“Don’t bring nice clothes to college. You won’t wear them.”
“Honestly, I live in my sweats. I can’t remember the last time I wore jeans.”
“Ugh, I hate people who get dressed up for 8 a.m.s.”
“I could never do makeup so early in the morning."
I may only be a month into my college experience, but I’m already experiencing the lack of sleep and feeling of dread that comes with knowing your first class is a fifteen-minute walk away. I totally understand why some people would rather have their extra half hour of sleep in the morning instead of getting up and spending time on their appearance; I’m just not like that. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have my days where the cute outfit I picked out the night before stays hanging over my desk chair all day while I run out the door in a sweatshirt and leggings. Normally, though, I enjoy dressing up a bit more.
Part of my night time routine always involves picking out my outfit for the next day; it has for years. I find it helps me make better combinations, and also makes it easier to look put together the next morning. I am a big believer in doing whatever makes you feel comfortable, and I am in no way saying that everyone should do things this way.
1. It's a small change with big effects that requires little effort.
Okay, I'll admit, without any preparation whatsoever, "dressing for success" of any sort can be very daunting and time consuming. However, with a tiny bit of preparation, the process can become super easy. For example, I keep the makeup that I wear every day in a little box on my desk. I don't use very many products, and I always have them right within reach for quick and easy access.
Secondly, as previously mentioned, I am a huge fan of picking out my outfits the night before. I'm not always good about remembering to do it, but when I do, I find that my outfits look better because I'm not trying to pick them out five minutes after waking up. My process of getting dressed is significantly easier and shorter. Since I have found ways to make the process of getting dressed nice, relatively quick and easy for myself, it seems silly not to do it.
2. It helps with my productivity and motivation.
Here's the big one. Just like some people really need to make their bed in the morning in order to get things done throughout the day, I need a bit of makeup on my face and/or something cute to wear in order to go to class and participate to my full potential. Maybe this stems from insecurity, but getting ready in the morning is a habit that truly influences my participation in class throughout the day.
I am a huge fan of the motto “Dress for Success.” For me, even jeans and a sweater make me feel more in control of my day. When I feel as though I am put together, I feel in control; when I feel in control, I can focus on other aspects of my life such as class discussions. I find that when I feel good about my appearance for the day, I sit a little taller and am likely to talk a bit more.
This goes along with how if I know I have a lot to do, I don’t always change immediately into comfortable clothes when I get home. It’s a little mind trick I like to play; if I still “look the part”− I’m still wearing what I wore all day when I was working − why should that change just because I’ve left the classroom?
However, if it’s one of my days where I just couldn’t be bothered and threw on a sweatshirt, I find it is much harder for me to focus. You know how some people can’t do homework in bed, or else they might get distracted or too comfortable? That’s me with wearing sweats to class. The final time I took the SATs last year, I walked in wearing a flannel, scarf, leggings and tall boots with cute socks peeking out the top. I felt that, in terms of some of my previous test outfits, I was pretty casual. In terms of my appearance influencing my productivity, it comes down to this: I want to be on the top of my game as much as possible so putting in a little more time to make sure I feel confident and ready to take on the day is a necessity to me.
3. It’s "Me-Time"
Life gets busy, especially during the school year. While it is important to take some time for self-care and relaxation, it can become very difficult to find time to actually do it. No matter what else I have going on in my day, I know I can always count on that time in the morning as "me time." I can just sit down by myself and get ready to take on the day.
It is very hard to have true alone time in college. You eat in a dining hall, you live with a roommate(s), you might have a communal bathroom, you have classes with up to three hundred students in them, and you even cross the street in huge hordes of students. All of that is great in terms of having opportunities to meet new people and discover new things, but it doesn’t leave very much time to be with just yourself.
As an introvert, this is something I might value more than the average extrovert, but I think alone time is important for everyone. Me sitting down to put on my makeup every morning is not simply me trying to cover my face; it is my dedicated self-care time. I know I can count on my morning makeup session as a chance to treat myself.
4. It lets me wake up peacefully.
Aside from any benefits of increased productivity or a chance to treat myself, I've found that making myself wake up a little bit earlier in order to spend time getting ready gives me the ability to wake myself up in a much more enjoyable way.
The way I see it, I could either wake up at the last possible moment and end up still adjusting to being awake during my first class. Or I could do what I try to do everyday, which is make my cup of coffee and my bowl of oatmeal and sit down to do my makeup while playing YouTube videos in the background. I'm a typical college girl, so I turn my string lights on for ambiance, and just try to enjoy myself and wake up surrounded by things I enjoy.
5. It’s Fun!
Okay, I’ll admit it, the part of the morning where I try to tame my crazy curly hair isn’t enjoyable; that part is truly a step I do out of necessity. I have to also admit that I get so much joy out of doing my makeup, whether it be my everyday routine or something new. As far as clothes, I love coming up with new combinations, and finding ways to make items that I’ve had for years have a different look just by pairing them differently.
I don’t claim to be good at any of this stuff. I just know it makes me happy, and that’s not because I think it makes me look good. It is more so because I have a creative brain. I love to write, act, sing, draw, paint and direct, so being able to use some creativity on myself each day especially if I know I won’t have much other time to express myself in such a way during the rest of the day.
I believe that what you choose to do with your appearance is totally up to you. I honestly applaud people who can be super productive and motivated while dressed more comfortably and casually than me. However, I really do enjoy the getting-ready process. It doesn't take that much extra effort, allows me to be more motivated throughout the day, gives me my daily dose of time to myself, helps my body wake up in a peaceful way rather than a stressful way and allows creativity. So why did I throw on a dress for my early class two days ago? It just felt like me.
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