Dressing for success in school

12 Feb

There are several reasons I feel that all children deserve a good preschool and a good basic education. Those reasons center around the purpose of education which in addition to individual enrichment are the ability to understand and participate in the political process and the opportunity to acquire skills which will make them employable and able to care for themselves and their families. Tthe Washington Post reprinted a story from the Baltimore Sun about teachers in Howard County Time for Class, Teach; Take Out the Tongue Stud

It was a classic case of what not to wear.

Mary Schiller, a Howard County school system employee, walked down the aisle in a gray T-shirt that read “Yankees Suck.” To accent the outfit, she wore ripped jeans and flip-flops.  “Is this school attire?” Mamie Perkins asked the crowd of teachers gathered in Reservoir High’s cafeteria.

“No!” the teachers yelled back.  “Mary calls that her grunge look,” Perkins, the system’s chief of staff, said laughing. “It’s perfect for Saturday.”

Howard teachers are being told to ditch their inappropriate duds in the workplace. Thursday, the system held a fashion show for 200 new teachers that showed them appropriate — and inappropriate — ways to dress in the classroom.

 This year, for the first time, the school system has circulated a pamphlet, “Expectations for Professional Attire,” among employees. The guidelines were devised after officials noticed a decline in professional dress among some teachers.

 The message is that the following are frowned upon: garments that expose underwear; sheer clothes; torn, tattered or disheveled clothes; flip-flops; hats; clothing with obscene, vulgar or profane language or illustrations; clothing with sexual overtones; and shorts for employees who do not teach physical education.

 The expectations also list as inappropriate visible tattoos or brands that are provocative or obscene; and jewelry or other objects that are connected to the nose, tongue, lip, eyebrow or other exposed body part that may be “deemed a safety issue,” the pamphlet says.  “We’re not trying to be the fashion police,” said Perkins, who served as the fashion show’s emcee. “We are a professional workplace. We want to make sure we remain that way in sharing these standards.”

 Howard appears to be alone in its effort. The school system’s committee of teachers, administrators and union leaders, which created the guidelines, did not find any other area system with a similar approach to employee attire, according to Sue Mascaro, director of staff relations. She modeled an inappropriate outfit in the fashion show that consisted of a form-fitting shirt, a denim miniskirt and flip-flops.

Particularly in the elementary grades it is important that teachers model appropriate behavior and appropriate attire. Given the number of children in distressed circumstances in contemporary society, it is important that schools be one institution where appropriate behavior is modeled. Another purpose of a good basic education is to equip children with the skills and the ability to make choices about their life. It has been my observation that many in education, not all, like to “rage against the machine” or what they perceive to be the dominant political dynamic. That is their right during their off hours. If a child wants to grow up and lead JP Morgan Chase, that is THEIR choice and THEIR right as well. The teacher is there to equip the child with the skills to follow THEIR dream. Many children come from families and backgrounds who are not as equipped to nurture and promote the child’s dreams as other families are. All children deserve a chance and a teacher modeling professional dress is an important part of the education of these children.

Moi supposes that after “business casual” probably degenerated into P.J.s and flipflops, banking giant UBS put the brakes on and delivered a dress code to its employees. Huffington Post has a good synopsis of the code along with a link to the actual document at the post, UBS 43′ Page Dress Code Warns Employees Not to Show Underwear::

UBS’ 43-Page Dress Code Warns Employees Not To Show Underwear t took no fewer than 43 pages for the human resources department at  the Swiss bank UBS AG to establish what bank personnel should consider  acceptable corporate attire.

The Wall Street Journal has the goods on the clothing guidelines for the bank that was embroiled in a nasty tax evasion scandal that  lead to UBS paying the U.S. government $780 million in fines.

The UBS look book commands that employees wear suits of dark grey,  black or navy blue, since these colors “symbolize competence, formalism  and sobriety.” Among the “dos” and “don’ts” for women: “Make sure to touch up hair  regrowth regularly if you color your hair.” Men are commanded to,  “Schedule barber appointments every four weeks to maintain your haircut  shape.”

Neither sex is allowed to “allow their underwear to appear,” wear short-sleeved shirts or, strangely, cuff links.

You can see the entire brochure here (courtesy of John Carney at CNBC’s NetNet,
who’s pulled a French-language page that walks you through how to properly tie a
proper tie.)

The link to the Dress Code


As fewer and fewer folks exercise common sense maybe some type of dress code outlining expectations is making more sense. Aside from teaching kids the basics like reading, writing, and math, schools will have to model skills which help children participate in society.

Now, Valerie Strauss is reporting in the Washington Post article, Virginia school district may ban cross-gender dressing:

Here’s a problem that has somehow been ignored by nearly every school district in the country: Cross-gender dressing. But now a Virginia school district is considering a ban against it and that could start a whole new trend.

The school board in Suffolk, a district with about 14,400 students about 20 miles from Norfolk, is expected to vote next month on a dress code that would prohibit students from clothing “not in keeping with a student’s gender” and that “causes a disruption and/or distracts others from the education process or poses a health or safety concern,” Reuters reported.

Why is this coming up now?

A district spokeswoman said that some high school teachers had complained that some males were dressing like girls and that other students had objected.

Some board members say they support a ban on such dressing as an anti-bullying measure. Reuters said that board Vice Chairwoman Thelma Hinton cited the killing of a 15-year-old student in California who was a cross-dresser as part of the reason she supports a ban.

Gay rights and civil liberties organizations are opposed to a ban, saying that it would violate the right to free speech as well as be sexually discriminatory.

Reuters quoted James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, as saying, “If a girl comes to school wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, is that considered cross-gender dressing?”

This ranks up there with the effort — later reversed after an outcry — by Republicans in the Michigan legislature to insert language in anti-bullying legislation that said the bill “does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held belief or moral conviction” of a student or school worker. That was seen by activists as allowing bullies to prey on other students — especially those who are gay, lesbian or transgender, and to watch someone be bullied who they think might deserve it without trying to stop it.

Hopefully, cooler heads in Suffolk will have prevailed by the time the vote is taken and the school board can get back to finding legitimate ways to stop bullying.

It takes time and real commitment on the part of an entire school community to confront bullying. Government statistics show that at least a third of students ages 12 to 18 report being bullied during the school year. Most states have laws that make bullying illegal, but enforcement is scant.


Maybe the students should asking the question what will it take to make me a success in the environments I have to exist?

Joyce M. Rosenberg of AP in the article, Underdressed? Dress Codes Can Prevent Sticky Situations published in Seattle Times writes:

The job market is very competitive.

Dress-code problems aren’t confined to the summer months. But they do tend to be more frequent than in colder months, when everyone is covering up. If your company doesn’t have a dress code, now is a good time to implement or suggest one.

Chances are, most of us have a sense of how we should dress for work. But having a dress code will help avoid problems or resolve them easily.

It’s perfectly legal

A staffer in cutoffs may protest when told that he’s inappropriately dressed for work. But employers are allowed to require employees to wear certain kinds of clothes, and to ban other types from the workplace. Consider that uniforms are required in some jobs, and that some clothes can be forbidden because of safety issues.

Companies also are allowed to determine what kind of atmosphere they are trying to project, and to require employees to conform.

The law does require that a dress code be gender-neutral. That means that both sexes are being told to dress appropriately. And it’s against the law to discriminate against someone’s religious beliefs — for example, by banning turbans or dreadlocks that are worn for religious reasons.

The right impression

The biggest concern that most employers have when it comes to how staffers dress is the impression that customers have of the company. Many don’t want receptionists to have exposed bra straps and a very short skirt, or sales associates in T-shirts….

All in the details

Most successful dress codes are specific. Gibbs recommends listing what isn’t acceptable; for example, tank tops, shirts without collars, see-through fabrics, ripped or dirty jeans….

Enforcing the issue

If a co-worker has crossed the wardrobe line, let a supervisor know. Gibbs says managers should speak privately to their staffers who are dressing inappropriately, and remind them about the dress code and the reasons for it.

He says a successful policy indicates that those who violate it will be asked to change what they wear. If an employee resists, it may become a performance and disciplinary issue.

If the clothing culprit is a young person who has never had a job before, don’t assume that someone has given him or her advice about dressing properly for work. Gibbs suggests having a conversation with such staffers. Let them know the company wants them to be successful, and discuss what proper workplace clothing is or refer them to the dress code. http://blog.nwjobs.com/careercenter/underdressed_dress_codes_can_help_prevent_sticky_situations.html

Schools should think about how they are preparing kids for a very competitive workplace.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: