Redefining the Spartan look

Theresa Smetona, Staff columnist

It is an undeniable fact that during the first week of classes, our campus is significantly more attractive than at any other time of year. Granted, this may have something to do with the fact that summer tans are still lingering, students still have time to shower and the effects of those late-night pizza runs remain to be seen. But the sharp decline in the presentable portion of the student population is mainly a question of effort.

There seems to be an unwritten rule that if you start the year off by wearing a few decent outfits and looking at yourself in the mirror before you leave for class you have paid your dues and can give up on grooming for the rest of the semester. Innumerable people have confided to me that they plan to look “good” for the first few classes so that later on in the semester, when they’ve evolved into a dirty Michelin-man approximation, their peers will remember that an actual human exists under all the grease and shapelessness. When did this type of thinking become so popular?

An even more disturbing trend that has been manifesting itself with increasing persistence is the association of personal upkeep with vapidity. Putting an effort into your appearance and clothing has acquired an almost shameful stigma – the underlying assumption being that if you have time to worry about what you will wear you clearly have nothing more important to occupy yourself with. This is an inaccurate assumption. Coming to class in a flattering outfit does not make you a shallow moron who cannot solve an integral or who has never heard of thermodynamics. Rather, it makes you one step closer to being the functional adult that we all aspire to be upon leaving this campus. Similarly, ugly, unwashed clothes do not affirm your intelligence. They only stand as a testament to poor personal care and an alarming lack of self-awareness.

The excuse that “I just don’t have time to look good” is completely invalid. There is nothing as easy as slipping a dress over your head. Putting on a clean shirt takes no longer than putting on a dirty shirt. Wearing real, big-boy pants instead of sweatpants requires fastening a zipper and a button, and potentially clasping a belt. If you can’t afford the two to five seconds these actions will fill, I’m at a loss. If your hair is long enough to be put in a ponytail, brushing it regularly will save you the future hassle of having to pull globs of matted hair from your shower drain. On second thought, this advice only applies to those who actually shower, so the previous sentence may be completely irrelevant. If you account for the time needed to respond to the numerous compliments you will receive upon leaving your room, looking good takes no longer than looking like a disaster. So just do it.

A few reminders to help get you started (these really shouldn’t be mentioned, but the fact that I have seen flagrant violations of the below in just a few days of being here unfortunately makes the following a necessity).

  1.  The periodic table of elements, the 2012 Video-gaming Olympics, and zombies have no business being emblazoned across the front of your t-shirt.
  2. Sweatpants should not be worn outside your room.
  3. The only thing worse than sweatpants in public is sweatpants and high-heels in public.
  4. High heels, however, are better than bare feet. Be aware of your environment and please wear shoes when walking to-and-from class—sanitation issues are just the beginning of my concerns.
  5. Bandanas are not, and never will be, flattering.
  6. Tie-dye is not an acceptable pattern. Simultaneously sporting more than one tie-dyed article of clothing is simply heinous.
  7. If you are better-dressed when going to the gym than when attending class, you need to take a second to reevaluate some of your choices.
  8. You should never be mistaken for a character from a Star Wars movie.
  9. It all starts with good posture. Familiarize yourself with your backbone and stop mimicking a sack of potatoes.

If you completely disagree with all of the above guidelines, then my advice is this: show some gumption in doing so. Have confidence—it’s often the only difference between a completely unfortunate and a spectacularly interesting individual.