Hi, I'm Kristin. Like many ladies, I've had the reasons for school dress codes drilled into me since I was a girl: that school is a place of business, that it's about preparing you to be an adult, and that to be taken seriously you have to ~dress a certain way~.
Which, OK, sure...but then why is it that girls keep getting in trouble for wearing outfits that functional adult women (including myself) wear ALL THE TIME?
It made me wonder: Would my current adult human woman wardrobe even be dress code appropriate?
So I picked eight American public high schools and tried to follow their dress codes with the clothes I've worn to work in the last three months — and no repeating outfits.
So, is most of my current wardrobe dress code appropriate, or am I actually a big, distracting lady? LET'S FIND OUT!
For me, this was easy, because the dress code rules for this school are delightfully vague:
For day 1, I basically got to dress like myself:
This school was probably the easiest to actually follow, because it was both pretty lenient and intensely specific:
I had a little more trouble picking an outfit for day 2 than the previous day (does a lace overlay count as a strap? How does one measure half of a back?), but I still got to dress like myself:
This day is approximately when my troubles began:
Here's what I wore for day 3 (after almost leaving the house in something "inappropariate," like, twice):
Today was the first day I had to bust out the tape measure:
Day 4 was a pretty hot day, so I was in absolutely no mood for pants:
Day 5 was not a very good day for dress wearers like myself:
This school also has a rule about wearing shorts with skirts that I have read upwards of 25 times and still don't really understand:
Anyway, I hit a little snag dressing for day 5 when I got called out because the shirt I was wearing revealed a little bit of bra and had to put on a sweater halfway through the day:
For day 6, I actually couldn't decide between two Kentucky schools (both with interesting dress codes rules in their own right), so I decided to split this day into two halves:
And welcome to the jungle, we've got fun and shame:
Day 6 was super hot, because of course it was, so I was not interested in wearing pants and instead settled for looking like an adult toddler.
This dress code was only slightly more permissive, and at a super irritating cost:
To simulate what I imagine is probably a very humiliating and power-imbalanced experience, I got on my knees so that my boss could measure day 6's outfit to make sure it was appropriate:
Day 6's outfit turned out to be fine, but the soul was not.
So, here's day 7's outfit, complete with a shirt that I normally just wear while working out or sleeping or yelling at the TV:
After a week of trying to follow the rules, I learned a lot about how much work dress codes really are:
1. How easy it is for you to follow a dress code (as a girl) is based largely on luck: where you happen to go to school, how tall you are, how wide apart (and therefore, cleavage-prone) your boobs happen to be, how long your arms are, whether you have the money to buy clothes that will be acceptable. Why are we making things so unfair?
2. A vague dress code is impossible to follow and so subjective — and therefore inconsistent.
3. I get it: There are many reasonable guidelines for expected dressing in life, and school is here to teach you about life. But school ISN'T real life, it's a place where children need to learn, and if you're a 5'10'' teenager who lives in a hot state and is in tears because she can't find shorts that are long enough for her body — you're not helping her learn, you're wasting her time because YOU can't exert the effort to meet her halfway.
4. If you still have a dress code that requires ANYONE to get on their knees in 2016, you're being lazy. Update that noise.