Saturday, June 22, 2024

What it takes to become ‘cool’

What makes being cool so cool? Since the formation of the term people have been trying to keep up with what’s considered cool. However, the style of cool is quite unpredictable and there are limitless interpretations of what it means to be cool. It’s hard to pin one trend as the best because everyone has different opinions and styles that are constantly changing.

Some think a fitted leather jacket, mirrored aviators, grease-slicked hair and a diamond earring is cool. Others may think a handmade tie-dyed shirt paired with ripped jeans, torn up sneakers and curly hair tamed by a knitted hat makes them cool. Or a more recent trend — the bold choice of pastel colored pants with any random nautical detailing, brightly colored (and overly priced) designer shirts and boat shoes, even if the nearest body of water isn’t for miles.

People are always trying to anticipate what the next cool thing will be. They watch television shows, skim magazines and scroll through blogs to stay on top of what the next coolest trend will be. We have become obsessed with wanting to be perceived as cool, but this fascination leads to a total loss of originality.

There have been many times when I’ve walked down Broad Street on a Friday night and watched a group of guys shuffle by wearing almost identical clothes from head to toe. The basic style choice is usually a hat with a sports team logo embroidered on the front, a button down shirt, khaki pants and expensive sneakers. Following shortly behind that crowd, a cackling group of party girls stroll by wearing ridiculously unsteady shoes, tight skirts or jeans with trendy tops and jackets ready for another epically awesome night out on the town.

It’s ironic that the choices they think make them stand out are actually making them all more alike than different.
Television shows, celebrities and businesses tell us we need to buy certain clothes, match this pattern with this one, part our hair to the left rather than the right, use this kind of face wash and wear that kind of denim. People need to start choosing what they think is cool on their own by basing coolness off of themselves and not others choices.

Every morning when I wake up, I choose an outfit that I think looks cool and makes me feel good. I dress in something comfortable and fashionable, and that’s what everyone should do when they get ready for their day. We shouldn’t worry if our shirt hangs a little loose on our shoulders, our makeup is a bit uneven or our jeans have a tear in them because those little things are what make us and our style unique. Coolness isn’t something that can be created on a runway or in a high-end clothing store — it’s made by you and only you.

Surrounding yourself with people who encourage originality and uniqueness will cause you to thrive and find who you really are, especially during your time in college. Test out some new styles you’ve never pursued before. Try something more edgy or feminine or skater or sporty. There are endless combinations of styles to choose from so you may have to search for the one you feel the best, but it is out there.

Being cool isn’t just about how you dress on the outside but how you act as a person. Those who like to be around others and are happy to be with friends are going to attract great people. You get what you give. Be who you are and the coolness will come to you. Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, a hip-hop/jazz fusion group, summarize it best: “I don’t wanna be cool. I just wanna be me.”

Email Laura Schmidt at

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