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Dressing How You Want is Dressing for Success

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carthage chapter.

As college students, we want to make a good impression, especially to our professors so that hopefully, they’ll write us letters of recommendation in the future. The question is if those impressions are based solely on academics and enthusiasm for your field of study, or if they’re also based on your clothing. I personally believe that the professor’s judgments are based solely on academics and your enthusiasm for your field. I trust that a professor will know that when I need to look professional, I can. There are also plenty of people who believe that you should dress professionally for class. It’s all a matter of opinion, and I’m not trying to say that one side is wrong because there is no wrong or right, it’s up to you to decide how YOU want to dress. 

The Comfy Student

In college, you’ll see a decent number of students who look like they just rolled out of bed to go to class. They’ll either be in sweatpants and t-shirts or pajama pants and sweatshirts. They like to dress comfortably, and that’s totally fine. I personally don’t do this unless I’m sick, but that’s just me. If dressing comfortably is what helps you feel more focused in class then you keep doing you and dress how you want to dress. These students impress their professors and show that they care by doing well in their schoolwork and contributing in class all without feeling the need to dress to impress.

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Voortman

The Casual Student

I’m the kind of student that doesn’t dress professionally, but I don’t wear pajamas or sweats to class. I like jeans or leggings and a t-shirt or sometimes a nicer shirt depending on the day. I don’t really like dressing up, but when I need to or when I have a job I will. There are plenty of people who don’t like to do this either because they are more comfortable in sweats or they want to dress more professionally.

Dressing casually keeps me more focused as well as feeling comfortable in class so that I can do well in the class. Students like me also use our schoolwork and participation alone to show our professor that we care about our studies, and we don’t dress to impress.

Amanda Goecke, a senior at Carthage, is more of a casual dresser but also knows when to dress professionally. “I feel as the years have gone on in school, my style has turned more to comfort than strictly professional, however, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to look professional!” says Goecke. “I try to wear leggings with longer tops and sweaters or cardigans. It’s ultimately what I prefer and what I’m comfortable in, and as long as you’re carrying yourself with confidence and not rolling out of bed and attending class in your PJs, professors and peers shouldn’t mind. There’s a time and place to dress strictly professional so I think the idea of upholding that standard and trying to ‘impress’ your professors and peers every single day is unrealistic. If that’s what you go for though, more power to you!”  

The Professional Student

These students dress professionally to class almost every day, so it’s pretty rare you see them going to class in sweats or t-shirts. These students want to look professional every day, and that’s totally fine. Personally, I don’t like to dress professionally to class every day. It isn’t comfortable to me, but it is comfortable to plenty of students. These students want to not only impress their professors with their schoolwork and contribution, but also with their wardrobe choices.

Neely Hoegen, a junior at Carthage, is more of a professionally-dressed student, but also feels that there are no wrong ways to dress. “I personally don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to dress your best for every single class but wearing clothes that are professional or appropriate for class shows a professor that you take their class seriously, especially in a class that relates to your major,” says Hoegen. “If you need a recommendation for a job one day, your professor may have a better idea of how you would present yourself in a workplace so that doesn’t hurt either!” 

Whether you dress comfy, casual or professional to class, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you feel comfortable and good about your clothing choices. There are no right or wrong ways to dress, as long as you know how to dress professionally and do so when needed. If you work hard and show your professor you care, they will most likely help you get a career in the future. So, dress how you want to dress and you will be fine.

Rep image courtesy of Pexels

Sierra Eno

Carthage '19

Sierra is a junior at Carthage College majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Political Science. She loves dogs, pizza, cookie dough, and crime shows.