Dress codes have been in the media a great deal lately, and usually not in good ways. Many students and parents have either defied or denounced their schools’ dress codes, and the results haven’t always been good. Like it or not, however, schools have a right to implement and enforce a dress code, which also means that students can be penalized for not adhering to the rules.
As parents it’s our job to make sure that our children follow the rules laid out by the school. Whether these rules pertain to a student’s dress or behavior it’s important that the children understand why the rules are in place, and how best to follow them. It’s also important that kids know what the consequences are for breaking the rules.
That being said, it’s also critical to let children, especially teens, find ways to express their individual style while still adhering to the dress code. We’ll take a look at some great ways to help your teen feel like an individual, even when he or she has to dress like everyone else.
Styling a School Uniform
If your teen’s school requires uniforms the first and most important thing to do is to check the school handbook for clarification on how the uniforms can be styled. Some schools are more lenient than others when it comes to accessories. Once the rules are established, help your teen find ways to accessorize their uniform stylishly without violating the dress code.
- Accessories. Obviously, one of the easiest ways to add some style to a uniform is with accessories. Everything from jewelry to book bags can be counted as accessories and it’s fun to play around with different styles. A trendy animal print watch from Jimmy Jazz, scarves in bright colors and prints, and funky tights and leggings can all be used to make a school uniform a little more personal.
- Tailoring. If you buy your teen’s uniform off the rack or from a catalog, consider paying a visit to your local tailor or seamstress. If your teen’s uniform fits properly it will look much better on them, which can help make them feel just a bit better about wearing it.
- Outerwear. Many schools don’t have an outerwear requirement when it comes to uniforms, so as long as your teen’s choices don’t break any other dress code rules they can really have fun when the weather turns cold. Stylish coats, hats, scarves, and boots can all be fun ways to express one’s style, even if those garments are likely shed as soon as the students enter the school building.
Styling a Dress Code
Dress codes can be a little bit easier than a uniform for your teen to style, but it’s important that they are fully aware of the school’s rules regarding clothing, and that they don’t try to push the boundaries. Many schools have implemented zero tolerance policies on dress codes, and the last thing we want is for our kids to have to deal with a suspension from school, or worse.
- Visit thrift stores and resale shops. Perhaps the best way for your teen to express their individuality is by encouraging them to shop at thrift stores. They are likely to find one of kind, vintage items that no one else will have. For girls, pretty dresses from the 1970s come in fun and bold prints are usually designed to cover the shoulders and knees, which will satisfy a dress code. Boys can explore vintage items like tie tacks and sport coats from the 1960s that just might make them trend setters at school. Vintage music T-shirts are also great choices.
- Teach your teen how to sew. Yes, I know. This one might be a little far-fetched, but why not give it a try? Many teens have an interest in the construction side of fashion, so why not encourage that? Not only will your teen learn a skill that might morph into a career, they’ll also have truly unique outfits that they themselves have created. Additionally, it could save you a great deal of money.
School dress codes can be a hassle or they can serve as a way for teens and parents to be creative and problem solve together. Once you’re certain of the rules surrounding your teen’s dress code you can have fun exploring different styling options and wardrobe choices, which might just bring you a little closer to your kids at the end of the day.