“Dressed to Code”

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I was  laughing reading about a young girl who was sent home because her shoulders were showing in a blouse she wore to school. The blouse looked quite modest to me, but it didn’t conform to the dress codes at her high school. That had me remembering the dress codes at Lincoln High School in the early 1960’s.

Girls always wore skirts with blouses or sweaters or dresses. Pants were worn in p.e. only, and those were specific shorts sold to be worn in the gym. We wore nylons and shoes. The nylons were usually held up by a panty girdle with garter clips. Shoes were flats. When sandals became popular, they were allowed as long as we wore stockings with them. Mary S. was sent home for wearing sandals without socks or nylons. Our protests to the principal went unheeded.

Boys wore khakis or cords with button down shirts over white t-shirts or polo shirts. Shirts had to be tucked in. Steve M. had the shirt tails cut off his shirt one day in the hall by the vice-principal because he had not tucked them in. No one was surprised and no parent rushed to the school to protest.

Women teachers wore dresses or suits. Male teachers wore shirts, ties, and suit jackets and slacks or suits.

Despite the fact that the 1960’s were supposedly the beginnings of revolt against the norm, there were few indications of that among my friends. We never had to be given a dress code. It was assumed and we followed it.

29 thoughts on ““Dressed to Code”

  1. I went to Catholic school for twelve years, and everything was very detailed uniforms, very modest, and even the socks and shoes were specifically prescribed.

      1. It was just the way it always was. there was even a special store where people bought their uniforms, and I loved to go once a year. The uniforms helped a lot, since we were frankly poor and this way there was no competition to wear cute clothes etc. We wore the same skirt all week and had maybe two blouses each and maybe two-three pairs of socks and washed them in between.

        1. Uniforms would have made me more comfortable. I always wore my cousins’ hand-me-downs. Hems came down and were covered in rick-rack.

        2. Rick-rackl!!!! I remember that.

          We got some clothes from people at my mother’s work, and they resulted in my school photo one year featuring me in a too-tight green and yellow plaid bodysuit, with red plastic fake alligator pants with blue pockets. Plus I was chubby with bad cat glasses. Not the best photo really–

  2. Its crazy both Raphael and I went to public schools with no dress codes, and even then people would always want to push the envelope. I can only imagine what it would be like in a private school environment.

  3. Our rules included no sandals or open-toed shoes. No shorts. Skirts had to be at least knee length. Straps on tops had to be at least 2″ wide. You weren’t allowed to dye your hair different colors. No bandanas. All of these rules, but kids still wore skin tight jeans. Go figure!

  4. My children went to the local comprehensive school which took its pupils from a large and very mixed area. They felt that they had problems arising from the huge differences there were in wealth backgrounds of the children and which they thought was leading to clothing being used to signify wealth or group ownership in the school. They described a daily fashion parade which they thought was distracting for the kids. The school took what was felt to be a regressive step and reintroduced school uniforms ( a cheap but enforced code of trousers/skirts, permitted shirts, and black plain footwear). Parents agreed with it and when I last heard (10 years ago) it was still being used and described as a success. I guess the teaching staff have changed and it is likely that the policy has been overridden but I recall it being a clear fair policy which helped my kids and others

  5. We wore uniforms during high school and college so dress code was never a problem. Even in our PE classes, we had separate uniforms, no pants.

  6. Back in the good ole days, we had structure, which came from requirements, and expectations. Today, there is very little expected of kids or adults.

    I find when dealing with others, If you expect nothing, you get nothing.

  7. We only had uniforms, that had to be knee length for girls! Boys wore trousers in winter & long shorts in summer.
    We had to wear bloomers under our short sports skirts fir PE & sports day.
    But that was normal here in Australia for both state & private schools.
    All social classes were equal in uniforms.

  8. Your posts are wonderful Elizabeth. Life in your country and mine seemed to have been the same in those years. I am reading themto my son. He likes them. He listens to all that he has to read or to teach with the help of a talking software in his computer.

    1. I am so glad to know that. We tend to think that we are very different from one another until we meet others across the world through blogging. I am amazed at all the accommodations that now exist for the visually limited. When I was a kid, my two blind friends had people read all their homework to them.

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