Bloomington Offers Students Opportunity to Follow Trends, Set Their Own

Other than the commonplace IU swag worn around campus, many IU students venture out of the bookstore and into their closets to create outfits that show off their individual style. From distressed denim to a basic tee, the numerous stores and boutiques in Bloomington have unique pieces that help to cultivate the style of Bloomington.

When seeking out the latest fashions, IU students look to mainstream stores such as Urban Outfitters to add more variation to their collection.

Bluetiques on Kirkwood Ave offers clothes that are both stylish and affordable.“We have a lot of rompers and that’s a big thing that students are wearing because it’s easy to throw on. You can go out in it, you can go to class in it. We have a lot of chokers in a lot of colors that girls like. Simple stuff,” Bluetique employee Katarina Rodriguez said.

“I feel like [people come to Urban] just because there’s tons of different trendy things going on. We incorporate music along with houseware and also, obviously clothes,” Urban Outfitters employee Josh Hayes said.

Students also look to affordable options due to their limited budget. Not only do these options provide customers with clothing that is trendy and in high demand, but they do it for a cheaper price.

“I love H & M, mostly because their sales are fantastic and I’m a college student. A lot of Bloomington caters to college students and they understand that we don’t have a lot of money, so there’s really good sales in Bloomington. I like Urban Outfitters, but every time I go there I never buy anything because it’s so expensive. The
bulk of my clothes comes from H&M or American Eagle,” senior Meredith Hardy said.

When students are looking for something more unique and one-of-a-kind, they head to Kirkwood Ave to visit shops such as Bluetique and Pitaya because “they offer affordable, cute clothes for college students,” Hayes said.

When heading to these stores, students find inspiration from what is popular in the mainstream.

“I think right now [mainstream trends consist of] a lot of urban streetwear, with modern cuts and fits. Right now, I feel like there’s a push for neutral colors and mixing nostalgic graphics with a normal pair of jeans or a pair of chinos, something in the past that some maybe didn’t think about. Now it’s like ‘Oh, okay, I’m just gonna do whatever now. I’m just gonna have fun with it,’” Hayes said.

Despite fashion having specific trends, many times students cultivate their own style based on their personalities.

“I like clothes that are interesting. I like clothes that aren’t typical clothing.  I like clothes that are more modern and artistic. I also have a very traditionally feminine, in the sense that I like shirts, I like dresses, I like heel. I’m also the kind of person where my style doesn’t really stay the same. One day I’ll be dressed in one style and the next it’ll be something completely different. I just like switching it up, I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. It’s boring. Life’s too short to wear boring clothes,” Hardy said.

Mobility and practicality are also important factors for students due to the abundance of walking they do around campus.

“I’m really hard on shoes here because I do a lot of walking, so I wear a lot of comfortable shoes here. I find that when I shop it’s a lot more focused on ‘Yes, this is cute, but is it practical?’ If I try it on and it’s not comfortable, I won’t buy it,” said Hardy.

Urban Outfitters offers fun pieces that customers can mix and match to create their own ensembles. The amount of versatility in Bloomington allows students to change their style daily. “I go from wearing something that’s chic and posh to something that looks country-flannel and the next day something that’s punk rock. I change all the time, daily I’ll change my outfit,” Hardy said.

Regardless of where the clothes come from, IU students use clothes as a way to not only look good or feel comfortable, but to feel connected to each other.

“I like trying new things, I’m a very experimental person. I like loud things, I’m 100 percent a n extrovert and I get a lot of energy from talking with people. So I feel like my clothing is bit more ‘oh, wow, like this,’ or, ‘you look so different, I like that,’ because I like conversation about [clothes]. Not so much in the way of attention-seeking as it is I like to create connections with things that I enjoy,” Hardy said.

“Even though people dress similarly because we’re all the same age, we all shop at the same stores, styles change and things go in and out of fashion, people are always more important than clothes. Once you get to college that’s more easily seen. In high school, so many people use clothes as a social status, whereas in college clothes are there for convenience and you’re more comfortable and you meet people and you’re not saying, ‘You have nice clothes. I wanna meet you.’ Even though clothes are an important part of my life, I think it’s important not to make it the only thing that defines you,” Hardy said.