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How to dress when you don’t know what to wear

By Roog Kubur, June 20 2022

Fashion isn’t easy. With the introduction of Tiktok fashionistas and Instagram models, the scope for what’s considered “trendy” isn’t nearly as defined as it used to be. On top of that, being in Canada means adapting to the melting pot of fashion trends it houses — whether it be the classic Albertan lumberjack completed with a red flannel or Toronto’s signature black puffer jacket. 

In addition to picking out the clothes, sourcing them and actually having them in your possession is a completely different story. Shipping to Canada can sometimes bring ridiculous import fees and worse wait times. Luckily, Calgary offers a wealth of niche shops and boutiques to cater to whatever aesthetic you choose to adopt. 

Here’s an introduction into one of the most popular trends right now, one that combines simplicity and individuality with an emphasis on feeling good about yourself. 

Feminine fashion has evolved to match the “That Girl” aesthetic. Despite its gendered name, the trend can be possessed by anyone looking to present femininely. This is someone with fresh, dewy skin and always on top of their game. Even if you’re falling behind on assignments or swamped with work, the important thing is to make it look like you’ve got your life together. To give this impression, a t-shirt and pair of well-fitted blue jeans is the most basic staple, and other oversized pieces can be added to give dimension to the look. Oversized blazers give a casual but put together vibe, vintage leather jackets add a bit of edge or a flannel to give the effortlessly outdoorsy look. The most important building block is the jeans, so investing in a good pair should be a priority. 

This aesthetic relies on minimalism, which is helpful for anyone looking to dip their toe into Canadian fashion. It is not difficult to find a store selling comfortable, good quality jeans. I mean, this is Alberta — practically everyone needs a pair of those. It is also incredibly versatile, able to be transformed into a more feminine look by adding dainty jewelry or more modest by opting for looser fits. 

If you’re more of a maximalist, the basic jeans and top combination can be changed to reflect that as well. Recently, the phenomenon of printed jeans has been taking over, encouraging people to invest in something with an interesting print or take it into their own hands. Across the city, you will find no shortage of students wearing jeans that have been covered with hand-painted smiley faces or tye-dyed with bleach. If you’re more artistically inclined, this can be an easy way to add a level of personalization to the look without compromising style. If you’re not, looking through vintage shops or second-hand stores to find a unique pair of jeans can be a fun way to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon. 

Masculine fashion is often overlooked for its simplicity, but it’s the simplicity that gives it such dynamism. Unfortunately, there isn’t a catch-all aesthetic that encompasses the current trends. If I were to give a name to this vibe it would be “dressed-up streetwear.” It gives the impression of someone who is effortlessly cool while still looking put together. This is the type of person to express themselves freely and look good doing it. 

Most of the aforementioned tips apply here as well, however masculine trends tend to lean more towards how to accessorize the look rather than the look itself. Investing in simple silver or gold chains or rings is an easy way to elevate your outfit without stepping too far outside your comfort zone. If you’re not a fan of jewelry, toques (or beanies, depending on where you’re from), watches and sunglasses are quick and easy accessories to bring some life to the outfit. 

An important part of fashion regardless of how you choose to present yourself is shoes. Shoes that are comfortable but still stylish are an essential part of any university student’s closet. There are nuances to every look, but the most important staples are a pair of white sneakers and a pair of black loafers. These are the two shoes that everyone, regardless of aesthetic or personal niche, needs to have. This goes without saying, but please make sure these shoes are comfortable. Walking around campus or through Calgary’s busy streets is already tiring enough, no need to add uncomfortable shoes to the mix.  

However, if all else fails, the most classic university student look is the one that has triumphed over decades. Do not underestimate the power of the well-fitted blue jeans, crew-neck sweater and sneaker combination. It is one that has been a staple since the 20th century and screams “I need to look presentable but didn’t want to put too much thought into my look.” It requires minimal preparation and can be easily dressed up. It’s classic, simple and looks good on everyone. 

The most universal fashion tip is always to be comfortable. Being introduced to a new society is already bothersome enough, you don’t need to add to the mix by trying to conform to a trend that doesn’t feel comfortable to you. This article covers one of the many styles that are out there, so don’t be afraid to go out searching and find what clicks.

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