Nautilus

Yes, It Matters What You Wear to an Exam

In May 2015, an official vote was held by the Oxford University Student Union about clothing policy. It was over whether to keep “subfusc,” a traditional uniform dating back to the mid-seventeenth century—comprised of a dark suit or skirt, black shoes, white shirt, and a white or black bow tie or ribbon—mandatory for exams. The vote was overwhelming: Over seventy-five percent of Oxford students wanted to maintain it.

The argument over subfusc centered on the drawbacks of perceived elitism versus wholesome tradition. Some of the dissenters lambasted the outfit as snobbish, yet no one at the student union on voting day mentioned a recent scientific finding that could have completely changed

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