Does Fashion Get in the Way of Education?

In the previous post, Fashion: The Education You Don’t Think You Need, I discussed why fashion was a positive ideology that all should incorporate into their lives for more success. In this post, I will discuss why fashion could have negative connotations to education. Some believe that the way students dress will impact them by both grades and social setting.

School uniforms - stifling creativity or protecting our children? (photo by moaksey)

School uniforms – stifling creativity or protecting our children? (photo by moaksey)

Let us first distinguish the type of fashions I am talking about here: dressing right for your body and looking your best while establishing a silent rule of modesty and inappropriately dressing; eg. gang signs, too much flesh showing, etc…

According to, schools are embracing the idea of adopting stricter dress code policies to aide in prohibiting school violence. It makes sense in some ways, as students are less likely to bully each other based on wealth and social stance. However, people give away tell-tale signs of personality through their clothing. As it was expressed to me in the past, “If you wear morbid clothing, put morbid make-up on, watch morbid movies, of course you’re going to be morbid.” Now, morbidity here is just an example but you understand the basis of what I am saying.

Students and parents alike do not feel that this is the proper way to go. According to the article, Cap Hopes Stricter Dress Code Puts End to Negative School Perception, there is no realistic way of stopping students from wearing certain colors. In the article, a student suggests that it is not the clothes that they need to regulate but to, rather, find a way to change the hearts of the students. Parents felt the same way, when school administrators reportedly attempted to change the dress code policy to one brand of pant in this article. It seems that majority of the people feel that dress code is ineffective in stopping school violence considering it does not get to the root of the issue.

Looking at fashion objectively, the first impression often sets you up for other perceptions, including how far you grow in the workplace. If students are sagging their pants, for example, are they not more likely to hang out with other students who do the same? It is not that the clothes make the student, but the student is given availability to certain things through the fashions that they represent.

So yes, fashion does get in the way of education if it is not pursued correctly and with good taste. Fashion is a controversial subject for many who want to opt for their own personal styles. However, looking at colleges, most do not pursue dress codes. Why is it so controversial for high school and middle school students when college students are free to do as they please? There is a multitude of answers, including that a high school environment is more catty and involves more cliques than college do. As to not single out students from peers, dress codes are provided to get fashion out of education. It is simply another way of stifling creativity in our schools.

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