Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Classy apparel?

Being a student, sometimes I do exactly what is expected of me and waste valuable time on facebook. I like going through different groups and reading the descriptions. This description of a group called "Are You a Model? No Wait, You're an Idiot Who Got Dressed Up To Go To Class" caught my eye:

I wasn't aware that lectures were the best place to get dates. I could have sworn that it was a big room full of 500 college students so tired and/or hungover that they can't stay awake, let alone notice how you perfectly gelled your hair and got the collar popped at just the right angle, or how shiny your new heels are and how they perfectly match your stupid $100 wool poncho made from real llama hair. If getting ready for class involves more than zipping up the jeans you slept in, putting on the stained sweatshirt that was on the floor, and putting on a hat to cover your greasy and unkempt hair, please move back to Abercrombie Land with all the beautiful people. Let us uglies wallow in our filth without interruption.


Ouch. I am apt to show up for class in something largely similar to what I'd wear to do most other things - in my case, a skirt or dress. I don't wear heels every day to class, simply because my book bag can be heavy. Still, my outfits at the university are pretty darn similar to my ordinary life outfits. I am not trying to impress people or flaunt myself in any way, I just don't see a reason to dress in something I ordinarily wouldn't to go to class. In my case, dressing down in a hoodie and sweatpants would be completely out of character and I'd feel uncomfortable. As a student and a fashion freak, I can't help but see most life situations as opportunities to dress up. I also think there is something to be said for the fact that school is, for all intents and purposes, my job right now. I take my classes very seriously (I do not, like the writer above, attend class hungover or barely awake) and I somehow feel that I would have trouble focusing and working hard in clothes that remind me of bedtime.

I know that the vast majority of college students attend class in hoodies or t-shirts. I don't mind, and I would never talk badly about or judge someone for wearing something casual to class. Judging from the positivity of the blogosphere, I doubt many girls who love style and clothes would bash others for not sharing their passion. Why, then, is there negativity the other way around? I can't say that anyone in my class has ever been rude about my outfits, but I have definitely gotten comments like, "you always make me feel underdressed" or, "do you go to work after this class?"

For those of you who are students, how do you dress for class? Have you noticed a particular attitude regarding your clothes among other students? What do you think in general about clothing choices at school?


David said...


I love your outfits (at least the ones I could see on the blog). Boy, I do need to upgrade my attire for this season!

I don't think that being dressed up for classes is weird or counterproductive at all... unless you forget your main aim there which is, as you said, to study. But I would be glad of having well dressed mates, anyway (I hated the "filthy-style" when I was at college).

Have a good day :)

WendyB said...

Oh, the dirty people are feeling bad about themselves. Boo hoo!

Anonymous said...

I often get the same awkward questions! I usually just say something like "being dressed for the day helps me stay awake and focussed. If I was in sweats, I'd probably fall asleep!" (which is sort of true. I would feel uncomfortable, but wouldn't necessarily fall asleep)

ashgrove said...

I saw that Facebook group too when I first started on that website, mostly because a few of my friends joined it. I don't understand why someone would go to class in pajamas, honestly. You're there to learn, and you're there to make some form of impression. Those teachers could be your "in" to your career. I tend to notice the people who dress up a lot more during class.

I admit that I don't dress up a lot, but I'm at least in jeans and a shirt that is clean, with something that makes the outfit stand out--whether it's a vest or a ring.

ssp529 said...

I've seen that group on facebook too! Actually a few people commented on my outfit today, asking if I was dressed up for something. I wasn't, I just like looking nice and this was the first thing that came to my mind when picking out something to wear this morning! I would feel completely awkward if I ever wore pajamas to class. Although occasionally I wear sweats to the dining hall for breakfast, but it's really early and not many people are around :)

Paige Morrow said...

It is surprising how few students put any effort into their outfits. Given that I have spent 20 years in school, I tend to think that if I don't wear my half decent clothes to university, when on earth am I ever going to wear them? Besides, someone has to be the trendsetter ;)

Elissa said...

Back in the day, people used to wear skirt suits to college. I definitely have caved a bit under the "pressure" to be sloppy on campus, but never feel good about myself when I do and find myself avoiding professors! I think dressing nicely attracts positive attention from people who could potentially help you in your career and helps you feel better about yourself, more active.


I felt a bit silly for a while when changing universities this fall, I noticed I seem to be the only girl who wears (fairly low) heels and dresses to classes. There are a couple of girls who wear skirts, but I felt like I really stood out. Not that my classmates seemed to mind - I think the sillyness was all in my mind. :) (Though in Finland, students rarely dress in sweatpants in the classes - but most of the other Translation Studies majors seem to wear jeans.)
In my previous university, I think I saw more girls wearing skirts and heels but maybe I just haven't seen those girls yet around here. I used to study Development Studies before, which of course meant there was a certain amount of people who made a point of not being interested in fashion, and I can imagine people who dressed up were scoffed at, but my style was less feminine back then as well.

a cat of impossible colour said...

When I was doing my undergrad degree (man I feel old!), I used to wear dresses and skirts to class ... usually with heels ... and I was definitely in the minority. It seemed to be cool to look unwashed, hungover and as if you just threw on whatever was on the bedroom floor, but like you I found it hard to concentrate on my work and feel normal unless I was dressed the way I normally dressed. It's good to look good in class, I think ... most of the students in my old classes have disappeared from my memory, but the ones who had an interesting personal style stayed there. Like the forties-inspired girl with bright red hair. Her outfits brightened my day, and people like her (and hopefully me) made campus more colourful.

The Clothes Horse said...

Yikes! That group sucks. THIS is why I feel judged when I dress in a way that is creative and comfortable to me. Sorry just because we are in college doesn't mean we have to be boring or try to dress like everyone else. It doesn't take much effort to put on a dress and just because you are doesn't mean you are look for a date--far from it. Grrr...so angry.

Girl on a Mission said...

Hi, I really enjoy reading your blog! I too "dress up" for school. When I was in middle and high school the who pajamas to school fad was huge! My parents thought it looked sloppy and wouldn't let me wear pjs anywhere but lounging around or camping.

I think just dressing in normal clothes makes you feel better. If I wore pjs and sweatshirts to class I would just be uncomfortable and feel more lazy and tired.

I associate pjs with sleeping and "dress up" clothes with being awake and ready to learn. My roomies always comment on how I get ready or actually do my hair, instead of a pony. Its just who I am!

kaitlin said...

A familiar problem! Or, thought, or something.

I tend to have a very mixed-dressed campus, I think because my school is so huge and so many students commute and have to spend all day in whatever they're going to be wearing. I dress up. I wear whatever I feel like, no matter how dressy or casual, though usually erring on the side of dressy. I've earned a bit of a reputation for dresses and tights and funny little outfits, but whatever.

My boyfriend and I always find that we have to 'dress up' or something the first week of classes, that way people are less apt to notice it or say something about it if we choose to later. We refer to it as "I-Gotta-Wear-A-Hat" (as in, I have to wear a hat during the first week or else if I to later people will notice and be like, OMG YOU ARE WEARING A HAT OMG HAT YOU LOOK DIFFERENT WHY ARE YOU WEARING A HAT!).

I also went to private school, so I'm used to a certain level of dressed-up to go to classes (although, we were really pretty sloppy) along with the sense that NOT having to wear an actual uniform is exciting, and I think it's a residual feeling of having to make days without uniforms count clothing-wise.

But mostly I don't want to look like a slob. Plus, in such a huge huge school, it helps my professors remember me a little easier.

Isabel said...

I can't believe there's a facebook group like that! You should start one called "I'm Sorry For NOT Looking Like Shit Every Time I Go To Class'.

Kim said...

Hey, I just stumbled on your blog. I am not a student (graduated in '99), but I love when I see students in college dressing with personality. Nevermind what that person said and don't defend yourself. They'll have to dress nice for a jobby-job someday. You're just getting in good practice.

Isa said...

wow, this post is so good and completely reflects what I feel like. I don´t dress up especially for classes, I just dress the way that I would usually do - which is the most easy thing other than minding about dressing down.
I think this writer is so narrowminded that he is not able to look beyond his own attitude. ouch to that.

the_kitten said...

Actually, I feel as if the people on this group kind of feel bad for themselves but they won't show but blame it on people who try to look like something NOT straight out of bed and all greasy, by bashing them for being shallow and superficial. If it makes them feel better about themselves, I can only say, I'm sorry they need to bring other people down for that. I can't really understand their attitude, they're writing as if lectures were the extension of what's actually been their sleeping hours. Do they want to come and dress like this when they start to work? Or do everything else in life looking like a grease bag? Just asking.

k said...

as a full-time student, the majority of my life right now is spent on campus doing class-related things. if i only wore sweats while on campus, i'd go crazy. a friend of mine who likes to dress creatively once told me, "i tried to put on just jeans and a t-shirt...and i couldn't do it!" i'd just feel so boring. on my campus i think there are enough people that try to look cute that we don't stand out. plus, as an education major, i go into schools to observe and teach, and get graded on how i dress, so i can use that as an excuse.

Mikkle said...

well going to a private christian school, we have a certain 'dress code' for class (aka- no shorts, sleeveless, stuff with holes ect.) So most people tend to look presentable. But there are only a handful of us who 'dress up' for class.

I don't really see it as dressing up, its just wearing clothes that suit me and flatter my body, which tend to be dresses and skirts. At first people kept asking me why I was always dressed fancy, but now they have kinda learned that its me and expect it from me.

Lol its kinda funny bc if i'm ever having a bad day or slept in, people can usually tell bc its one of the only time i will ever wear jeans and a hoodie.

a side order of style said...

that group, interestingly enough, was made by people at my school.
there are a lot of students in fashion, theatre & film who are always dressed up [that`s how you can tell who`s who, as a popular in-school joke goes] for school. since i`m in neither of those three areas of study, i used to get a few questions here or there, but my friends have realized that my personal style will have to set blending-in on the backburner.

it`s fun to dress up really, because when else are you really gonna have time to when you`re a student?

-jae, SOS

BakaTanuki said...

I am very supportive of dressing nicely whenever you can. These days people use every excuse they can to look like a slob. Reading about you and others who do try to dress well restores a bit of hope in the world.

I homeschool, so I don't usually wear more than just jeans and a T shirt during the say, but I try to dress pretty nicely when I go out. Later this afternoon I will be going to friends house, and I'll be wearing slacks, button up shirt, and a suit coat. I'm just hanging out at my friends, so many would say its "silly" to dress up, but why shouldn't I wear something cool when I get the chance?

Bah, the current "dressing up is silly" mentality that I am noticing more and more is really getting to me.

I really do appreciate that you wear nice clothes, even outside of a formal environment.