Reconsider appropriate dress for classroom setting

Kate Kelly argues that dressing appropriately for class should be given more thought by students. In high school, I was one of those kids who fought tooth-and-nail against the dress code, not because I wanted

Screen shot 2011-10-24 at 6.33.17 PMKate Kelly argues that dressing appropriately for class should be given more thought by students.

In high school, I was one of those kids who fought tooth-and-nail against the dress code, not because I wanted to wear anything particularly scandalous, but because I valued my right to express myself through clothing. Since coming to college, however, I’m starting to see the value in a restrictive dress policy. Students on Main Campus seem to have lost sight of what is appropriate attire for the classroom.

We are all pursuing degrees in higher education and most of us are seeking to enter a professional field. This is the time when we are doing valuable networking within that field and making connections with professors and fellow students that will aid us in the future. Do you really want to be remembered as the kid who wore pajama pants to class every day?

“I don’t have a problem with students dressing comfortably,” Jaimi Rubin-Gordon, professor of strategic communications said. “[However], if you’re giving a presentation, you need to use your class as a proving ground, a chance to showcase how you would perform in the real world.”

I realize it’s difficult to get up for a morning class. I realize you may have had either a lot of homework or a lot of beers the night before and you’re not feeling your best. But under no circumstance should you wear your bedclothes in public. It is disrespectful to the teacher and other students, and shows that you do not even value the class enough to put on jeans. If I can make it to my 10 a.m. class on time, in a dress, or at least real pants, so can you. It’s called coffee and you two should meet. Yoga pants and sweatpants are slightly less offensive to me, but I still think they show a lack of effort in your appearance and wearing them won’t do you any favors.

While sloppy dress may peeve me, this trend of girls wearing cropped T-shirts appalls me to no end. I do not care how cute your bellybutton piercing is, I do not want to see it. Congratulations on your completion of the P90X workout program and your washboard abs, but save that display for the beach. It is insanely inappropriate to dress like that for class and really, who is going to take you seriously in that outfit?

I do not actually think that the university should go so far as to implement a dress code, but some students need to reevaluate their clothing choices. This time in our lives is valuable in that it is helping us prepare for the future. Most of our employers are not going to accept casual attire and neither should professors. Instead, they should informally include attire advice in the curriculum so we know what is expected of us after we graduate.

“It’s about taking what you learn in the classroom and applying to the real world,” Rubin-Gordon said. “That’s why you go to college.”

College is a job, people. Start dressing like it.

Kate Kelly can be reached at



  1. I think a more important life skill is worrying about ourselves and not about someone else’s choice to show off their washboard abs.

  2. Agreed. Roll your lazy asses out of bed and act like the professionals you so desperately want to be perceived as.

  3. I really just feel bad for you. That’s all this article made me feel. To be so concerned with how other people think of you and to know that so much of your mind is taken up judging others for the way that they choose to dress? I am so sorry that that’s how your brain works. I could never.

  4. Wasn’t it clear that this article was kind of joking? But in all seriousness, I respect my professors and I consider class to be a professional setting. I don’t wear suits to class, but I think there is such a thing as appropriate and inappropriate dress in the classroom. I have a hard time taking someone seriously if I know they’re wearing pajamas.

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