Dressing for the Weather: Winter Fashion in Claremont


By Aya Burton ’22

This time of year in Claremont, dressing for the weather can be a difficult task. Contrary to the perceptions of friends attending school out east or in the midwest, Southern California isn’t always sunny and 75 degrees (although, admittedly, it’s been an astonishingly mild semester). Still, in a single week, temperatures can fluctuate from high and dry 80s to gray, drizzly 50s. After leaving the dining hall post-dinner, the descending darkness and accompanying chill often make one wish they’d brought along an extra sweater to layer over their afternoon tank-top.

Though some hardy New Englanders or Seattle rain-lovers might scoff, students now adapted to Claremont’s climate dread the cooler weather forecasted for finals season. As temps drop into the 60s, out-of-staters begin to regret not packing their winter parkas and scarves and can be seen donning layer upon layer of cotton. Meanwhile, California natives throw their Patagonia Synchillas on over every outfit.

As students head home for Thanksgiving break, they carefully strategize what summery items to swap for warmer, more practical attire. Lugging back overstuffed duffels filled with flannels and fleeces once thought unnecessary for So-Cal weather, they skillfully reorganize their small dorm wardrobes Marie-Kondo style, rolling cable-knits next to corduroy.

Some winter staples and basics to beat Claremont’s cold weather: long-sleeve tops for layering under dresses and tees, tights to pair with skirts and slips, a comfortable pair of ankle boots to keep you warm on your walk from Scripps to south Pomona and more sweaters and sweatshirts than you think you’ll need. If you can’t fit all your winter gear into your suitcase over Thanksgiving break, you can always bring it along after winter recess – it won’t be getting any warmer. And if you haven’t already, consider investing in an umbrella. Last spring proved to be an especially rainy season.

Picking out an ensemble in the morning proves to be a challenging task as temperatures skyrocket around lunchtime, only to plunge right at sundown. Every day presents a battle between Birkenstocks or Blundstones, a sundress or a sweater. Instead of choosing one item of clothing over another, some students expertly layer turtlenecks under jumpers, sherpa jackets over crop tops and denim shorts. Transitional dressing takes on a whole new meaning.

Really, anything goes. It’s not rare to see a student rocking riding boots and an oversized wool sweater next to someone in flip flops and jorts. While some articles of clothing definitely make dressing for the seasonal changes easier (like a good fleece or easily-layerable jacket,) everyone seems to respond to Claremont’s climate differently. And if you neglect to pack a good sweater or forget to pair your midi skirt with a cardigan on one of Claremont’s “colder days,” everyone knows that complaining about the weather is a favorite 5C conversation topic.

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