Dressing for your Future
Brian Campbell

Full Article with pictures: https://highhopescommunications.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Dressing-for-your-Future.pdf

There seems to be a huge debate going on about whether or not public schools have the right to enact and enforce dress codes. This debate largely centres on what girls and young women are wearing, and specifically, the wearing of leggings and/or yoga pants. These tight fitting pants, originally intended for dance and other physical activity, are more and more becoming a popular form of streetwear.  Young women and girls are feeling unfairly singled out by comments such as: “such clothing is inappropriate for a young lady,” and “they are a distraction to boys.”

Before dealing with these arguments, and my own opinion of leggings, how about I make an attempt to provide some perspective. How would you feel if tomorrow, all the boys and young men showed up for school wearing ballet tights? I am providing a picture, just to make my point.

Picture #1

Fortunately, unlike boys, all the young ladies going to school are much too mature to be distracted by such a sight. Right?

Okay, now that I have your attention, and have given you an image you’ll have trouble erasing from your memory, I can get to the point I’m trying to make.

To start with, I personally have no problem with women or girls wearing leggings. My own granddaughters have been known to wear them and I find the majority of them perfectly acceptable. What I have a problem with is the wearing of leggings that are so sheer and tight that total nudity would actually leave more to the imagination. I am, once again, providing a visual reference.

Picture #2

Now I’m sure there is a purpose for wearing such an item, although I can think of no purpose outside of the bedroom, but I can tell you quite confidently that I don’t believe that school is that place. If you fail to see the problem, please refer back to picture one. Now do you understand? However, I am not going to use that worn out old comment about such an outfit being “distracting to boys,” because, quite frankly, all a girl needs to do to distract a teenage boy is show up. She could dress as if she were going on a space walk and it wouldn’t matter, a teenage boy’s imagination can be quite vivid.

Nor am I going to suggest that wearing such an outfit invites sexual assault. Under no circumstance would I blame such an action on what a woman or girl is wearing. Let there be no doubt at all in this matter. There is no excuse. None! Period!

But although this type of clothing does not and should not invite assault, it will invite stares, and possibly even comments. Do me a favour and don’t try to tell me that men and boys should keep their eyes and thoughts to themselves. Nobody puts on something that revealing if they don’t want people to notice. I may be wrong, I have been before, but I highly doubt it.

The reason I think girls and women find themselves targeted more than boys and men, is that they take more liberties with their clothing than their male counterparts. It is unlikely that boys will start wearing ballet tights to school, so you can start breathing again. In the eighties, rock musicians like David Lee Roth, David Bowie and Rod Stewart began wearing tight spandex pants when performing, but that didn’t lead to a flock of young men and boys to run out and buy spandex pants. In fact, most of us took one look and said, “Oh God! No!” and took it as the negative example that it was.

That doesn’t mean that young men and boys don’t make fashion faux pas that are better kept out of school. They just make different ones. For example, I think that wearing pants so baggy that they look as if they are going to fall down at any moment is a look better kept for your spare time. I have no desire to see your underwear, or worse, your butt crack. Baseball caps, no matter what direction the peak faces, can be removed at the door, thank you very much. Practice your rapper routine on your own time. I don’t care what your favourite band is, and as much as I appreciate that you think “Trump sucks,” you can leave that t-shirt at home too.

In my humble opinion, middle school and high school should be treated like your job. This is a perfect time to start learning how to dress for the working world. I don’t mean suit and tie, I mean putting on a clean, unripped pair of pants or jeans that fit you properly, a shirt without a slogan printed across the front and a clean pair of shoes that are actually laced up.

You may find it hard to believe, but the world comes with rules, and it doesn’t care about your tender feelings. A potential employer, when meeting you at a job interview, won’t tell you that you are dressed inappropriately, he/she will simply hire someone else. So you can either learn to fit into the world as it is, not as you would like it to be, or you can end up thirty years old, living in your parent’s basement, wondering why no one will hire you. The choice is yours.