I Believe In Dressing For Success

Every morning at 6:35, my alarm sounds, playing a song that is not coincidentally about getting dressed. It prepares me to start my day while I put on an outfit that I planned out on Sunday night. The structure of my morning routine prepares me for a day of learning and being in a scholastic atmosphere.

Similar to how sports teams “dress for success” to get them in the mindset for a game, all students should be appropriately dressed to get them in the mindset for a school day. It is important to wear clothes that facilitate learning not only to be respectful to the teachers and other students, but it is also important to wear clothes that make you feel and look professional at school. Everyone loves wearing leggings or joggers and a comfy sweatshirt when lounging around at home, but those kind of relaxed, comfortable clothes make you feel more tired and lazy. Waking up and putting on a real outfit – it doesn’t have to be anything incredibly fancy or fashion-forward, but a pair of pants and real shirt – makes you feel more confident and put together. This kind of mindset makes you feel like you can accomplish more than if you were just wearing lounge clothes. It is important to put yourself in an outfit every day that makes you feel like you can reach your potential and accomplish anything. That kind of added confidence can make you feel more prepared to speak out in class or perform better on a test. When everyone looks professional and presentable, it is easier to maintain a professional classroom atmosphere. Additionally, it serves to prepare us for the structure of having a job someday that requires being dressed professionally to work.

Since the change in the Nobles dress code was announced I have heard almost exclusively complaints and negative reactions. However, the dress code is not only for our mental benefit, it is also important to show respect to our school and represent our school well. In many ways, the dress code actually become more relaxed, with any shoes being allowed, boys no longer having to wear collared shirts, and girls being able to wear shorts, dresses, and skirts of any length. Nevertheless, many choose to ignore these compromises in favor of complaints about no longer being allowed to wear jean jackets, sweatshirts, and leggings.

Last year, students had the chance to have a more relaxed dress code, allowing Nobles sweatshirts and leggings. Many students who came to school in non-Nobles sweatshirts and leggings without an appropriate top abused this privilege. If leggings and sweatshirts are a privilege that we have already proven that we can’t handle, why should we expect to be able to keep it?

Not only is it my opinion that looking better makes you feel better and more ready to learn, it is backed up by science. According to a study published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, when subjects wore more formal business attire their abstract thinking increased. According to Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology and fashion psychologist, casual clothing could negatively impact a person’s ability to be alert and focused.

A study lead by Dr. Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at Northwestern, showed that wearing a doctor’s coat improved subjects’ ability to focus. In the first trial, undergraduates wearing street clothes made double the errors on a test for selective attention compared to those who wore a white doctor’s lab coat. The second trial had students wear a doctor’s coat, wear a coat identical to the doctor’s coat that they were told was a painter’s coat, or see a doctor’s coat. Members of the group that wore the doctor’s coat found more differences between two similar pictures and had heightened attention compared to the other two groups of students. The effect of clothing on brain function of called enclothed cognition. Students coming to school in a real outfit are likely to have improved focus and performance compared to students wearing pajama-like clothing.

In such a competitive school of students driven by achievement, why wouldn’t we want to take advantage of a dress code designed to help us succeed?

Meredith McBride, Staff Writer, October 2018

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