I've never really updated my wardrobe until I got to college, but even then, freshman year was a blur of hoodies, sweatpants, and t-shirts. Then Sophomore year recruiting season hit me like an airplane, and I decided to dress for success... every day. I started wearing button-downs, nice blouses, sensible bottoms to class, and it transformed my life, all in the matter of a few weeks. Not only did my new outfits stand out in the sweats-clad 8 AM classroom, I also felt more confident under them, like being protected by suits of armor.
These changes didn't come easily though. I remember the first day wearing a nice shirt to class, I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious and became extremely restless by the end of the day. I also had to endure endless questions of "Why are you dressed up?", "Where are you going?", "Oh my gosh, do you have an interview?", etc... Although there was also some "You look so nice" and "I love that outfit", eventually, I couldn't stand the feeling and changed back into t-shirt and shorts.
Nevertheless, I kept on wearing the new outfits, even starting a slogan with my roommate: "Another day, another button-down". Surprisingly, I started to notice the difference. People took me more seriously and strangers treated me like an adult (that is an accomplishment coming from a 5 foot 2 girl with a baby face). In group projects, I found a voice, and I was able to get comfortable enough to speak up more in class. This changed the entire dynamic of school for me because as I contributed in class, people remembered my face and I ended up making a lot of connections.
Fast forward to five weeks later, I was completely comfortable in a nice shirt and pants, and I could easily imagine myself working as a professional outside of school. It's been an adjustment, but one that was surely needed.