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

I’ve been in Catholic school since the sixth grade. While overall I loved my experiences in both middle and high school, I definitely believe that benefits and drawbacks definitely exist in this type of schooling (as they do with most experiences). In my all-girls high school, specifically, I was able to fully embrace the power of female friendships, build confidence in myself and my abilities, and take full advantage of a personalized and advanced education. I truly believe that my high school years formed me into a more hardworking and compassionate individual, but I also believe that I have been able to fully grow into and become more comfortable with myself during my college years (thus far). 

Going into college, I thought I had acquired a full-enough definition of my own identity. I loved to do XYZ, have X number of friends, and came from a family of X. While these things are definitely a part of who I am, my identity isn’t completely made up of other people or things. College gave me the independence and one-on-one time with myself that I needed to realize this. I now find that I have the freedom to look inward when making my own choices, no matter how big or small. I no longer need validation from others, and I’ve become comfortable with myself and my environment. 

Okay…tangent over. So, what does this have to do with clothing? Well, going to Catholic school also meant wearing a uniform for six years of my life. Of course, weekends, parties, and dress-down days existed, and these days were particularly exciting due to newfound fashion freedom, but a majority of my formative years were spent in checkered skirts and blazers. Honestly, I loved my high school uniform. It eased any stress of picking outfits and comparing my clothes to others. But, coming to college, I loved choosing my own clothes even more. It’s no secret that people at Holy Cross dress up for class more than your average college student. My sister, who goes to the University of Dayton, is shocked that I’d choose to wear jeans to class over sweats. Of course, everyone is different, but I found that I loved dressing up for class. 

As I became more comfortable with myself as a whole, I also discovered the ways in which I liked to dress, which was something that I’d honestly never given a second thought before. I felt ready to conquer the day in a pair of jeans and a cute sweater, and while it’s not high fashion, that kind of outfit helps me feel ready to face the trials and tribulations of everyday life. I started incorporating this into my everyday life, opting for a dressier outfit when simply going to the library to study for finals or running to grab a coffee. I found that putting in the effort to pick out and put on a cute outfit made me feel like I should keep that same train of thought for the rest of my day. If I felt that I looked put together, I was ready to sit down and get things done. 

Thus, the look good, feel good mindset was born for me. While personally I prefer to embody this mantra with clothing, I know friends who treat their makeup or skincare as a similar ritual. A simple swipe of mascara or a cute pair of shoes can truly change one’s mindset, and mental framework is undoubtedly a part of success and productivity. Feeling like you are capable of achieving your goals is half the battle. So, as I grew into myself, I realized that, for me, looking the part is an important aspect of getting things done. Of course, I also love a good sweats day, but if I feel like I have a lot on my to-do-list, I definitely feel more capable if I’m dressed in a cuter outfit. I’ve heard that this line of thought is even popular in SAT or ACT test-prep courses, noting that scores can improve (if only marginally), when one takes some extra time getting ready in the morning. 

I think that some definitely feel more productive in a comfy sweat suit than a dress, but I’ve found that taking a bit of extra time to add a cute accessory or put together a fun outfit has helped immensely with my frame of mind in college. It’s discoveries like these that have helped me mature. Knowing that a certain way of dressing makes me feel more confident and productive is part of knowing myself as a whole. So, while I don’t think that the “look good feel good” thing works for everyone, it’s definitely helped me to discover parts of my own identity that I hadn’t been aware of previously. 

Caroline Sullivan

Holy Cross '23

A Lover of books, coffee, and style from Long Island, New York!