The khakis are worth it
So, you’re fresh out of college and on your way to an interview for Goldman Sachs. You walk into your hopeful employer’s office, and immediately the interviewer portrays a look of disgust. Out of courtesy, he lets you finish the interview, but did it even matter? Did you really think he could look past the fact that your shirt was unevenly tucked in, you forgot a belt and you were wearing ankle socks under those slacks?
I would be willing to bet that most interviewees would not expect that their chance at a job would be blundered before they could even shake hands, and many of those interviews may have been salvageable had the applicants been less lazy when it came to dressing for school.
Is the philosophy that school is not the place for looking nice going to assist in your professional career? Students can’t even wear a pair of jeans to school without being harassed by the master race of sweatpants wearers. Everybody is familiar with the phrase “look good, feel good,” and that is exactly what we “inferior” jeans wearers are going for. I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who does not perform better when they feel good rather than being worried about how much of a slob they look. This laziness is not the characteristic that suburban schools of the 21st century wish to be remembered by, and if that is the case then take me back to the time of frosted tips and neon windbreakers.
Sure, you could argue that the time it takes to dress up in the morning is not worth the extra sleep you are trading away. But, it takes only seconds longer to zipper and button your pants instead of just slipping them on as you would do with sweats. Yes, you could argue that wearing jeans just isn’t as comfortable as wearing sweatpants or leggings, but what you lose in comfort is made up in both alertness and charisma that is off the charts.
Think about it. Are you more likely to fall asleep in your comfortable sweats or a stiffer pair of jeans? And could you ever expect to score a date with that good-looking upperclassmen from gym last year if she only ever sees you in a sweaty t-shirt?
Surely, you understand that nobody is expected to dress business casual on a daily basis for school. Even a pair of jeans and a graphic tee looks marginally better than gray sweats which is almost always paired with a hoodie. Improved dress will lead to a better portrayal of suburban schools in junction with better presentability as students move into the workforce, one properly-sized shirt and a tighter pair of pants at a time.
Let’s fast forward ahead to your interview with Goldman Sachs. Instead of walking out and tripping over your shoelaces, you are now walking out with a new salary and emotions you haven’t felt since your first date with that upperclassmen from gym class.
The extra sleep is worth it
If you were to spot me in the hallowed hallways of BG, the first thing noticed about my appearance would not be my Hunter boots or my Coach handbag. Why is that, you may ask? Because those are not accessories I choose to sport at school.
Instead, you may see navy, black or, on a good day, gray sweatpants paired with a colored sweatshirt. A few times a week, I may be seen sporting leggings and the occasional sweater, but for the most part, my style is similar to the U.S. approach on politics: laissez-faire. Laid-back and comfortable, I will never be invited to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. But I am able to slip my moccasins off and walk around class with fuzzy socks on, which I advise everyone to try, the level of comfort is off the charts.
My outlook on dressing in high school is “live and let live.” To some, it is important that shirts are ironed and hair is brushed, and that is great for them. To be honest, I respect and admire the guys and girls who really put an effort into their appearance. Getting into the habit of looking presentable will pay off when working post-college. But to others, me included, that extra fifteen minutes of sleep trumps the nice jeans.
Some argue that it doesn’t take much longer to put on jeans than sweats. And I completely agree, I have timed it. I put a pair of jeans and a pair of sweatpants in front of me and recorded the time it took to place on. After 15 seconds and seven seconds, respectively, I realized something. The act of putting on a pair of jeans isn’t the problem. The conflicts come when you have to assemble the rest of an outfit to match the jeans.
Now I am going to go on a small, gender-specific rant. Personally, I think boys have it a lot easier. Khakis and a sweater or jeans and a polo are typical “nice” outfit for the male species. Girls, however, are left with a much wider array of options when choosing to dress “nicely.” There is the struggle between leggings and jeans, sweaters and v-necks, combat boots and riding boots. And once you finally pick out a shirt and pants that make you look somewhat decent, how are you going to accessorize? The endless array of scarves, jewelry and watches mock girls like me who are racing against the clock before their rides picks them up at seven.
So, instead of dealing with this internal war, I take the easy way out. Everything matches grey sweatpants. An oversized sweatshirt can look somewhat decent when paired with leggings. A bad hair day can be saved by a Lululemon headband. And my favorite fashion trick? Wearing a ratty t-shirt under one of my brother’s oversized flannels.
Whether you are someone who takes pride in in looking like you are from the North Shore or someone who prefers the “I just woke up” look, the main idea is that you are comfortable enough to succeed in a learning environment. It isn’t the worst thing in the world if you to wake up ten minutes earlier to apply the perfect eyeliner, but it also wouldn’t kill you to throw on some sweats and indulge in those extra z’s.