Are Sweatpants the New Skirt?

Anna Huelskoetter, Staff Writer

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            Sweatpants are the best article of clothing ever invented.  In today’s world, most people are more motivated by convenience rather than appearance. The ease of slipping on a pair of sweatpants and walking right out the door as well as the comfort these clothes provide are two of the main reasons students have begun to lean towards wearing sweatpants and hoodies rather than a skirt or a nice top to school. 

In the past, all of the studies conducted by researchers have proven that dressing up in nicer clothes has a direct correlation with people performing better on tests and being more successful in general. Although this may be true of past generations, nowadays only 19.2% of the students surveyed at Wheaton Warrenville South High School report that they dress up two or more days a week. That means that at least half of the week, students are dressed in comfier clothes over nice or professional attire. This casual style was not always “in” as Dierdre Clemente from Time Magazine wrote, “The idea of wearing sweatpants during my teenage years, the 90’s, was something almost every highschooler would scoff at.” Ironically enough, if someone walked into a highschool classroom today in anything more than jeans, they would definitely get some stares or questions.

As the number of students wearing dressy clothes decreases, so does the pressure highschoolers feel to look nice for school. On a scale of one to five, only 15% of students report feeling a pressure level of three to wear nice clothes. All remaining students stated that the level they felt was a one or two, meaning the amount of pressure students feel to dress nice has significantly decreased from past generations. The idea of what dressing up is has also evolved over time. When asked what dressing up was to her, senior Taylor Jamieson said it was wearing a “skirt or dress.” This was a very popular response among those who answered the survey. Others definitions described outfits of khaki pants and nice shirts as well as jean skirts with a nice top. According to similar studies done in the 90’s by Time Magazine, jeans and a t-shirt or sweatshirt was as casual as most students went. Many, in fact, opted for nicer clothes on a daily basis. Adults have attempted to point out flaws in this change stating that casual dress causes kids to be lazier and less productive. In reality, grades and GPA averages for highschool students are on the rise as according to a pew research study. 

The rise in popularity of comfortable clothing can be attributed to many things. Overall, our culture has become much more relaxed. The tech industry and the development of dress codes has greatly impacted what the countries youth wear. When kids see successful adults such as Steve Job doing presentations in jeans and a t-shirt, it supports the idea that they no longer need to wear a tie or dress to be successful. Societal influences are just one of the many influences of today’s trends, though they are the main reason so many highschool students walk around in sweats everyday of the week.