Athina: The online students' guide to uni style

Athina Cantle headshot
Athina graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management) in 2014. When she isn’t spending time pursuing a career in sustainable fashion, Athina is most likely thrifting, sewing, socialising with friends, or eating tzatziki.

In these cooler months, it’s tempting for your bed to double as a home office. Sporting comfy flannelettes, listening to lectures while having a lay down, coffee gingerly balancing on the doona, and of course a little procrastination as you post a flat lay of your study space to Instagram. Sound familiar? While a complete lack of dress code is a huge online study pro, putting a little effort into your appearance of a morning can actually help your motivation levels. Boosting your GPA just by getting dressed in the morning may sound like a stretch, but it’s certainly worth a go!

Athina taking photo of her study space, which consists of items on her bed 

Plus, dressing for success will prove a useful skill for years to come. As technology progresses and the idea of a flexible workplace becomes more prevalent, it’s likely that in the future you will have the option to work from home as an entrepreneur or employee.

Fashion Psychologist, Dr. Karen Pine, proposes that we adopt behaviours we associate with particular items of clothing, especially when those items commonly represent an activity in society. So, by this logic, wearing your pyjamas while studying could be sending sleepy signals to your brain, which isn’t great for your concentration!

Here are four ways that you can use your clothes to kick start a productive study session:

1. Spring clean your wardrobe

The tons of clothes you no longer wear or need are likely to be cluttering your wardrobe, making it difficult to decide what to wear in the morning. The more clothes you have to choose from, the easier it is to procrastinate and avoid study because it’s much more fun playing dress ups than making efficient fashion decisions and getting on with your day. Cull the garments you’re not wearing by dividing clothes into categories like donate, bin, rags, recover and sentimental. An easy way to identify clothes you no longer wear is to face all of your coat hangers in the one direction. Then when you wear, wash, and return an item to the closet, turn its coat hanger the other way. This will save you precious time in the future and ensure you can get stuck into your productive study sessions sooner.

2. Schedule your day in detail

Assign yourself a study session ‘start time’ and ‘finish time’, just as you would have as an employee. Setting this boundary will make you feel less guilty for having a few minutes of ‘me time’ and strategic outfit selection before you start hitting the books. At first, it may feel as though you are sacrificing precious study seconds. However, scheduling your day can also assist you in focusing on the task at hand and getting more done in a shorter period of time.

3. Dress for success

The saying goes that you should dress for the job you want, so unless you want to be a professional sleep specialist (doesn’t that sound dreamy!), ditch the pyjamas and dress to impress. Test Dr. Pine’s theory by studying in attire that’s associated with your future dream career. It might feel a bit strange at first to be sitting at home in your high-vis or your heels, but research shows that wearing professional attire can make you feel more competent.

4. Create a capsule wardrobe

We humans hate making too many decisions per day, as it leads to decision fatigue. Aldi depicts this perfectly in their latest ad campaign, where they promote how their limited product range makes deciding on which pasta sauce to buy a much faster process. So, apply this same theory and minimise your outfit options by creating a student ‘capsule wardrobe’ made up of 2 pairs of bottoms, 2–3 tops and a sweater that you can mix and match. Store these pieces in a draw separate to your other clothes and during your study-from-home days strictly choose your outfit from this curated selection. As a Fashion & PR intern, my work-from-home uniform consists of comfortable denim paired with a tucked in classic t-shirt or knit for colder days. Keeping in mind point number three, choose a capsule wardrobe that’s appropriate for your dream career.

Complete fashion freedom is just one of the perks of studying online, but remember that your threads can have a huge impact on your motivation and productivity. Steer clear of the pyjama trap and invest a little time and energy into owning your online study style and developing good fashion habits for your future career.

Share your ‘online student uniform’ by using #usqedu on social media.

For more uni style advice from USQ alumni, look no further!


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