“Strongly Encouraged” Dress Code Pressure

Discussion in 'General Education' started by willowsangel, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. willowsangel

    willowsangel Rookie

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    Hello Fellow AtoZ’ers,

    I am starting my first year teaching at a boys’ high school where the written dress code puts general emphasis on looking “professional,” and is not all too specific. With the limited financial means that I have, I purchased a teaching wardrobe centered mostly on navy blue and black dress slacks with coordinated blouses. My goal is to look conservative because I am one of the few female employees in my school, and the student population is comprised of teenage boys. All of the administrators are men, and most of the teachers here are men too.

    Last Friday, the few females who work here, myself included, were separately spoken to by the principal and “strongly encouraged” to wear dress skirts Mondays through Thursdays, with the “option" of dress slacks on Fridays even though the preference remains on dress skirts. Our principal said the administration is working toward “tightening up the dress code” and “raising the general standards of appearance.” Adherence to the dress code is part of our review upon which we are judged. If that’s not enough, here’s the kicker – we also have to wear pantyhose with skirts even in this heat!

    The men will now be "encouraged" to wear jackets and ties so there is equal misery to go around, apparently.

    I left our meeting feeling pressured to change my wardrobe even though I would feel much more comfortable in the dress slacks I purchased. I don't mean for this to sound like I am whining - I really am not. I am grateful to have this job and am looking forward to giving it my all.

    Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
     
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  3. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    wow......going back to the old fashioned way of thinking in which females should wear skirts at all times aren't they?
    I would probably thank the principal for the suggestions but that your wardrobe has been already purchased but he should be pleased to see how professional it is.

    Right now, these suggestions are not written in your dress code correct? Until they are he really can't count it against you and if he does you could discuss that. What he should have done was amend the dress code by providing a written explanation about the new dress code to cover his butt lol
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    What are the other females teachers doing? It seems rather expensive to have to go out and buy four more skirts.
     
  5. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    What the hell is this, 1954?
     
  6. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    If this is the requirment, I would think the best advice I could give you would be to do as required. I totally think it's archaic, but I'm not one to argue with those who sign my pay check.
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Um, I would do as I was told, BUT, I would fight it as well.

    Do you have a union? I would start there.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    When I was a teenaged boy at an all boys school, I would have loved it if they made all the female teachers wear skirts. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO COOL!!!;)
     
  9. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    If my boss "strongly encouraged" me to do something, I would esp if appearance is part of your review.

    Have you worn or washed the dress slacks you purchased? Is there any way you could return them to help you purchase skirts?
     
  10. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I'll never understand some of these dress codes. Every morning my daughter and I pass a Catholic school where the girls must wear school uniform skirts. Some of these girls look so scandalous in their outfits with their skirts hiked up and bare legs and they are getting out of their parents' cars looking like this. How is that more modest than wearing pants? Like Sarge said, he would have loved it if all the female teachers had worn skirts at his high school. My point exactly...skirts are sometimes more suggestive than pants. I think requiring you to wear skirts is definitely a step back in time to when women were objectified. I would not be happy having to wear a skirt. BTW...I do wear them as part of my wardrobe but it's my choice. No one is telling me I have to.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We got our new dress code the day before school started, and we were expected to be in compliance the next day.

    It really was more of a mild annoyance for me, as I basically just had to put away things that I couldn't wear to work since I didn't want to accidentally wear the wrong things. (I've worked in the same district for 18 years, and this is the first time for a specific dress code.)

    I have a lot of dress clothes, but my "casual" consisted of only dark-washed trouser jeans and a couple of pairs of dark-washed jeans. I had to go shopping for some twill pants this weekend since I don't want to dress up every day.

    I found skirts at Old Navy that were $8 each. They are listed a pencil skirts, but they're actually a-line. I got them in black and khaki, but they had them in army green, brown, and white, too. I found a couple of skirts cheap from JCPenney and Land's End, too.
     
  12. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Hmmmm... odd that they didn't just change the dress code if that is how they want staff to dress. I guess its one of those "is this a mountain you want to die on" types of situations. Now if the men were not also told to wear something equally as ridiculous it probably would be a mountain worth dieing on for me but in this situation I would probably go out and buy a couple of long skirts and some of those sock pantyhose (because with a long skirt who will know if they are full pantyhose).
     
  13. willowsangel

    willowsangel Rookie

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    I appreciate everyone’s thoughts. I won’t make waves by going against what they want, but it does seem archaic to me. I don’t have many skirts since I don’t normally wear them; and although the ones I have look “corporate,” they are above the knee.

    I agree with WindyCityGal606 in that while I might wear a skirt every now-and-again, I don’t like being told to wear them. And I share Sarge’s point of view too. I purposely bought dress slacks because I’m teaching high school boys. I want my students’ eyes up on the board - not on my legs. :help:

    The thing that really irks me more than anything is being told to wear pantyhose in general, and especially by a man. I never wear pantyhose, and hate how they feel. I ruined a pair just trying them on earlier because I don’t normally wear them. Plus it is averaging 100 degrees outside here. If anyone knows of brands that “breathe” better than average and are durable, please let me know.
     
  14. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Wow....I wrote our new dress code and it doesn't require skirts. For men it requires dress pants or khakis, a collared shirt, and dress shoes. Ties are strongly encouraged. For women no bellies, boobs, or butt should be showing and they should not wear jeans of any kind. Skirts and dresses must go at least to the knee. Shoes must be professional looking, and to my dismay heels are strongly encouraged. sneakers are only allowed on Fridays and school spirit days.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    :dizzy:

    Amen.

    I. Do. Not. Wear. Skirts. While I understand many would feel I would be acting dramatically, I would be absolutely outraged if I were forced to wear them as an adult. And I would feel duped.
     
  16. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Brendan, so if women are "encouraged" to wear heels, what sort of torture are the men expected to wear? :)

    I'd have a HUGE problem if I was expected to wear heels daily. I've never been able to wear them. I trip and fall and my feet hurt after 5 minutes.
     
  17. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Do they even sell pantyhose anymore? Kidding, kidding. I just don't see the point of wearing them.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Except for when you're six years old wanting to dress up all fancy, there is no point! :)
     
  19. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    HUE is a good brand of hose. Sold at macy's and other dept. stores. They are under $10/pair and last soooo much longer than the drug store variety.
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    It's not my policy. We are encouraged to wear ties. I personally love wearing ties, though.
     
  21. willowsangel

    willowsangel Rookie

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    I didn't even wear them to the interview(s) where I eventually was hired. It's one thing to wear them on a special occasion, but everyday? :confused:

    Thanks for the info. L'eggs Sheer Elegance Control Tops are definitely NOT working for me here. They are too tight all over - could barely get them on; and the waistband is awful. I don't think I can last all day in these.
     
  22. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Willows, out of everything I've read so far, I think I like the idea of knee highs the best. Is that something that you could pull off? I would much rather wear an ankle length skirt and knee highs over a suit length skirt and full panty hose.
     
  23. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Now if someone told me I had to wear heals all day... that would be a mountain I would die on. I could not do it.

    Its all about figuring out which mountains you will die on.
     
  24. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Well my friend Claire had a meeting today with my boss and I about the heel "suggestion" and she used the whole line "Heels were made by men so it would be harder for girls to run away."
     
  25. knitchic

    knitchic Rookie

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    I wear dresses and skirts almost every day, but I sure wouldn't want anyone telling me that I have to!

    I agree, it's not 1954!!
     
  26. willowsangel

    willowsangel Rookie

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to see how it goes. I am not a fan of either option honestly. Right now I have a few business style skirts which are definitely not ankle length, so knee highs are out for the moment.

    In terms of finances, having to redo the wardrobe on such short notice is a real hassle. :mad:
     
  27. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oh, oh, oh!!!!! I have an idea!!!!!!

    You could do thigh highs and a garter belt! :spitwater: :rofl: :toofunny:

    Sorry, couldn't resist :D
     
  28. willowsangel

    willowsangel Rookie

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    Trust me - the thought crossed my mind more than a few times. I really should. :D It actually would be more comfortable overall, I would think.
     
  29. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    I teach at an all-boys Catholic school. My first year I dressed in slacks and blazers (mostly in dark or neutral colors), basically because I didn't want to look too feminine with the mostly male population in the school. I agree that "encouraging" the female staff members to wear skirts is staid and outdated, but as a new teacher, I would also follow the directive. However, here's hoping the veteran female teachers will balk at the idea and your administrators will amend the directive.
     
  30. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    I can't speak to the archaic feeling of skirts with pantyhose for women as I'm a male.

    But, I can say I'm all for male teachers being required to wear dress shoes, khakis, button shirts and ties.

    It goes back to my youth. I remember having more respect for teachers that dressed nice. No, I wouldn't act out more or less in classes where the didn't. It was an internal thing. They gave that aura, that presence of listen to me, I know what I'm doing and I'm in charge.

    I guess the whole, my teacher is an alien kind of thing. It put them above my peers. When they dressed like my peers, I felt like I was their social equal in the classroom. Not that that's intrinsically bad, but you get the point.

    Just my two cents.
     
  31. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Regarding pantyhose:

    At the school where I had taught for the past six years, pantyhose were a requirement with skirts and dresses. With slacks, knee highs were your option.

    Most of our female faculty chose to wear pants because no one wanted to run pair after pair of pantyhose while teaching.

    I understood every aspect of the dress code implemented at my former school, with the exception of pantyhose. Closed-toed shoes. Fine. No peep-toes. Fine. Suits encouraged. Fine. Khakis not allowed. Fine. No cap sleeves. Fine. Modest length skirts/dresses. Fine.

    But I could not for the life of me understand the pantyhose. It truly boggled my mind -- especially in the heat of southern Florida.

    But, it was our dress code so it was nonnegotiable.

    Thigh highs can be your friend. :)
     
  32. willowsangel

    willowsangel Rookie

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    My thoughts exactly. My first week would have been less stressful had I been allowed to wear the dress slacks I purchased over the summer. All my skirts that look "dressy" are above the knee, and I felt uncomfortable at times especially when maneuvering around.

    It's going to be this way until I can save extra money for yet another new wardrobe, unfortunately.
     
  33. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Can you speak with your P and ask if it's ok to wear the slacks that you purchased until you could save some money to buy some skirts?

    I believe it's a bit much to require skirts and pantyhose. Makes me thankful that our dress code just reads professional.
     
  34. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    I am thanking my administration tomorrow for our lenient dress code. We are just expected to dress professionally...no t-shirts or shorts. Capris are allowed if they are the dressier ones. We are allowed to wear jeans if they look nice (no holes, proper fitting, etc)...I do wear dresses, jumpers, and skirts. I like dressing up...but geez, as a previous poster stated...this is not the 1950's!

    To the poster that stated that heels are strongly encouraged at their school...What do you do about teachers (like myself) that cannot wear heels? I am a tall, large-feet, diabetic. Heels cause serious problems with my feet and my doctor has banned them. I would hate the feeling that I was not being compliant with the dress code. :dunno:
     
  35. willowsangel

    willowsangel Rookie

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    smalltowngal - The thought of asking crossed my mind. I'm on the fence about it because I don't want to rock the boat and be asking for special privileges - especially being new. On the other hand I'm living hand to mouth right now, and it might be some time before I can get a new wardrobe.


    teacherSMK - I agree with you totally. I will follow the rules because I am grateful for the job, but I haven't found a good pair of pantyhose yet and the ones I wore this week were terribly uncomfortable. I soooo hate wearing them.
     
  36. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Can you wear tights? They seem a little more fashionable if you're younger. I always wore pantyhose but I got my veins fixed last year so I no longer need the support they offer. If your legs get tired at the end of they day, you would benefit.
     
  37. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I personally would do whatever I could to make sure I adhered to thier suggestion particularly since you are a first year teacher. It's not worth it to rock the boat over clothes and like you said, women aren't being singled out. Men have to do it too.
     
  38. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I would have a very hard time complying with the spoken dress code. I have rarely worn skirts since I was able to dress myself. I would inform the boss I had no skirts and had no money to purchase new skirts at this time.

    I would be ******. It is a battle I would certainly consider fighting partially because I get horrible heat rash and pantyhose would not go well with that. As a new member of the staff you might speak with the other women on the staff and find out how they are feeling about this and whether any of them are going to fight it. If they are ride on their coat tails!

    If I had already shopped and the dress code was changed after that I would at least inform the boss I could not afford to buy a new wardrobe.
     
  39. Samothrace

    Samothrace Cohort

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    This is what I thought of when I first read this. I find the whole thing ridiculous!

    1915 Teachers Rules

    1. You will mot marry during the term of your contract.
    2. You are not to keep the company with men.
    3. You must be home between the hours of 8 PM and 6 AM unless attending a school function.
    4. You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores..
    5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have the permission of the chairman of the board..
    6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
    7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
    8. You may not dress in bright colors.
    9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
    10. You must wear at least two petticoats.
    11. Your dresses must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.
    12. To keep the school room neat and clean, you must: sweep the floor at least once daily, scrub the floor at least once a week with hot soapy water, clean the blackboards at lest once a day and start the fire at 7 AM so the room will warm by 8 AM.


    Even to the poster that said heels are strongly encouraged! I think that is just stupid. I have an issue on my left foot that really forces me to wear only certain shoes. And to be honest, I want to see any 'big whig admin' literally be on their feet all day without sitting, then talk to me about their choice of footwear/clothing.

    This really makes me angry and if I was a non first year teacher in this situation would be having a serious discussion with my union or admin.

    To the original poster. A few people said ask your p if the pants are ok until you can afford to amend your wardrobe. I'd try that and see where you end up.

    I know a lot of people are not fans of consignment/thrift stores, but you can find some really great like new clothes for next to nothing, which might be an option for a few basic black or brown skirts.
     
  40. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    Aug 23, 2010

    Now I feel guilty! I went to work today in a sleeveless dress and flip flops. Our dress code is MUY casual.
     
  41. Elcsmith

    Elcsmith Companion

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    Aug 25, 2010

    We were given a new dress code this year as well. It's not as strict as yours but we can only wear dress pants, skirts and capri pants that are no more than 4 inches above your ankle....strange huh.
     

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