The Texas YMCA Youth and Government program has a long and sophisticated history, extending over 7 decades prior to today and including thousands of students. Because of its highly respected past and the professional environment of the organization, a strict dress code is required for all students to follow. Through the artistic lens of the YMCA guidelines, many students take the opportunity to express their unique, creative styles and aesthetics through the way they dress. 

The dress code, called for by the YMCA, describes a professional, neutral outfit meant to portray the sincerity and professionalism of the Youth and Government conferences. Despite the supposed similarities of dress between students, they actually tend to differentiate often. 

Many suits are specially tailored in their own way, and jackets often show as a dark blue, green, red, or more. Shirts worn under blazers and coats are typically very different in their designs, showing threaded motifs and patterns, buttons and pockets, and all in every color of the rainbow. Students wear shiny or suede shoes and classy loafers, along with all kinds of heels, flats, or pumps. 

And not only outfits influence the radiant confidence these students manifest; hair and makeup, accessories, even the bags and briefcases holding propositions and notes accentuate each and every student’s individual ensembles. Here are a few Youth and Government participants explaining their choice of outfit and what it means to them. 

Ryder Trent, of Broadcast Media, is wearing gray pants, a classy purple button-up dress shirt, and unique diamond-patterned socks. He asserts, “(This outfit) makes me feel confident in myself and my ability to do my job.” Confidence in yourself is essential to Youth and Government as a whole, especially at the Texas Capitol, in which every student is challenged to present multiple projects, pieces or presentations over a few days. Being optimistic and secure in the way you represent yourself, your faction, and your school will always help your skills for Youth and Government organizations. 

Pictured above is freshman broadcast media delegate Ryder Trent.

Evan Lee, the Social Media Editor in Chief, wears a deep indigo-blue suit which stands out against the black-suited crowd. He explains, ¨Being a part of Youth and Government for 7 years makes outfits seem repetitive… I wear different clothes to stand out.¨ Lee spoke of how he once wore an outfit combining baby blue and pale pink, which made him recognizable to others.  This expression combines composure and confidence, two necessary mindsets to have at Youth and Government conferences. Being able to be easily distinguishable from within a large group can help with the way others perceive you. Along with implementing the style you enjoy into your professional way of dress, your confidence at Youth and Government, and your recognizable look can immensely help the way you conduct yourself and the image you project in trial, debate, or interviews. 

Social Media State Officer Evan Lee showing off his Sean John indigo-blue suit. 


Zoe Costanza, a House of Representative Delegate, wears a lightly checkered black-and-white blazer over a sharp black minidress and platform block heels. She says, “How’s a delegate supposed to girlboss without heels?” Her outfits show her creativity in her professional appearance by applying the clothes and aesthetics she likes into the diligent courthouse dress code. This kind of expression combines personal interests with public rule. What many people find beneficial in Youth and Government conferences is assimilating familiar aesthetics into the YMCA dress code, which, especially to newcomers, can seem stressful, strict, or plain. Being able to wear something you enjoy wearing, while still adhering to the proper dress code guidelines, is a fantastic source of self-assurance, comfort, and certainty of one’s own abilities in a court setting.

No matter what you choose to wear at Youth and Government, your ever-present unique and artistic touches to your outfits and appearance can all help your overall productivity, confidence, and happiness. Always have fun with your style in Youth and Government!

Written by: Abigail Adams