Stevens Institute of Fashion

Hello, my fellow ducks! If you’re an avid reader of The Stute, you may have noticed that my column was missing from the last two issues – gasp! Yes, it’s true. I know some people look forward to it each week, and shout-out to those people (Zach, Anthony, Shane, Alex, Ian, and Mom) for asking me about it. Let me fill you guys in: the first week I was really sick with strep throat and my cat died. Rest in peace, Raspberry Doodle Mengotto. (I want to let you guys know that Razzy lived a long and full life and it was just his time.) Anyway, it was a really rough week. Then, the next week I spent catching up on the work I had missed. But now… I’m back!

So, I’m going to give you a piece of advice: don’t follow other people’s advice. It sounds like a paradox, right? But this really has some merit to it, because when you start asking a lot of people for their opinions, you might just get confused even more so than you were before. For example, many of my friends suggested that I attend the Career Fair this past Wednesday and I had no idea what that entailed. Specifically, my most important question was “What do I wear?”

The event calls for business formal. That’s difficult because I don’t even understand business casual, to begin with. For a man, you need a nice fitted suit. Women’s fashion is really weird though. I spent some time on Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Images, and I still don’t get it. Anything from a woman’s suit, to a skirt with a blouse and blazer, to an elegant black dress can be considered business formal. I guess I have some shopping to do! Anyway, when I asked people, they all just told me that “business formal” can be interpreted different ways. That’s not good advice – in fact, that’s barely advice. I guess they just meant that I shouldn’t worry too much about the dress code then. The important thing is networking, not what I’m wearing. It’s about the person and not the clothing, I’m more than just what I wear, right?

To be honest, I’ve never been super great with fashion. Like my sisters dress really nicely, but I guess I just didn’t get those genes. That’s why I try to stick to neutral colors, and navy blue, along with the occasional maroon. It’s just so much easier to throw together an acceptable, matching outfit. Take note, guys of Stevens. I may not really know what I’m talking about, because this isn’t FIT, but this is a good tip for all of you people who simply throw on different T-shirts everyday.

I will admit that I have many off days. You know those days, when people ask you if you’re tired or feeling alright because you look awful. That’s when it’s okay to throw out there a little white lie! “Yeah, I know I look bad because I was up all night studying.” Now, you don’t look lazy but you look smart. Or “I think I’m totally coming down with something, so I’m scrubbing it today.” Because nobody can judge the way you look when you’re sick! Beyond those two, my favorite excuse to use when my outfit is awful is “I really have to do laundry.” People always totally relate to that, and it works every time, except if you saw that person in the laundry room last night.

I actually tried really hard to dress to impress a few weeks ago, for Pancakes with the President. I wore this nice black and navy blue dress, that had some pretty lace designs, and black leggings and flats to match. I looked good. Then, when I went to Pierce afterwards, I knew that I was the best dressed student there on a Sunday morning. That was until Brenda signaled me over from behind the counter and informed me that I had a hole in my dress on my backside! I literally dropped a plate of mashed potatoes and two pieces of lettuce on the nearest random table and ran down the stairs to the bathroom. My favorite dress that I wore to meet President Farvardin – how embarrassing! (I hope he won’t read this issue of The Stute.) Oh god, and the time I spent in the bathroom wondering what I was supposed to do to get back to Davis. That’s when I decided that buying a new full length mirror was indeed a necessity. Basically, I’m really bad at looking good even when I try.

On the whole, I think that the importance of fashion is understated at Stevens and that it’s totally fine. I definitely feel that if I went to a preppy school that I would be more motivated to absolutely dress up on a daily basis. However, it’s actually pretty chill that people aren’t super materialistic and judgmental here. I mean, even a denim jacket can be acceptable. My friend even said to me, “I love you, Lisa, because you just wear anything,” and I think it’s cool that he’s my friend even though I’m not totally chic. Maybe we’re not the most fashionable university, but we’re pretty good at what we’re supposed to do and that’s what actually counts. It’s not how we dress but how we think that will get us jobs in the future.

About the Author

Lisa Mengotto

A young chemist, Lisa Mengotto (@lmengotto) has been writing for The Stute since the start of her Stevens career. She primarily addresses the successes and downfalls of Stevens and her love life.