Fashion that knows no age

Jessica M. Kanalas

Students discuss timeless influences on everyday wares

Credit: DKS Editors

Morning routine is an understatement for Kayla Wilson.

Upon waking up, the sophomore exercise physiology major puts on her Victoria’s Secret robe and takes a shower.

Once she has returned to her room, she said she continues the routine with an intense brushing of the teeth with her electric toothbrush, putting mousse in her hair, blowing it dry and straightening it.

And although these are all procedures Wilson said she can’t skip, the most important part of her morning comes after all the cleansing preparation. Besides putting her makeup on, she only has one task to complete the routine she created so many years ago: She gets dressed.

During her college years especially, Wilson said she thinks it’s important to look nice.

On an average day, she puts on her Abercrombie & Fitch or Express jeans with a Ralph Lauren sweater or polo.

If it’s winter, she said she will throw on her Burberry scarf, North Face jacket and Ugg boots.

This may be the common classroom fashion for Wilson, but not every student is alike.

Tameka Ellington, an assistant professor of fashion and Kent Stater alumna, said she thinks what students wear to class is determined by what time it is during the semester.

“If there are a lot of tests or big projects, some students come in their pajamas,” she said. “They dress comfortably.”

She went on to say some students do get a little more dressed up, wearing a nice outfit or makeup.

Kent State’s fashion school was founded in 1983 and since its doors opened over 20 years ago, fashion has come and gone, and some styles have returned with a new sophisticated twist to them.

When Ellington thinks of the ’80s, she said she pictures women with leggings, shoulder pads and wide colorful belts.

When it comes to men, she said, it depends on what kind of male you’re talking about.

Some of the fashion styles on the men of the ’80s included wearing sweat suits and the Adidas brand, Ellington said, adding it could also include jeans rolled tightly around the ankle.

Kayla Geller, a sophomore pre-nursing major, said she pictures more of an ’80s men’s rock look.

“I see leather,” she said, “the jackets and the pants.”

For girls, however, Geller agrees with Ellington, adding sweat bands, spandex, side ponytails and Chuck Taylor shoes to the list.

The ’90s might have followed the decade of vibrant colors and off-the-shoulder sweaters, but fashion took a drastic change, almost flipping to the exact opposite of its preceding years’ statement of style.

“I think of MC Hammer,” Geller said laughing. “Parachute pants, baggy shirts and backwards baseball caps come to mind.”

Tara Gustwiller, a sophomore early childhood education major, said she pictures people of the ’90s with loose, simple shirts.

“Men and women sort of wore the same pants,” she said. “They were a little high-waisted. It was more of the ‘plain Jane’ look.”

For Ellington, discussing the ’90s means talking about what she wore when she was in school.

She remembered the brand Cross Colors, she said, which was found in more urban-styled clothing and used a technique called color blocking.

“If a guy was wearing shorts,” she said, “one of the legs would be red and one would be black.”

The simpler style of the ’90s included more earthly colors and very few accessories has since evolved to the current decade’s trends of the 21st century.

Ellington said today’s style is a combination of both the ’80s and ’90s.

“It’s a unique blend with more sophisticated styles,” she said, “a nice mixture.”

For women, the leggings have returned from the ’80s, and high-waisted pants have made an appearance from the ’90s.

Geller said another spin-off of the ’80s is skinny jeans and leg warmers, but now students pay a lot more for these styles.

“Our generation is about designer brands.” she said. “Our shirts, shoes and jeans show our logos.”

Travis Schonauer, a former Kent State student and now sophomore at Ohio Technical College, said he wears Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle now, and he knows it would have never passed in the previous decades.

“But what do I know about fashion?” he said. “I wear my hick boots, as some might call them, with my Abercrombie shirt and my hunting hood.”

To Schonauer, fashion doesn’t matter that much.

“I just wonder what it will be like in the decades to come,” Geller said. “I wonder what they will say about how we dress now and what might come back into style once things change again.”

For Gustwiller, no matter what happens, she said she hopes she knows the popular trends when she gets older.

“I hope I’m informed,” she said, smiling. “So when I’m a mom someday, I’ll still be super cool.”

Contact features correspondent Jessica Kanalas at [email protected].