I think - I'm not sure - I was trying to make a similar point or, at least, an oblique one to yours. Yes, today it would seem ludicrous to give a homeless man a tie (up there with Marie Antoinette's cake offering), but it wasn't in '49 as almost everyone - at almost every social level - wanted to dress nicely by that day's standards.In studying history, there is a term called "presentism"; taking the meaning of things today and projecting them into the past. This is easy to do with clothes, too.
Khakis were the cargo pants of the 1950s. Loafers were for easy-going loafers who didn't wear proper lace-up shoes. The reactionaries were the ones who grumbled about shirts with soft collars and how when they were young every respectable man wore a stiff-collared shirt.
This is hard to see from today, because as styles age they naturally become more formal, slowly climbing their way up the scale. So the bum wearing a tie seems striking, when at the time it was not really so.
I've made that simple; I appeal to mine!Today's culture is much more fragmented than 70 years ago. So instead of a (more or less) monolithic definition of properly-dressed, today there are 50 definitions, and you have to be smart as to the particular social milieu you're appealing to.
I suppose one can regard "please do not arrive undressed" as a dress code of sorts, even if a sadly impoverished one.It didn’t die. It changed. Most of us are addicted to a single point in time. It was way different before trad came along
I graduated high school in 96, and have no memories of ever wearing anything but whatever I felt like to school (and I'm even including elementary school). Shorts, t-shirts, and ugly nikes were my norm up until high school, at which point I discovered jeans and boots.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.