Dress code: Is it excessive?

Screenshot of the dress code from the RUSD website.riversideunified.org

Screenshot of the dress code from the RUSD website.riversideunified.org

Lucy Barney

Clothes express the entrails of individual beings. North’s culture has made the aesthetic of our styles an extension of ourselves and our personalities.  Moods correlate with outfits and personality chooses the aesthetic. Kids find individuality through their styles because they don’t have the chance to practice individuality elsewhere. In an article that Derrell Walker, on papers owl,  wrote about uniforms destroying personality, he states, “There are already plenty of restrictions upon high school students…” Dress codes at school make it feel like we do not have complete freedom to express ourselves, and instead, people dress to rebel. After the strong feelings of animosity amongst the students last year, a large portion of students decided to dress against the dress code with the hope of change. Rules such as not showing bra straps, stomachs, or shoulders all contributed to the problem. The misogyny of last year’s dress code needed to be dealt with, and it was not reasonably rewritten until this year. 

At what point is the dress code unreasonable or reasonable enough to abide by? Dress codes ensure the avoidance of inappropriate clothing or symbols at school. While this may seem helpful, it has drastically become less and less rational each year. These dress codes tend to limit females with unrealistic expectations that cause more problems than it solves.

As student voices grew louder, enforcing the dress code is not necessary anymore unless extreme circumstances occur. Girls now have the choice to show skin without being worried about consequences. At the beginning of the school year, we had no dress code because it was being rewritten. Most things changed from last year. Last year students couldn’t wear anything shorter than the reach of our fingertips, or spaghetti straps, or our stomachs, but this year we can practically wear anything we want as long as it covers our undergarments.

The dress code’s purpose on the RUSD website says, “This district-wide policy guides school sites to maintain safe, healthy, and effective learning environments.” Their rules will hardly affect our learning anymore. 

Sophomore Ubong Ibekwe said, “I think it’s more in line with modern-day fashion, and it reflects like the fashion market currently, and it’s not as intense as last year’s, or as you could say outdated. I think it’s good. I think it’s also good that they made it clear that guys probably shouldn’t have their pants to their knees.”

Vivian Le, also a sophomore, added similar opinions, “I think it’s more reasonable because our clothes are a way for students to express themselves. There is a line to draw, and I think the line, where it’s at right now, is reasonable.” 

Are our dress codes unnecessary now that we do not have much enforcement or law to follow? We go to school to learn, not the clothing we wear. Dress codes are a reasonable standard to follow because students should start respecting what they wear to be more prepared for future etiquette in the workplace. 

Ubong’s thoughts were, “I think it’s important to have a common sense of dress code so people know to wear clothes when they come to school, but you don’t need to be breathing down people’s necks trying to have them wear what you want them to wear. Because at the end of the day this is North High School, not your mother, and we go here for school and the learning experience is not enhanced when you have to go to the office because you got dress-coded.” 

Vivian said, “I think we do because some people don’t know what’s appropriate for school or not. Yes, you can wear what you want to wear, but it is still a school environment where it’s not just teenagers around. There are a lot of adults around too, and it’s a professional environment for them. You should dress like you’re ready to be in an environment of learning.”  

The consequences of the dress code will forever ground students but also gives them choice. As we grow, so do our opinions and ideas of what is right and wrong. Thankfully things like dress code are able to grow with us as well.