At Holderness School, we aspire to be presentable to all, whether that be to our peers, families, or visitors to the school. Consequently, the dress code is relatively strict, requiring that all bottoms (Bermuda shorts only in September and May) be worn with a tie/bowtie (with a button-down shirt) or a blazer (with a button-down shirt) or just a plain dress blouse. All bottoms are required to be at least one fingertip away from the knee. The dress code here can be one of the main changes for a new student to make when transitioning from their old school. Another huge change is having school on Saturdays. This is why I believe that we should have casual dress on Saturdays.
First of all, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t look presentable. The Student Handbook also includes a section on casual dress, providing students with a way to look presentable while also being comfortable. This still prevents sweatpants from being worn, but now allows denim and athletic clothing. It also prohibits any ripped clothing, keeping all clothing presentable in many ways. Going to school on Saturdays can be hard enough as it is. But with a dress code? This would provide an alternative to our dress code on most days, giving students some time to breathe and focus more on their classes when they can change into their pajamas. This would also help make going to classes on Saturday a bit better.
Other schools offer a different option, such as Brooks in North Andover, Massachusetts. Brooks has half days on Saturdays as well, but their dress code changes. Every Saturday, Brooks has what they call “Spirit Saturdays,” in which everybody’s clothing has either Brooks’ colors or are Brooks gear. This is something I think we could definitely apply here, seeing as we have such a close community bursting with spirit (and a lot of Holderness gear). This would make Saturdays a lot more fun too, with everybody wearing blue and white.
Many students would rather go to the radical step of removing the dress code altogether. Dress codes can impede students’ creativity, prohibiting them from expressing themselves through their clothing. A dress code can actually distract students from their work, making them more focused on how they look rather than how do I solve for x. It can cause even the most diligent students to pick out their outfit for the next day rather than doing their homework.
Nonetheless, dress codes do have their positives. They help the students keep their dress neat and orderly to look better in general. This also can help teach kids how to look professional, possibly helping them in their future. Also, dress codes have been known to promote better behavior. A stricter dress code/uniform can also help promote a sense of unison in the students, seeing as they’re all dressing alike.
In conclusion, dress codes do have their perks. There are compelling arguments for both sides, but in the end, it is up to the school community to decide. Having such a small and close community here, I know for a fact that everybody in the community here could benefit from “Spirit Saturdays” or even just dress down days on Saturday. This would help raise morale and possibly even help students focus better.