Is What You Wear Linked to How Others Perceive You?

Do you care what other people think of you? The answer, more often than not, is no. But think about it- when you get dressed for class, do you determine your outfit based on what your professors may think about you or what your classmates will think?

After a long conversation with 4 professors on campus: Dr. Christiana Leahy, Dr. Reanna Ursin, Dr. Sara Raley and Dr. Marilyn Smith, I have learned what goes through each of their minds when they are trying to decide what to wear to work. Like some students, not all professors put a lot of emphasis on what their colleagues or their students will think, but focus more on the rules and norms that society has embedded in our culture.

“I wouldn’t want to accidentally run into a student’s parents, or a trustee, so yes I do think about how what I wear to work will be perceived by other people,” says Dr. Leahy. She continues to say that “there is a sense of professionalism or a standard that should be established when deciding what to wear.” A three-piece suit or a ball gown are not necessarily linked to the term professionalism, which signifies a particular attitude and the idea that “less is more.”

Dr. Raley believes that everyone should wear what he or she wants. “The whole culture influences how I dress.” She goes on to say that “the two things that I think about are what are appropriate in terms of the culture, trying to dress professionally and fun. While also being comfortable.”