I have always had something of a love for suits, and I welcome any occasion to wear one. At my high school, opportunities to don a suit come rarely, if ever. So my penchant for wearing them led me to create a new tradition.
At my Long Island high school, it is acceptable to wear pajama pants to class. Hooded sweatshirts are the norm. Typically, I am not at all opposed to this trend; fashion is not my forte, and I appreciate the comfort of a pair of baggy sweatpants on a cold winter day.
That said, I have always had something of a love for suits, and I welcome any occasion to wear one. Whether it is an academic tournament, a party, or even a funeral, I take a certain sartorial joy in buttoning my shirt and tying my tie before stepping out of the house.
At Half Hollow Hills East High School, though, opportunities to don a suit come rarely, if ever. Out of over 1,600 at my school, not one student voluntarily wore suits before me. So my personal penchant for wearing them led me to create a new tradition among my peers: Suit Mondays.
Most teenagers with a sense of embarrassment could not comfortably wear a full suit to school. Drastic deviation from the unwritten dress code is, of course, punishable by social exile. Only the least self-conscious of high school students would have the courage to do so.
Even if I wore a short-sleeved collared shirt, my friends would make comments. I realized, though, observing some of the ridiculous trends that can thrive in a school, that the only thing that could make something acceptable was to have other people involved. So when I found myself utterly unable to indulge my desire to show up to first period in a suit, I started talking to my friends.
I realized that every guy secretly loves suits and would wear them more often if it were possible. So my “Suit Mondays” suggestion went over well with them, even though only a handful joined me on the inaugural day. However, by the second Monday, two dozen were wearing suits in school. The following week, participation doubled again.
Now, a visitor to Half Hollow Hills East on the first day of the week cannot walk more than a few feet without seeing a surprisingly well-dressed young man in the hall. And the kids who are wearing the suits love the change of pace.
It was once true that sweatpants and jeans were essentially the only choices for keeping warm in school in the winter. Now, however, once a week, the male student body knows it is welcome to arrive in slacks and single-breasted jackets, and they know they will never be mocked for it.
The suits themselves make those wearing them both look and feel better, and general school morale is far better on Monday than it is on any other day of the week.
The tradition of Suit Mondays has now spread throughout my grade and my school — and could easily migrate to other districts as well. Hopefully this friendly and enjoyable tradition will live on even when the current seniors are away attending college.
The words of the impeccably dressed Barney Stinson, portrayed in the television series “How I Met Your Mother” by Neil Patrick Harris, ring true for myself and my peers: “Nothing suits me like a suit.”
Tyler Fisher is a graduating senior headed to Dartmouth in the fall.