Something seemingly so simple as what you wear in the morning can be an aspect that others use to represent you as a person. Joanna Gentsch, a developmental psychologist and senior lecturer of Behavioral and Brain Sciences who always looks fashionably put together, said that she dresses up because it’s the professional thing to do. By putting in some effort, one can end up feeling better. Additionally, one’s outward appearance can be a reflection of one’s mood or state of mind, which others pick up on.

“Social psychologists talk about first impressions, and there’s a lot of work to support it,” Gentsch said. “People definitely make instant judgements that consequently lead them to other ideas about others.”

This is a concept that students in previous generations seemed to take to heart, but has shifted throughout the decades. Public affairs senior Aspen Wilkins, president of UTD’s fashion club, said fashion reflects culture, and whatever is going on at the time.

In the early 1900s, people showed that they were rich by wearing complex clothes because it meant that they had servants to help them get dressed, Wilkins said. With the Great Depression through the 20s and 30s, attire became more casual. In the 50s and 60s, people started pushing limits by wearing shorter skirts. Over time, society has become more casual, which is especially true in the modern day with factories making clothes for cheap prices.

“(Student fashion has) become so much more casual. It kind of makes me a little sad in terms of how casual it’s become,” Wilkins said. “I look back at my parents in college, and my dad was in polos and chinos and Sperrys and my mom was in a little dress. There was a general spirit of ‘I’m in school; I’m here to learn and respect you, professor’ and I think we’ve kind of lost that.”


Dressed neatly in a striped turtleneck and skirt, Wilkins said it feels really nice to wake up and feel like you’re dressed the way that you feel. When people are dressed well, they feel more prepared to take on the day.

“It’s proven that when you dress up, you feel better,” Wilkins said. “That’s why you’re encouraged to dress up in a business environment. It elicits respect from the person that you may be working for, the person you are meeting with or talking to, and they will respect you more. You will feel happier if you are dressed up and you’re not in the same clothes you slept in.”

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Black and white long sleeve bottoming skirt

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