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Look around you and you’ll see students in sweat pants, pajamas, messy buns, bro tanks, spandex, crop tops and basketball shorts. Casualness is all around us, our culture embraces it and our standards settle for it.

Never before has it been so acceptable and so praiseworthy to dress so laid back. Students who actually put thought into their appearance and consider how it may be reflective of them are seen as unusual.

Whenever a student looks put together, they're automatically asked what event they're going to or why they look so nice. Dressing well has become such an uncommon instance that it now warrants the assumption that someone needs to be attending something special.

This thoughtfulness in regards to presentation is not the norm for today’s college students and it's impacting this generation in more than just the superficial ways.

Most people think of fashion and are concerned with trends, name brands and being hipster, preppy or alternative. However, this is not about convincing you that we should all dress in the same manner, and it's not about being conservative or in uniform — it's about the simple consideration for others that students all around us lack.

When going on a date, most couples keep it casual. While it is great to be comfortable enough around your significant other to show up in a pair of sweats and a T-shirt, it shows a basic lack of consideration for that person as well as the occasion. 

When we put thought into what we wear, we are putting thought into whatever event it is that we will be attending as well as thought into the people who will be attending it with us. It's not cool for a boy to pick you up in sweats and some pun-inspired “Just Do it” Nike shirt, nor is it okay for a girl to show up for a date with a messy bun and mismatched socks.

This isn't about gender roles or anything like that, it is about the fundamentals of human interaction. 

Students have given up on so much that even most professors have lost hope of students showing up to class dressed respectfully and with thought, because when you show up well-dressed, you show that you value that class and professor.

While it is true that this generation is not the first to rebel and change dress codes, it is the first to take it to such an extreme. By relaxing on standards, students may feel the short-term benefits of comfort and the liberating feeling of rebellion. But the long term effects will stay with them forever. 

Those skimpy party outfits may come back up when they look for a job, their significant other’s parents will not be likely to appreciate that they show up in sweats to Thanksgiving and when you really need some help in class, professors wouldn’t be entirely wrong to assume that you weren't really trying that hard after showing up in pajamas every day for the entire semester.

I get it, we all have sick days. I throw on the occasional sweatshirt too. But what you wear is about assessing where you are going and who you will be around, what you are trying to represent about yourself and the level of respect that you are showing through your outfit.

The days of “dress good, feel good” seem to be long gone. Fine, settle for comfort and casualness, just know the cost of doing so. 

Related Links:

Palm Walk Runway: College Casual

Broke's the New Black: Sweating It Out While Looking Cool

Reach the columnist at or follow @AlexisBerdine on Twitter

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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