later, I’m shivering in my pajama shorts while rummaging through my drawers looking for something to wear. If I were practical, I’d choose a long sleeve shirt, heavy sweatshirt and some thick sweatpants for the day’s outfit. But is that really the aesthetic I want to embody today? What do I want to say about myself through my clothing — besides that I’m really chilly and running late to my 10A?

Fashion is essential for expressing individuality and creativity, especially for those of us who have cultivated a unique style.The bitter Hanover winters, however, pose a harrowing challenge to fashion lovers trying to balance pizzazz with practicality. 

Hannah Beitchman ’26 said she despises the limits of freezing weather. 

“It’s a struggle. I don’t like feeling constrained by clothing, but I try and look at it positively,” Beitchman said. “It’s just more of a chance to accessorize because there’s more clothing, more components and more opportunities for different things.”

Beitchman has been exploring her style for years as a way to unite different aspects of her personality. 

“I don’t like the idea that I just woke up this way or this just fell into place,” she said. “I want it to seem like I’m considering different elements and things that I’m wearing and what I’m thinking about showing everyone.”

In order to translate this intention into winter fashion, Beitchman said she has developed a series of favorite tips and tricks. 

“There’s things like makeup and earrings and scarves and hats and, like, balaclavas are really cute right now. I think there are really fun snow boots out there if you look,” she explained. Her tan platform New Rocks have become a staple in her winter wardrobe, which she was sporting beneath floral flared leggings. 

Sylvie Benson ’25 loves layering and dressing for the cold, but her love for skirts and dresses makes keeping the lower body warm a difficult endeavor. 

“I really like wearing sheer tights and patterned tights. I generally don’t mind feeling wind against my chest… but my legs and torso — that’s where it gets tricky,” Benson said. 

I first met Benson in our 11-person seminar class, where she was dressed in several layers of black wispy fabric forming a whimsical dress. An ornate silver necklace stood out against the dark outfit, giving her a witchy look. She said she likes “mystical, nature-lady clothing” because it often suits her moods.  

“I found my personal style every morning trying to wear something that was a physical representation of how I felt,” Benson said.  “Because I’m a person who feels different things, like many other people in this world, I find that my style changes a lot.” 

Benson said she maintains her “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”-like style in the winter by finding warmer items that fit into her aesthetic.

“I’m a big fan of witchy-looking long sleeves, especially green, long-sleeve shirts with stitching across the chest — that nice Renaissance-y tie thing,” Benson said. “I think those are so much fun and they are winter compatible.” 

In addition, dressing for class and dressing for a night out are two very different undertakings, especially for those who don’t live right next to frat row and must keep warm on the long trudge across campus. 

“Layering tights is kind of a hack. I’ll put on one layer of warm tights and then do cute tights on top because I like patterned tights,” Beitchman said. 

Yet, even the most stylish among us have accepted the necessity of bundling up. 

“I feel very dumb [when I] throw on a fracket and hope for the best,” Beitchman added.

While both Benson and Beitchman have found their favorite styles, not all of us are so lucky — I am currently struggling to find my own way of expressing myself. I went to an all-girls high school where the goal was to conform to the norm as much as possible. I did everything from buying the most popular plaid skirt to wearing the trendiest accessories, regardless of whether I even liked them. For the first time in my life, I am surrounded by a student body with incredibly different ways of dressing. There is no “norm.”

As I begin to explore certain aspects of my identity, figuring out how to communicate these facets of myself to others has been difficult — and I consider myself a complete novice. For anyone looking to discover their personal style, Beitchman recommends trying new looks. 

“Experiment. A lot….It’s worth it to try things out,” she said. 

So if you see me walking around campus in a bright pink jean jacket, just know that I, too, am experimenting.

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