The Case for Dressing Up to School
December 7, 2021
As I overheard a group of students talking about how weird someone dressed to school, I remember thinking to myself that having this said about me would be one of my targeted goals. If the outfit that I wore to school caused somebody to question my thought process behind finding it acceptable to pair together the pieces that I did, then I had accomplished at least one thing that day.
While this way of thinking is not something that everyone would agree with me on, it can be used as a point of reference in the case for deciding what to wear to school.
I find pleasure in imagining the vision for an outfit in my head to wear during the school day, especially if it takes me less than five minutes to do so. Clothes are, for the most part, a basic human necessity, so, if able to, why not dress in a way that makes you feel the happiest and most fulfilled?
Not only do I find pleasure in having that vision for the outfit I will show up to school in, but also in simply living my life in an ensemble that makes me feel like I am capable of anything when walking down the halls during passing periods.
This is particularly fun during the colder months because of the ability to get creative and layer more pieces on top of one another, and of course because of the fact that more layers add extra warmth.
People have told me that they would like to dress up for school, but would never be able to come up with outfits like I have, which is the root issue of this flawed mindset that can cause you to be stuck in a place of not dressing how you want to dress.
Quite frankly, I would be scared of a world where everyone was wearing the same outfit, even if that outfit happened to be a menswear style blazer, suit pants and chunky shoes.
Basing one’s fashion sense off of the idea that they must live up to a certain person, time period or style will never be successful because there will always be something missing.
Rather, it is a more suitable approach to wake up in the morning and pick out an outfit for school that will leave you feeling the most fabulous, comfortable and at ease with yourself all at the same time. Picking out the clothing from your closet that you feel the most inward gravitational pull towards will give you the satisfaction of having worn a successful outfit that day. That’s what works for me, at least.
The concept of dressing up for school doesn’t mean that you need to be wearing the most fashionable clothes every single day, or that you have to go out and buy a new wardrobe. It simply means that you base your daily attire off of what will bring you the most confidence, and not off of what you think will be pleasing to others.
Of course, there will always be constraints like weather, dress code and cultural norms that tend to have an influence on what clothing items we chose to pair together, but it is still possible to include elements of individuality into your outfits every day.
For example, incorporating a touch of individuality into a required uniform for work or school can look like adding in a pair of hoop earrings, statement sneakers or funky jewelry to the dullness of the outfit.
Fashion and style are utterly subjective concepts, but that’s what makes them so great.
“What’s my style is not your style, and I don’t see how you can define it,” fashion icon Iris Apfel said. “It’s something that expresses who you are in your own way.”
By embracing which pieces of clothing make you feel unstoppable during the school day, you will ultimately feel better in what you are wearing, and will have broken the old, dusty mold of what was considered as normal and acceptable school attire.
I also consider dressing up to school as a way to break the ice in social situations. Something I have recently come to realize is that wearing an outfit that relates to my personality and inner-self is a way for me to speak to others without actually having to speak.
Clothes, in my opinion, are one of the easiest ways to express oneself because of what they can say about a person. Whenever I find myself unable to articulate my feelings into words, I use an inspiring outfit to accomplish what I failed to achieve vocally.
Even just a casual, “I love your pants” from a stranger can start up a conversation on where the various pieces of your ensemble are from, and the inspiration behind the look as a whole, which wouldn’t have been possible had you not chosen to add a touch of personality to your outfit. And, having conversations about clothing, if it interests you, will allow for more meaningful interactions with people, simply on the basis of what you like to wear.
When I am wearing an outfit that makes me feel like my most true self is being expressed, I enjoy the feeling of confidence and purpose I receive, and when I am not doing this, I tend to not feel like myself.
Of course, this may seem like a superficial way of thinking about how to dress, but I believe that tailoring your everyday attire to the personality you wish to display to others is a start on the long journey of navigating self-expression, not only within the walls of school, but for all that lies ahead.