You’ve all seen them: the girls (and boys) who go about their days clad in garments meant exclusively for the gym. Nike shoes, lululemon pants, and high ponytails are an all-too-familiar sight around college campuses everywhere. It’s not too difficult to see why: the garments flaunt comfort, versatility, and a myriad of bright colors. In what other context can you wear neon yellow shoes with a bright pink tank top and be called “fashionable”? Answer: never. 

But all of that is about to change. 

This morning, presidents of 14 of the nation’s top universities announced their plans to impose a dress code on undergraduates, including Northeastern University, Boston University, and the University of Chicago. 

The rule would be enacted before the start of finals week of Spring 2016, and would mandate that gym clothes be worn only outside of class (i.e., will not be permitted as attire once you walk in the door of an undergraduate course). Professors and administrators believe that the rule will maintain professionalism, minimize stench, and eliminate distraction in class. 

“Students are coming directly from the gym and walking into class, still sweaty. The smell will likely heighten in intensity come summertime — really, the rule is in anticipation of a grave problem,” says president Joseph E. Auon of Northeastern University, in Boston. With the rapidly increasing average outdoor temperatures, one does wonder at the effects of such a climate change on the odors emitting from the campus gym, the Marino Recreation Center. 

However, club sport athlete and frequent gym-goer Gwyneth Barbara laughed at the prospect. “We use deodorant! And anyways, I wear my sweat with pride.” She smirked and crossed her arms, suddenly exuding with pride and sass. 

Male members of the community were a bit nervous at the idea of relinquishing their love of basketball shorts, but quickly regained their bearings upon reassurance that pastel-colored shorts are compliant with the new dress code. 

However, there remains resounding disappointment at the thought of females who frequent the gym being forced to wear baggier, less revealing pants. 

Upon being interviewed, contrary to all expectations, one anonymous male fraternity member gave us a statement in support of the change. We explained to him that polling results in the past from various fraternities have cited high support of gym leggings in class. What caused the change of heart? Why does this man stray from the support so often given by his brothers? 

“Girls be doing squats, you know,” the man said, shifting nervously in his seat. “And with the lululemon pants showing up to class, my grades are really suffering. It just isn’t fair.”

So not only are there odiferous consequences, but the effects stray into the academic realm as well. Students are at school to learn, it’s true — are the leggings worn at the gym a huge deterrence to school success? 

Regardless, opposition of the new rule is building quickly. Women everywhere are protesting outside of the president’s chambers wearing all spandex. “It’s our right to wear whatever we damn well please. I’ll come to class in just my sports bra if I want to” stated one protestor. 

In fact, some women are even burning their business casual; smoke rises from the campuses as dress pants everywhere are set aflame. 

One particularly enraged Business Major started a fundraising campaign to support opposition of the rule. Staked out in front of the local Whole Foods, “Booty for Booties” has raised a grand total of $600,000 so far towards their cause. 

Another student, a Human Services Major named Amanda Godfrey, has attempted to start a letter writing campaign. However, none of the letters written by the frequent attendees of the weight room were grammatically correct or spelled with accuracy, so Amanda says her campaign will take some time to set into high gear. 

Students have raised up several important questions about the bill. For instance, one student wondered if she could wear her workout clothes on days when she wasn’t in fact going to the gym at all, but rather just going to class and then immediately back to her dorm to eat a fresh batch of cookies. Would such a scenario be acceptable, or would she be subjected to attending class and treating herself to cookies in less comfortable attire? 

University presidents have declined comment on answering this question along with others that wonder about other forms of clothing, such as sweatpants. 

Regardless of the alleged benefits of the new rule, there’s no doubt that the universities’ decision has sparked some controversy. In sum, the most important question remains: what else am I supposed to wear to class?


About The Author

Holly is a senior at Northeastern University from Boca Raton, FL, where she is a double major in English and Mathematics. She loves books, math, and all things nerdy, as well as fitness. Holly is a group fitness instructor at her school's gym and at BURN Fitness Studios. Her favorite classes right now focus on HIIT training and cardio boxing.

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