Fall fashion returns for the in-person semester


Photos courtesy of Isabela Fox-Mills

Lily Elwood, deputy lifestyle editor

A new school year is here, and everyone is wondering — whose ‘fits are going to be on point this year?

Enabled by the vaccine requirement at Northeastern this year, students can wear the outfits that they neglected during the pandemic as they find more in-person activities to dress up for. After being stuck inside wearing sweatpants for a year, every day is a new chance for people to show off their style. 

As the fall approaches, students have been keeping their eyes out for trends that will stand out.

“I think we’ll probably see a lot of baggy jeans that are more comfortable, sweaters and knit wears,” said Isabela Fox-Mills, a third-year design major. “But I also think people are definitely getting more experimental with their individual style after reflecting on what they want to present to the world.”

Allie Kuo, a fifth-year communications major, noticed that the Y2K, or year 2000, aesthetic has stood the test of time, and elements of the trend are sure to continue into the fall. 

“I think [the popularity of Y2K] is just because we’re wanting to go back to this very carefree look,” she said. “I also think that this resurgence of bold, chunky costume jewelry and bold prints is going to be around because we’ve been cooped up inside for so long… minimalism is definitely out the door.”

Another major trend floating around social media is ‘60s and ‘70s revival fashion — bell bottoms, bra tops, crochet, mod dresses and more.

“[The trend] is a lot of bright colors and ‘70s-style shapes. A lot of the trends that have been going on, especially in the last couple of years, are micro-trends,” said Maddie Casey, a fifth-year political science and business administration combined major. “So they’ve only been lasting for a little while, but I think since it’s a full decade resurgence, it’s probably going to last through the fall if not longer.”

Fox-Mills, Kuo and Casey were among many students whose outfits were put on hold by isolation during the height of the pandemic.  

Fox-Mills has always felt that fashion is a part of her identity. She says that as a creative person, putting together the perfect outfit boosts her confidence.  

“During the pandemic, it was hard for me to feel like myself when I couldn’t go out and dress up and have people see what I’m wearing,” she said. 

As she prepares for school in the fall, Fox-Mills is excited to get to show off her style again and engage in being a part of the Boston fashion scene. 

“I’m not scared of androgyny or bright colors; I just like showing up in what makes me feel like my best self, wearing what represents me and my style,” she said. 

Some students, like Kuo, were on co-op during the pandemic. While working from home, Kuo realized that wearing pajamas and leisure clothing all day prevented her from feeling productive and motivated. 

“Taking that lesson doing my third co-op I was like, ‘Okay, I need to put on an outfit every day, including shoes — even if it’s just for a few hours to walk around and feel like I’m actually, you know, doing something and putting myself into this professional mindset,” Kuo said.

Now that Kuo is going out to more in-person events, she said she appreciates the ability to express herself through fashion even more. 

“I’m kind of getting back into doing makeup and dressing up more,” she said. “Nothing super crazy, but definitely more than I ever did before the pandemic. It’s crazy how much you can miss self-expression like that.”

Although Casey is excited to show off her outfits at upcoming events, she is conscious of the effect fast fashion has on the climate. Fast fashion allows consumers to buy more clothes, more rapidly at lower prices — but it comes at a greater cost. Fashion production is responsible for about 10% of carbon emissions, drying up water sources and polluting rivers and oceans.

Casey said that her personal style doesn’t revolve much around trends, because she, like Fox-Mills and Kuo, tries to thrift for pieces that she really loves and can keep for a long time.

​​”I try to make sure that everything is my style, so if I look back on my outfits in a year, I’m not going to think that I was just wasting my money following this trend,” she said. “I think that that type of style doesn’t really have a ton of longevity, and it’s not super sustainable obviously.”

Fox-Mills, Kuo and Casey agree that while following trends is fun, it’s not the only way to make a statement. While trends go in and out of fashion, personal style can be just as bold through sustainability and self-expression.

“I care so much about my outfits,” Casey said. “Now that I’m vaccinated and going out more, it really excites me to be able to dress up with my friends again.”