Campus attire

June 29, 2009

by Taylor Stepens and Victoria Perkins

For some, deciding what to wear can be one of the most important decisions of the day; for others no more thought is placed onto the subject than society deems necessary.

These extremes and everything in between can be seen on Tech’s campus every day.

Jesse Oray, a senior chemical engineering major, and Alana Squair, a sophomore biology major, sit in Tolliver Hall.

Oray is dressed to a “T” with khakis and a polo shirt, while Squair is dressed for comfort in a tank top and shorts, and though their personal styles differ, both acknowledge that a clean-cut appearance makes for a great impression.

Squair agrees that being an on-the-go college student can make getting dressed for class quite the challenge. Time –something prized and cherished by college students, gets harder to come by with each passing day.

“I dress up [for class] only if I’m not running late,” she said.

Oray said he goes that extra mile in the mornings to impress the opposite sex, or at least one girl in particular.

“I dress up to impress her,” he said with a smiling glance at Squair.

Brandon Watkins, a senior architecture
major, said he does not dress up for the ladies but for himself.

“Most of the clothes I buy are comfortable,” Watkins said. “I don’t look at colors too much. I just like to look good.”

He said he puts extra thought into each of his clothing purchases because he knows that the brands and labels he prefers are going to cost a few dollars above the average.

“I do spend a lot of money on clothes,” Watkins said. “It’s not like I’m buying a quantity [of clothes]. I’m just buying them one [item]at a time. If I have the money and I like it, then I’ll buy it. I buy what I like, and I like what I buy.”

Though Watkins may not find himself dressing up for class to impress a special someone, he does agree that dressing professionally for class does impress professors.

Rudy deMattos, an associate professor of foreign languages, disagrees.

He said a student’s work is far more important than how they dress.

“I personally think my opinion is not so much based on how they dress, rather on how they act or perform in class, and the work they put or don’t put [inside and] outside of the classroom,” deMattos said.

He said he appreciates when students choose to express themselves with their clothing, and in doing so his opinion of them remains unchanged.

“The choice of affirming one’s cultural identity through fashion does not change how one performs in class,” deMattos said. “I have seen so many students with a variety of styles to learn not to judge a book by its cover.”

Tiffany White, a sophomore business management and entrepreneurship major, said she does not like to get dressed up for class. In fact, she said she is usually blasé about her attire.

“I usually just go for a casual look,” White said. “I’m not trying to impress anybody.”
She said she generally wears what she feels like wearing and usually dresses casually unless she is giving a presentation for a class or wakes up early enough to plan out an outfit with a professional look.

“I just throw on a shirt with a pair of jeans and go, mostly out of pure laziness,” White said. “I don’t feel like looking through my closet a million times [every day].”

Lewis Moore, a junior biology major, also said feeling comfortable is important to him.

“I try to be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment,” he said.

Blanche Kibaju, a junior interior design major from Uganda, said dressing up to impress a certain guy or professor has never been on her agenda.

“I just want to look good in class,” Kibaju said. “If I feel like [I’m dressed well] then I’ll feel good in class. It’s important to take that extra time to get ready in the mornings.”

She said in Uganda, dressing nicely is something that has always been valued.

“Back home, all of my friends like dressing up, so it just grew on me,” Kibaju said.

But keeping up with the Jones’ while in college may not be as easy as some think.

Coka Collins, a senior speech major, said going shopping is one of her all-time favorite things to do, she cannot find the means to feed her addiction more than just her pockets are hurting.

“It happens, not being able to buy things, and it really hurts,” Collins said. “I like clothes and I buy them all the time, so I always have new things [to wear to class]. I just like looking cute; [who likes to] walk around looking like a hag?”

So, whether a student’s choice of clothing is a reflection of their work ethic, their cultural pride or a result of waking up late for class, it provides a glimpse into that student’s life.

Through a personal dress code, a student can broadcast to everyone, who bothers to look, who they are and where his or her priorities life.

Kelly Hughes, a senior elementary education major, said she dresses for class most days.
“I ususally wear capris or sundresses or nice tops most every day,”she said. “I like to look presentable for class.”