After four quarters of classes on Zoom and a long year of isolation, Northwestern students are bringing color back to campus. As the weather warms up and more people become fully vaccinated, shedding this year’s winter coat feels more liberating than ever before. North By Northwestern photographed students who served their best #fits on campus, talking to them about their fashion style, inspiration and more.
Communications first-year Nozizwe Msipa takes skateboarding lessons from her friend on a sunny day on campus. As for fashion, Msipa typically chooses comfort over style. “I go for comfort, but fun comfort,” she said. “I really like yellow and orange at the moment. I’m leaning into colors more than anything else.” The loose-fitting pants are from her mom, the shirt is from a shop in Africa — a connection to her hometown in Zimbabwe — and she took the orange bucket hat from her younger brother.
Kay Cui, a communication first-year, wears chunky Fila sneakers with a skirt that she bought at the Urban Outfitters surplus store. Cui enjoys taking more time in the morning to experiment with her fashion than she did in high school. “I have more time [since] I used to wake up so early,” she said. “I’ve been experimenting more with different clothes or different styles that make me feel more confident.”
Communication second-year Grant Albright is a big fan of oversized t-shirts. He bought this pink graphic tee with an image of cats fishing from the Goodwill in Evanston. “This is probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever bought, just because it’s so big and colorful,” he said. For a day on the Lakefill, Albright pairs the shirt with green scrubs — also from Goodwill — and yellow Nike Jordan Ones from Depop. He completes the look with his favorite fashion piece: gold and silver rings that he inherited from his great uncle. “They’re kind of crazy, but they’re so fun,” Albright says.
“I actually hate summer fashion,” Claire Scavone said. While Scavone, a communication second-year, likes to cozy up in big sweaters and warm pants during the winter, she finds ways to adapt her style for the warmer months. “What I like about spring fashion is you can do winter fashion but without a big coat over it all, so it’s still warm but it’s also able to be seen.” On the Lakefill, Scavone wears a white sweater from Urban Outfitters, orange plaid pants from Depop and gold butterfly earrings from TJ Maxx. Scavone said her fashion style wasn’t always this colorful and fun. “I was pretty boring in my fashion for a really long time, and then over quarantine I wanted to be weirder with it, and then I got weirder with it,” she said.
Communication second-year Julia Kruger’s colorful pants have a story behind them. They’re from GØØDZ Boutique (@goodz.boutique on Instagram), a women-owned, online pop-up store founded by Kruger’s friend. GØØDZ started out as “tie dye for good,” where 100% of the proceeds went to first responders at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kruger said. “It’s awesome to see how that’s expanded and they’ve been able to incorporate other female shop owners,” she said. Kruger enjoys finding women-owned clothing stores that align with her values. “Most of my stuff is honestly from them at this point,” she said.
Members of the WAVE Productions theatre board — (left to right) communication third-years Harry Echtman, Daira Rodriguez and Mariana Leone, Medill third-year Anna Margevich, Bienen third-year Paige Dirkes-Jacks and McCormick second-year Griffin Berse — met up on the Lakefill to get to know some of the group’s new members. For Dirkes-Jacks, fashion provides an avenue for expressing herself and her sexuality. “Over the course of college, I started viewing fashion as a way to express myself in ways I didn’t in high school,” Dirkes-Jacks said. “I recently shaved my head… This is a way of expressing myself that I’ve never tried before, and I think that’s really cool.”
Medill third-year Margo Milanowski and Weinberg third-year Gaby Alfieri pose with Alfieri’s dog, Cosmo. They both enjoy thrift shopping and often hop between the Goodwill locations in Evanston and Skokie, Milanowski said. Alfieri pairs loose-fitting jeans with a button up shirt from Goodwill and shoes she thrifted in her hometown of Chapel Hill, N.C., while Milanowski wears a tan crop top, jeans from the Target brand Universal Threads and a brown button up from Goodwill.
Accessories are also a must for the pair. Alfieri wears a silver chain necklace with a lock that someone left at her house. “I can’t figure out who [left it], so I’ve been wearing it until it’s claimed,” she said. Milanowski likes to thrift for accessories and button ups to throw over outfits and complement some of her staple pieces. “I like how quickly and easily you can change your style with just a few pieces,” Milanowski said. “My main go-to outfit is still jeans and a t-shirt, but I’ve learned how to vary it with so many simple and cheap changes.”
Communication third-year Mariana Leone pairs a see-through top from Oak + Fort with a hair clip from CVS, earrings from Ana Luisa and necklaces that her mom passed down to her. But what does she like the most about spring fashion? “I love ditching coats and especially when I get to wear a little more color!” Leone said.
Taylor Shineman, a Weinberg second-year, dresses up her black Norris shirt for a work shift at the center desk. “I try to spice it up at work, especially when I’m not opening,” she said. Shineman pairs the shirt with a suede skirt from Old Navy, boots she bought on clearance at DSW and a hair clip. “I know that hair clips are making a comeback and that’s super easy to just throw up my hair at work, so I always have one on me,” she said.
Medill second-year Jacquelyne Germain’s favorite thing about spring fashion is being able to shed her winter coat, especially “with this winter being really cold.” Germain wears Steve Madden boots, thrifted jeans and a white and blue crop top on her way to the Arch. “It’s a nice day, so I thought ‘Why not make an effort on my outfit?’” she said.
Aditi Ghei, a Weinberg second-year, enjoys mixing traditionally feminine and masculine pieces in her outfits. While studying at Norbucks, she wears structured carpenter pants from Crossroads and a playful green top with billow sleeves from Reformation. Ghei believes that fashion styles don’t need to be defined. “The beauty about fashion is you don’t need to have a style,” Ghei said. “From winter to spring, from Sunday versus Friday night, everything is different and that’s what I like about it.”
From thrifted jeans to graphic tees, Northwestern students are eager to bring color and style back to campus. For some students, fashion is a way to express themselves and their sexuality. For others, it’s about experimenting and trying new things. Regardless of your motivation, it’s time to shed your quarantine sweatpants, grab those spring clothes from the back of your closet and walk out of this pandemic more fashionable than ever before.
*Thumbnail courtesy of Rachel Mendelson/North by Northwestern