LC Dress Code: What’s That?

Lillian Clark '24, Staff Writer

When was the last time you were reminded about Loomis Chaffee’s dress code? Was it during the Pelican Preview Days? Or was it at the beginning of the year? Either way, it is rare to hear anything regarding the dress code. Why is that?
Perhaps it is because of its inconsistent policing, or maybe a lack of consistency within the policy itself. After all, so many people disregard the dress code on a daily basis that it’s become hard to remember the actual rules.
With such an inconsistently followed and regulated dress code, it is more important than ever to reexamine the conditions that make the LC dress code highly inefficient.
Starting off, why does gender matter in the LC dress code? While it is common to see gendered dress codes in certain professions, is there really a need to set strictly “male” or “female” restrictions? Quite frankly, no. There should not be any reason for gender to play a role in dictating how we dress. It would be quite simple to state general descriptions for clothing items, rather than making them gender-specific. Broader rules would reduce confusion and make for a more cohesive policy all around.
Additionally, there are even more rules that do apply to all students, like the “Loomis sweatshirt only” and the largely disregarded “no blue jeans” policies. This is where a lack of consistency begins to show up, due to the arbitrary nature of these rules. Students who wear Loomis sweatshirts are barred from wearing sweatshirts from other brands, while blue jeans are impermissible despite a tolerance for blue denim jackets. Hence, the dress code’s overspecificity and inconsistent nitpicks are part of the reason that it is so easy to dismiss. And, with a lack of consistent policing by faculty members, the students’ willingness to comply with these rules only continues to decline.
So, why have a dress code at all? If students do not follow the dress code, what is the point? Why do people find dress codes useful? Some may say that a dress code needs to be strict so that the school looks “sharp” and maintains its reputation. A strict dress code that is consistently policed would work in theory, but as soon as part of that falls through the cracks, so does the rest of the policy.
Ultimately, the dress code has its value; it helps the student body look presentable and also boosts the school’s image. It is a way to keep students looking sharp, even if it takes away time from wearing more comfortable clothing. Yet, in order for the LC dress code to remain effective and helpful, Loomis must clearly address the standards of presentability, reasonability, and comfortability.