If I were to ask you to picture the typical man on a night out in Tigerland, you would probably imagine them wearing something like this: a purple polo, khaki shorts or pants, Sperry's and a baseball cap. The style is commonly associated with frat boys, but many of non-fraternity affiliated men sport the same outfit on their nights out.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress like other men, especially if the style is one that you genuinely enjoy wearing. From a sociological point of view, clothing is one of the primary methods we demonstrate group membership. Wearing an LSU polo can be an easy way of proudly affirming your status as a Tiger.
However, given the sheer volume of men wearing the exact same outfits, night after night, at bars across Baton Rouge, I suspect that a big part of men’s reliance on the outfit is an unwillingness to try anything more out-of-the-box.
As a woman, it can be frustrating to put effort into choosing an outfit, styling your hair and applying the right makeup, just to encounter a sea of men wearing identical outfits. This frustration does not stem from wishing that I could spend less time on my appearance and still be within the social norm. Rather, the process of getting ready is a ritual that adds to the excitement of a night out for many women, and I wish that more men could recognize the benefit of caring about your appearance instead of ridiculing it.
By dressing up, you create a clear distinction between your “normal self” and your “party self.” Although subtle, this subconscious shift can impact mood, excitement and willingness to go out at all. These assertions are not only based on my personal experiences, but also those of my friends.
In a 2015 study, participants randomly assigned to wear formal clothes exhibited greater abstract thinking and perceptions of power than those assigned to wear casual clothes. It is not a big leap to see how these findings may extend to the psychology of dressing for a night out.
Putting greater thought into an outfit does not mean sacrificing individuality or comfort. In fact, relinquishing the polo, khaki and Sperry uniform could do the very opposite. A new look could make you more confident, and you just might have more fun on your night out. Similarly, your individualistic outfit will make you stand out from the crowd, increasing the chances that you catch the eye of a Tigerland belle.
So to all the men who feel like their Tigerland experience is lacking, spend a few extra minutes rummaging in your closet next time you are getting ready to go out. It might make the difference between a lackluster night of blending in, and a next-level night of Tigerland fun.
Cécile Girard is a 19-year-old biology and psychology sophomore from Lake Charles, Louisiana.