Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman Athletes Take Style Seriously

The fashion of the general Whitman population has been pretty well-established.

The active liberal arts culture lends itself well to wearing Birkenstocks, flannels, jeans and the like. And yet, Whitman athletes often dress quite differently than others. As it turns out, athlete style is a reflection of their identities as much as any average Whitman student’s Patagonia jacket, and perhaps even more so.

Cate Welch, a junior who is not a varsity athlete, has observed how serious Whitman athletes are about their particular brand of fashion.

“Whitman students who are non-athletes usually wear more of Patagonia and Birkenstocks just because it is more of an outdoorsy culture, but even with that there is no style that comes with it. It’s more of a comfort thing. Athletes at Whitman definitely take their workout clothes more seriously,” said Welch.

When talking to athletes, it becomes clear why Welch would find this to be true. Junior tennis player Morgan Lawless has a collection of 15 pairs of running shorts. Even more impressively, senior basketball player Ben Eisenhardt has about 90 pairs of Nike shoes. The humor of the situation is not lost on Eisenhardt.

“Why shoes? The way I explain it to my parents is, I could be into hard drugs, but I chose shoes,” said Eisenhardt.

Photo by Devika Doowa

Sweatpants are also a major staple of the athlete wardrobe.

“I like a lot of colors [of sweatpants]. I put style in my sweats. I like to accessorize with my hats or different shoes and a nice shirt,” said sophomore basketball player Tochi Oti.

Eisenhardt chooses sweatpants largely because of their comfort and convenience.

“For me as a basketball player, when I am wearing sweatpants or basketball shorts off the court it becomes like a second skin. It is what I am most comfortable in and is what I have grown accustomed to,” said Eisenhardt.

Welch has different views towards wearing exercise clothing such as sweatpants. While sweats serve a purpose, Welch, like many Whitman students, would not consider them fashionable.

“I just wear them whenever I go to the gym. When I go to class and I’m running a bit late, I just put on a pair of jeans. I never really wear workout clothes outside of the gym,” said Welch.

However, athletes assign a bit more meaning to their athletic apparel than the average student. Lawless feels that her clothing is significant because it has a major impact on her athletic performance.

Photo by Devika Doowa

“Maybe non-athletes think that all workout clothes are the same. But if you don’t feel good in something that you are going to wear, you won’t respond in the same way. That is how my team thinks. When we feel good and look good, we play better,” said Lawless.

Eisenhardt even takes it a step further, feeling that his clothes will help him succeed even off the court.

“It corresponds to off the court too. For instance, I had a test yesterday and I wanted to wear clothes that I would perform well in, so I wore my favorite pair of sweatpants,” he said.

Most importantly, for these athletes their style is a reflection of their individuality.

“I want to look relaxed while showing my athletic persona. I don’t really care what people think of what I wear because I just want to feel comfortable. I feel confident in my sweats because it shows my true athletic identity,” said Lawless.

Like any other type of student, athletes’ fashion choices are a way of showing who they are in comfort and style. Being an athlete is a unique privilege, so while sweatpants and a pair of Nikes are not the norm on Whitman campus, Whitman student athletes wear them with pride.

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