There is no surer sign that I am older than dirt than my newfound love of the school dress code.
Gone are the days when I would have had the ACLU on speed-dial if I felt my “right” to wear what I wanted to school had been violated.
Back in the day
When I applauded my male high-school peers who wore miniskirts to school in protest of the fact that female students could wear short skirts to class while male students were forbidden to wear shorts.
At the time, I applauded their ironic twist on not-so-passive resistance. Today, I simply question why they didn’t apply that same passion to their studies.
Yes my friends, today I am officially a fascist. I embrace the draconian standards of a dress code.
We were only four days into our new adventures as a newly-minted “middle school” family when I, a happily married woman, fell just a little bit on love (if only momentarily) with our entire school board.
This was understandable and unavoidable as our school’s policy on “drooping drawers” was explained to me.
Apparently, our middle school principal keeps a spool of rope on hand. If a student should find that their britches, pants, slacks, trousers or any other item(s) of apparel that should cover one’s fanny should fail to do so, the principal will helpfully cut that rope and fashion that student his or her very own belt – no questions asked. Man I love this school.
They have also outlawed apparel with offensive logos or slogans and any clothing featuring rips, tears, or holes so severe as to expose the skin. For me, the latter is less about fashion than hygiene.
I’ve seen kids wearing clothing with so many rips and tears they could trim their toenails with their shoes and socks still on.
Showing my age, I now applaud the numerous school districts — and their braveadministrations — who without regard for personal safety attempt to impose reasonable school dress codes upon their student body — or students’ bodies as the case may be.
This is not to say that I am completely unreasonable, I do think there is a time and place where a minor can and should express their individuality and sense of dramatic, personal style. This time is Halloween.
Granted, a school can (and sometimes does) go too far in attempting to find that happy medium between showing up for class in your underwear (remember when that was the stuff of nightmares rather than a fashion goal?) and a standard that says that if you aren’t mistaken for one of the teachers you’re in trouble.
More importantly, as casual dress has become more the norm, schools must be constantly vigilant lest they adopt a dress code so strict that even the teachers end up in detention.
In the space of one day, our local newspaper ran no less than two separate stories about school districts who ran afoul of their own best intentions when it came to dress codes.
Attempting to bring modesty (as opposed to ‘sexy’) back, one school required that skirts worn in class be no shorter than 3 inches above the knees. Entirely reasonable until they realized — too late — that their own cheerleaders’ slit-sided cheer skirts — traditionally worn to school on game days — violated the dress code. Oops.
As someone whose own daughter is a pee-wee cheerleader and wears a cheer skirt that, while short, has all the sex-appeal of an ace bandage (fortunately), I know that there is more to scintillating fashion than length.
While I applaud that school board’s valiantattempt, I don’t think floor length cheer skirts are likely to catch on anytime soon.
Speaking of floor length, another local school prohibited the wearing of tops with “spaghetti straps” or strapless designs to all school dances.
Again, a laudable goal — until it was pointed out (after the fact) that nearly all of the styles available for young ladies seeking formal wear feature the taboo styles. Sadly, there has been a real dearth in the manufacture of turtleneck prom gowns.
Fortunately for me, my children are still young yet and, as such, it’s fairly easy for us to meet the school dress code. As a parent I really am not that strict about fashion. I want them to be comfortable.
Anything they want. I want them to celebrate their own unique style. I do, after all, believe in self-expression. As a matter of fact, my children can wear whatever they want — provided they never leave the house.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt loves turtlenecks — and belts. She welcomes comments c/o email@example.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or visit her online for photos and more at www.kymberly.typepad.com/life.)