Picture this: Your alarm blares at 8:23 a.m. You finally manage to crawl out from underneath the warmth of your cushy sheets, only to find yourself donning a grey sweatshirt that, from the looks of the coffee stain on the front pocket, you may or may not have worn the previous day. Top it off with a matching pair of oversized pants, and you’re ready to hop on to Zoom for your first class. Sound familiar?
After months of braving quarantine and barely taking two steps out of my house over the summer, I noticed that, as each day passed, I slowly lost the motivation to change from my fuzzy pajamas into an assembled outfit. Jeans and dresses seemed like an impossible task, and I often thought to myself, “Who would actually actually care about what I wear?” This same mentality carried over into online school, and I soon noticed that my laundry basket was overflowing with the same sets of old t-shirts that were practically falling apart at their seams.
I was bored with my routine clothing choices, yet, spurred by laziness, I also could not bring myself to wear any of the other options in my closet. While transitioning on and off of remote learning, I saw that several of my peers were in the same boat, sporting bed heads and baggy clothes.
Though there is nothing wrong with rolling out of bed and reaching for your favorite hoodie, I found that enacting the same indifferent attitude only prompted me to feel, at best, boring, and, at worst, unproductive. These feelings were exacerbated by my inability to go outside frequently because of COVID-19 and the amount of schoolwork I had.
I was already experiencing the coalescing weight of isolation, procrastination, and imposter syndrome from all the pressures of undergoing junior year during a pandemic, and my static clothing was a reminder that I was in a state of dormancy. I often thought to myself: “If I can not even manage to do something so basic as getting dressed in the morning, what hope do I have of overcoming more daunting obstacles in the future?”
When we returned to school after the winter break, I resolved to make more of a conscientious effort when it came to how I presented myself. As a semblance of a resolution, I started quickly pre-planning my outfits the night before. Sure enough, it has become something I look forward to whenever the occasion arises. At times, it seems almost like an act of self-care, as it is a nice distraction and a break from schoolwork that I can enjoy before I go to sleep.
Some evenings, my friends and I even choose outfits with each other over Facetime, offering advice on how to pair certain items. The following mornings, I wake up excited, wanting to know how my imagined outfits will come to life. The whole process is truly fun, especially since I have always liked exploring the latest trends and experimenting with my style.
This newfound energy transferred to my attitude at school as well. I was proud of my clothes, and my friends took notice too, which made me feel more reassured. A dapper outfit can also grant you that extra boost of confidence or positivity you might need to turn your bad day into a better one. I no longer encounter that old feeling of weariness that would wash over me every so often.
Ultimately, this increased attention has improved my stress levels and improved my productivity, in tandem with inspiring me to attempt new means of outward expression. Thus, I hope it can apply to other students who find themselves stuck in a similar situation or who believe they have no reasons to wear anything that couldn’t double as a loungewear set.
The process may seem trivial, but there is also a difficulty in breaking free from those sluggish constraints that I have witnessed in our school community. I understand that in light of “senior slump” or the constant battle against stress and fatigue, putting thought into clothing choices might seem like too much hassle and not enough benefit. However, the challenge in getting properly dressed can serve as a means to overcome other barriers in one’s life.
How will you find yourself effectively tackling crucial responsibilities with the knowledge that you were not able to conquer the small hurdle of wearing a pair of jeans? It might be labeled a simple task, but changing your clothes can signify a tangible shift in mindset, allowing one to feel more in control and more accomplished — two results that can ultimately translate into other sectors of your life.
Now, I do not mean to say that I will somehow come to renounce all comfortable clothing or that I will always opt to dress up. I also want to convey the fact that I do not wish to lecture you or tell you what you can or can’t wear. However, since our school is fortunate enough to attend in-person instruction, it would be a waste not to bust out those super cool corduroy pants or that chic vintage jacket that you had been saving for “just the right time.”
Whether simply switching up your hairstyle once in a while or even adding some unique accessories, I advise students to shed their sweats and take a risk when it comes to showing off their personalized styles, as you might come to find that it has a profound effect on your mood or the way you carry yourself on a daily basis.