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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Face-off: Pledge attire inspires masses, teaches important lesson

Face-off
Bryce Yzaguirre | The Reflector
Face-off

Every year, there is a new wave of freshmen just waiting to begin their journey on campus. One group of freshmen that is always spoken about is the pledges. Pledges are the backbone of student activity in the Junction on gamedays, and they are the saviors of the well-hydrated upperclassmen on weekends.
So many of us have stories of how a fraternity’s pledge went out of his way to help, support and enhance our days or nights. On that note, to quote Captain America, “if you are going to go to war, you have to wear a uniform.” 
Being on campus now, it does not take long to spot someone in the fabled “pledge attire.” The getup includes khaki pants, a polo or button down, a pin of two finger widths above the logo and of course, dress shoes. 
If I had to describe pledge attire in one word, the one that comes to mind is  simply “inspiring.”
Pledge attire inspires the masses. While walking through the junction after finishing classes on Friday, pledges are there doing the work to set up so you can enjoy a tailgate the next day. The attire connotes this act, and the act is in and of itself, inspiring. 
Sure, one could argue that it is pointless for anyone to be wasting away their tide pods to wear the exact same clothes for most of the semester, but they would be missing the point. 
If you ask a member of a fraternity why this attire exists, they will simply say that it teaches them how to dress professionally and prepare them for when they must dress more formally every day. Ultimately, this is not wrong. 
As someone who was formally charged with deciding what my fraternity’s associate members wore every day, I took into consideration a universal truth. To put it simply, most guys do not learn how to dress before college, if ever.
“Pledge attire” is not solely khakis and button downs. Every day from the moment bid day hits until the end of the process or initiation day, they are told specific rules on what to wear.
There were many rules I had to follow as a pledge. I had to wear a watch every day, as it is rude to check your phone mid-conversation or in class. We were also not allowed to wear hats, as we needed to know how to style our hair, and some consider it rude to wear a hat inside. 
Ultimately, while pledge attire may be a strange concept, it exists so that there are not men walking around campus with long black socks hiked all the way up and shorts past their knees each day. 
I am not saying it is not okay to wear that, but fraternities want their members to always be presentable. Fraternities want pledges to represent their organization in a good light, and that is easiest when you are confident and look presentable. What better, subtle way to raise confidence than looking good on any given day?
I used to always hate dressing up. I would often say in high school that if it was socially acceptable to wear sweatpants and a hoodie everywhere, I would. A friend of mine, however, put it into perspective for me a few years ago. 
On the topic of dressing nice, he simply said, “I love formal attire; you just cannot look bad in a suit that is made for you.”
It is hard to look bad wearing certain things. The key to looking nice can be boiled down to what the occasion is, and if the clothes you are wearing fit like they are made for you. 
This is the reason I find pledge attire so important. Sure, you can make fun of it all you want, but it does not bring anything but joy. While it is an odd concept, if it only brings out the good, it is a good concept. 

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Face-off: Pledge attire inspires masses, teaches important lesson