ISU dress code for marketing students good idea


About 750 students at Illinois State University are dressing up for classes this semester.

That’s because the ISU College of Business has instituted a dress policy requiring students to wear “business casual” clothes to class.

At the risk of sounding like people from the “what’s the matter with kids today?” generation, we think it’s a fine idea.

And even better, the dress standards apply to faculty and staff as well.

The dress code has garnered national attention for the university, which is apparently has the only college of business with such a requirement.

Men are required to wear khaki, gabardine or cotton pants, neatly pressed; sweaters;  polo shirts, or cotton, button-down, long-sleeved shirts.

For women, business casual suggestions include khaki, corduroy, twill or cotton pants or skirts, neatly pressed; and sweaters, twinsets, cardigans, polo shirts or tailored blouses.

Those who are inappropriately dressed must leave class and lose credit for that day’s work.

The policy’s down side is that enforcing the dress code falls to the subjectivity of professors. That could lead to some different interpretations of what’s considered too wrinkly.

But by and large, preparing students for the real world is a good idea, the reason parents send their children to college. Students in marketing and business are generally planning to enter a working world that judges its own according to dress.

“I happen to think professional attitude is determined by the thing between your ears and not by wearing clothes that aren’t comfortable,” ISU student Todd Froemling writes in The Daily Vidette.

Sure, talent, determination and competency are more important than the fabric on one’s body, but without the proper attire those other attributes won’t matter much.

Dressing properly is like the price of admission for entering not only the business world, but many professions where first impressions matter.

Froemling goes on to write: “You can put Mike Vick in business casual and he’s still a dog killer.”

Proper business attire is no guarantee of ethical strength or business acumen, it simply tells potential bosses and clients that you’re smart enough to know what to wear and you’re not too lazy to wear it.

Quite frankly, there is a gulf between those who know how to speak, dress and act in the professional world and those who don’t. And the difference may have as much to do in determining career doors opening as does ability.

An area job recruiter tells the story of two equally qualified candidates interviewing for a plum job. The decision boiled down to dinner manners, specifically, how one of the candidate ate his French fries.

Requiring business students to dress up for class is a step in the right direction. Besides, it means students won’t be allowed to wear sweat pants and flip flops. Can’t say as that bothers us much.

—  The Register-Mail, Galesburg