June 13, 2024

In Stanford in Style, Rebecca Smith ’25 dives into fashion on the Farm and what people’s clothes show about who they are.

It’s official — the year is coming to an end. I ran by the lake yesterday, surprised to see that it’s become little more than a marshy puddle over the last eight weeks. The hills behind the lake are turning a dry brown, losing their winter verdance. These days, I spend more time than I should parked in an adirondack chair on the back porch of my sorority house, lounging in the afternoon sun after class ends. In just a few weeks, I’ll leave campus for the summer and head across the country for my summer internship. 

Intern season brings a few things: a new routine, a new setting and many, many searches on Wall Street Oasis of what a #girlboss in finance should be wearing to the office. However — I regret to inform you that it’s still a man’s world, and it remains markedly more difficult to decipher corporate dress codes when you can’t just show up in khakis, a button down and a frat-agonia vest. 

That said, I thought I’d journey down memory lane once more and discuss my summers past and their distinct styles. I have quite an eclectic resume, with experiences ranging from lifeguarding at a convent (for nuns), to producing a podcast on gut health (resulting in my removal from several subreddits), to working as a barista, to a consultant, to a windsurfing instructor and later a director at a summer camp. 

I know it may be hard to believe that I’m a certified wilderness girlie, but I spent two summers living in a bunk bed working at a summer camp for girls in Minnesota. Many hijinks ensued, including rides on the four-wheeler in the horse pasture and sunset sails on the lake. Obviously, this also led to some questionable fashion choices, like owning a pair of Chacos, occasionally with socks. 

However, working at Camp Birchwood truly prepared me for Stanford. My summer wardrobe was divided between a bikini and rally gear, of which I now have a hearty collection for Bay to Breakers and the like. I’ll never forget sprinting around in a shark costume for the Blue Team in Capture the Flag, or dressing up as a flamingo in the most ridiculous pink clothing. 

I miss my summers in the lake under the towering pines, and the still summer nights where you could see every single star. There I learned to embrace the whimsy of the everyday and the magic of the moment, and eschew being put-together at all times in favor of wild practicality. 

After my time at camp came to an end, I came to the realization that it was unfortunately time to get real. I sought long and hard for an internship. We all know the struggle of hours spent on Handshake, resumes re-crafted, digging through mountains of rejections in your inbox. Luckily, I found an internship and spent many hours trying to build the perfect business-casual meets tech wardrobe for my summer.  

I documented my corporate style journey through “fit checks” I would send to my mom before my 9-5: I embraced linen, flowy button ups and summer-y pieces that I could layer in the frigid air conditioning of the office. Luckily, the office was very casual, and I had a lot of freedom to wear pretty much whatever I wanted. However, this was the summer of the Barbie movie, and I felt empowered to stay both on top of my style game and my corporate warrior status. 

I still wear a lot of pieces I got for work last summer frequently — they’re some of my favorites. I embraced flexibility, authenticity and style as a means of self-confidence. I learned a lot about what we wear and the story it tells both other people and ourselves, finding empowerment in a new environment through my outfit choices. 

Now, as I look toward building my business formal outfits, I’m left wondering what I’ll learn this summer. I can’t fathom how much time has passed since my first summer job making iced lattes in my green Starbucks apron, and I truly cannot believe it’s time for another summer. 

HAGS,

Becky

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