Should Dressing for Success in School depend on Preference, Profession, or Professionalism?

cartoon people in suits

Image by Kaz via CC* license

Are you someone who wakes up and just throw something on when heading to class? Maybe you like to show your creative side when finding new fabrics to wear. Or maybe you perceive your place of education like a job interview. Is there an unsaid dress-code when going to school?

During my 5, not so sequential, years at New York City College of Technology (City Tech), and while attending several success-seminars outside of school, I noticed everyone has different views on how to accessorize oneself. This can be due to many factors: how we are raised; environmental influences; and personal preference. However, at this age in our lives, I blame it on timing (whether someone may be rushing, or not), preference and attitude.

First, I will tell you how I choose what to wear where. OR, should I say the types of clothing I have? I guess it doesn’t matter. Okay, Here goes.  Depending on the impression I want to make, usually a great one, I will dress accordingly, including while attending school! I shall say this: ONLY WEAR SWEATS AND SPANDEX IF AT A GYM OR WORKING OUT! I will dress business-casual when seeing clients.  I will dress upscale when around certain sponsors. I will dress fashionable & “Beat for the Gawds” at certain social events. I will wear pajama pants only at home! I know many of you reading this my find comfort in wearing them outside…. AND OF COURSE, when I go to a class I will dress comfortable and casual, yet well kempt. Sometimes, even dressing in business attire. I guess at a Tech Production for “Falling Sparrow,” I may put on light makeup to have less impurities on film. Aside: If I am coming from, or going to, work or another engagement, my attire may vary.

a young woman in professional attire

Amoni B by Love&Fashion

Now lets analyze the hallways. Out of the several student inside of college only about 5% will wear slacks, pant suits, suit jackets and work clothes. Other than that, if one were to see the clothing of others in a descriptive light, they would describe some of the art as: the staying-with-the-fads-of-urban-hiphop wear, seemingly-uncaring-dark-colored-sweats/spandex, the i-woke-up-too-late-to-iron, going-to-a-rock-concert attire, the want-to-be-on-a-fashion-runway model get-tup, and the I’m-supper-creative-so-my-clothes-have-to-be-so-unique-that-its-border-line-outrageous items.

male models in bright colors

Image by Slava Zaitsev via CC license

I believe everyone should express themselves, especially if its how they should look in their career path, but professionalism is a must. School should be treated like a job interview in a business-casual setting. You should dress to IMPRESS, not look as you are in a state of DISTRESS. Formal education will open doors to internships, employment, and entrepreneurship. No one wants to work with unprofessional people. Even athletes dress in “suit and tie” on certain functions. American football players don’t have to wear helmets to show how athletic they are. Imagine you needed an entertainment attorney help you with a contract. Would you hire someone in a funky, in-style parachute-pant suit with purple hair or someone in appropriate business attire that may have color attributes? Not the one with the hammer pants and the funky get up, I am sure of it.

                 an illustration of parachute pants                                 an illustration of a suit jacket and tie          Image by Anne Lee Dabney via CC license              Image by Nemo via CC license.

QUESTIONS TO THE PUBLIC: So the next time you come to class how will you dress? Do you believe your major calls for a certain attire? Are you in a program that has a dresscode that you have to adhere to, what are the penalties for not following it? Comment you suggestions or feedback.

*CC: Creative Commons.

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About AmoniB

City Tech Employee- College Assistant in the Atrium Learning Lab GRADUATE – Interactive Media Technologies at CityTech; Associate in Applied Science in Electromechanical Engineering Technology BLOGGER – City Tech's The Buzz ACTRESS & CREATIVE COLLABORATOR in Spring City Tech production "Fallen Sparrow" ADDITIONAL TITLES: Published Actress / Model | Author | Owner of Vive Entertainment Enterprises, LLC | Social Responsible LICENSES: Licensed Real Estate Agent | Commercial Drivers License | Makeup Artist Pro Card IMATS

13 thoughts on “Should Dressing for Success in School depend on Preference, Profession, or Professionalism?

  1. As a recent graduate, I can definitely say that our everyday dress has an impact on career opportunities. I met a manager at my gym who connected me to another manager who connected me to my current employer. The woman who goes to the gym with me was impressed by my attire on the way in and out of our class. When she heard that I was job searching, she offered assistance. And the rest is history…

    • Wow I’m inspired but I do agree. When peoples we you can be presentable (which includes speech) they are more than likely to take you seriously and make sure you succeed.

  2. The way you dress will determine the type of attention you attract as well as the class of people. My mother use to tell me there’s a uniform for everything i.e., basketball, golf, interviews, parties etc… Know the game your about to play and dress up accordingly.

  3. There’s a time and place for everything. For instance, as you mentioned, dressing business casual when meeting with clients or dressing upscale when meeting with sponsors. I agree with you when you mentioned the fact that “time” has a huge impact on our appearance. Sometimes we wake up late for class and the easiest thing to slip on is a pair of sweats and a sweatshirt. Our mood plays a big role as well because chances are, if you wake up on “the right side of the bed” you will pick out your best outfit to wear. Overall, this a great topic!

  4. I am in Hospitality Management and in our baking/culinary/dining room classes we are required to wear our chef whites/uniform in most classes. However, I feel that as college students we should dress in whatever way we are comfortable with, but make sure it’s appropriate and not offensive or insulting.

    • It seems fun and might, also, create habit. Imagine you become a chef in someone’s Resturant with your hair our and despot clothes. Yikes! Hair is in everyone’s food and a fire has been caused. I’m just saying 😉

  5. When I was in Freshmen year I used to come to school in sweatpants and t-shirts because I wanted to play handball at the park afterschool or I was just lazy (and late). But after I started working in school and in other professional environments, my attire was influenced by my peers and colleagues. So I started dressing more business casual or at least more appropriate. I believe that oftentimes the way we dress is affected by the company we keep.

    Also, in the creative/art/design field, we usually dress business casual. We want to look “creative” and unique, but at the same time we want people to take us seriously. It’s a bit too uptight for us to wear a whole suit and tie, even for interviews sometimes.

    In addition to the importance of proper attire, body language is equally important. Maybe you can blog about this topic next time. TED Talks are interesting if any of you have not watched any. Here’s a TED talk on how “you body language shapes who you are” by Amy Cuddy: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

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