Shedding layers: DePaul students experiment with versatility as Chicago weather shows first signs of spring


As winter coats return to the closet and temperatures thaw, spring fashion takes center stage. This season invites styles of all trends, a refreshing blend of colors and garments of all lengths.

For those unaccustomed to Chicago’s erratic weather, spring can often feel like a chore, especially when you bundle up one day and can go sleeveless the next.

Yet, as fabulous as spring’s versatility is, allowing for layers to combat the final chill and welcoming individuals to pare down and display lighter pieces — dressing for March, April and May is not always a walk in the park.

One of freshman Lily Baker’s favorite aspects of fashion is its flexibility.

“I’m slowly learning that I don’t need to follow any fashion ‘rules’ and can just wear what I want to, whenever I want to, which has been so fun!” Baker said. “The creativity that goes into creating a good outfit always makes me so happy, especially when I see other people wearing outfits that would be considered weird or odd — those are my favorite outfits!”

Social Media platforms such as Instagram and TikTokhave made trends and general styles much more accessible in recent years. TikTok, in particular, has made the daunting world of fashion approachable to many inspiring trailblazers.

“I was never really into fashion before 2020 — in fact, I used to have atrocious fashion and sometimes still feel like I still do,” Baker said. “I decided during quarantine back in 2020 that I wanted to up my fashion sense and slowly started working towards a style I really like, though it changes all the time.”

On top of breaking down the notion of gatekeeping that often surrounds elitist industries, TikTok has invited many to find inspiration amid its hashtag, with ‘#fashiontok’ boasting over 3 billion total views, allowing for everyone to find their muse.

“I get my inspiration a lot from social media, like TikTok, Pinterest, or even other people’s Instagrams,” Baker said. “I’ll see someone wearing something a certain way, or a color combo or something and think it looks cool and try to emulate that in my own clothing.”

Spring fashion, in particular, invites individuals to step out of their comfort zone and experiment with bright colors and lush patterns. Freshman Lilly Groth believes it’s important to acknowledge the shift in season through fashion, even if it’s as tiny as cashing in the winter coat for a sweatshirt.

“Spring is always associated with new beginnings due to the weather getting warmer and everything around us coming into full bloom,” Groth said. “In that way, I love that spring is a time for us to start changing lengths and cuts of clothing, showing more skin instead of covering up for winter, and playing with color.”

Senior Hannah Lau, president of DePaul’s Fashion Society – a club centric to involving members in Chicago-wide fashion and business events – expresses similar feelings.

“While winter does last a bit in Chicago, once the snow melts and the rain comes, we can finally see rainbows at the end of the road,” Lau said. “Rather than layering, you can put on the fun t-shirt and jeans/sneaker combo and get out of your house because it’s finally warm. For me, I definitely still wear boots but now with skirts without tights and dresses.”

Style trends in spring can define the fashion of any given year. Lau has high hopes for what she would like to see in this season’s looks.

“I feel like florals are always fun to see during the spring,” she said “It’s just cool to see how it changes every year. Either tiny or big flowers, they just remind me of happiness. I would also love for bright colors to dominate my train ride or walking down the streets in the Loop.”

As for the fashion industry, Lau desires a return in sentimentality.

“Another trend I want to see executed this year is nostalgia, or what people have been saying as Y2K. Some examples are like Heaven by Marc Jacobs, Blumarine’s recent S/S 22 (Butterfly top), and Miu Miu.”

As spring slowly arrives, it’s important to celebrate both fashion and the individuals who strive to make their statements a reality. At its core, fashion, no matter the season, is a pastime anyone can pick up regardless of age, gender or profession; it is an act of expression, not a restriction on boundaries or expectations.