There is only one impression–the first. It is important, long lasting and vital to one’s future. While there are always opportunities to make another impression, it is during the first impression that decisions are made on our character. As many students head off to college for the first time, we want to remind you that while dressing comfy is always a pleasurable experience, it is important to remember that you will meet some of the most influential people of your life while in college. You will be introduced to your career, and you will start your journey into adulthood.

College is a milestone in your life, and what better way to show your appreciation for higher education and the experiences you will encounter than by getting all dressed up. Wearing a suit and tie or formal dress is a bit extreme, however a great slacks-collared-shirt -and-tie combination is suitable for the fellas. While a great skirt (more professional and less night club), fitted blouse or tank and an awesome cardigan will do for the young women.

Students such as Taylor Smith, who is heading off to Clark Atlanta in the fall, are very anxious to begin college and set the standards for the way they are perceived in their professional lives. She comments that while she will be getting away from her comfort zone of Southern Cali, she understands that everyone will be looking to her for the latest trends but her focus is set on presentation.

“For me it is more important to present myself in a professional way. During high school, I was very casual and didn’t really put too much into getting dressed. But, in college you never know who is watching and something racy and over the line can be the deal-beaker for certain opportunities.”

Smith is right, college professors double as important contacts, network links and often the recommendation between you and your next goal.
Dressing professionally for class is not only a great way to present yourself to others but also a great way to prepare for your future career. Tatiana Cole, a freshman entering Howard University this fall says, “I noticed many of my friends, who dressed too casually, struggled when it was time to find things to wear for interviews. (This left) their minds more focused on what they were wearing rather than preparing for the interview. I am very excited (about) college, although I know it will be a drastic difference.”
As a college graduate, I understand the importance of building a lasting reputation during the most substantial years of your life. What we wear is a distinct representation of who we are, and the way that we carry ourselves. Items such as blazers, scarves, ties and even cuff links can turn a casual outfit into something business appropriate and professional. Wardrobe pieces should not be pricey, because the cost of a garment does not define the person wearing it but, should be well-tailored, cleaned and pressed, which allows an individual to maintain a presentable appearance.
Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of Our Weekly.