Dress code: Style murderer!

Dress code: Style murderer!

So, it’s been about a week more or less that your college re-opened. There’s excitement to re-group with your “gang” and most of all flaunt the new clothes you bought during the vacation.

So, it’s been about a week more or less that your college re-opened. There’s excitement to re-group with your “gang” and most of all flaunt the new clothes you bought during the vacation. But, seniors remember when they were sent back home from college to change an outfit deemed inappropriate by the management and freshers are imagining thought bubbles of ‘expectation vs reality’ memes when it comes to college fashion the dreaded ‘dress code’ has put a gloomy cloud of everyone’s fashion choices.

Welcome to your college days! A place where you thought you’d be far away from the clutches of “uniform”, but civil dress comes with its own rules. While ‘fashion’ is a practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories and makeup, style is personal. There is no herd to follow, no rules, no seasons.

In college, looking good is important to feel great and make new friends. You need to be confident about who you are and what you wear, and in order to delve in and have fun with fashion, you need to first understand your own sense of style. But, can you find your style amidst the strict dress codes?

One of the things distinguishing colleges in Hyderabad with their counterparts in other cities like Bengaluru is the relaxed dress code here; most universities in other South Indian states permit girls to wear only kurtis with salwars and patialas and no, leggings are not allowed.

On the other hand, at the ICFAI Business School (IBS) there are no dress rules. Students can wear whatever they want, and the privilege is not abused. Most of the girls wear casuals, namely, jeans and a t-shirt. However, the Villa Marie College for Women in Somajiguda presents a stern image; girls are not allowed to wear sleeveless clothing, and anything that ends above the knee may end up sending you home.

At the St. Francis Degree College for Women in Begumpet, while rules exist, they are not enforced strictly. Officially, students are supposed to wear kurtis, but the girls are at liberty, and usually wear what they want. If any strict teacher finds their clothing inappropriate, they are reprimanded.

While a few “rebels” defy the dress code, they are immediately told to go ‘cover themselves up’ by the lectureres. However, most girls live in fear when they wear as their style pleases. Priyanka Dembla, a second year intermediate student from Villa Marie says, “I rarely wear sleeveless clothes in college.

Our teachers scold us in front of the entire class if we do, even though it is a girl’s college. I wear sleeved tops and jeans.” A second year Arts student from the city, Joanne Lopes says, “We have strict rules in our college. I wear leggings only on the days that we have one or two classes, or lenient teachers. We fall in quite a lot of trouble if the HOD catches us breaking the dress code.”

The fashion colleges of the city, however, present a sensible picture. For instance, the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Hitec City and Hamstech in Punjagutta, there is no such thing as a dress code. The students wear anything from crop tops to shorts.

Praachi Nagpal, a first year student comments on her college outfits, “I wear shorts, t-shirts and crop tops to college because they are comfortable and a part of my style. Another reason is that around summer it gets really hot in the college area and the heat in the classrooms is unbearable. These clothes keep me cool. We don’t have a dress code, so I wear whatever I want.”

Dress codes have been in the news for time immemorial. More recently there was the whole NEET drama, which was quite a dreadful experience for many. Elsewhere in world, a 12-year-old was banned from a chess tournament on the grounds of vulgarity for wearing a skirt! As absurd as it sounds, moral policing continues to rule the society and “chhi-chhi thu-thu” on a youngster’s choice of attire teamed with the evergreen notion, “what will people think” is the biggest murderer of personal style.

What needs to be understood is that these college going girls will be the future of the fashion industry. College is a time to discover who they are, and that includes finding their personal style. If one doesn’t get to explore their sense of style at an impressionable age, then India is far from creating respectable avant garde fashion; we’ll have to do with prêt and bridal couture for the rest of our fashionable years.

By Devanshi Maloo

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