by Jaymee Salisi, News Writer

After a year of getting out of bed, changing out of my pyjamas, and opting for a slightly nicer pair of sweats to walk three steps to my desk to attend my Zoom lectures, I’ve been able to live my dream of not having to think about putting together full outfits every day.

Upon SFU’s announcement to reopen campus, this dream quickly turned into a nightmare.  I realized I would have to turn on the part of my brain that is receptive to actual style. With a few key concepts to keep in mind, I have faith that we will be returning to campus fashionably. . . late to our 8:30 a.m. classes.


Feel good, look good

When it comes to styling outfits, my golden rule is to always wear your clothes — don’t let your clothes wear you.

We should not have to squeeze into our pants or feel suffocated in our button-ups when clothes are made for us to wear. After exclusively wearing oversized clothes for the past year, the last feeling I want is one of discomfort. 

Truly wearing your clothes means finding pieces that compliment your body in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Sizing variation among stores can make this idea hard to grasp, as their systems provoke expectations and insecurity among shoppers. It’s confusing to be a size medium in one store but an extra small in the next. However, size numbering is merely a guideline, not something that needs to be strictly followed throughout all stores. 

It’s common for sizes to vary among different brands — extremely annoying, but common. That just means you’ll need to brave the storm of blouses and trousers to find out which option feels the best on your body.

Once you find a piece that hugs and loosens in all the right spots, the fitting room battle between yourself, the fitted tees, and the relaxed tees will have been well worth it.

The “don’t let your clothes wear you” rule applies to fitted and relaxed items, but sometimes we also need to emulate our oversized work-from-home sweatpants to take steps in that direction.


The sweat set trend

What a time to be alive — we live in a period where sweatpants are trendy?! This used to be a strange concept to me. Growing up, my mom used to tell me wearing sweats in public would make me look messy and unpresentable, so I never dared to step foot out the door in them.

However, matching sweat sets have become a trend among those working from home for the past year. They’ve even found their way onto high fashion runways. I’m sure the thought of this shakes my mother to her core, but this is the perfect scenario for us as we transition our pandemic outfits to function in the real world.

Pairing a matching oversized sweatshirt or a fitted T-shirt with your sweatpants can easily elevate a casual look. A fitted T-shirt will give you more of a silhouette under all the extra fabric, which balances the outfit’s proportions. 

On the other end of the fit spectrum, you could opt for a matching oversized sweatshirt. Personally, when I’m trying to look a little more put together, I prefer crewnecks over hoodies. I think eliminating the drawstrings and kangaroo pocket cleans up the look a bit more. 

Putting on a sweatshirt to complete the set doesn’t exactly scream that you are dressing to the nines, but monochromatic outfits can make you look like you put more thought into your look. 

Both options add intention and effort to your appearance — this can make a look go a long way. It tells the world that you chose comfort, but you were still thoughtful in coordinating your clothes.


Comfortable classics

If you’d prefer to move away from sweats, you can remain casual by opting for basics such as jeans and a T-shirt. For the look I have in mind, the denim is specifically a loose straight fit. Found in thrift stores and across retailers such as H&M, straight-fit jeans can be the most comfortable yet flattering fit of jeans to exist.

A straight-leg jean could range anywhere from ankle length to a “’90s straight-fit,” in which the denim stacks at the top of your shoe. Any option within the range works for this look as long as you’re comfortable.

Mirroring the sweat set trend, the same sentiment goes for the top to pair with the jeans. Get the look by shopping for fun and unique T-shirts at your local thrift store. 

The next best thing after thrifting is to join me in wearing band tees of musicians I have never listened to. I’m a simple girl. I see a T-shirt of four men walking across a street and I wear it — and no, I can’t name five songs by The Beatles. And I will live a happy life without that ability. 


Outerwear essentials

If all else fails, we are returning to campus in the fall, which means layering season. A statement coat or jacket is the most simple back to school outfit fix and the best way to dress up your look.

I consider coats and jackets to be the most important part of a fall/winter outfit since it covers 70% of your body. Wearing a monochrome base underneath a longline coat or standard jacket is a simple but effective fall style that gives the illusion of effort.

Since we go to school on a mountain and in a city known for its constant rain, we need to be realistic about the jackets we’ll be wearing on campus. 

Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down collection is my go-to for a surprisingly affordable and warm water-repellent jacket. To add more depth to your outfit, this can also be a great layering piece under a coat for the one day out of the fall and winter months without rain.

A long line trench coat or cocoon coat transforms an otherwise stuffy, all-black, three-layer outfit into a relaxed yet elegant silhouette. 

With a double or single-breasted closure at the front, and typically finishing at the knee, these coats make a polished addition to any outfit. For more dimension, you can step away from the monochrome to wear a contrasting sweater underneath.


Styling yourself in this can launch you into a day full of romanticizing your life as the main character. Sip on a latte while sitting pensively on Burnaby Mountain, completely disregarding your seven assignments due at midnight. Your head is empty, word count is at two (and that’s just your name), but you look good in your coat. Who could ask for more?