RHYME AND REASON: Ladies, keep clothing appropriate

Angela Oliver

I’m from the South. That means I’m polite, coy and inherently subtle. In other words, I like to leave something to the imagination.

Some of my peers here, however? Not so much.

It seems that many of us, as women, don’t know our worth.

I hate to sound preachy or condescending; I’m nobody’s mother. But from a place of love and a bond of womanhood, I’ve noticed that some of you may need a little guidance.

Yesterday after class, I passed a young woman walking with her head down. She was dressed in a tank top, sleep bonnet, furry house shoes and shorts that may as well have been underwear.

I couldn’t see the logic in her consciously deciding to leave her dorm like that. And as much as I wanted to interject, all I could do was shake my head and keep walking.

But maybe she simply didn’t have a friend to tell her that wasn’t OK. Maybe no one ever told her she was beautiful.

We should hold each other accountable, ladies. And we should lift each other up.

Your whole attitude can change by the way you’re dressed. And it will change the way people perceive you. Though judging people by appearance is unfair, none of us can deny that we do it daily. If people have a negative perception of you, they won’t take you seriously.

It’s up to you to improve your image. House shoes are only meant for – you guessed it – the house. Hair should be dried before going to class – spare those who sit behind you from dodging your dripping mane. And as cutesy as your Love Pink pajamas may be, they are inappropriate for the public.

You might meet potential employers who are scouting in your major’s department. If you don’t look the part, you’ll get overlooked. As women, we deal with that enough.

While wet hair and PJs indicate doing too little to prepare yourself, some are guilty of doing too much.

During MASTER Plan move-ins, I volunteered by passing out water and popsicles with my organization. I noticed fathers and brothers with sweat-soaked T-shirts and comfortable tennis shoes. Then I noticed some of their daughters or sisters – lifting items, too – many in maxi-dresses, shorts with trendy blazers and boots, full makeup, jewelry and even a few in heels.

Once again, I was baffled at their choice of clothing. All of them looked great. But their wardrobes didn’t match the circumstance. A T-shirt and shorts are fine for moving in amid the sweltering August heat. But cheeky shorts scream, “Look at me!”

I’ve seen a few of those young women walking to class in 4-inch heels along with plunging necklines or ungodly short skirts that would be better fit for a club outing.

Again, they won’t be seen as professionals. And they might get unpleasant attention from men.

It’s natural to want admiration from the opposite sex, but I encourage you not to present yourselves that way, ladies. Your personality trumps showing skin.

Besides, if being scantily clad in class is the way you seek attention, I can bet it won’t be long-lasting.

Tupac said it best on “I Get Around,” his whimsical tribute to being a player. On one verse he rapped, “I hate to sound sleazy, but tease me. I don’t want it if it’s that easy.”

So treasure yourselves. Leave the sleepwear in your dreams, and keep the party dress on the hanger until your birthday rolls around.

I’m not suggesting that you wear a suit every day. But business attire is a good investment. I’m not saying you should ditch the primping routine; after all, it’s one of the fun parts of being a woman. But don’t wear so much make-up that your natural beauty can’t shine through.

Find a balance between comfort and confidence. And remember there’s nothing more attractive than self-respect.

This commentary doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the Herald or the university.