Senior prom — also known as a fancy night out that I rarely ever got. By fancy, I mean that I got my hair and make-up done by our local hair stylist, wore a pretty dress from Macy’s for under $100, and got a pair of shiny heels at Sears. I certainly do not remember this night in my teenage years for its oh-so-fantastic memories of scrambling for a dinner table at the last minute because of my lack of the typical consistent group of friends.

No, that night was about me getting dressed up for something better than a date who I would have been forced to take "couple pictures" with or people other than close friends who probably did not give a damn about me. I got what I consider “all dolled up” for me, myself, and I — to have fun. It was a rare night where I felt like a princess — and not the damsel-in-distress type. It was a night to get dressed up and simply look like a fairytale princess — not embody the actions or, even worse, promote the storyline where the happily ever after only comes once a man saves a woman from an oh-so-terrible circumstance.

Looking pretty or feeling good about what you wear should come from within instead of simply for the approval of others, whether it be your significant other, friends, family, or even strangers.

It feels freeing to present yourself the way you want to instead of being forced into outfits that don’t make you feel good. Even as a junior in college, I still am discovering my own style — which is usually a mixed bag, from jeans, a tee shirt, and sneakers one day, to a big skirt, heels (or flats, for people like myself who are constantly on-the-go) and a sweater the next.

Recently, I have grown into a fascination with dressing up in suits or simply clothes that would typically be worn to “the office” or “work.” I use these terms in quotations to represent a place in my life where I aim for the work-life balance once I finish graduate school and enter the profession I have been considering for quite some time. I recently went to an interview for a career development opportunity where I had to dress professionally. I was so caught up in the mood afterward and how the suit pants, blouse, and sweater with flat shoes that I was wearing made me feel professional and confident, that I wound up wearing those clothes the entire day while running around doing errands left for my day off.

This feeling was so great that I decided to wear the suit pant, blouse, and sweater combination to my first graduate school information session. Walking around a place where I may attend to reach my career goals in attire that gave me more feelings of being professional instead of simply another minimum wage customer service employee made me realize that I am ready to move into the working world and reach my dreams.

An important note in this is that you should also feel comfortable in what you are wearing. Even though I may be comfortable in clothes that do not show my cleavage or upper thighs, does not mean that someone who is comfortable in these clothes should be shunned or looked at as if they have three heads. Why do you care so much about what a stranger is wearing anyway?

Whether you make an effort to dress nice for every occasion (including your 9 a.m. lecture) or you live the no make-up, jeans, tee shirt, and sneakers kind of life involved with comfort, you should be confident and/or comfortable in the clothes you put on in the morning. The clothes do not make the person, but from experience, they can give that boost of confidence that you might need when you least expect it.