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Dress to Impress? Wait, isn’t that a cliche?

By Taylor Buss

How can fashion be for yourself and also for that future job you want?

Most job experts agree that as students learn to use the tools necessary to take that next step in their lives, one of the key requirements is to dress for the part they want to play.

But does this mean that you also have to lose who you are as an individual?

According to Chemeketa student Micaiah Monroy, you can do both: be yourself and be professional.

“Fashion is about expressing yourself,” she says. “But it’s the first thing people see; you have to be presentable.”

Monroy has toyed with fashion since she was in middle school. She has gone from wearing jeans and T-shirts to trying out NY high fashion looks.

Monroy says she watches runway shows and looks closely at designers to help give her ideas on what to wear.

She also has an exacting definition of fashion.

“It’s honestly anything that compliments your body and makes you feel confident; that’s what style should be,” she says.

But Monroy also stresses that every women’s closet should contain a few staple items:

  • A black cardigan;
  • Simple black shoes; and
  • Accessories.

“Always accessorize,” she says.

Many Chemeketa students are currently aware of a variety of so-called styles right now, from NY high fashion to street chic to grunge and the Pacific Northwest’s very own hipster.

Joey Walters, a Chemeketa transfer student, classifies his own style as hipster.

Though his inspiration comes from his two older cousins, Walters says he tries to make what he wears scream his name.

Dressing mostly for utility, Walters wears clothing that could easily be worn on a short hike or even out to dinner afterward.

Walters’ look on any given day may include Chukka boots, chinos, and a sweater over a flannel shirt.

He strives for “durability and utility, while still looking nice,” he says.

Walters says his favorite piece of clothing is his Powell’s Bookstore 50/50 blend T-shirt. Not only is it super comfortable, but it also sports his favorite place to hang out.

Walters often finds himself dressing to impress, even when he is home by himself.

“I will throw on a tie just because it makes me feel good,” he says.

Other emotions can dictate what people wear, according to Sierra DonGilli, a veterinary science major.

“Sometimes I dress according to my mood. If I’m feeling happy and confident, I dress the part,” she says.

“It’s the clearest way to see someone’s soul. Someone who loves themselves will dress to show that. Fashion can be a way to learn how to love yourself.”

DonGilli connects fashion to art and the idea that fashion can be creative.

“Too often we forget that what you wear is a piece of art, just as something painted onto a canvas is,” DonGilli says.

“In a way, you, yourself, are the canvas.”

DonGilli says that by becoming a canvas for clothing, you can find room to explore with colors, patterns, and styles.

“And unlike painting, if it doesn’t work out, then you can change the entire work of art in a matter of seconds, without having to painfully remove the paint or even throwing away the canvas,” she says.

“If you love the canvas, you should want to accentuate it, not hide it.”

According to Alisha Snyder, a former Chemeketa psychology student who graduated from Portland State University, “Fashion is a very tangible way for teens to express their individuality.”

Snyder’s degree has helped her reach some conclusions about the way that young people dress.

“Most theories about adolescent development focus on identity,” she says. “One in particular is ‘Identity vs. Role Confusion’ by famous psychoanalyst Erik Erikson.”

Erikson, she says, breaks developmental stages into certain challenges, and “individuality is one of these,” she says.

“Diversity found in teen fashion isn’t very surprising considering teens’ greatest concerns have to do with becoming their own person.”

As students determine that fashion can be a way of expressing themselves, it’s also important to remember that being presentable to the people around you is vital – especially in the work place.

“It’s a balancing act of yourself and being socially acceptable,” DonGilli says.

Chemeketa’s career center has many people that are willing to help with what to wear for a job interview. Some tips they have for an interview are to, dress neatly and keep it professional.

The career center is located on the first floor of Bldg. 2.

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