Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Here’s a time when we should just let the fashion police do their jobs

My niece Linney’s middle school has recently implemented a dress code banning the bare midriff look. Now, I’m no expert in fashion or in the education of 11-13 year olds, but doesn’t this policy show a rather appalling lack of understanding of child psychology?

Linney's middle school: now a bare-belly-button-free school zone.

How much longer can the exposed belly button really be expected to stay in fashion? Yet haven’t the school administrators contributed to prolonging it as a hip style by making it seem dangerous and “against the rules”? I mean, isnt’ it obvious that if all the schools are doing this, they’ll be adding ten years of continued life to a fashion that should otherwise be gone in a couple more years?

A friend of mine reports that her kid’s middle school prohibits exposed bra straps. There’s a sensible rule: won’t the girls try to interpret that to allow tank tops and the like so long as they don’t wear a bra? Well, maybe it will encourage the girls to become lawyers...

In any event, if this is the schools’ effort to mount an assault on the problem of social messages pushing precocious sexuality, it seems transparently lame. As fashion police, school administrators are condemned always to be keystone cops.

duff2 duff
Perhaps a more sensible plan would be for the schools pool their resources
and try to buy off Hilary Duff. Above: Duff with bare midriff and exposed bra straps.

I don't know if you recall when we were in elementary school, we also had a dress code. Girls were required to wear skirts or dresses (no pants, jeans or shorts at all, unless it was for gym class). And you used to wear those snap-on cross ties, like a tiny Col. Sanders.

We finally were permitted to wear long pants when I was in 7th grade (and I guess you were in 5th grade), because the winter was just too cold for skirts that year.

And then, all of a sudden, it was the '70's and all the dress codes were basically out the window (although they did send one girl home for a very revealing tank top). I never got sent home for the shirts I decided were dresses. Maybe it was the opaque tights? I also seem to recall baring my belly button on more than one occasion in high school, because that was the era for hiphuggers.
Oh, and bra straps weren't a problem, because I never wore a bra. (Bras were totally uncool at the time, unless one was burning them).
I think it's odd her school is just now doing that. We had that rule in middle school and high school too, and I was in middle school about 12 years ago.
Who's Hillary Duff? Should I know?
I think my high school had a lawyer on its staff of Fashion Law Enforcement. Skirts and shorts must be no higher than "halfway between the crotch of the garment and the base of the knee." Of course, back then Jams shorts were all the rage, so the kids were all right.
Kathy: everybody knows! Is that what you were trying to get me to say?
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