College is often a stage in one’s life to perform some personal rebranding. A new crowd means a new way for a person to establish themself amongst their peers. Nowadays, however, many people opt for lounge wear, causing individuals to blend in with the masses. A well-dressed person leaves a positive impression, distinguishing themself above others. If, as students, our ultimate goal is to gain employment, why aren’t we dressing like it? This transition from classy, everyday attire to the cozy culture we’re in now has caused us to lose a sense of self-worth and individual branding.
It’s completely acceptable to dress casually at home, but in public, people are always being scrutinized for the way they look, and, consequently, dress. It started in grade school, when we chose our friends, and still has an impact on the way we view people in our society. If presidents dressed in pajamas, they would have a hard time commanding the respect of their constituents. We are constantly presented with images of celebrities who dress casually and comfortably in public settings. On the other hand, some influencers on Instagram are devoted to a vintage style, providing a modern take on outfit inspiration for the average college student that is both refreshing and classy.
Putting time and effort into the way you look gives you a sense of confidence that can be contagious. Tracy Thomas, an emotional scientist, psychologist and interventionist, calls putting effort into our appearance ― even if it’s just the tiniest bit ― “one of the most important things people can do for their emotional, mental and psychological health.” When I lazily throw on a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt in the morning before work, I end up feeling sluggish and unmotivated. However, a fresh face of makeup, curled hair and a trendy outfit can turn even the darkest of days into a bright, shiny new one.
Dressing for success shows respect not only for oneself, but toward others as well. It demonstrates that you are taking the occasion seriously. A potential employer may judge a candidate’s appearance to determine work ethic, reliability and professionalism, among other attributes. Similarly, if a professor is going to write a compelling recommendation to an employer on your behalf and they only know you by your appearance, which you don’t take seriously, you may not receive a very convincing review. To achieve success, we must dress for it. Not all of us can afford to be Adam Sandler.
We need to be prepared for what our professional career is going to demand of us. Is this “cozy culture” really preparing us for the real world? The onset of the pandemic brought the office to our home, but as the world slowly creeps back to normalcy, pajama pants are not going to cut it.
It takes the same amount of time to put on a pair of jeans as leggings or sweatpants. This argument isn’t about convenience, but an epidemic of apathy among our generation. For students on a budget, professionalizing your wardrobe doesn’t have to break the bank. Thrifting is a great example of this. Visit your local Goodwill, Plato’s Closet or Forever Yesterday Exchange for great finds and cheap buys! If you’re not into thrifting, retail shops such as Old Navy, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx always have great deals! Moreover, jeans and a classy button-down dress shirt are comparable to, and possibly more reasonably priced, than leggings and a sweatshirt. Plus, it’s a great everyday outfit! The best purchases are often those staple wardrobe pieces you’ll get a lot of use out of. If you want to feel more confident in what you wear and create a personal brand to help you achieve your goals, it’s time to leave the lounge wear back in 2020 where it belongs.