A Comfortable Image

Iz Guis and with help from Chris Chu

According to the Handbook, you can’t wear sweatpants to school. Orange-and-Blue Fridays are an exception to the rule, as long as they’re from Latin, and occasional days interspersed throughout the year allow for a more relaxed dress code; but on the whole, sweatpants, athletic apparel, and other clothing deemed inappropriate for our school and our image, aren’t allowed in the halls. But the reality of Latin’s dress code is much different, as some students are beginning to notice and protest.

As one sophomore pointed out, “People on sports teams wear athletic stuff everyday, but I’ll wake up late and put on sweatpants, and I’ll get dress coded for it. I don’t see how it’s okay for them to wear it, but I can’t.” Others in Mr. Windus’ office nodded along and provided comments of their own, saying much the same things. Another sophomore, who plays basketball and was wearing track pants, admitted that he’d worn athletic gear and sweatpants all week, with no comments from the administration.

The issue has two apparent solutions: everyone is allowed to wear comfortable clothing, or no one. Most that I talked to were in favor of the former, calling for “casual fridays” that don’t require Latin logos, more relaxed dress code days, or simply allowing them outright. They claim that Latin students, in an already stressful environment, could use more casual dress while taking tests, quizzes, and other assessments commonplace in an average day.

Studies support the claim, with increased comfort corresponding with increased test and exam scores. According to a paper by Bell, Cardello, and Schultz published in the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, there is a “significant positive relationship between comfort ratings and exam scores, with the model explaining 48% of the variance in exam scores.”

Proponents claim that the restrictions are an issue of maintaining the school’s image, and of respecting our teachers and our environment. That’s not enough for one student, who claimed, “this goes beyond how the school looks. How the students feel matters.” Both arguments are valid, although the current state of enforcement is definitely lacking. Showing visitors and staff that we care about our school is vital, as are the feelings and well-being of students.

Latin’s dress code is pretty lax already, as we are welcomed to express ourselves through what we wear each day. Although other matters are certainly more pressing on our community, the role of comfortable dress is food for thought. Should it be saved for exam week, accepted entirely, or somewhere in between? Most sophomores I talked to were in favor of the second option, but many pointed out other problems with our dress code not mentioned here. What are your thoughts on it?