Illustration by Sam Cochran ’24

What do I wear to in-person class? I feel like so many people get all dressed up, but can I wear sweats? What do you recommend?

Well, when it comes to dressing nicely for class, there are a few things to consider. What are your motivations? For one, most people who dress up for in-person classes only have one or two of them. In other words, they don’t have too many opportunities to get dressed up and display their nice clothes. This also means they have fewer chances to make a good first impression on the students around them and on their professor. Now that we are into the brunt of the semester, there are no more first impressions to be made. Let’s be honest: if you get a bad vibe from your  professor, that is probably not because of how you dress. 

Along with that, if there is a cute person in your class who you have a crush on and they haven’t given you the time of day yet, dressing up or down for them is not the way to go about it! Dress for you. You are who you present yourself to be. If you enjoy dressing in sweatpants and sweatshirts, but also enjoy looking cute, follow that path. People are versatile, as are your clothes. There is no need to conform to a specific style of dressing. 

There is a certain stigma around dressing in sweatpants while attending class. The pandemic has amplified this because now, in-person classes are so rare that they almost feel like an event! Dressing down gives you an opportunity to really make a statement when you do dress nicely. It gives a little extra spice, if you will, to special occasions. This allows there to be a certain memory associated with a cute outfit as opposed to it just being something you wear on an ordinary day. 

The next matter to consider: Do you want to dress nicely to explore different parts of your closet or to fit the status quo? If it is the latter, then that needs to change. If you are dressing a certain way to match what people around you are doing, then you are not going to be happy. If you want to be comfortable for your in-person at eight in the morning, you should dress like it. If the girl next to you has a full face of makeup and looks ready for an interview, good for her. It shouldn’t affect you. Neither you nor that girl will have the upper hand in any given situation in that classroom. The same applies to a guy sitting next to you wearing a suit! There is no alpha. You are equal. 

Still, if you are feeling an obligation to dress up a little more, you can use this as a time to find a chic look that combines the two aesthetics of comfy and dressy into one. You could combine a stylish down vest with leggings so you look somewhat preppy but also comfortable. You could wear khakis with a sweatshirt to feel a little more fancy. The sky’s the limit.

You can always change up what you wear. As I said earlier, there is no overlord telling you what to do, who to be, or what to wear. You have to determine what makes you comfortable, but along with this, you must remember that you should also be considerate of the people in your classes. It is important to balance your personal desire for comfort with the respect owed to those around you. While sweatpants are universally recognized as comfortable clothes, pajama pants cross that line. You don’t want your peers and professor to think you rolled out of bed and slumped over to class, even if that’s the truth. 

The point of wearing the clothes you do is to express who you are. This does not mean that you show up naked to class to make a statement, no, no, NO! Nor should you dress like Regina in that scene from Mean Girls where Cady and Janis cut circles out of her shirt. That’s just a… unique fashion choice? And maybe you should steer away from Barney’s ducky tie and suit combination from How I Met Your Mother. But, there is a certain element of freedom and choice that comes when we dress up. A certain embellishment we add to our style to make it our own is what differentiates us from one another.

Next time you see that person dressed all nice, if you like what you see, take some notes. For all you know, they are dying inside to be comfortable like you. 

Always here to answer your pressing queries.

Yours truly, 

Told You So.