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Dressing for Class: What’s too much sophistication and what’s too little?

Every morning you wake up and have to answer the same question: What am I going to wear today?

You answer this question every day, and yet it’s always a tricky decision. You have to take into account the weather, your schedule, how much time you have, and how you feel that day (and sometimes, which clean clothes you have left). But with such a wide array of students on the Carnegie Mellon campus, it may be difficult to decipher what is too much sophistication and what is too little.

On my way to class at 1:30 pm, I observed:

  • 14 pairs of jeans,
  • eight pairs of boots,
  • six pairs of leggings,
  • four circle scarves,
  • two skirts,
  • two jean jackets,
  • one maxi-dress,
  • and many differences in style with varying accessories, hairstyles and make-up.

These differences in outfits ranged from the “comfortable sweats” look to the “polished-skinny-jeans-and-moccasins” look to the “put-together-cardigan-and-boots” look to the “hipster-dress-and-jacket.” However, it does appear that there is a majority winner in style choice: a tie between the “skinny-jeans-and-mocs” and the “cardigan-and-boots.”

I’ve been told by a student that when she wears sweats to class, she feels underdressed, although very cozy and comfortable. However, when she wears a dress, scarf, tights, boots, and earrings, she at times feels overdressed.

Is there an unofficial campus dress code? A dress code that is dictated by hectic schedules, lack of sleep, and the most common outfits seen on campus? With students reporting that, at times, they are scoffed at for wearing outfits that are out of the norm, or that look like they took hours to create, it sometimes seems like there’s a quasi dress code here at CMU. Can it be true?

Absolutely not!

On this campus, there is no such thing as a dress code based on nonexistent judgements or pressure to follow the majority. Since there is such a variety of style here, it opens the door for unlimited style choices and freedom. Along with the items of clothing I mentioned before, I’ve also observed much more unique pieces, such as:

  • statement necklaces,
  • oxford heels,
  • open-back dresses,
  • pastel blazers,
  • and sheer button-downs.

There is no such thing as too much sophistication or too little. What’s really important is how you feel in your own outfit: your comfort and confidence in what you wear and what you’ve put together. Whether it’s yoga pants and a cardigan, or flats and tights, or a bomber jacket and jeans, it’s all about how you feel when you’re trying to answer that ever familiar question: What am I going to wear today?

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