Carstens: Paying attention to wardrobe will improve education


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Students should abandon their classroom attire for professional clothing that is more suitable for meeting potential employers at the career fair.

Courtney Carstens

What version of yourself do you want to be seen by your professors, classmates and peers?

In many cases, you wants to be seen as a successful, well-accomplished version, but how can you do this if you go into a class wearing sweatpants or any other outfits with similar levels of laziness? You can always argue that appearance doesn’t define a person — and that is true — but your appearance does greatly affect your behaviors and how people perceive you.

First impressions can either make or break a job interview that your college years ultimately prepare you for, and this concept can actually be applied to the educational process that leads up to said interview.

You should not want to walk into your classes wearing baggy, holey-knee sweatpants when your professor takes time to put on professional attire in the morning for classes.

And yes, that means even the 8 a.m. ones.

This brings us to another very important reason why students should dress nice to class — respect.

Respect is a key part of our society and how we function, but in professor-student relationships, especially in a large lecture, it can fall by the wayside. If someone gives you respect, then you should do the same in return. I have yet to see a professor wear sweatpants to class. The majority of professors I see on campus wear dresses, suits or jeans with a work-appropriate shirt. This shows respect for their job and to us as students.

So project that back onto yourself. If they are respecting us and the campus, don’t we need to respect them as our mentors?

Michael Dahlstrom, associate professor at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, said the clothing students wear to class should be correlated to the type of education that is provided by the class.

“The style of dress that is appropriate for classes depends on the purpose of the class,” Dahlstrom said. “Dress is an important part of many professions, and students should consider it as part of the learning environment for classes that are training for such a professional environment. Giving a marketing presentation? Dress up. Working in a lab? Wear closed-toed shoes. Collecting salamanders? Cover up against mosquitoes.”

In class, focusing is a huge chunk of the learning process, but what if that focus is gone? Studies have shown that individuals who wear casual clothing usually have a harder time focusing when the highest amount of productivity is needed.

If you wear lounging pants to class, your brain might be triggered to not pay attention as well because you usually wear those pants during Netflix sessions.

The same goes for work attire. If you wear nicer clothes for class, you will stay more alert because your brain categorizes that specific type of outfit with a higher level of productivity.

Wearing nice clothes improves your confidence levels and mood. I don’t know about men, but, as a woman, I feel more confident when I dress up compared to when I just wear jeans and a hoodie.

You may not think people notice, but they do. Not only do people notice, but dressing well shows you care about your personal hygiene.

What we wear is important. Wearing something nice shows respect, improves productivity and increases your mood in a positive way. So next time you are debating between a pair of nice jeans or sweatpants, choose the nice jeans because not only will you feel better, your success in class and life will get a makeover as well.