A casual conversation evolved into a school-wide experiment and an unexpected insight at Westside in the Department for Exceptional Children. Student Jonathan Conte noted that he felt more confident when he was dressed formally. He told teacher Joe Yockel that wearing a suit made him actually feel fresh and created positive energy. He wondered if others felt the same way. Conte proposed a “Fresh and Formal Day” for the school to find out.
Yockel liked the idea. The two worked together to build enthusiasm and get coworkers and classmates on board. “Participation was great,” said Yockel. Westview was transformed for a day: Students in dresses, suits and ties as well as normally informal staff members dressed in their stylish best. Conte went one step further, creating handmade paper boutonnieres for a finishing touch.
The lesson? “How we dress not only influences how others perceive us,” said Yockel. “It changes how we see ourselves. It can give us confidence and help us to become the people we want to be.”