Emory Wilson ’23 Puts a Modern Twist on Retro Men’s Fashion in Academic-Inspired Style

Sporting a beige sweater vest with brown, corduroy pants, Emory Wilson ’23 ties her outfit together with a pearl necklace and small silver accessories. Rings adorning her fingers, Wilson completes her outfit with brown leather boots.

“I would say it [my style] is a mixture of traditionally masculine and feminine outfits […] I like fashion from a long time ago and making it more modern [by using] the colors and layering techniques […] used typically by men in the olden days and making that more feminine and modern,” said Wilson. 

Wilson’s typical winter outfit consists of layering articles of clothing, with sweater vests being a closet staple. According to Wilson’s friend Silvia Ng ’23, vests are Wilson’s go-to, making up a majority of her outfit essentials. 

“I don’t know if [Emory] wears this one too often, but it’s basically a white button-down shirt with a yellow-ish, beige-ish […] sweater vest. She usually wears that with jeans and her very Emory-like messenger bag. I think that’s her staple outfit,” said Ng. 

Wilson explained that her style not only allows her to express herself and stray away from traditional ideas of femininity and masculinity, but also reflects her personality and interests. 

“It is very important to me as a form of self expression and I just like being able to present myself in a way I think best fits my personality [and the] types of things I’m interested in […] Once I got more comfortable; truly expressing myself — it [my style] got more liberated.” said Wilson. 

Ng echoed Wilson’s sentiment, noting that Wilson’s outfits often reflect the “aesthetics” of her academic interests. 

“[Emory] told me not to say this, but [her style] is very much “teacher-core.” I think that really reflects on her interests in the humanities and history…I think she’s very ‘light academia,’ ” said Ng.

Another friend, Dakota Chang ’23, echoed Wilson’s sentiment, noting that while Wilson’s academic-inspired wardrobe reflects the recent “dark academia” trend, the gender fluidity of her outfits transcends these boundaries. 

“I think that what’s unique about Emory’s take on [dark academia] is that she doesn’t subscribe to a specific gender norm. She plays with button-downs, sweater vests, pants that are traditionally more masculine, and [yet] still adds a feminine aspect to it. That’s unique about Emory; it shows that her style reflects how she views the world and her values of knowledge, literature, and not conforming to what society expects out of us,” said Chang.

Wilson expressed that with her outfits, she hopes to help others to become comfortable in experimenting with clothing and bucking mainstream fashion. 

“I hope to help other people feel more confident expressing themself and straying away from gender norms,” said Wilson.