F-f-f-Fashion! Polonius claims, "For the apparel oft proclaims the man" (1.3.78).  In what instances have you found this to be true?  False? 

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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My current school does not require school uniforms, but I have worked at a charter school where uniforms were required.  Interestingly enough, they STILL found ways to incorporate personalities and one of the Senior Superlatives was "Most Creative In Dressing Up The Uniform"...curiouser and curiouser.

Jewelry, belts, bleached spots on uniform shirts/pants/skirts, socks, shoes, and hairstyles (as long as the hair was a natural human color) all found their way through the school doors.

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Our school does have a uniform, and I appreciate it as I know the girls will look modest and the boys will have their pants pulled up to their waists. :)

Should people be judged by what they wear?  Of course not, but it is a fact of life that all kids and adults need to accept - first appearances are critical, and the sooner kids learn to dress professionally, the happier they are going to be in the long run.  I don't mean they have to dress expensively - I just mean that having neat, clean clothes can go a long way to impressing a potential employer!

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Actually, I think I'd prefer the hip hop look to some of the styles my students wear. My school is in a very rural, lower socioeconomic community. My students wear lots of cammo and John Deere logos. Unfortunately, they also wear a lot of rebel flag logos too and can't understand why it is unacceptable. Our total student body is 495, of which 450 are white. I have heard white kids make the most racist comments without blinking. The non-white kids (African American and Hispanic alike) just go along with the "jokes" because they are such a minority. I love this school and all the kids (well, most of them), but they have this huge flaw. I guess you could say their clothing says a lot about them, too.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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My experience has been the same as #4. My school doesn't have a uniform, but we do have a dress code that is strictly enforced. Classroom behavior is horrible on dress down days.

Picture this: Two men are standing side by side. One is wearing jeans, a button-down shirt that is tucked, and a leather belt and boots or sneakers (don't think cowboy). The other is wearing baggy pants with the crotch hanging between his knees, a shirt that is five sizes too big and untucked, and sneakers with the laces untied. Which one would you want your son to dress like? Appearance is important.

 

Linda-  Personally, I agree with you about preferring neatness.  But I've also encountered students and others whose dressing outlandishly is indicitive of an interesting, non-conformist personality.  There is a campaign underway here in the North Texas area to stamp this "hip hop" look.  My own students have very mixed feelings about this, with African-Americans typically being the biggest defenders of the "look."  Here's the story, even made it to the national news:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22657721/

I suspect it will be just about as effective as yelling at teenage boys to cut their hair in the 60s and 70s. 

Unfortuantely, we are judged by our clothes, but I've found that when I don't get all bunched up about a student's appearance, and listen to what he/she has to say, the student is often so surprised that they open up and reveal active, interesting minds. 

In the immortal words of Pink Floyd, "Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone."   

 

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

My experience has been the same as #4. My school doesn't have a uniform, but we do have a dress code that is strictly enforced. Classroom behavior is horrible on dress down days.

Picture this: Two men are standing side by side. One is wearing jeans, a button-down shirt that is tucked, and a leather belt and boots or sneakers (don't think cowboy). The other is wearing baggy pants with the crotch hanging between his knees, a shirt that is five sizes too big and untucked, and sneakers with the laces untied. Which one would you want your son to dress like? Appearance is important.

 

cmcqueeney's profile pic

cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

I have seen a bit of the inverse of this statement, that is 'the man being proclaimed by the apparel.'  I've worked in a small private school where the students wear uniforms so individual personality doesn't show up through their clothes.  We would, however, have dress down days occasionally, and I was always amazed at how differently the students would behave on these days.  Normally quiet students would be colorful and outgoing - others would don the black t-shirts and black pants and be sullen and non-communicative.  Interesting reversal...

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I work in a high school which is populated by primarily farmers.  They usually work several hours before school and come in their overalls and muddy boots.  They are hard workers all day long and those boots denote an honest day's work before most of the rest of us have had our breakfast.  The same is true for the rockers who wear their black rock T-shirts and leather metal-studded belts.

At the same time, I will never forget one of my North Carolina students who came to me looking very scary with about 50 piercings in his face and a huge rubber ring in his ear through which he wore a Master lock.  He was a daunting-looking, but after getting to know him, he proved to be the gentlest heart  and very diligent student.

clane's profile pic

clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I work at a continuation high school and I find this statement to be truer here than anywhere else I've ever worked. These kids lives depend on the colors they "represent". It also gives way for teachers, myself included, to make snap judgments about these kids when they come to us. Many times these kids do not live up to the persona they put on, but the clothes they put on do "proclaim" who they are, where they're from, and who they hate.

On the flip side I have noticed, being a young teacher, that the girls at school have begun to dress more conservatively. They ask me where I get my clothes and often I see my outfits around campus, which makes me feel good because some of these young ladies actually start to look the part!

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