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The College Wardrobe: Respecting Ourselves, Our Peers, and Our Education

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

There’s no rhyme, reason, or pattern to college fashion. There are some days where we look like we could steal the show on the red carpet—the outfit is killing it, make up is on point, hair has never looked better. Then there are the days when just-rolled-out-of-bed is the honest-to-goodness truthful description of our wardrobes. Yes, we just rolled out of bed and sprinted to class, possibly still in our pajamas. It happens, sometimes more than we’d like to admit.

But here’s something to consider. Your wardrobe reflects you and your attitude toward the day and overall success. Dressing for success is a real thing. Your wardrobe is also a sign of respect to your professors and peers.

Showing up to class with un-brushed hair, rank morning breath, and yoga pants may be taken as a sign of disrespect to our professors. It says, “Yeah, I don’t really care about being here.” They don’t show up to class in their sweats, and they put a lot of time and work into our education, as much as we may resent it at times. So shouldn’t we at least make the effort a couple times a week to put on real pants?

College is a training period. We are training ourselves for the work force, for having to be professional 75% of our waking hours, for the infamous adult world. Yes, a lot of “adulting” sucks. But we can at least look good while adulting. So while we’re training ourselves to be apart of the real world, why not train ourselves to dress for it?

Now, you don’t have to quit the yoga pants and t-shirt life cold turkey. Ease yourself into it. Starting off with this means you’ll be dressing appropriately for all of your classes at least once, so showing all of your professors a little bit of respect, while also giving you the confidence to rock a cute outfit and get compliments.

Then, treat yourself to relaxation days. It’s okay to not be on top of things all the time, and that includes your personal appearance. Some days, after those horrid all nighters, writing those 15-page papers and reading 100 pages, lounge wear is just kind of essential for our mental sanity. Take care of your mental sanity.

Right now, college is your job. Yes, we might have other jobs to, you know, survive and have a life, but that should be on the side. Your education, at this point in your life, is the most important thing. So dress to succeed in college. Dress for confidence, to feel good about yourself, to show the world that you are investing in yourself and your future. This is just one external way of doing that. But also, fashion is fun and a form of expression.

So go out, express yourself, strut your stuff, and show college and the world what you are made of. Look out, here we come!

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Hannah Rials

UT Chattanooga

Hannah Rials, originally from Maryville, TN is a senior creative writing student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her first young adult novel Ascension was published August of 2016 by Aletha Press and is the first installment in the Cheyenne Lane Trilogy. Ascensionw has won two awards and is featured in Kirkus Review's magazine. Apart from writing and reading as much as she can, Hannah is obsessed with her Corgi Buddy, loves spending time with her family and friends, gardens, knits, and watches way too many movies.
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Emily Thornton

UT Chattanooga

I am a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga majoring in Economics, Psychology, and Literature. I am the founding president of UTC's chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta, an active writer, an avid reader, and an outdoor enthusiasts. I spend my days running from class, to meeting, to class, to work, while squeezing in time for friends, family, and the occasional hour of sleep, while also being a proud cat mother to a kitten named Merlin. I love my hectic life, and am always ready for a new challenge!