Current Trends

It has become an outgrowth of the millennial generation, teens, 20 something’s edging on 30 with such a distinct style, such individuality employers have been forced to reinstitute strict dress codes, many going as far as business formal, to counteract bizarre inappropriateness invading their workplace; after all everyone can’t be a Silicon Valley think tank, innovative tech giant where it is cool to show up to work in flip flops, where work includes media, nap rooms and a foosball table. Regarding dress, it follows suit with municipalities, cities, towns’, propensity to ban things they don’t agree with; once it was dancing, drinking, ordinances on parking your car and other oddball things no longer, not really enforced. Today opinions usually from conservative, religious minded small communities, older adults, anyone who wears office attire, even bigger regions are summed up in, the public has such poor taste we must adopt regulations to counteract their appalling behavior; hints Yakima Washington’s ban on thong underwear and see through clothing worn in public, bans on flip flops adorning the feet of Whitehouse tour guests, a partial impetuous behind campaigns like “raise your pants raise your image” out of Dallas Texas, other successful city programs cracking down on sagging pants, imposing everything from fines to jail time, a Louisiana city official trying to ban the wearing of pajamas in public. Neither are clothing bans anything new; long before Madonna’s cone bra, Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, Miley Cyrus’s twerking performance in what many considered her underwear, even far predating Elvis’ swiveling hips blocked from TV viewers in the 1950’s, women who began abandoning their corsets on potential medical grounds were seen as scandalous, our own puritan roots mandated, particularly women, be covered from head to foot in public. Dress often tied to character, moral behavior, a symbol of your connection to god; 1920’s flapper girls viewed as godless and immoral, 1960’s counter culture, long hair and beards on men seen as a horrid social decay from crew cuts, suites and ties.  So is it little wonder a Florida school district last month was discussing a dress code, no not for students, for their parents; it would seem wholly consistent with past and current trends, wouldn’t it? Yet what makes this decidedly different is throughout history clothing debates, issues have previously been older generations, slow to change, reacting to interests, fashion of young people; the difference is this is 2014, not already oppressed women of the Victorian, colonial age. Still here is the ultimate culmination of a war on clothing worn by adults.

Yes thoroughly sick of seeing parents in too short shorts, baggy jeans, sporting so called off color t-shirts complete with slogan, some even showing up in their pajamas, having curlers in their hair, Broward County school board held a discussion on instituting a dress code. Board members, school officials, teachers citing difficulty in getting students to comply with school dress policy when their parents show up to school clothed in aforementioned ways, student embarrassment, several commenting on the poor role models they are being for young people if parents don these items, do these things. But is it really about basic levels of common decency, what should be covered when you are out in front of others, about parents setting a good example for their offspring, or is it about older persons’ near obsession with propriety as dictated in the 1930’s, 40’s 50’s? People, who can’t stand the above listed styles, even though they do not violate legal statutes on public lewdness, meet the minimum requirements to be in public as they are wearing clothes, covering mandated body parts, specifically the genitals, genitals and breasts for women. Is it really about a serious struggle to get students to adhere to a reasonable dress code or is it more along the lines of, they will not be denied their freedom of expression because an adult takes issue, not with a t-shirt promoting alcohol or drugs, a pushed up pant leg affiliated with gangs, skimpy tops with ties someone could jokingly or maliciously untie in a high school, middle school causing indecent exposure, rather suspending students for wearing a Duck Dynasty shirt, shirts illustrating something as simple as the California bear? At least students sent home for wearing the American flag shirts were only asked to abstain for one day, Cinco de Mayo, an effort not to offend Hispanic students on one national day celebrating their heritage.  Is it truthfully about the problems parents can cause wearing skimpy “hoochie mama,” hooker looking outfits, slovenly enough not to comb their hair, remove curlers, put something on besides pajamas, or is it older, probably white, staff members being uncomfortable with cultural diversity, ethnicity, socio-economics, morally neutral value system choices? Independent of the obvious overreaching, more than the idea once you become an adult you can do, say, wear whatever you want within reason; that reason stopping at obeying majority laws on traffic, licenses and permits related to fishing, opening a business, not engaging in harassment, violence, sexual assault of others, keeping protests peaceful and yes, being dressed when you move outside your front door. Not to be confused with statutes on what kind of underwear you put on, see through clothing usually warn over an under shirt, at minimum a sports bra, meaning you are seeing nothing you shouldn’t, footwear restrictions outside places like construction zones mandating proper shoes for safety, a beauty salon so that if you drop wax, chemical hair care products on you, it doesn’t do excessive damage; still those stipulations normally apply to employees not patrons of establishments. Further school proponents contradict themselves in highlighting student embarrassment being one catalyst for a possible dress code; forging the unlikelihood a student has ever shown up to school with curlers in their hair, if they are embarrassed by their parents, they are not usually going to emulate them are they? Misunderstood is at this age, in the high school they wanted to begin implementing their parent program, influence on clothing choices come from favored celebrities Miley, Cyrus, Lil Kim, Beyoncé, hot fashion trends not your parents. Leaning toward officials’ decision to discuss dress guidelines for parents is, either to appease old fuddy-duddy board members, ease their own unfounded aforementioned discomfort, or does it indeed go to something even darker?

Is their true target, their true purpose a type of acceptable discrimination, denigrating black people for their sagging pants, judging them as everything from former prison inmates to gang members, presuming them criminals, because of how many often are, because their doing so is couched in a perceived genuine concern regarding who is teaching children you can’t get a job, a decent job dressed that way, how the child, your child is going to learn proper dress for all occasions, namely jobs, job interviews outside minimum wage?  Is it, in all reality, a discriminatory values judgment equating parents wearing baggy pants, short shorts, “bad” t-shirt slogans to a lack of moral fiber, questionable character, similar to the Louisiana commissioner’s arguments on banning wearing pajamas in public, if not criminality associated with thug, gang, ghetto African American lifestyle then criminality al-a Latino persons or white trash, petty theft, welfare, food stamp fraud? Fashion choices, appearance ambivalence linked to laziness, lack of class, self-respect; thoughts echoed by people like this commenter who left a half page rant on an ABC news blog detailing the story: It is a d*&n shame that society feels the need to install a dress code. IF people didn’t dress like prison thugs or frumpy bed pillows then we would need to “require” proper attire. Oh! Wait – I remember that statement – PROPER ATTIRE REQUIRED. We have always had a dress code, the entire world has had a dress code. I for one am tired of seeing men and women displaying their underwear – it is offensive to me and many of my family/friends. Underwear is for underthere! I am also tired of seeing the outline of fat rolls thru ridiculously tight clothing with offensive words. I am very disgusted by the array of butt cracks and fat guts hanging below the shirt. HOW A PERSON DRESES REPRESENTS THE QUALITY OF PERSON – the level of education, self-respect and respect for others. The current array of body piercings and tattoos is equally disgusting yet seeing small boys or young boys with earrings is another disgusting representation of our failing parents in a low class society. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can fit into a size 3 doesn’t mean you should – grandmothers in miniskirts and haltertops is disgusting. PLEASE INSTALL “DRESS CODES”; PLEASE ENFORCE DRESS POLICYS!! When the sign says suit and tie then don’t let in the pajama queen. EX: cruise ships have dress night – turn away the chic in her PJ bottoms and tub top; tell the goon in his sweat suite to come back when he is properly dressed. CODE IT AND ENFORCE IT!!! Those who are offended because they are asked to dress in a decent, non-offences, self-respecting manner should be turned away at the door – most of us don’t want to see you in your trashy clothes or minimal clothing attire. IF you are that person – TOUGH, LIVE WITH IT, GET WITH THE PROGRAM, YOU SU@$!!!!” [Sic] Unfortunately what’s a “damn shame” is when people still easily condemn other ideals, priorities, cultures instead of judging individuals, parents oh, who knows, on the content of their character, the only meaningful litmus test determining the quality of a person, not the “frumpiness” of their outfit. Oddly enough, one doubts our probable woman in her 50’s, at least in her 40’s, has ever actually seen a prison thug; ironically enough, or maybe not, the horribly dressed, hardly above vermin individuals described are persons in their, regardless of gender, periphery, people who will fix their plumbing, re-shingle their roof, replace their gas meter, maintain their car, wait on them in a restaurant and they barely notice. People who are equally proud of who they are, what they do, make it a point not to be overly concerned with their appearance when they are on their own time. Plus while the irate commenter in favor of the schools would be initiative is correct there are places that do require a certain dress code parallel to the cruise ship event night, a 5 start restaurant, however; that is one night and one night alone unless you go on a specific cruise bearing that theme. Many, many eateries, stores, don’t, operating on a shoes and shirt policy for service. Despite ranting commenter implying they spend their time on cruise ships, has the air of someone who frequents high end restaurants they are belittling people seen in the supermarket buying groceries, the pharmacy picking up a prescription, walking down the street, caring enough to pick their child up from school, provide required transportation, avoiding truancy by making sure that child goes to school.

And that’s exactly what  Broward County is also doing; these are teachers, school officials, community leaders engaging in blatant race discrimination, blatant cultural bias, ignorance; according to the same ABC news blog the primary person bringing this “problem” to the forefront is a local female preacher, surprise, surprise. The latter trying to impose her supposedly Judeo-Christian values on parents simply dropping off/picking up their child from school; looking at the pictures accompanying ABC’s coverage and many more news outlets besides, it screams something else too, class warfare. Aside from the utter absurdity of what man would wear those pajamas, carrying a briefcase, be on an elevator with persons dressed in business attire headed somewhere in an upscale office building for some sort of appointment, unless he was feverishly unwell, mentally unstable and by all means lets poke fun at one or both.  Their dress code, which is honestly a class code, an anti-immigrant code, is overtly demeaning working class, poor people presented in mindsets, attitudes from teachers like ‘now we have to teach classes on job/work attire, I have to explain to a room full of kids why they can’t wear X objectionable outfit to a job interview.’ Teachers completely dismissing students elected to take the class to learn to better themselves; except they would have to, do well to do so anyway for students whose parent, parents do not work in the corporate world, a place requiring a suit and tie, skirted suites, pant suites be worn by women, do not work in an office, a business casual work environment. In other words, parents who wear a whole host of uniforms identifying them as janitors, maintenance workers, mechanics employed at X auto shop, workers at the local water, power, gas company, cable TV installers, parents dropping kids off in typical construction worker, painters garb, parents who work in factories, work dirty jobs where they wear their shabbiest clothing to work because it will just get filthy.  Headed to work after depositing their child, hurriedly called to the school to handle a child in trouble, retrieve one who is sick, after being notified of an accident; still teachers, office personnel eying them from head to toe, perhaps in a parent teacher conference, thinking your poor, unemployed, no wonder you can’t get a job, a better job beyond minimum wage when you dress like that.  Teachers reviewing a poorly performing student who has a negative attitude toward school, sizing up their parent in an “offensive” slogan t-shirt on their day off from work, or who took off from work to attend the conference and will be going right back to the factory, construction site when finished, who is sick but made it a priority to show up regardless, thinking again, well no wonder instead of getting to the real problem. Considering the beating Florida took during the recession, the wrecking ball that went through their housing market a real problem that could be food insecurity, downright hunger, impending foreclosure, homelessness, living in a shelter, bullying in the neighborhood, in the very school where they are supposed to be learning; potentially carried out by the teacher in front of you. Teachers too distracted being critical of, making assumptions, judgments based on a parent’s “hooker-esque” outfit, redneck t-shirt to have a relevant discussion around the student’s performance. Observational facts especially important when taking into account significant percentages of African American, Latino and foreign born immigrant populations residing in the county; it may look like pajamas because it is clothing from across the world, oops.   

dress code 1

dress code 2

dress code 3

 Evidence substantiated by proposal creator Rosalind Osgood’s largely disseminated to media comment “If I go into Macy’s in the middle of the day in pajamas, people are going to follow me because they think I’m there to commit a crime,” she said. “If I go in at the same time with a St. John suit, they’re going to respond to me differently. We don’t like to admit it, but our appearance really matters.” Never mind their goal in frequenting the Macy’s could be to get better clothing, possibly to start a new job, take saved money and class themselves up a bit to get people just like this preacher lady off their back; hmm takes on a different meaning now doesn’t it? Next who of the people she’s talking about wears a St. John’s suite, would want one, have an occasion to wear one, feel they could afford it; likewise those same persons, parents with families, are far more apt to shop at Wal-Mart, Target, Cost-Co, Sears and JC Penny at the outskirts, seeking economical prices. Because even if they can afford it, are well off, they have more important monetary priorities than expensive clothes, got where they are by not spending exorbitant amounts on frivolous items, i.e. name brand clothes than to shop at Macy’s in the first place.  Yet conversely two instances of black persons recently stopped by cops after leaving a NYC Barneys wasn’t because they were wearing pajamas to the store, had curlers in their hair, sagged their pants or were accused of using oversized pants to steal something, but were stopped for, sickeningly we even have a term for it, ‘shopping while black.’ Because they were black, young, college age persons who paid for their items using a credit/debit card and someone in the store got it in their head that wasn’t supposed to happen, either because black people, young people or both weren’t supposed to be able to do that. Forget there was no fraud, their purchases legitimate; one young women using her tax refund to buy a long desired expensive bag.  Forest Whitaker wasn’t essentially stopped and frisked in an upscale NYC deli because he went there appearing as if he had just gotten out of bed, was, at his age about to join a gang, was “dressed down” for the movie shoot he was on, the exact opposite, he was dressed up. Sadly still a store employee more than didn’t recognize the acclaimed actor, though the deli is routinely visited by celebrities, rather disturbingly thinking the well-dressed black man had reason to steal something. Proving you don’t diminish, abolish racial profiling by altering your outward appearance, being, embodying an upstanding citizen in every way you can; you eliminate racial profiling when you refuse to lend it credence discussing such trivial issues, when we instead let go of our own stereotypes about races, ethnicities, gender, sexual orientation, married, unmarried, divorced, people who work there, have such and such job. When we demand police and related entities stop using it as a flimsy means to “prevent” crime.

Practicality wise, beyond the enforcement headache of there is virtually no way you can impose your will as a public school on parents who are neither in attendance nor work for said district, you have to remember too this is Florida; last winter’s record cold temperatures aside, it is hot. Thus persons naturally wear less clothing, spend a good portion of the calendar year in shorts, tank tops, bikinis, Florida which has a number of beach communities, tourist attractions; why do readers suddenly suspect outsider deemed skimpy, hooker outfits are worn for legitimate jobs held on those beaches, lakes serving tourists drinks, playing host/hostess in establishments where you are meant to blend in with guests. Speaking of short shorts, too revealing clothing, exposure of underwear and sagging pants, part of the underlying problem has nothing to do with class, education, self-respect, respect for others or a nonexistent fashion sense as much as shopping selections demonstrated by the Kohl’s ad below. Individuals needing new shorts, women in particular, are forced to buy Daisy Duke style short shorts or settle Capri pants landing somewhere between the knee and ankle, too hot for height of summer days, offerings mimicked in low price retail spaces i.e. Wal-Mart, Target. Persons purchasing, needing new jeans find themselves surrounded by an epidemic of skinny jeans too tight to fit anything over a size 6 into, so they may go for menswear instead where it’s either too tight to breath or falling off, people who can’t afford to have it tailored, find the idea ridiculous on their casual clothes. Lastly they opt for yoga pants, workout pants, jogging pants, none of which are pajamas; god forbid they choose to be comfortable on their down time, live on a budget, seeing as they are parents, having at least one child to provide for, and can’t have clothes for all occasions work, working out and things acceptable according to the ranting on page 3 to go to the store, pick up child from school. Shoot them oh shoot them now; remove them from society now for saving their limited dress clothing for job interviews, church attendance, dinner with their spouse, a date vs. satisfying someone else’s definition of decency, a definition as varying as the weather. Equally ignored, people with a variety of medical conditions from heat sensitivity to allergies, asthma who wear their minimalist clothing, shorts and bikini top to avoid getting sick, especially for people who primarily walk wherever they go  Citizen dissenting opinion against the proposal pulling no punches either reminding us societies want for seedy places fuels persons, usually women, working in them bluntly articulated in the following  ABC news blog comment “And for the moms who work in those bars and restaurants that so many men LOVE to go to – the ones with the tight shirts and short shorts uniform – what are they supposed to do? Change their clothes while on break to pick up their kids, put on an overcoat?” Keeping in mind the job is not prostitution, taking your clothes off for money; though women in those jobs are in them in part because of adjacent character judgments. A vocal opposing board member was right about another thing as well, imposing a dress code would alienate parents, people who will feel judged and shamed while trying to do what schools continually beg them to do, to be involved in their child’s life, education; the rest of that sentiment reading and you’re going to do this? Nor should people feel like they have to dress for a job interview, life altering court appearance, church to attend parent night, see a choir performance, show up to scheduled parent teacher conference, events that may be between their 2, 3 jobs, parents who work the odd hours they work so they can pick up and drop off their kid at school, help with homework, prepare dinner before going to work again. How about, since high school is where our conundrum originated, 6am band practice, 6pm biology club meetings and you want me to be on for all of that, dressed as if I’m going to a board meeting while I ferry my kid back and forth; parents everywhere are screaming get real. 

clothing ad   

Others, shying away from the freedom of expression argument momentarily, whether they’re school affiliated or members of the confused, indignant public feel there are far more important things schools, no matter where they are, schools should be focused on. Certainly we should be far more alarmed by the chalkboard obviously in use present in the opening video footage, a lack of viable technology giving students what they need to function heading into today’s workforce than what parents wear. Safety is always a top priority in schools; beyond mass shooter headlines, intruder threat stories, multiple kinds of student on student violence exist. Urban blight area or no, student fights, out and out brawls, combatting drugs fill administrators’ days leaving them facing harsh life truths embodied here “I moved to a Broward County High School from a tiny town in NC. My first day of school I was told by the secretary, who conveniently waited until my mom left, “Don’t go to the bathroom alone. You will get raped.” There are gangs, drugs in excess, kids standing up in class and defecating on desks during class. Most of the kids I went to school with were armed, and I was called at home on more than one occasion and told either stay home or bring a weapon. By all means, lets worry about what the parents are wearing, because obviously that’s what’s wrong with the schools in Broward County Florida. How is this even an issue? Why aren’t they looking at student safety, something that would make a real difference to the schools? What a total waste of time.” [Sic] Now it is entirely possible above is the experience of a former student years removed from their high school days, part of it could be culture shock from small town to big city causing a fair amount of hyperbole, school personnel may have done much to clean up listed problems between then and present day. Yet if there is any current truth to what the commenter described, that should be the focus of meetings not parent clothes; even if their isn’t, maintaining positive safety parameters should take precedence along with a 100 other things besides what parents wear making sure their kids attend class responding to your summons to handle an unruly child.