my foray into frump

I have completed some college rites of passage.

Staying up too late to work on a paper.  Embarking on an obtuse adventure for terrible food.  Sledding on objects that are not sleds.  Running from the police.

However–there is one that I have steadfastly refused to participate in:

wearing sweatpants/pajamas/not clothing to class.

This has become a revolution on college campuses.  On my way to get a muffin before my first class, I counted 16 sweatpants.  In my 7:30 am biology lab on Thursdays, almost every one of the approximately 15 in attendance chooses these for their outfit each week.   These people were of varying ages and races.  Even some of the “non-traditional students” (read: old) wear them.  The Vietnam veteran that lurked in the back of last semester’s class on that particular war would often pair his signature scent of cheap whiskey with some unflattering Adidas track pants.  He not only taught us what little Vietnamese he knew ( “Say it with me, class!  ‘If you’ve got the time, I’ve got the money!'”),  he also proved that the comfort-first trend knows absolutely no boundaries.

For years I have struggled to understand this phenomenon.  Most people point to comfort as their reason for wearing not clothing to class.  Understandable–however if your actual clothing is that UNcomfortable, you are probably making grave mistakes while shopping.  Another common retort is “WHATEVA! I DO WHAT I WANT! HOMIE! DON’T PLAY ME!”  (paraphrased.)  This appears to be a cry for independence and to be taken seriously in their new surroundings.  However, don’t you think you would be taken more seriously as an adult if you dressed like one?  Employ a zipper or hell, an iron someday–you’ll be amazed at the confidence by others you may suddenly garner!  Finally, I often hear people explain that it’s merely for warmth.  As the mercury around here has dipped into the single digits … I have no reply to this one.  Skirts are quite chilly this time of year.

Therefore, I!,  being the intrepid pseudo-reporter that I pretend to be, have decided to do a little investigative reporting–into the floppy trousers of my peers.  I, domesti-cait, will wear sweatpants … TODAY!

As a frame of reference, here is how I have looked on other occasions, going to school.

I apologize for the piecey look.  These pieced together mirrors from IKEA are the only semblance of a full-length

November 1, 2010.
on my first day of senior year--August 31, 2010.

version that I own.  Crafty!

Anyway, this is how I usually dress for school.  I grew up under the watchful eyes of my father, who would routinely criticize (in what he probably thought was for my benefit) any outfit as I came into the kitchen.  This has made me quite mindful of what I wear, and how it appears to others.

A frumpy comfy version of me, December 8, 2010.

However today I have decided to cross over to the other side and wear this —–>

Please note the oversized Wisconsin Badgers (REPRESENT.) long sleeved tee, accompanied by black track pants, glasses, slouchy winter boots and a ponytail.

At 8:23 this morning, I embarked on my quest:

8:28 am–have looked down twice to make sure I’m actually dressed.

11:22 am–encounter a classmate, keep head down to make sure he doesn’t see me.

11:43 am–am sweating in my dorm room … that’s a first!  Man, I’m warm!

1:38 pm–slouching horribly in biology class.

2:55 pm–avoiding mirrors.  saggy arse.

4:27–realized i have not been wearing a coat all day today.  WARM!

5:30-6:25–had a rather rude peer lean into my booth in the cafeteria to talk to someone behind me, almost had a stranger crash into me after depositing their dishes and was told my friend could not see me earlier today.  sweatpants make me invisible.

After this experiment today, I realized a few things about entering the elastic waistband herd.

1) oh so toasty!

2) I think I vanished into thin air.

3) Flimsy fabrics make me look like the Michelin Man.

So I think I will stick to my structured jackets, trim trousers, skirts, blouses and scarves.  I may be colder and more prone to falling on my ass on the ice, but at least I will feel like a substantial human.  The biggest lesson I learned from this experiment was, for me, making comfort a priority erases confidence.  When you dress well, you just perform better.  Posture improves, presence returns and I feel more able to conquer the day, instead of fading into the background.  No one compliments you or notices if you look especially relaxed in your attire, but a smart outfit will inspire confidence in those around you and will speak to your competence.

Tomorrow I will be back to my slacks and flats without regret.  But it was nice to be able to sit Indian-style for a day.  And so WARM!

from my closet to yours

-c

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