Courtesy of Pursuit
Jake Mendel is the Director of Development for Pursuit, a men’s clothing store located in the South Campus Gateway.
We’ve all done it. It’s a cold day outside, you overslept your alarm, and now you’re running to class without having taken a shower. You’re wearing sweatpants, a hoodie and sunglasses to protect your identity, but when this goes from being the exception to being the norm, is it acceptable? As a student, you have the right to go an entire week wearing sweatpants. The question is, should you?
There are three distinct benefits to dressing nicely when you go to class: respect, attention and opportunity. I use the term “nicely” fairly loosely, as different individuals will have different standards. For the sake of this article, think of dressing nicely as throwing on a pair of good chinos and a button-down or polo. No tie or blazer is necessary, but every little bit helps.
Dressing well commands respect. Depending on your major and the class that you’re taking, it’s quite possible that you can be called up to the front of the class at any point in time. Dressing nicely prepares you for any public speaking situation that you could run into as a student. Nobody likes listening to the kid in flip-flops, cargo shorts and a tank top. As much as it’s accepted during the warmer months to dress for Oval Beach, keep in mind the impression that you might have to make during class.
The second benefit of dressing nicer is the attention it brings. Not only will other students in your class see that you’re dressing better, the teacher will notice as well. Making statements from a position of authority is much easier when you dress like you’re in a position of authority. The only caution with this is knowing when to not overdress. Going to class in a suit every day if you wear one for work is great, but wearing a suit to class every day will bring a lot of attention, some of which might be unwanted.
The last benefit with dressing nicely when going to class is that you never know when an opportunity will present itself. For example, you’re sitting in your entrepreneurship class when a guest speaker walks in. That speaker not only works in the field you’re interested in but is looking for driven individuals to become part of his team. Dressing nicely puts you in a prime position to walk straight up to the speaker and close the deal. A business professional will traditionally look much more highly of a student wearing a button-down than a hoodie.
So next time you go to class, and you’ve got time to get ready, pass on basketball shorts and grab a nice shirt and pair of pants. The extra effort shows to your teacher, your classmates and your future employers. You never know what opportunities or situations you might find yourself in, and it’s best to always be prepared.