How To (Not) Dress For College

How To (Not) Dress For College

how to dress for college

The pajama party that is many a college classroom and campus has to stop.  It is an outward manifestation, generally speaking, of a disregard for the importance of our academic system and the educations that it endows its students with.  And then there is the more direct and personal disrespect that it shows toward the teachers and professors who operate in said system.

Don’t you guys give a fuck?

Or maybe acting like you don’t give a fuck is really what it’s all about.  Sad.

It is something I never understood and still don’t understand; guys wearing sweatpants, t-shirts, pajamas, gym shorts and the like to class (now, if you are a student athlete going to and from practices and games that is different).  Yes, I am all for being comfortable, but shame on you if you think the easiest way to do that is by dressing at a level that is a half step above a vagrant.  Much like it has been said about Crocs, sweatpants show, to an extent, that you have given up (for the record, t-shirts are not much better).  Have you ever experienced the virtues of a well fitting pair of chinos and a buttondown shirt?  I don’t wear jeans, but I hear they are comfortable as well.

To those who claim they were too hungover to put on real clothes, you are worst of them all.  You are using a poor excuse to do something poorer.  I remember waking up drunk on the morning of a midterm when I was at Boston University.  So drunk in fact that I threw up in the trash can outside the classroom after the exam.  Certainly not my finest moment.  But I at least had the wherewithal to put on a collared shirt that day (and I still got an A on the midterm).

To those of you who claim it does not matter what you wear to class or that your attire has nothing to do with your academic performance, you are missing the point.

In my time at Villanova University and London School Of Economics, both of which were subsequent to my time at BU, I was more adamant in my personal dress code.  Which demanded pants or shorts that took a belt, not a drawstring (if I was into side tabs at that point then they would be included).  Shirts are to have collars.  Admittedly, I did deviate from this, but rare those days were.  On my feet was either sneakers or boat shoes.

However, at all three school there was still that unfortunately large minority of guys (at LSE I am referring mostly to Americans) whose sartorial choices would be more at home on People Of Walmart than a college campus.  And in my passing bys at the local colleges (Villanova, Penn, Drexel, Temple etc) I see things have not changed, but then again I had no expectations of them changing.  I ask you, why can’t you save the sweatpants for the gym, your couch or better yet; a sweatpants and Viagra themed party?

What I am not saying is that I am better than the slovenly masses for wearing a collared shirt.  As I am sure some of them are better men than I.  Nor am I saying that this is a matter of class or socioeconomic standing, as it is not.  As with many things, it is a matter of respect and conduct.  It is a matter of pulling your weight.  It is a two way street.  Your teachers and professors stand up there lecturing and espousing on whatever it is they are prone to talk on and they dress and act their part; all day, every day.  At a minimum they are putting effort into what they are doing.  But I have found that many of them are putting their hearts, their bodies and their minds into it.  Can’t you at least meet them halfway?  Better yet, why can’t you just do the same?



Photocredit: GrownAssGeek


  1. Perhaps you’d be a better writer if you had spent less time fussing over your clothes while attending all those schools you felt the need to name drop.

  2. I disagree on the professors pulling their weight with respect to clothes. The worst was one professor I had in law school who was just absolutely shambolic. She habitually wore a black pant suit with a black top and… (are you ready for it?) gym shoes! The shoes weren’t even black. The funny thing is she was one of my favorite professors. She was a good professor. She just looked terrible. Worst case the students showed up in sweats or yoga pants, t-shirts or sweatshirts, and gym shoes. There isn’t much if anything that you can do with athletic apparel that’s as offensive wearing gym shoes with a suit. One is just lazy, sloppy and inappropriate for the occasion. The other is entirely wrong.