Addressing the Dress Code


June 6, 2016 by readlisaread

Along with cursive writing, spelling tests and worksheets, one of the conversations I get dragged into a lot is about dress code.  Well, guess what, dear reader.  I have an opinion about that.

Generally, asked my opinion about dress codes in Public Schools, I have pretty clear views. Generally, I am pretty opposed to anything that has to do with covering all of the body, 100% in support of banning anything that has lewd, suggestive, violent or racist images or slogans. I, as judge and jury, can determine instantly whether or not a t-shirt meets my approval.

But here is the the thing– it is not about whether or not something crosses the (imaginary) line of good taste and decorum, it’s about understanding that there is a line, and why one WOULD want to respect it.

The problem with school dress codes is that they almost always address clothing as a problem of a sexual nature. Particularly with regards to young girls. And especially in particular to how young girls’ clothing will affect young boys’ learning.

Excuse me for a sec, dear reader, I need to climb up onto my soap box and launch into a rather ad hominem argument, based on a sample size of 2.

I have successfully raised 2 teenagers, one of each gender.  To the best of my knowledge, while both kids are of average to above average good looks, physical fitness and general awesomeness, my daughter has never dressed inappropriately for school or work, and if ever her shorts were “too” short, it was because that was the fashion, not because she wanted to distract boys.  And when I say “the fashion”, I do not mean booty-shorts or Daisy Dukes, or anything in fashion at the clubs, I mean, appropriate, everyday teenage girl fashions. Remember back in the 1990s when fashionable business attire for women included lingerie tops under suit jackets?  Yeah, I thought so.  So you get off your high horse, but I am staying on my soap box.  Now, let’s add to that that I also have expectations of my son.  The main one being that he be respectful of his environment and all the people in it.  Simple.  If he were to be distracted by a scantily-clad girl, that would say as much (or more) about his character than hers.  But, let’s also not forget, my patient friend, that from the view up here, I see that I have been reminded that some things cannot genetically be helped.

So where does this leave us?  Simple. Remember that line of good taste and decorum I mentioned earlier? Consider it an expectation, and all other arguments fall away. “No shirt no shoes no service”=”No one takes offence at that”.  How about we train our boys (and not a few full grown men) to REMOVE THEIR BALL CAPS INSIDE AND DURING PRAYER AND THE NATIONAL ANTHEM ? Oh, pardon me, friend, I pulled the soap box up here onto my high horse.  Whoops.

But really, to me it is simple.  Business casual exists for a reason.  It means you can be comfortable and not look like a damn slob.

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I had a breakfast meeting this morning at a hotel where I’m attending a conference.  My table-mate was wearing a suit and tie, and I was wearing a dress, hose, and heels. We’re too old, I think, to be mistaken for a power-couple, but we did seem to attract attention.  Here’s the thing.  Like a lot of girls I have taught in schools with dress codes, I am all curves and womanly bits. The dress I had on was long enough at the hem, high enough at the neck and my arms were covered. But (if I may indulge my own fantasy here for a sec), if mine were a form men found distracting, they would have been distracted.  Just like the girls who rebelled against the school dress code, I would rebel against being told those curves were dangerous and I needed to hide them.  In fact, no one would dare tell me that, would they? And if you know me personally, you are undoubtedly laughing as you read these words– Ludicrousness! And so, if I use that yardstick as a measure of respect (sorry– metrestick!) then I am back to a place where I will not tell a girl she needs to tone it down.

It is the one reason I would argue, passionately, for school uniforms. Then we’d have one less thing to nag kids about, and they would be under significantly less pressure.

Oh, you can hear that, too?  Yes, it’s my children howling in outrage.  Ah well, at least they know how to dress.  🙂


  1. DAVE says:

    Do not be so deprecating, dear writer, was it not just last month when I’ll call train of thought was lost, derailed, and application for abandonment is working its way through a Department of Transport sub comitee?

    And unless your image shows up on a piece of toast today I’ll assume that your children “came into the world in the usual way”

  2. readlisaread says:

    Dave….. Don’t ever change

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