By Maggie Dunning
We all have a favorite piece of clothing that we keep going back to. Whether it’s a hoodie, a shirt, a skirt, or a pair of shoes, we all have something we love that we keep around. This makes up our style which lets the world know who we are.
Roger Moon, associate professor of theater and speech, said, “I think the way we dress we want to reflect our character. Then we act in ways that confirm that character which we are setting out to convey.”
Kristen Pettey, assistant professor of business, said, “It translates into whether people take you seriously.”
Dawn Pleas-Bailey, vice-president of student life, said, that she can see style in three different ways. “I think there is the general middle group of people. Style reflects them and how they feel about themselves. Then there are kind of the two extremes.”
She said that the two extremes are the students who want to portray an image of affluence and those who want to portray an image of self-sacrifice through their clothing.
Why is style so important to our idea of what our outward image should be?
Pettey said, “We do have a lot of athletes in our department and I think back to my time in college, it’s easy to be sloppy about your attire, but it doesn’t reflect an attitude of learning. It doesn’t reflect seriousness.”
Moon said, “I could say, ‘it’s just what I want to wear.’ But also, I’m not dumb. I know how that probably reads, because if somebody did that to me, I would interpret how they dressed in relationship to me.”
Why is style so important?
Pleas-Bailey said, “It reflects a certain thought of yourself. Even if you say you don’t care and you’re just throwing on anything, that’s a style within itself.
Moon said, “Whatever I’m wearing, if I don’t feel it’s appropriate to the occasion, if I’m not being sensitive to that, then I’m not very bright if I want to succeed to the person who’s judging me.”
Pettey said, “Every day could be a chance to meet someone that could have an impact on your future. I think it’s really important. It conveys all kinds of things. Non-verbal messages about your seriousness.”
Moon said, “I think it’s really important for us to not make judgments on character based on the appearances, but in theater in costuming we do it all the time. I want people to judge me for what I am wearing to some extent.”
How do we decide what style we want to wear?
“What do I want to put out there, said Moon, We pull it all together. Our clothes, our feelings, our attitudes, our behaviors. We make them fit together.”
Pleas-Bailey, said, “I find pretty much most people’s style is reflected on what is in the department store.”
She went on to say that people often try to keep up with everybody else’s style, instead of figuring out their own.
What visual elements are important for showing what our style is?
Moon said there’s one element to style that affects it more than anything else. That element is shoes. He said, “In theater, I observe that shoes affect the way we behave from the ground up.”
“Shoes affect that more than anything. We wear shoes that create energy for us,” said Moon
Pettey said a key to style being elevated is to dress one level above where you are.
“I always say, ‘dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have,’” said Pettey.
How important is what we think of others’ style?
Pleas-Bailey said the importance of style comes from culture.
Pleas-Bailey said, “You know every girl has got to have rhinestone jeans on. Even if you got a flat behind and you don’t look good, everybody else got rhinestone jeans on.”
Moon had this thought on our judgments on our style.
Moon said, “We all judge by our own experience and that experience can be wrong. It could just be us too.”
Maggie Dunning is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.