In Berkeley, aesthetics abound. For those who may not know, an aesthetic refers to the way you present yourself to the world. You may have heard of dark academia, cottage core or other aesthetics that follow certain color palettes or carefully cultivated fashion senses. In a diverse school with students from all over the world with different backgrounds, styles, tastes and interests, it can be overwhelming to find your niche. Luckily, there are many ways to discover what Berkeley-esque aesthetic you might call your own by asking yourself the following questions:
What are your majors and/or minors?
Your path of study can play a big role in finding your Berkeley aesthetic. For example, if your major involves arts and literature, maybe dark or light academia is the way to go. If you are a STEM major, then perhaps the clean-girl aesthetic is more your style. Even if you have multiple different majors or minors, they are still a part of your overall aesthetic.
Where is your favorite place around campus?
There are plenty of spots on campus to explore, each equipped with a distinctive energy. Finding your favorite is another way to help discover your Berkeley aesthetic. If it’s your room, maybe a soft aesthetic is your thing. Memorial Glade — maybe you’re sporty. The UC Botanical Garden could be considered cottagecore. Or perhaps your favorite place is outside of campus, at shops like Feng Cha Teahouse, Anastasia’s New and Vintage Clothing, Top Dog or Amoeba Music. Choose a favorite; it will inform your aesthetic.
What are your wardrobe staples?
Berkeley has some unique weather that requires some serious layering at times, but also allows for personalization of fashion. Take a look at your closet and see what colors or pieces represent you. Are there a lot of blues or corduroy fabrics? While you’re at it, take stock of your Berkeley merch. Understanding if you are a Cal banner or Oski sweater type of person can add flavor to the Berkeley-ness of your aesthetic.
What is your favorite Berkeley experience?
There are a plethora of interesting experiences to be had during your time here at Cal. Whether it be lounging on the Glade, studying at three in the morning at Moffitt Library, going to the Big Game against Stanford, getting caught between (or participating in) the naked run or taking a selfie with Oski. Whatever it is, it’s all a part of your personal Berkeley aesthetic!
In the end, remember that aesthetics are fluid. Combine them, ditch them or create a new one all your own. Certain aesthetics will always exist, but your experiences and personality are what define your aesthetic. So, the next time you are grabbing boba on Telegraph Avenue, remember that it can become a part of your Berkeley aesthetic.