Each month we round up dress code (and dress code-adjacent) stories that we’ve encountered, or that we’ve been thinking about. Please send us suggestions!

Oppressive dress codes are bad, but anti-code student activism is the best. Sometimes this activism is underpinned by thoughtful organizing: see, for example, the work of Les Carrés Jaunes in Quebec. And sometimes it’s a spur of the moment expression of anger and frustration: check out Max and Jade’s clothing swap. Either way, it’s galvanizing.

Also in Quebec, girls in Gatineau were sent home for wearing ripped jeans.

Cédrik Coyle, 16, said he thinks there’s a double standard at the school because he wore ripped jeans to class earlier this week and he wasn’t asked to change.

“I really think sexism should stop,” he said.

In Florida, Lizzy Martinez called for a bracott after a school administrator gave her Band-Aids to cover her nipples (in addition to an undershirt and a t-shirt). Lizzy’s story reminds us so much of Dani’s experience in Toronto, especially this detail:

[School administrators] insisted that she was violating the school dress code. (The 2017-2018 Code of Student Conduct does not say bras must be worn by female students.)

(By the way, will someone please write an essay exploring what is implied by the Band-Aids in this story? Are nipples wounds?!) (Come to think of it, so many of these stories imply that female-presenting bodies are always already injured, are abrasions that must be constantly covered up though they’ll never heal, are sites, and sources, of trauma…)

At GM, CEO Mary Barra replaced a 10-page dress code with two words: “Dress appropriately.” Her premise is striking:

…if you have a lot of overly prescriptive policies and procedures, people will live down to them,” she said.

“But if you let people own policies themselves…it helps develop them.”


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