One benefit of coming to college is that people treat you like an adult and allow you to dress yourself. There is no formal dress code, and students are allowed to wear what they please.
While a person has the right to express his or her individuality, some people take the lack of a formal dress code too far. There are standards of decency that need to be upheld when going to class, and students should dress tastefully and appropriately for the task at hand, which is learning.
You wouldn’t show up wearing just anything to work or to an important on-campus meeting. School is our job right now, and we should dress like we are aware of that. We should not reserve putting thought and effort into what we wear for special events.
No, there is no need to come to class in a suit every day, unless that’s your thing, in which case, more power to you. However, you should at least come clothed. Many girls like to wear shorts, which, in Miami, is understandable. But if you are wearing the type of shorts where your pockets are longer than the pants themselves and a good portion of your butt is hanging out, why bother putting on pants at all?
The same thing goes for guys who sag their pants. If your pants are sitting below your butt and we can see 90 percent of your underwear, why not just walk around in your boxers, since you are so eager to show them to the general public? Neither of these “styles” are appropriate for the classroom setting, and they make you look sloppy and unprofessional.
You may be thinking that it doesn’t matter if you look unprofessional because you are not a professional yet. While that may be true, you will be one sooner than you realize, so it never hurts to start carrying yourself like one. As the old saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If you start learning how to dress appropriately now, it’ll be a lot easier to adapt when you get into the workplace.
How you dress can also impact your relationships with your professors. First impressions matter, but so do subsequent impressions. Your professors may be writing your letters of recommendation at some point. You want them to remember you for the merits you brought to class and your academic performance, not the distracting clothing that you decided to wear.
Dressing appropriately is also a sign of respect. If most professors come to school in business-casual attire, the least students can do is throw on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Everyone runs late sometimes, but showing up to class in your pajama pants is not okay. It shows that you don’t have any regard for the professor or for the class.
Express yourself, and wear the clothes that you like, but keep it classy. Take some time in the morning or the night before to actually think about what you are going to put on and what type of impression it’s going to leave. Be remembered by the value you add, not the outlandish and inappropriate things you wear.
Taylor Duckett is a senior majoring in business law.
Featured photo courtesy of Robert Sheie.