With exam season coming up, the sense of impending doom is officially starting to permeate my work-life. As many of us feel, fashion is pretty far down on the list of priorities during exam time, especially now that they are online – who has the energy or time to pick out the perfect outfit when you might accidentally miss a deadline?
And honestly, who can blame you. Becoming an exam season fashionista shouldn’t impact academic work! That said, there is something to say for having ‘exam fashion essentials’ – essentials which are comfortable, stylish and easy to grab when you’re running out of time. Just because you’re super busy, it doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon dressing to impress (even if it’s just to impress yourself). There’s definitely a middle ground, it may just take a little think as to what works for you.
My first essential rule is ‘don’t wear anything that you would sleep in’
Whilst it is incredibly tempting to wake up after a late night of studying, log on to DUO for your 9:30 exam with 30 mins to spare and just get it done, you’ll feel more awake and prepared for your exam if you’re dressed normally. “Going” to an exam in your pyjamas might make it more difficult to concentrate, if that’s even possible in pandemic times!
For me, a pair of ‘Mom Jeans’ is my choice for avoiding wearing tracksuits or pyjama bottoms in my exams. They’re super comfortable and feel like you’re wearing pyjamas whilst also giving that air of ‘put-togetherness’ that jeans seem to exude.
My second essential rule is ‘don’t wear anything that might irritate you’
For me, tight t-shirts and woollen jumpers are two fashion items that look fabulous but end up irritating me about 2 hours into wearing them. Tight-fitting fashion is a risky move to take in exam season. Whilst it is true that you can now get changed midway through an exam if you are uncomfortable, why would you waste the time and mental energy on choosing a new outfit when you could just dress for success the first time around?
The same goes for wool – I find wool and wool-adjacent fabrics incredibly itchy and find myself getting distracted by the feeling of those fabrics against my skin. Instead of going for a ‘fashionable’ jumper, choose your soft, favourite clothing. The clothes that make you feel confident but aren’t a struggle to take on and off.
My third and final essential rule is ‘keep everything you might need for exam season “there”’
It sounds obvious but keeping your lip balm, favourite scrunchie, laptop charger and any other ‘essentials’ in a little basket by your desk can greatly reduce stress when you need an item midway through that really long essay paragraph or tricky science question.
Being organised is potentially my biggest essential for exam season, even if that means letting your household know exactly when you’re going to be working on said exams just to limit distractions during that period. My rule for my ‘essentials’ is: if I might possibly need it, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at the time, it goes on my desk.
Hopefully this list of what helps me might make it easier for you to focus on doing your best on all your exams and summatives that you have to complete. Just make sure you start the day by having everything you might need next to you, so you don’t have to scramble around searching for it. It may be blindingly obvious, but at the end of the day, what you wear during exam season isn’t as important as how you do on your exam. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in and good luck!
Illustration by Samantha Fulton