TKI67

Super Member
1,218
United States
Texas
Austin
i live in Austin, Texas. The Austin Independent School District is in the process of updating its dress code, partially in response to legal action alleging gender and racial discrimination. I actually agree that it so discriminates, but then I am not afraid of a person just because they are black and wearing a hoodie. Truth be told a country guy with a bunch of keys on a chain and the imprint of his chaw can on his rear pocket freaks me out more. I digress. Under consideration are allowing the wearing of short shorts and spaghetti straps (not really surprised) and pajamas (!) and allowing underwear to show as long as the entire article is not visible. One of the points I have heard raised is “if that’s what makes them comfortable, it’s okay as long as they are focused on learning.” To that I offer my observation that learning how the world dresses and behaves is of value, perhaps more value for some than learning about parabolas and diagramming sentences. I also share that I was sent to boys schools that required coats and ties. Since our buildings were not air conditioned, once the mercury was regularly hitting the mid-eighties, we were allowed to wear Bermuda shorts. Our academic dean observed to me that when that took place academic performance fell off markedly. I don’t know that this establishes a direct correlation, but dressing up a bit does bring about decorum that has some value. At any rate, Austin is clearly leaning towards sartorial anarchy as a panacea, and I’m saddened by it. Just imagine how jarring and uncomfortable it will be for these kids if work ever requires them to dress up a bit.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
3,116
United States
California
San Francisco
TKI67, thank you for letting us know of the mischief that the Austin Independent School District is stirring up.

I agree that school dress codes that set reasonably high standards are beneficial to the students in both the short and long-term. (I'd settle for reasonably middling standards.)

Looks like the geniuses who run the Austin public schools are caving in to political correctness.

On a brighter note, this time I got your user name right: "TKI67" rather than "TK167."

("TK167"--wasn't that the first film that George Lucas wrote and directed?)
 
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TKI67

Super Member
1,218
United States
Texas
Austin
I’ll have to look up the Lucas film. As for school dress I’m fine with pretty open and low standards, but I think AISD has slipped into the sort of craziness that will not serve its students well. Fast forward to a seventeen year old preparing for a college or job interview with no familiarity with what people actually wear at college or work, let alone how they dressed for the interviews that got them there!

Ah, quick enough to fix with an edit...THX 1138.

Also, glad you got the TKI right! My last name is Irvine, and people ask me how I pronounce my name. I respond “Tim.” I love being a snotty wise ass. If they persist, I say my name is Tim, which is TMI spelled wrong.
 

Kennedy Jr. Jr.

New Member
31
New York, NY
United States
NY
New York
I’ll have to look up the Lucas film. As for school dress I’m fine with pretty open and low standards, but I think AISD has slipped into the sort of craziness that will not serve its students well. Fast forward to a seventeen year old preparing for a college or job interview with no familiarity with what people actually wear at college or work, let alone how they dressed for the interviews that got them there!
The fact is, for the vast majority of people, when they go out for an interview, they'll wear whatever idea of "nice clothes" they get from their parents, their older brother/sister, or the internet. And another fact is that in the vast majority of cases, their interviewer will subscribe to the same notions of what "nice clothes" are. Unless you're trying to get a job in business/finance or government, the standards are low (and getting lower even in those fields). But there is a community standard of sorts - it's not J. Press or Brooks Brothers, but it's there, and it's the reality. We can bemoan it, but it seems to me that this issue of a more general lowering of standards isn't really being addressed, negatively or positively, by the current change. School dress codes at anywhere but religious or fancy prep schools haven't mandated coats and ties, let alone collared shirts and leather shoes, for a long time. Whether or not the Austin schools change the dress code as you describe, it will not subtract from students' readiness to interview - that has been done as much as it will be done by wider societal changes.

Speaking as a New England prep school teacher myself, I can say that it doesn't matter much to me what my students wear, as long as it doesn't distract the class from the topic at hand. As much as I'd be pleased to see the young men in my classes wear what I wear (what could be called the traditional men's clothing of the 1960s-1980s), I know it's not going to happen, and I'm also quite happy to live in a world which, increasingly, values what's in young people's minds rather than what store they buy their shoes from, or what school's name is on their high school diploma. And, of course, while it may seem odd to someone used to dressing as we dress, many young people care deeply about what joggers or t-shirts or fleece jackets they wear, just as much as kids in the 1960s cared about hook vents or flap-pocket OCBDs or Weejuns.

EDIT: a quick anecdote, playing Devil's advocate about this whole thing. I went to graduate school in the recent past in New York City, near one of the aforementioned "fancy prep schools" which mandates leather shoes, a collared shirt, and chinos as its uniform (no jacket or tie required). It was always interesting to me how poorly the students dressed. They clearly had no idea of what nice shoes were, or how to wear good clothing, and they wore ill-fitting clothes - and, on top of that, clearly resented the fact that they had to wear them and did everything they could to skirt around the requirements. So a more "classic" dress code in 2019 does not, in my view, accomplish the same thing it did in 1959, let alone 1969 or even 1989.
 

TKI67

Super Member
1,218
United States
Texas
Austin
The fact is, for the vast majority of people, when they go out for an interview, they'll wear whatever idea of "nice clothes" they get from their parents, their older brother/sister, or the internet. And another fact is that in the vast majority of cases, their interviewer will subscribe to the same notions of what "nice clothes" are. Unless you're trying to get a job in business/finance or government, the standards are low (and getting lower even in those fields). But there is a community standard of sorts - it's not J. Press or Brooks Brothers, but it's there, and it's the reality. We can bemoan it, but it seems to me that this issue of a more general lowering of standards isn't really being addressed, negatively or positively, by the current change. School dress codes at anywhere but religious or fancy prep schools haven't mandated coats and ties, let alone collared shirts and leather shoes, for a long time. Whether or not the Austin schools change the dress code as you describe, it will not subtract from students' readiness to interview - that has been done as much as it will be done by wider societal changes.

Speaking as a New England prep school teacher myself, I can say that it doesn't matter much to me what my students wear, as long as it doesn't distract the class from the topic at hand. As much as I'd be pleased to see the young men in my classes wear what I wear (what could be called the traditional men's clothing of the 1960s-1980s), I know it's not going to happen, and I'm also quite happy to live in a world which, increasingly, values what's in young people's minds rather than what store they buy their shoes from, or what school's name is on their high school diploma. And, of course, while it may seem odd to someone used to dressing as we dress, many young people care deeply about what joggers or t-shirts or fleece jackets they wear, just as much as kids in the 1960s cared about hook vents or flap-pocket OCBDs or Weejuns.

EDIT: a quick anecdote, playing Devil's advocate about this whole thing. I went to graduate school in the recent past in New York City, near one of the aforementioned "fancy prep schools" which mandates leather shoes, a collared shirt, and chinos as its uniform (no jacket or tie required). It was always interesting to me how poorly the students dressed. They clearly had no idea of what nice shoes were, or how to wear good clothing, and they wore ill-fitting clothes - and, on top of that, clearly resented the fact that they had to wear them and did everything they could to skirt around the requirements. So a more "classic" dress code in 2019 does not, in my view, accomplish the same thing it did in 1959, let alone 1969 or even 1989.
I certainly prize what people have in their minds far more than the way they dress. I just believe there is a point, albeit unclear and I’ll defined, that is too far, not too far for people to choose if they wish but too far to allow a focus on the mind in an academic setting. Perhaps, or more likely probably, it would eventually settle out and become a non-issue, but I’d predict a code as lax as Austin is considering would lead to people trying to one up their peers, seeing how far they can take matters. I’m well aware of kids today using the same type of scrutiny we did on labels and designs, just different ones, but this new twist takes it in a whole new direction I fear will be disruptive to education. And back to the interview matter, what if it’s now a few years hence and your parents and older siblings have nothing suitable to lend? I’m not campaigning to return to out of date modes of dress. I’m just fearful of throwing out all of the rules and letting young children write their own without guidance. I foresee that precipitating a lot of conflict people aren’t considering fully. Imagine the classroom interaction among the kids whose parents or guardians made them wear jeans and Tee shirts with kids whose parents sent them in their pajamas. Then again, kids sort stuff like that out themselves, don’t they? It is an interesting experiment.
 

Doctor Damage

Connoisseur
5,753
Canada
Ontario
Toronto
Another one of these hand-wringing threads... Guys, your country has bigger problems that need your attention.
 

FLMike

Connoisseur
5,796
United States
FL
West Coast
Another one of these hand-wringing threads... Guys, your country has bigger problems that need your attention.
Thank you. It is getting a bit tiresome. Yes, people dress more casually and slovenly than they used to. No, people don’t dress up as much as they used to. Should we constantly bemoan the facts, or just live life and enjoy wearing the clothes we enjoy wearing?
 

Kennedy Jr. Jr.

New Member
31
New York, NY
United States
NY
New York
@TKI - Very interesting, and lots of good points in your OP and reply. A while ago, I started pondering the values that have started attaching themselves, leech-like, to certain modes of dress. As some lax ways of dressing carry certain connotations, so do other more formal ones. I know that I've surprised some people as a liberal-leaning wearer of a blue blazer and khakis, when perhaps the most visible wearer of this style today is (in my opinion) Tucker Carlson. Perhaps there is a reaction against the perceived ideologies of clothes that make people reluctant to venture into the "conservatism" of more formal clothing...
 
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Kennedy Jr. Jr.

New Member
31
New York, NY
United States
NY
New York
Another one of these hand-wringing threads... Guys, your country has bigger problems that need your attention.
I think hand-wringing and pearl-clutching is annoying (the biggest reason I stay away from the comments section of Ivy Style, lol) but to be fair, we aren't the decision makers on policy or on the bench of the Supreme Court. This is a clothing forum, not a Solve America's Problems forum, is it not? And anyway, is not the topic of this thread the quality of education and educational environments for young people, one of the most pressing issues in the US today?
 

Kennedy Jr. Jr.

New Member
31
New York, NY
United States
NY
New York
I wonder if perhaps some people find you execrable.
Our opinions obviously differ. It's why I took care to clarify that it was simply an opinion, and while I'm certainly not alone in it, I understand there are others. If you came here simply to insult other posters, perhaps you can take some deep breaths and find some more worthwhile activities to spend your free time on.
 
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