Are you a Trendsetter?

It’s 7:45 in the morning and I’m walking to class. I checked the weather on my computer before I left: 20 degrees. The outfit I planned in my head last night, a cotton turquoise short sleeve shirt from Forever 21, medium wash wide leg jeans from Urban Outfitter’s, and my black Givenchy flats with the tops of my feet exposed, is now unacceptable. I put on my dark denim True Religions, destroyed and stonewashed, with the signature low pockets and auburn and mustard stitching. I pair it with a white, three-quarter-length shirt with lace detail by C + C, and slip my cinnamon Uggs over-top my jeans. My Rock & Republic jacket keeps the cold from piercing my skin, and my tan and black Louis Vuitton scarf helps to defend my neck from the frosty conditions. As you can see, I plan every detail of my clothes every single day – even if it’s spur of the moment.

Many of the people I spend each day with also do the same thing. Their outfits seem to be arranged almost perfectly, to the very last detail. Their hats match their shirts and their shirts match their shoes. These students and myself, are the students within the fashion department within the College of Human Sciences: Fashion Merchandising, Apparel Design, and Textiles and Consumer Sciences. Myself being a Fashion Merchandising major. But our campus is huge, with a variety of people from across the United States and even the world, with different majors and interests, who come from all backgrounds and illustrate their personal styles uniquely. I usually notice almost everything people wear around campus, but I wanted to see exactly the trends transpiring at Florida State for females and males. I observed many students while sitting in the union and other heavy traffic locations, seeing what they wore, how they wore it, from their hairstyles to their shoes. I also observed the students in the classes within my major. Let’s just say, there were huge differences! Nonetheless, there were similarities between the presumably divided groups. I also wanted to see if any students at Florida State (fashion and non-fashion majors) are actually on the trend path society has set before us.

With the weather getting chilly to literally down right freezing, I imagine you would assume the fashions would progress with the changing temperature, yet here on campus, it’s pretty obvious that many people are either oblivious or numb to the frigid weather. Many students, both male and female, seem to be rocking FSU hoodies, jeans and some form of shoes (flip-flops included). With the weather as it is, sweaters, coats, scarves and hats should be the big trend on campus during this season, especially with so many students’ who are not use to being around non-80 degree weather. A vast number of students are from South Florida and are particularly afraid of the cold – so a jacket and a scarf should be the solution to many of their problems. My friend Richard from Northwest Miami told me, “I hadn’t bought a coat until I moved to Tallahassee for college.” And in many instances, students are finally purchasing light-weight to heavy-weight coats from Governors Square Mall the first day there is a frost in the air.

When it comes to the ladies, many are wearing black pea coats with a scarf tied around the neck for warmth, sweatpants (usually with an FSU logo) and Ugg boots. This seems to be a popular trend in many laid back settings: college campus’, Starbucks, going to the movies, etc. Favorably because of the coziness of the sweatpants and the ease and warmth of the Australian made Ugg boots, which go for $184 for the Classic boot on

Some ladies nix the sweatpants with the Uggs and pair them with a bootcut or a skinny jean, and maybe even an overcoat. With outfits like these, thought and detail are shown in ones daily appearance. Nonetheless, some of the ladies who decided to replace their workout sweatpants for Abercrombie & Fitch bootcut denim have also replaced their Uggs for the oh-so-famous flip flops here on campus. Yes, I understand we’re in Florida, and yes flip-flops are convenient and easy to slip on, but with the temperature reaching below freezing, there must be a lot of numb toes! The effort to put on a nice shirt, coat and jeans is greater than slipping on socks and closed toed shoes. The variety around campus differs from Rainbow Sandals priced around $40 to the tropical Havaianas of Brasilia, about $12-$20. Flip-flops have noticeably become a major trend on campus all year round.

Not to just pick on the ladies, the popular flip-flop trend also includes the males as well. Many times they are also wearing the Rainbow Sandals or Jordan flip-flops by Nike, $39.99 at Foot Locker. Guys also seem to enjoy a crew cut t-shirt, dark denim jeans, and tennis shoes. Some pair it with a bubble coat or hoodie, while others wear no coat at all. Understandably, those of us who have 8am classes have high hopes that by our 12:30pm class the weather will have warmed up and we can enjoy the warmth of the sun. But that is unlikely after the third or fourth day of the high only being 45-degrees. Even so, many of the guys do have their hoodies to cover up their arms and go about their day.

Another obvious trend here on campus, especially those with early classes, is pajama pants. From cotton green and blue plaid to the famous garnet and gold Seminole pride pajamas pants you can pick up at the bookstore. Having an 8am class allows you to see a variety of garments worn by our fellow students and their morning mannerisms, some who look as though they just literally rolled out of bed. They do however have the thought to at least put on a half-clean t-shirt, a hoodie, and a pair of tennis shoes or flip-flops.

The more fashionable men here on campus seem to have thought about their outfits a little more than the pajama pants guy, usually layering their outfits to conform to the changing weather throughout the day. One popular trend that I’ve seen in the fashion department is blazers. Guys seem to have on fashion forward blazers (navy, black, cream) and pair them with either a t-shirt, a vest and a collared shirt, or a sweater and a collared shirt. Either way, these guys are usually ready for whatever weather may occur that day and can easily slip on and off each garment. These guys are also seen wearing pea coats like their female counterparts but pulled off in a more masculine way. Their jeans are usually fitted, not hanging as baggy and usually covering up the boxers. If they are not layering multiple garments together, they sometimes just have on a Ralph Lauren Polo and matching Ralph Lauren jacket to stay warm. Of course there are some who also forget to check the weather before they leave in the morning and are just wearing t-shirts, fitted jeans, and usually colorful and vibrant sneakers or hard bottom shoes – fashion forward of course!

The ladies in the fashion department, from what I have seen in my classes, seem to be keeping up with various trends as well in this brisk weather, layering like the guys but remembering comfort while doing it. Many are wearing tunic style (loose, usually reaching to their knees) plaid shirts,  and pairing them with leggings and riding boots – keeping their feet and ankles warm, while also keeping their arms covered. Some pair this look with a jacket, usually a pea coat or blazer, and others do not. Fitted skinny jeans are also a booming trend throughout the department as well as on campus. Matching these with t-shirts, knit sweaters, and cardigans. Belts are a big accessory as well. They can go on traditionally through the pant loops, empire waist style, or at the smallest point on woman’s waist (the Diane von Furstenberg style). Either way, many girls are using different variations of belts to spruce up their outfit, mixing textures and patterns. Fashion scarves are also big with the ladies and men all around campus. From leopard print to Louis Vuitton to vintage 1940s your grandmother handed down. Tied either in a bandana style around the neck or uniquely tied for style and warmth.

Not only did I notice the physical garments put on by the fashion and non-fashion majors but the overall appearances has similarities and differences as well. One of the biggest trends amongst all student’s at Florida State are tattoos and piercings. Most student’s nowadays seem to have either or. Many girls have their ears pierced in a variety of places (first hole, second hole, cartilage, etc.), while also have unique piercings such as nose and eyebrow. Guys have ears (one or both) and lip rings. A lot of girls in the fashion department have lip rings as well. Many students have a variety of tattoos in places all over their bodies. From their necks to their feet. Ladies within the fashion department also seem to have very trendy and spontaneous hairstyles such as short spiky cuts, bobs, and different colors. Other women around campus seem to have more traditional hairstyles such as ponytails and center parts – with a few exceptions of course.

But with all our differences and some similarities between the fashion and non-fashion students here at FSU, are any of us even on the actual “trend path” that the fashion world has placed before us? Some people love the idea of knowing they are in style and have the latest shoes or shirts. While others really could care-less about the clothing they put on each day. Nonetheless, trends are set every season by designers on the runways and then translated by department and specialty stores for ready-to-wear. According to, the top trends for Fall 2008/Winter 2009 for women are: belle curves on skirts and dresses which give a cinched waist and curvaceous hips, plaid, long jackets, dresses, and pants, precisely tailored garments like blazers and pants, leather, and floral prints. For men the trends are: a working man look (plaid, leather), scarves, blazers, bow ties, skinny ties, and fitted denim according to

With the trends set by the big designers, FSU seems to be catching on to some of their ideas. The most obvious trend implemented by both males and females is the plaid and leather look. I asked some student’s if they believed FSU students were catching on to the popular trends set by designers. Claude Adam said “people try to pull off looks but then they just end up looking stupid. Like guys are trying to wear the more fitted jeans but they wear them too tight so they just look weird.” “I think that people are just really laid back on campus because many people are stressed out and have a lot to do,” says Tatiana Williams “but at least looking half-decent is important to me, I can’t come out the house just looking like anything!” It is apparent that mainly the fashion students pick up on the trends quicker because of our exposure to the fashion industry every day in our classes. We learn that our dress has a lot to say about us, it being one of the first thing people notice about you after your gender. Many times our styles are reflected by our peers and what we see them wearing so we change our fashion accordingly. Looking our best and being fresh with ideas and looks will one day help us land the perfect job we may want. The same may not be true for the student majoring in biology who will use their knowledge about chemistry to one day be the scientist they’ve worked towards.

Overall, FSU students are creative, unique and use their intelligence within every department at our University in order to one day further their goals. Being the best dressed may not help you land an internship, or it may not write your paper for you but it will give you the cutting edge on the hottest styles for the season and help you to always remember, no flip-flops in 20-degree weather.



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