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Dress for the Test

Arts & Culture | May 5, 2010

It seems like there’s always some sort of test going on. Whether it’s midterms, finals, or just a regular old examination, the same ritual gets repeated: procrastinate studying for exam, freak out about studying for exam, stay up until 3 a.m. cramming, and then drag yourself out of bed, throw on some sweats, and run over to said mental torture.

Well, Jumbos, I’m just a fashion blogger, so I can’t really help with steps 1-3. However, I am here to help the Tufts population with step four, AKA dressing for an important test. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who cares what you look like when you’re taking a test? You just want to get a decent grade. It just so happens, though, that there’s a definite correlation between how you dress for an exam and how well you do on it.

Whenever I go to take a midterm or a similar exam, I usually see guys in sweats and girls in Juicy Couture and Uggs. That’s exactly what you shouldn’t be wearing. Those Juicy Sweats and Uggs were great in 2005, but guys, it’s a new decade. Those are the kind of things that you can lounge around in your room in or watch Gossip Girl re-runs in, but they put you in a specific mindset. Comfy clothes with stretchy waistbands aren’t the sort of thing that make you want to sit up and recall obscure dates and facts; they make you want to lie down and take a nap. Plus, who feels cute in lounge clothes? I don’t care if they’re from Juicy Couture or Target, no one puts on a pair of sweatpants and thinks, “I feel adorable today.” You think, “Ugh,” or, “I’m tired,” or something along those lines.

What if you walked into an exam feeling cute and put together? Suddenly you are confident and prepared, ready to take on whatever nasty, ambiguously worded questions come your way. When you feel good about how you look, then you often feel good about yourself. Going into an exam feeling confident and chic will get you much better results than walking into a test in what’s basically a step up from pajamas.

I’m not saying that everyone needs to pull out a prom dress or six-inch stilettos just to take a chemistry midterm, but there are ways to look polished and still be comfortable. I’ll break it down into categories:

Bottoms: As much as I love dresses and skirts, I don’t recommend wearing them to exams. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been wiggling around in one of those rock-hard chairs, trying to get comfy, and ended up flashing someone in the front row. Not good. Instead, go for a pair of jeans with some stretch or maybe a thick pair of leggings. Both of those are easy to jazz up and still allow you to move and fidget without difficulty.

Tops: First off, if you’re going to wear a pair of leggings, wear a shirt that covers your butt. Just do it. For my sake. Either way, if you’re wearing a simple pair of bottoms, you can get away with wearing a fun shirt or sweater. I’d recommend a slightly baggy boyfriend v-neck with a fitted jacket or a more streamlined tee with a cozy, oversized sweater on top. Since you want to keep restricting layers to a minimum, you want to make sure that you have a warm jacket or sweater that’s easy to take off/put on. Also, the play on proportions between a larger shirt/smaller jacket or little shirt/big sweater is really flattering, as the fitted tee or jacket would ensure that your torso isn’t overwhelmed by all those layers.

Accessories: You want to keep accessories to a minimum—this is the worst possible time to wear that new set of bangles or those chandelier earrings. Instead, pick a big, festive scarf for pop of color (it can also double as a blanket it you get cold), and maybe a simple pair of stud earrings or a short necklace that won’t get in your way. Rings and bracelets will annoy you, and everyone around you, as you try to write.

Shoes: Do not, under any circumstances, wear flip-flops. When you get up to go to the bathroom, everyone in that room is going to want to kill you. Instead, slip on a nice pair of ballet flats for something simple and chic, or a pair of leather boots for a little extra polish (and warmth).

I know it seems ridiculous to put this much effort into dressing for an exam, but think of it this way. That test could affect your entire grade for the class, and maybe even your GPA. Wouldn’t you want to be as prepared as you possibly could be? For more fashion advice and self-indulgent rambling, check out my blog.