Updating your style: the new-school casual
Escape the lazy-student fashion cliché with some trending styles
In case you didn’t catch the sarcasm in my article last month, baggy sweatpants and old gym hoodies are no longer acceptable casual school attire. The “lazy student” outfit has been the archetype of university populations for as long as universities have existed and it’s about time we, the educated youth, started representing ourselves a bit better.
Here’s a game: take a look around the main hallway for a few seconds to see how many variations you can count of the “rolled directly from my bed into public” outfit you see. Or, play the “guess how many XL’s that person’s old gym hoody is” game. If this look was ever cool, it has ceased to be so a long time ago. Today, I’m going to show you how to update your outfits into something youthful, current and, most of all presentable, with only minimal effort and money.
There are many different terms to describe current casual wear for men and women, depending on who you talk to. The most common term is “streetwear,” but I like to think of the current casual wear trends under the term “new-school casual,” since most of the styles now are refined modern versions of the old-school baggy clothes phase.
Part of the new-school casual style is about reimagining pieces like your everyday sweatpants into unique and technical pieces like jogger pants. But the rest of it is about how you mix and match. Because of this, you can update your whole style just by getting that one statement piece, or even by wearing what you already have in a different way.
Most importantly, no matter what you wear, 100 per cent of looking good is your confidence. It is in how you wear it and how you act while wearing it. In the end, dressing for yourself will in turn help you dress for everyone else like teachers, potential employers and romantic interests because you will exude more confidence in believing you look good.
I’m not telling you what I think you should wear, I’m giving you guidance on what I think will make you feel good, and therefore look good. You don’t have to spend an hour planning your outfits every day, you just have to put in enough effort to feel like you achieved a better result.
Getting into the specifics of what constitutes new-school casual style, the main elements are patterns and graphics, relaxed fits and unique details. Firstly, as you can see in my infographic, almost any pattern or graphic can be used for a bold modern look, including the standard red flannel shirt on the left, or the subtle texture tiger graphic on the right. Secondly, to best pull off the look, invest in one wardrobe piece with unique modern details. I love my jogger pants shown in the picture because they are a bold new take on classic denim, but you can find other great stuff like side-zip sweaters, some eye-catching special edition sneakers or an all-over print snapback. The best part is that both girls and guys can pull off many of the same items for great looks. Lastly, the new-school casual look has a more relaxed fit than previous trends. The important part is that it’s purposefully relaxed in the right places. You’re not getting pants or a skirt two sizes above your actual waist size, you’re getting a slightly longer cut shirt to layer under your outerwear, or shorter pant cuffs to show off your shoes. Above all, wear what you think looks, and feels, better than your middle school gym clothes.