The days of the fashion forward kindergartener are over. Our county just passed a standard dress code for all children attending public school, K-12, beginning this fall. Caitlin’s standard dress code will be solid khaki, navy, or black pants, skirts, and shorts with solid collared shirts.
I’m somewhat on the fence with this new ruling, although I know a lot of students and parents are outraged. On the one hand, the timing of it, for us any way, couldn’t be better as Caitlin will grow up with this new rule, never having known the glorious feeling of stepping out in a brand new blinged out Hello Kitty track suit from the mall, complete with matching hair accessories, socks, shoes, and lip gloss. On the other hand, if I were a student, especially a junior high or high school age student, I’d be completely irate. I mean, there’s only so much individualism you can voice with khaki.Â But it will be a treat for Caitlin wear regular clothes at night and on the weekends…you know when we break out the matching Gymboree family ensembles to go to the grocery store.
The hubby points out that when he was in junior high, Ocean Pacific (“OP”) was all the rage. His mom and dad refused to fork out money to buy trendy clothes and he was forced to wear OP knock offs and he had but one glorious OP shirt. I’m sure his male classmates who made fun of him are all now 50 pounds overweight, bald, divorced, and selling used travel trailers, but that’s beside the point. I do recall a time in high school when I spent every penny shopping at the mall. There were some hideous fashion choices, like the overpriced Coca Cola sweatshirt I just had to have and the Jordache velcro shoes, but that’s beside the point, too.
Call me a shallow, fashion driven girly girl but I was looking forward to taking Caitlin shopping for back to school clothes this summer as she embarks on that great adventure called school. Now it will be a challenge to find the cutest nondescript navy polo within a 60-mile radius. Basically her daycare wardrobe has consisted of Tar-jay specials, consignment store loot, and hand-me-downs from my neighbor’s daughter. Now I get to pump her up about shopping for button downs and jumpers devoid of any Hello Kitty, Barbie, or My Little Pony motif. Wait a minute, maybe we could get away with a tiny ankle tattoo.
I am still up to the challenge of back-to-school shopping as I have a family fashion torch to pass on to my girls. You see, in my 8th grade yearbook I was dubbed “Neatest Dressed” (back in 1983 they apparently thought “Best Dressed” wasn’t PC enough.)
So what do you think about standard dress codes for public schools? Is it a bunch of BS? Will it really help students stay on course and focus on learning or is it just going to create a nationwide rebellion, a la Footloose, where every kid under the age of 18 slips into their street clothes the second the school bell rings? Will khaki bonfires become a rite of passage for kids graduation night?