Dressing up college edition
Victoria Zielinski | Asst. Opinion Editor | The USD Vista
Take a stroll down the University of San Diego’s campus and a few things might catch the attention of a passerby: the aesthetics of the scenery and the overall appearance of the student body. Students are typically well dressed, well groomed, and well on their way to classes or activities.
Students judged whether USD is a “dress-up” or “dress-down” campus and the general clothing choices of Toreros.
Sophomore Althea Fastidio stated that typical outfits at USD for females consist of dresses, rompers, blouses, shorts or jeans, paired with boots, sandals, and sneakers. For males, outfits consist of shorts with t-shirts, cardigans, polos, or button-down shirts. Some students also choose to wear athletic clothing to class.
“I think USD is a dress-up campus because I see a lot of people wearing fancy casual clothing around campus,” Fastidio said. “I saw people from another college wearing sweatpants and t-shirts to class — I rarely see that here.”
Fastidio shared that while she doesn’t think that students feel pressured to dress a certain way, she does believe that USD students as a whole enjoy dressing and presenting themselves well.
“It seems like USD students are centered more on appearance,” Fastidio said. “USD is an expensive school, so I just feel like some people have extra cash to spend to dress well.”
Senior Regan Richards explained that it seems that students carefully consider their fashion choices.
“I think that students do feel pressured to dress in a way that does not stand out from what most people wear on campus,” Richards said. “I don’t think that anyone wants negative attention drawn towards them for their clothing choices.”
Richards emphasized how USD students are proud to present themselves neatly during class.
“I think that appearance is definitely strongly taken into consideration at USD,” Richards said. “There are a lot of good-looking, fashionable people who go to USD and I think many students take pride in their appearance.”
Richards stated that clothing choices should not matter, but should instead be considered an expression of personality that is not judged or looked down upon.
“USD consists predominantly of students growing up in a society where looks are very important,” Richards said. “It should be about what each student is capable of and what their unique abilities bring to our campus, not about what clothing they wear!”
Senior Mallery Kiefus, a transfer student from Texas Christian University, stated that compared to her two years at TCU, USD is definitely a dress-up campus.
“At TCU girls wear oversized t-shirts and athletic shorts,” Kiefus said. “A lot of people wear Birkenstocks and Chacos. I see Birkenstocks sometimes at USD, but I don’t think I would ever see someone wearing Chacos here.”
Kiefus admitted to typically wearing athletic wear everyday.
“On my first day of classes at USD I wore what I would typically wear at TCU [a big t-shirt with shorts],” Kiefus said. “As I was walking around campus I started getting the full up-down looks from other girls.”
Kiefus explained that she is unsure whether students feel pressured to dress up, or if that is simply what they feel most comfortable in.
“I think that students dress up more here because it is the Southern California atmosphere,” Kiefus said.
Junior Celesta Loo, a transfer student from De Anza College in the Bay Area, explained how she was initially surprised by how students dress up for class at USD.
“At my old school, students would show up to class in pajamas,” Loo said. “Girls would have their hair tied up with no makeup on, and guys clearly didn’t put a lot of effort into their appearance. Many people showed up in sweats.”
Loo stated that compared to USD, community college dress is a lot more casual and relaxed.
“At USD, I felt compelled after my first day of classes to dress nice to class,” Loo said. “I make an effort now to pick out jeans and a cute top or a dress instead of leggings and a hoodie, which would have been fine at my community college.”
Loo explained it can be uncomfortable to stay in jeans all day when she’d rather be in leggings. However, she stated it is preparing her for dressing up to go to work everyday where professional dress is typically the norm.
T O’Rourke, a Communication Studies professor at USD, shared his opinions on student fashion at USD compared to other schools where he has taught, including San Diego State University and surrounding community colleges.
He noticed that compared to other schools, USD is a dress-up campus with its own style.
“SDSU has more of a surfer or Pacific Beach style,” O’Rourke said. “By the quality of clothes, shoes, and what students are wearing, you can tell students spend more money on clothes here.”
O’Rourke coaches students on interview attire and etiquette. As part of his class, O’Rourke teaches students about how to properly dress in nice attire for interviews.
O’Rourke explained a situation in which a student athlete mentioned to him that they would be coming to class after their sports practice.
“The student showed up to class in sweats post-practice, and they apologized to me for showing up with wet hair and sweats,” O’Rourke said. “They mentioned it so they would not come off as disprespectful.”
At another school, however, showing up to class in sweats might not even be a cause for concern.
“I hear about appearance more here, that students feel pressured to dress a certain way,” O’Rourke said. “I do not hear it as much at other schools, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
Not only do students at USD value their personal appearance, but they are practicing for what’s next. This also creates preparation for the future job market where employees are expected to appear neat and professional. Toreros seem to have a respect for their school and their professors, and display it through the quality of their dress.