Fashion at Wheaton: what’s good, what’s bad, what’s new.

Students Aseye Agamah, Krista Pedersen, Whitney Bauck and Michael Niehaus explain what fashion means to them and assess the current fashion trends on Wheaton's campus.

Aseye Agamah, junior

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is tangible, wearable art that functions to enhance your identity and express a certain message about yourself to the world. Personal style, however ostentatious or however simplistic it may be, has the power to speak volumes without even saying a word.

What does fashion mean to students at Wheaton?

A lot of Wheaties play it too safe when it comes to style! I would love to see a little more personal flair. I encourage people to break free from the generic mold that they may feel forced into and develop their own unique, sartorial voice — one that sets them apart and enhances their persona. This would require stepping out of what you think might be your comfort zone ; expand your horizons and experiment in order to find a sense of style that makes you feel even more comfortable than you did before. Playing around with your style and fashion can go hand-in-hand with  finding yourself and solidifying your personal identity. It’s a great, artistic way to show the world a way in which you’ve synthesized your own self-perception.

Any trends that Wheaton students are doing well? Any that they should or shouldn’t follow?

My weekly trips to the Corinthian Co-op have taught me a thing or two about Wheaties: Y’all love your brands! You can see by walking around that people tend to like clothing that tells you it’s nice (or expensive) because of its branding. I’m not one to tell people how to live their lives or what they should and shouldn’t wear, but I’ll just say that there’s so much more to life than Uggs, Sperry’s, Polo, etc. — all are quality brands, but the ubiquitous logos just tend to get a little overdone.

You don’t have to get something just because of the prestige or status the brand might give you. Also, don’t be afraid to shop in sections that may not “coincide” with your sex (or) gender: Borrow from the boys (or) girls!

Pictured is Krista Pedersen. Photo credit: Laura Clark
Pictured is Krista Pedersen. Photo credit: Laura Clark

Krista Pedersen

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion and I have a complex relationship. I’ve worked in the industry since I was 15 and will most likely be working for a company this summer that deals with socially-conscious fashion. Before I became a feminist, my relationship with fashion was bullied by my desperate desire to appeal to a general conception of female social attractiveness — via celebs, media, etc. At the age of 15, in the wake of my female empowerment, I re-envisioned fashion as an expression of my inner strength and personhood. Fashion is a medium that tests the dynamic relationships that exist between culture and the self. It so beautifully combines the skill of craft, art, and identity. Because I have come to terms with fashion and how I relate myself in a society that often uses fashion as a tool against women, I feel that I have been able to re-invent fashion as a tool for my self-expression and empowerment.

What does fashion mean to students at Wheaton?

I think fashion has a diverse relationship with Wheaton students. I believe some students don’t preoccupy themselves with fashion or style for modesty reasons, while others like to keep up with trendy styles that are very current and popular. I think there is a small minority of students who are very committed to the study of fashion and conceptions of style.

Any trends that Wheaton students are doing well? Any that they should or shouldn’t follow?

I believe that too many Wheaton students focus on being “trendy” in fashion to avoid developing their own personal and unique style. I think many people develop interests in fashion because they see a certain person they want to be or model. Although that is well and good, I believe it is important to have a clear sense of your identity and your unique personality in order to truly embrace your own style.

Michael Niehaus, sophomore

Pictured is Michael Niehaus. Photo credit: Lee.
Pictured is Michael Niehaus. Photo credit: Lee.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is about first impressions. I tell the world who I am without speaking a word when I dress in a certain way. But fashion is also art. I express myself through the way I coordinate colors, textures and designs. Unlike other forms of art, fashion is not restricted to certain settings; in almost any context, I can dress fashionably. Perhaps what I love most about fashion is its connection to human beauty. The human body is beautiful, and fashion is the means by which we adorn that body.

For men:

Slim is in. Whether you’re wearing jeans and a button-down, shorts and a t-shirt, or a suit, it should look like it was made specifically for your body. Fit is very important. Ill-fitting clothing tends to look sloppy. There are certain situations where an article of clothing — often a sweater — may be intentionally baggy; however, this is far less common for guys than for girls. If you’re not sure how something ought to fit, look it up online.

When choosing a dress shirt, do not get a point collar. Instead, try a spread or button-down collar.

Do not get the classic fit if a slim fit will work. Make sure your shirt is ironed or pressed; creases and wrinkles are distracting and look sloppy.

Pants and jeans should not be baggy or bunch around your ankles. Try cuffing or rolling up your pants a few inches. Don’t hesitate to show off a bit of ankle or those colorful socks. Cuffing only looks good with slim or skinny pants — cuffing loose fit pants just looks tacky. Distressed jeans are not as popular as they used to be; instead, try raw denim or a dark wash.

Shoes can make or break an outfit. Running shoes are comfortable and practical, but they rarely look good with jeans. Invest in dress shoes, boat shoes and classy lace-up boots.

Don’t be afraid to add a splash of color to your outfit. However, if your pants are bright enough to turn heads, make sure that the rest of your outfit is relatively subtle.

Choose clothing that reflects your personality. What you wear should make you more confident, so use your imagination, don’t neglect the details and love how you look.

Whitney Bauck, senior

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion can be deeply profound: the most intimate form of art; visual culture you wear on your own body. It can be utterly shallow: a way to win approval from people who don’t know you well enough to judge you based on anything else. Either way, it’s powerful and complex and thoroughly human, which means it deserves more thoughtful attention from smart Christians.

What does fashion mean to students at Wheaton?

My guess is that fashion means different things in the context of different subcultures at Wheaton, so a football player may feel differently than a theater kid about similar items of clothing or about fashion as a whole.

Any trends that Wheaton students are doing well? Any that they should or shouldn’t follow?

Favorite Wheaton trend: using the Co-op. It’s really an amazing resource for developing a personal aesthetic — how many people in the world have constant access to free clothes to experiment with? You can easily wear something once and if you don’t like it, return it to the Co-op without shame or wasting cash. Regarding trends to avoid:  wish Wheaton students would do a better job of researching where our clothing comes from. There’s no excuse for educated, usually conscientious people to continue supporting brands with notoriously bad human rights records in factories here or abroad.

Spring 2015 essentials


  • A good quality, long coat keeps you warm and looking good
  • Unique accessories to add flair to every-day outfits


  • Minimalist high-top sneakers
  • Leather moto jacket
  • Unusual statement earrings
  • Transparent vinyl raincoat


  • No. 7 Protect & Perfect Day Cream SPF 15 protects your skin from cracking during the dry winter season”
  • Trouser suits, as seen in Bouchra Jarra’s Spring 2015 show”
  • Suede, as seen in Jason Wu Spring 2015 and Valentino Spring 2015
  • Fringe, as seen in Fendi Spring 2015
  • Dark, plum lips
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