Hurley: Stop the sweatpant scourge

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Photo by Patrick Hurley.

My fellow undergraduates, it’s time to clean ourselves up. Spring is here (maybe), birds are chirping, bean boots are being shed for flip-flops, and you — yes, you — are still wearing sweatpants. I understand the impulse: you’re overworked and underslept, certain parts of your body jiggle more than the green Jell-O in Berkeley, and you haven’t color-organized the dark, bottomless hole that you call your wardrobe since Mommy drove off last August.

But let’s be real: I don’t care, and our beautiful campus doesn’t either. Unless you’re planning on sweating profusely, you’re not allowed to wear sweatpants. Just don’t. But here’s a disclaimer: when I look out of the Starbucks window at 7 a.m. and see varsity athletes, clad in their team sweats and heading to Payne Whitney (wherever that is), I am filled with admiration. I am impressed by their resolve to combine scholarship and athletics, and I accept — no, respect — their outfit choices. I imagine that, while playing with balls or swinging things around, these athletes actually make use of their sweatpants. When I see you, on the other hand, sedentary afternoon denizen of Bass, studying away in grey heather lounging clothes, I am filled with surprise and anger. I’m forced to flee upwards into the living world and stare at the sun until my eyes are cleansed.

You see, when you don’t bother to pick out real clothes for the day, you are doing a disservice to your school, its noble architecture, and the people around you. Recall the heady, exciting feeling of the semi-formal, dress-up dinners of freshman year. There you were, in an ill-fitting but passable blazer from high school, a maybe-silk tie around your neck, sitting with legions of acceptably dressed frosh. No one was sporting Dior Homme (okay, except that kid from Paris), but everyone looked fine, and you were happy to realize that you’d be spending four years with these quasi-stylish people.

Now, think about a typical Saturday brunch in your college. Students stream into the dining hall in whatever tatters they can slip on, as if there were a law against wearing clothes found anywhere but on your bedroom floor. It’s depressing, dammit. The grey-and blue-clad zombies mull over their Tater Tots, their unkemptness telegraphing their intention to go straight back to bed after their meal, as soon as they can shuffle their slippers over to the tray drop-off.

It’s time for all of us to start looking the part. Gone are the days when we would argue with our mothers over the right to wear different-colored socks to kindergarten. No matter your academic or extracurricular interests at Yale, we are all pre-adults. This means that we are all becoming increasingly responsible for our own choices; one of our most basic decisions is how to present ourselves to the world. You wouldn’t wear sweatpants to work at a Fortune-500 company, would you? Well, right now, being a student is our job — and we are at one of the best academic institutions in the world. It’s time to dress for the part. On a daily basis, some of the world’s most respected minds gather to share their knowledge with us, treating us as their academic partners. They deserve our respect. And we owe it to ourselves to look like we deserve to be in the same room as them. If we dress sloppily, thinking sloppily is sure to follow.

I don’t want a dress code. I don’t want people to be slaves to the world of fashion or to wear stupidly expensive scarves or silly sandals. What I want is simple, really. I want you to look like you care, just a little. Put on a pair of jeans. Preferably skinny, but any will do. The sweatpant scourge must end.

Patrick Hurley is a junior in Pierson College.

Comments

  • penny_lane

    “Well, right now, being a student is our job — and we are at one of the best academic institutions in the world. It’s time to dress for the part. On a daily basis, some of the world’s most respected minds gather to share their knowledge with us, treating us as their academic partners. They deserve our respect. And we owe it to ourselves to look like we deserve to be in the same room as them. If we dress sloppily, thinking sloppily is sure to follow.”

    Well said!

  • ohreally

    it’s wholly dependent on where you’re heading and who you’re going to be seeing for the day. If I have a giant lecture and hanging out with some friends afterwards–I see no point in having to wear anything other than sweats and a tshirt. I have the rest of my life to dress up for people I don’t know. Let me enjoy my college years in sweats.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Try overalls. They’re less gansta than a hoodie, but they’re comfortable and they transcend even the lowest benchmark of style.

    I used to wear overalls to preppy Yale Divinity School because I worked as an apartment superintendent in New Haven.

    (See how those overalls and the Yale Police’s incorrect inference from that garb, that I was a townie, got me handcuffed and arrested at the Divinity School for “shouting”: letter to President Giamatti “A Small Victory for the Black Victim” http://yalegrad80.blogspot.com )

    When I left fashionable Yale I wound up in Vermont.

    People attend church in Vermont in overalls–sometimes funerals.

    The only State in the Union to outlaw slavery in its Constitution, Vermont (most of Vermont) judges character, not clothing; INSIDE not OUTSIDE:

    First Jewish woman Governor; a Socialist Mayor turned U.S. Senator; a nudist turned U.S. Senator; First civil union law; First statewide ban on billboards and soon, first state in the Union (I believe) to have the foresight and self-preservation to decommission a nuclear power plant.

    No more poison,

  • 20paws

    Thank you Patrick – I agree completely…. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, brush your teeth – feel better, get taken seriously,

  • ricnic911

    “You wouldn’t wear sweatpants to work at a Fortune-500 company, would you? Well, right now, being a student is our job — and we are at one of the best academic institutions in the world.”

    You wouldn’t wear sweatpants to a wedding. But right now you’re married to college, so put on a gosh darn tuxedo.

    This is the snootiest thing I have ever read.

  • ROFLCOPTER

    This is seriously the worst thing I’ve ever read in this paper. So I have to dress up to go get a damn grapefruit from the dining hall? Seriously, this was terrible. I’m now going to make a point to wear sweats as often as possible.

  • UnaPalomaBlanca

    #firstworldproblems doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  • Alex13

    Dude, this is one of the most toolish unnecessary articles I have ever read in my life. (I’m not saying you’re a tool; maybe you’re a nice person.) If there is any problem with the Yale undergraduate student body, it is that we are too judgmental of our peers. Please let us wear sweatpants in peace. We will not judge you if you show up to class in a three piece suit.

  • roflairplane

    Alex13 is a barbarian. Sweatpants are disgusting.

  • abba

    Darlings,
    Overalls and sweats are only acceptable for those under 3 and over a certain age, i.e., those who are incontinent. I went to school in New York. If you wanted to be taken seriously you couldn’t show up for class in a pile of grey yarn, recycled fleece and fabric that looked like dryer lint. Yale students don’t seem to catch the nuance between androgyny and asexual. Some years later, my daughter now is in college in New York. This winter, we marveled at the throngs of dully dressed, hermaphroditic students in New Haven, who blended in perfectly frozen, colorless slush.
    Having a little style never killed anyone. It never lowered an IQ. Dressing as if you’re expecting to gain 20 lbs. at an all you can eat buffet later in the day hurts us all. Think it over.
    Gracie

  • The Anti-Yale

    Darling Abba,

    Winston Churchill wore overalls. He called them “siren suits”. In his eighties he wore velvet overalls.

    PK

  • PhysicsAlum

    Putting on a damn pair of jeans is now apparently considered getting dressed up.

  • Goldie08

    I need a pair of velvet overalls post haste!

  • chuk

    Oh wow. How about you worry about your own clothes and others can worry about theirs. You don’t need to write an entire article on it. And if this sweatpants “problem” seriously bugs you this much, you have muuuuuch bigger issues. I’m embarrassed for you that you actually went through the process of thinking about this, then writing about it, then actually posing it to the YDN to get it published.

    Reevaluate your life.

  • penny_lane

    The clothes you choose to wear are a statement about how you want people to perceive you. If you want people to think you don’t care about the students in your lecture who showed up to learn and the professor who showed up to teach you, by all means wear sweatpants. If, on the other hand, you want to show these people the respect that is due them, wear real clothes.

    Dressing appropriately, like writing well, seems to be a lost art among many Yale students, alas.

  • 12

    please tell me this entire article is some sick joke.

  • y09

    Patrick Hurley, you are the ultimate troll. This is a joke, yes? With a line like “you are doing a disservice to your school, its noble architecture, and the people around you”, this MUST be satire.

  • thisiswhypeopledonotlikeus

    Only if all you preppy boys stop wearing collared shirts with sweaters. And argyle.

    Seriously, that stuff degrades our noble architecture.

  • lolcano46

    Can I still wear my onesie to brunch if I can’t wear sweats then?

  • Alex13

    OK, so I want to apologize for the severity of my comment earlier – it was hyperbolic and not at all kind, the type of thing that is very easy to write on the internet. I was just sort of taken aback – it’s great if it works for you to conceive of yourself as a “pre-adult” who is best served by a certain dress code, but if other people are most comfortable doing something else, why not let ‘em?

  • y12a

    This is an interesting idea! I never really thought about it before, but the way the argument is presented should at least make us think about our choices everyday, at least those in our wardrobes. Insightful piece

  • as0309

    I will now wear sweatpants everyday and everywhere at Yale. Patrick, please go to Harvard, I am sure alot of people there would love your thoughts on the issue. And take your fans with you.

  • The Anti-Yale

    If clothing had to live up to architecture in which it is worn, what would one wear in Philip Johnson’s Glass House, or in The Crystal Cathedral? The Emperor’s new clothes?

  • ShaveTheWhales
  • the_man1

    “…and you haven’t color-organized the dark, bottomless hole that you call your wardrobe…”

    -Do you really organize your wardrobe according to color Patrick? Maybe you do need to take part in more extra curricular activities if you have that kind of time on your hands.

    “When I see you, on the other hand, sedentary afternoon denizen of Bass, studying away in grey heather lounging clothes, I am filled with surprise and anger. I’m forced to flee upwards into the living world and stare at the sun until my eyes are cleansed.”

    -We are studying Patrick, not modelling for you, you should keep your eyes on your books and stop trying to check people out.

  • cindylou

    As much as I love my sweatpants, they rarely see daylight. If they’re comfortable enough to sleep in to or trudge to breakfast in the wee hours of the morning, then wearing them anywhere else is a bit rude to the people I’m meeting. It’s like saying “Hey buddy, I don’t respect you enough to change my clothes after waking up this morning. In fact, you might be wondering if I even bothered to shower before we got together. No worries, though, I think I’ve only worn these sweats like… four times since I last washed them. Maybe five. Oh look! A mustard stain, how colorful.” Besides, we all have our comfy jeans and they’re 10x more presentable than sweatpants; maybe if elastic waistbands come back in style we can have the best of both worlds. Until then, I will silently judge those who wear sweatpants all. day. long. Unless the opportunity to anonymously trash them on the internet arises. ;)

  • blueandwhite14

    It’s really funny, actually, because I was just pointing out to a friend how I wish Yale was a place where wearing sweats or grungy clothing would be acceptable. And this article completely highlights my point.

    What’s wrong with dressing comfortably? Why do I have to make such an effort to dress well for my 9:25 language class, because if I don’t, I’ll be the only one dressed as a “slob”? Why can’t we go to Bass at 7pm in our flannel PJs, curl up on a couch and read for our English class?

    Pfff.

  • Luke_Bavarious

    Sweatpants afford me the degrees of freedom necessary for activities such as studying, disregarding females, and acquiring currency. Clothes may make the man, but currency breeds the hero.

    Luke Bavarious, M.D.

  • YaleMom

    Luke you are wrong in baVARIOUS ways! Wait till you get out in the real world — you’ll find out that people would rather have a nice doctor than a rich hero!!