Distracting dressing for dummies

Staff ~ The Nor'wester
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There’s no dress code for columnists. We sit at home wearing whatever they want, as often as they want. Editors never call and tell us that what we’re wearing is inappropriate – probably because when editors are editing, they are sitting at home wearing whatever they want as often as they want, which prevents them from casting any fashion stones our way. 

When education evolves to the point where all students can stay at home on their computers, perhaps the need to govern their attire in the social setting that exists at schools will be a thing of the past. By then, there will be an app for that.

Every person in my generation would tell kids today that they have it easy when it comes to just about everything. We heard the same thing from every person in our grandparent's generation, and the kids of today will tell their grandchildren how easy they have it. They'll tell them about the time when they were in school and they were allowed to wear spaghetti strap tops and muscle shirts to school. The grandparents of tomorrow will be shocked at what the kids will be wearing forty years from now.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the social interaction at schools should be conducted in a manner similar to what the children will expect when they enter the workforce. The dress code for school, mirrors what it will be like when students go out into the “real world.” Certain things will, hopefully, always be unacceptable. Profane and insulting sayings on clothes, or exposed body parts not acceptable in any social setting would also apply to school attire, keeping in mind that things do change.

Baby boomers have always insisted that they were the radical ones. If there was ever a clash of values between what was appropriate in terms of clothing and personal grooming choices, it occurred then. Students today might be shocked to know that boys were required to wear shirts with collars, and slacks. Blue jeans were absolutely forbidden. Shorts were for gym class only, and a guy’s hair could not cover his ears. You can thank the Beatles in part for changing what was appropriate when it came to hairstyles. Of course, some of us had to be expelled for three days to make longer hair finally acceptable.

We also had the whole miniskirt challenge to deal with. If I had a nickel for every time my pencil happened to roll off my desk, which required an entire minute for me to bend over to pick it up, I'd have enough money to pay somebody else to write a better column. Miniskirts were challenged by the administration but eventually – probably because they were accepted in the workplace – became so common at school they had to be replaced by something else equally inappropriate. Like shorts.

The generation after ours didn't fare significantly better when it came to what the administration thought was appropriate clothing choices. One of my younger brothers graduated from high school in 1976. Sometime during his final years however, he spent a day in the principal's office with my father next to him defending his decision to not turn his t-shirt inside out as was requested by one of his teachers. He had the audacity to wear a t-shirt to school that had a lightning bolt on the front of it.

His teacher was convinced that a lightning bolt was a young person's code for something obviously obscene and insisted that the shirt be turned inside out, which he refused to do. My father was called to the school. He agreed with his son that somebody there had a skewed view of what a lightning bolt on a shirt meant. Especially since it didn't mean anything at all. My brother also had a three-day vacation because of the school’s fashion police. Dad wasn't impressed.

So, what the kids are wearing to school today is distracting the administration? Have you watched MTV lately? Good luck reversing THAT influence. I'm surprised that people from my generation, who likely make up the current administration, would waste their time on telling kids what to wear. Their apparent fear that the kid's clothing choices border on hedonism sounds awfully familiar.

Organizations: Beatles

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