When picking an outfit for a day at LMU, it may be surprising that for some students, jeans are not an option. “Never, I’ve never worn jeans on this campus to a class,” said senior dance major Chelsea Cooper. “I feel like dancers are so creative and also express themselves through clothes a lot more than other people. So I’m like, ugh, it’s a missed opportunity.”
It’s only on rare occasions that dance majors witness their dancer peers in clothing other than athleisure wear. To dance freely their outfits must be mobile. At school, Cooper centers her style around comfort and function. Elsewhere, Cooper would describe her style as eclectic and vintage. To compromise, she uses jewelry to express that side of herself while in dance classes. “Sometimes I wish that I could wear a cute pair of jeans or like a cute outfit, but I have to be able to move in my clothes so that definitely limits what I can and can’t wear,” said Cooper.
This appears to be a universal feeling within the dance community at LMU. “I think when I’m walking around school I give off like ‘just came from the gym’ vibes,” said Sathu Jois, another senior dance major. “I definitely don’t think that’s how I would normally be dressing.” Outside of school, Jois describes her style as 70s influenced, with colourful and earthy tones. The last time Jois remembers wearing jeans to class was her first semester on campus, when she had one day with only core classes. She never wore them again.
Besides some ballet classes that require tight fitting clothes, the dance dress code at LMU is said to be less strict compared to other schools. “In the dance studio I’m able to dress how I would like to, so I can express myself that way,” said sophomore dance major Riva Walia. “In terms of like walking around campus, no, I don’t have any control over what I look like to the outside perspective.”
When planning an outfit, dance majors also consider, “‘Can these pants move the way I want them to?’ and ‘Can these pants move for the classes that I’m in?’ or ‘Do these pants fit the guidelines?,’” said senior dance major Hannah Quini.
According to sophomore dance major, Rory Dawson, the main restriction is that “You can’t go about your day if you don’t have clothing that allows you to dance all the time.” However, there are ways around this. “A lot of times, certain dance majors will bring a change of clothes throughout the day,” said senior dance and acting double major, Lottie Guidi. “We have other majors and core classes that mix in with our schedule. Not that I haven’t shown up in a leotard and tights to core classes before.”
There is also the solution of finding clothes that are both danceable and fashion forward. For example, junior dance and psychology double major, Madeleine Crowley, has found pieces over the years that check both boxes; “Like these pants.”
For dance majors, a simple opportunity to wear jeans to school is worthy of celebrating. “It’s a thing in the dance department where like you have a ‘Jeans Day’ and people know that you don’t have any dance classes because you are wearing jeans. People literally congratulate each other,” said Crowley. Or they hear, “I didn’t even recognize you!,” said Cooper.
LMU dancers were quick to remember their last ‘Jeans Day.’ “The one day I wore overalls, my friend said I should dress indie more often,” said Dawson. Some, specifically seniors, have completely given up on ‘Jeans Days’ in general. “People probably just assume that I come to school in my pajamas every day but it’s not true! My pajamas are cuter,” said Guidi.
In the end, style matters to dance majors more than what meets the eye, “It’s actually such an issue because I always feel like when people see me on campus, I never get to self express who I really am,” said Quini.