The Kenyon Edginess Scale

I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to come out with it: I thought I was pretty edgy in high school. With an extremely “preppy” clothing culture as the typical style of my school, my less traditional and chicer preferences of looks always made me feel like the edgy-one-out.

When I was deciding on Kenyon as my future home, I often heard people describe Kenyon’s alternative trend. Of course, hearing this made me feel excited to finally fit in with people who had tastes similar to mine. Something I have come to find in my time here, however, is when you throw the most alternative kids from every hometown onto a tiny hill, you end up with an intense edgy subculture like you’ve never seen.



Pinning down Kenyon’s edgy culture is a tricky job, especially considering the distinct groups within the greater context of alternative clothing. There are the “I just rolled out of bed and put in my hoops and baggy clothing and happen to still look amazing,” on one end and the “I perfectly styled this look from many pieces to look effortlessly trendy” on the other. What lies in between is a large gray area of students who can often feel misplaced.


After a few weeks at Kenyon, I found myself wondering if I needed to completely remake my wardrobe to fit every idea of what “cool” looks like. Did my jeans need to be baggier? Should I get a nose ring? Do I own enough hoops? These were all questions I consistently wondered about while observing people in Peirce and on Middle Path. I was beginning to realize the struggle of being “too” edgy for my hometown, but not enough for Kenyon.



After a few weeks of subtly adding more bandanas and belts to my outfits, I reached a crossroads. Was I really going to make the big step towards a thrift outfit layered with Canada Goose? The more I began to think about the pressure I was feeling, however, the more I came to realize how silly it was. If I truly pride myself on being ‘edgy,’ there’s no way I could allow myself to change my style to fit in.


Kenyon’s specific style is initially extremely intimidating, especially because of how effortless it all seems. As cheesy as it sounds, the key to navigating such an alternative culture is staying true to your own look. While it may seem necessary to mesh into such a small student population, bringing individuality can make all the difference in campus life.

As soon as I stopped worrying about changing my look, my confidence and ease getting ready in the morning were back to what they used to be, if not even better. Even just within my friend group, we’ve all come to embrace the individual styles that we bring from our own tastes and experiences. Hoops or no hoops, Docs or Duck boots, jeans or leggings—we can all celebrate our choices, and that is the edgiest attitude of all.


Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2, 3