Columnist Alexis Sachdev offers ways to stay fashionable during finals.
Good morning, fashionistas. Or, if you’re like me – say, “hello,” to your third day without sleep. Womp.
I’m sad to report I haven’t stuck to my New Year’s resolution to dress well every day. Should you stalk my Facebook, you’ll find several tagged posts accusing me of wearing sweat pants for days on end. And as finals week hangs sickeningly close over our heads, the golden summer sun at the end of this very dark tunnel seems further out of reach, as does the prospect of me wearing anything not made of a spandex blend. Double womp.
Enough with the dubstep-themed onomatopoeia.
Here’s my finals week resolution: I vow to stop looking like a train wreck. And, if you remember from Mark’s column last week, I tend to look like a train wreck.
It’s hard to look presentable at the close of a semester. You’re walking (and feeling) like a zombie. You’re maxing out your credit card on coffee, cigarettes and 5-hour ENERGY. You’re cramming 14 weeks of information from your four-plus classes into your head and regretting not attending every boring lecture. The self-loathing and caffeine overdose is a recipe for disaster, but hear me out.
The most important thing – although it pains me to remind everyone of this – is to shower regularly. As the heat cranks up outside, it’s only natural for us to sweat more. That does not mean to douse yourself in cologne or perfume. It means to buy a new stick of ultra-odor-blocking deodorant/antiperspirant and shower as often as necessary, especially if you’re eating spicy foods or consuming alcohol.
The stench of an unclean body is powerful – there are days I’d rather camp out next to road kill on I-76 than smell someone’s body odor in the dead of summer, and I’m sure you’d all agree.
If you need more motivation to drag your tired butt into the shower, how about this: Cold showers increase blood flow and wake you up. You’ll save all that dough you’re blowing on your caffeine fix to afford some fresh summer threads or rage in Atlantic City, N.J., for a weekend.
As for outfits, it’s important to stay comfortable. Spandex, Lycra and other stretchy fabrics don’t ventilate heat as easily as light cottons, so stick with more natural fabrics. I recommend a pair of khaki cargo shorts or chinos paired with a cotton T-shirt or polo for guys and denim shorts and breezy cotton blouses for girls. If you feel like dressing up, throw on a breezy summer dress and skip the struggle to coordinate.
Flip-flops are usually a go-to option, but Tom’s and other cotton and natural shoes are comfortable and won’t make your feet sweaty and gross.
Next on our agenda is feasibility. When you’re waking up at 7:30 a.m. for a three-hour long exam, I doubt you’ll want to waste precious minutes finding an outfit. I recommend picking out your ensemble the night before, with a cardigan or light jacket in the case of unforeseen inclement weather (or Temple’s roaring air conditioning system – or lack thereof). Being prepared in the morning, even with little decisions like what to wear, will give you the can-do attitude to dominate your exams.
So you’re smelling like a bouquet of roses and dressed to the nines – sounds like that’s all, right? Wrong. Mother Nature has this crazy and annoying way of catching up to us when we try to cheat her. “Sleeporexia,” as I’ve dubbed my new disorder, takes away a face’s well-rested glow and replaces it with puffy, sallow eyes.
To beat Mother Nature at her own game, here are a few tricks: Pop two tea bags into the refrigerator the night before, and press them to your eyes in the morning. Tea bags work like the age-old cucumber trick, but they also contain small traces of astringent to tighten your pores.
You can also give your body a one-two punch and eliminate salt intake to combat fluid retention. Skip the salty, greasy goodness from Maxi’s and opt for yogurt, almonds, carrots and leafy greens – studies show these help your brain stay focused and improve memory retention. Chocolate – yes, ladies, I said chocolate – also does your body good, especially dark. So scarf it down shamelessly during moments of weakness. This is a judgment-free zone.
Without sounding cliché, although it does, I’m not an advocate of blowing precious study hours on shopping for a new outfit, but looking good and feeling good can be a confidence boost to get you through the last two weeks of hell. Study hard, then play harder.
Alexis Sachdev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.