Dressing for the Day

Dressing For The DayWhen I was in high school, some clothes just didn’t fit my body and style. I looked at how the other guys dressed: t-shirts, sweats, hats -- casual wear. I was wearing the same things, but I wasn’t feeling comfortable wearing them in public. I didn’t want to adhere to the same, social dress code every day because it made me feel like I was just “sitting through” the day.

Schools celebrate differences in their students by judging their skills and talents, but it is hard to judge dress when everyone looks as “special” as a grain of sand. During my first year of high school, however, the morning announcer declared over the intercom that Feb. 11 was going to be the school’s “Dress to Impress Day.” Everyone was allowed to dress as sophisticated as they pleased. I knew Feb. 11 was the day I would dress sharp enough for me to be able to cut enough class for ten people.

It is not easy putting on a thick, brown suit jacket after gym class. Did I look good, though, or did I look great? I didn’t care that the sweat on my hairline made me look like a seagull who earned a ribbon of participation instead of his flight license. I was on cloud nine.

During Language Arts class, my white dress shirt inhaled air as I tugged at the collar. My classmates and I were working on what we called “Do-Now’s,” worksheets that asked a few questions on what was covered last class. That day, we also had a substitute teacher. He was an elderly man who busied himself with his Monroe Township Newspaper as we worked on our assignments.

He didn’t have to teach us anything, so we started to read an article on Lord of the Flies that our main teacher left for us to read after finishing the “Do-Now.” I tugged at my collar some more. My friend Alex was absent that day, so I sat by myself next to the door of the classroom, humming to myself as I highlighted the text. Despite not having a friend to nerd out about Dragon Ball Z with, I was content with working solo for the day. 

The teacher dipped his paper down and took a glance at the class. He scanned the crowd of students at their desks to make sure they were behaving, and then his eyes landed on me. The white caterpillars over his eyes scrunched downward as he smiled. “You looking to go to a job interview?”

I looked back at him as some of my classmates turned their heads to both of us. My mind was still foggy from tripping at box-ball. I said the first thing that came to mind. “Yeah, although I accidently sent my cover letter to the MT Newspaper. Did it make the final print?”

The eyebrows went up. He skimmed the newspaper, and after a moment to himself, he chuckled, “Ah, there it is in the Letter to the Editor section. ‘To Whom It May Concern’.”

If wit was applicable to Dress to Impress Day, he would’ve been the best dressed one in the school. 

I already applied myself to school as though it were a job, but it felt reassuring to know I would have had a good chance at actual employment due to dressing well. I was even more relieved when I was able to change into my sweats once I got home. Even though strutting around for five hours in a bulky suit was the equivalent of slow-dancing to the Bee Gee’s, I had surely felt more alive than I had ever been, even if I almost passed out.

The students at Monmouth typically just wear leggings or sweatpants and throw on a   hoodie. So, be that rare individual who dresses up and wear corduroys and an Oxford shirt. Dress up and feel the confidence flow. 

There’s a magical charm that comes with dressing formally. If you feel classy in what you’re wearing, you receive a special form of self-empowerment. Your soul dances a little more, making you appear more vivified and rejuvenated. If you have the chance, try wearing that dress shirt or blouse to school one day.

PHOTO TAKEN by Matt Aquino