Opinion: Dress Code Limits Self-Expression

Most high schools have dress codes, or a set of rules concerning appropriate student dress.

Dimond High is no exception. And while the dress code does prevent inappropriate dress, does it also limit girls’ fashion and self-expression?

I feel that it does. Each person has a different sense of style, and each person has a way that they express that style. For many, fashion is how they express themselves.

Junior Lexi Wingert agrees, “If what you wear is restricted, you can’t fully be yourself.”

The dress code limits a very fashionable item: Crop tops have been in fashion for several years now, from the runways of New York Fashion Week to the stores at the Dimond Center, and they show no signs of leaving the spotlight.

Obviously, they come in many different styles, some of which are more cropped than others.

So should all crop tops be banned? They are not just a passing fad, but a very real part of fashion.

Wingert also feels that the rule about crop tops is unjust.

“If you aren’t showing that much skin, then they aren’t a problem,” she says.

Perhaps the school could come up with a way to make crop tops appropriate for a learning environment? After all, when paired with high-waisted jeans or leggings, crop tops show little to no skin at all.

So how does the school determine its dress code? Discipline Principal Holly Morris tells me it is partly established by the Anchorage School District, and partly determined by business wear, or “how you would dress in an office.”

Having business wear determine a dress code does have its benefits.

For one, high school is preparing us for life as adults, when we will all have jobs that we will need to dress well, professionally and appropriately for. There is a certain expectation that you will come to work looking professional, or not come to work at all.

However, as adults we make those choices for ourselves. We can choose jobs and lines of work, and we must also choose our actions and our clothes.

Part of being an adult is having the maturity to choose appropriate clothing, and I feel that many high school students are mature enough to make appropriate choices and find  ways to wear restricted items.

A perfect example is leggings. Last year the popular pant was taking some heat for being inappropriate.

Many girls were upset about the school-considered ban because leggings are such a wardrobe staple.

Ms. Morris explains why leggings were allowed to stay: “Students responded by putting long sweaters over their leggings, so that was a perfect solution.”

Clearly, questionable items can be made school appropriate with students’ help, and Ms. Morris says that the school is open to this if the dress code limits such important items as leggings.

In conclusion, I hope that the school will reconsider some of its bans, and allow students to find appropriate solutions, so that girls at Dimond can express themselves through fashion while still looking like classy Lady Lynx!