Dress Coding in the Gym: A Student Perspective

Students speak on the dress code at the fitness centers.

Covering up is back at the gym, but this time not just with masks. It is time to say goodbye to working out in cropped shirts and cut out muscle tees. Fitness center attendants are cracking down on a dress code, unbeknownst to most students. 

Though there have been no formal announcements or new policies made, for the past few days, students at the fitness centers on campus have been told that they must wear outfits that cover their midriff when working out. No actual citations have been given for dress code violations, but students are being told to make sure to cover up on their next gym visit. 

The reasoning behind the sudden change is unknown. Some students have been told it is for safety reasons, while others have heard it is because of COVID-19. 

“As I swiped my Wildcard to go into the gym, the worker at the front desk looked at my outfit and told me to cover up my midriff for safety reasons,” freshman Alexandra Loke said. “I do not mind doing that, I was just confused because I was never told this was a rule.” 

Loke is not the only student that has been approached by fitness center staff. Freshman Anna Wright explained her similar experience at the gym. 

“They said my midriff was showing and that it is against the rules,” Wright said. “I was told it was because of COVID-19 precautions.” 

It seems that there is a lot of confusion surrounding the new dress code, especially for freshmen who were never given guidelines on it. Freshman Maddie Koenig has explained her thoughts on the matter as well. 

“If there is no specific dress code in class, why is there a ‘dress code’ in the gym?” Koenig said. “And why is it not advertised more publicly?” 

Students appear to be willing to comply with the guidelines as long as they do not feel shamed or degraded for their outfits. They just wish that they were made aware of the new guidelines before entering the gym. The frustration seems to be with the lack of a logical explanation. 

“What does covering your stomach have to do with COVID-19?” an anonymous freshman asked. “I do not care if I have to wear different clothing, but you cannot just create a new dress code and not tell anyone until they are walking in. It was embarrassing for me.”

Even upperclassmen have thoughts on the matter.  

“Personally, I think it is a bit confusing and ridiculous,” an anonymous junior said. “The message is unclear as to why they are doing this, but either way it does not make sense to me. I heard it is because they want to prevent bacteria from spreading, but we know that COVID is not really spread through surfaces, so I do not get why students are being degraded for this.” 

While we can hope that the gym mask mandate goes away, the dress code does not seem to be going anywhere. At least this issue comes with an easy solution: be sure to wear your mask and gym approved clothing to your next fitness center visit to avoid any confrontation with staff members.