30 Top School Dress Code Examples & Ideas (2023) (2023)

30 Top School Dress Code Examples & Ideas (2023) (1)

School dress codes should give students and parents clear rules and guidelines about what can (and cannot) be worn to school. It should be simple, gender neutral and enforced evenly throughout the school.

Dress codes must be consulted with the community and students to ensure community views are respected. If you live in a community with many members of religious or cultural minorities, it pays to consult them so that their concerns and standards are taken into account.

In addition, many dress codes can be seen as discriminatory against girls, forcing girls to change their behavior to avert the 'male gaze'. So,consult your community thoroughly.

Disclaimer:I am not recommending that you follow all of these dress codes or personally endorse any of them. But they're all worth checking out to decide for yourself whether or not you should include them in your school dress code, based on the values ​​of your own school and community.Depending on your circumstances, there may be some laws that you need to think about. In the United States, for example, there are Supreme Court rulings granting students freedom of speech (see point 6). In addition, many states require gender-sensitive uniforms (listed in item 22).

Examples of school dress codes

1. Exceptions and Respect for Religious and Cultural Dress

First and foremost, your dress code must include clear and respectful exceptions for religious and cultural dress.

For example, if you have students in your school who are required to wear something on their heads for religious reasons, this should be respected even if you have a general no-hats policy.

Another example where exceptions could be made is to allow Sikh disciples to carry kirpans (ceremonial knives) as mitmost schools in Canada.

These exceptions may need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with your local municipality.

2nd girlmaywear shorts

Another difficult issue that many schools have struggled with in recent years is the right for girls to wear shorts. Many elite schools forced girls to wear skirts and didn't allow them to wear shorts.

Today this is increasingly unacceptable. And it seems that the charge isled by girlsEven those who think wearing shorts can help them:

  • Participate more fully in physical education classes.
  • Sit more comfortably at your desk.

By allowing girls to wear shorts, you give them more freedom and comfort and avoid potential future conflicts.

3. Cover your thighs

Dress codes should insist that shorts and dresses should be a specific length. If this is not clearly regulated in the dress code, there will inevitably be problems with outfits that are too sexualizedschool context.

One rule is the "closed fist rule". The student should be able to hold their arms straight down with a clenched fist. The hem of the shirt or skirt should be below (longer than) the outstretched arm with a clenched fist.

You can also add 2 to 3 inches to this guideline by customizing it as an "extended finger rule".

4. Keep underwear hidden

The hidden underwear rule is one of the most important foundations of all school dress codes. This applies to underwear that protrudes over (or under) pants and shorts, as well as girls' bras.

This rule should also apply to wearing longer clothing designed as underwear, such as B. Thermal underwear (also known as long johns) and nightgowns for girls.

5. No offensive logos, images and text

T-shirts that say something that could be considered offensive (towards minorities, political affiliation, etc.) could be banned from a school. This can extend to both written text and logos known to be associated with known hate groups.

Images can also be offensive, such as B. Depictions (particularly offensive in Islam) or cartoons that may be construed as offensive.

Related article: 35 pros and cons of school uniforms

6. No clothing with political affiliation (Caution: US First Amendment Rights Rules)

A blanket ban on clothing with political affiliations might sound like a good idea, but if you're in the United States, it's a complex issue.

1969, the Supreme Court ruled that students could wear black armbands to protest Vietnamese law. This court ruling established that freedom of expression is a protected first amendment right, even on school property.

Similarly, a Seventh Federal Court ruling affirmed a student's right to wear a T-shirt that reads "Be Happy, Not Gay."[1]

And loudRhode Island ACLU, students have a protected right to wear clothing with political slogans, including clothing critical of politics.

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However, in a conflicting finding, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that college students do not have a constitutional right to wear homophobic and anti-gay clothing.[1]

So it's complicated and a difficult subject for schools to navigate!

In other countries, and possibly in private schools as well, clothing with political affiliations is likely to be banned.

7. No Brand Names

A school may also choose to ban branded clothing. This is very common inWaldorf schools, where commercialization is seen as corrupting the freedom and innocence of children. Such schools adopt the idea of ​​a clean aesthetic that removes distractions and the "adult world" from children's lives and frees them for their own play.

As theEugene Waldorf School in Oregonstates on her dress code:

"It is required that children be sent to school in clothing free of large commercial logos and marks of any kind, so that the child's own essence can shine without the distractions and commercial consciousness that such logos and marks so easily induce bring the classroom. ”

8. No exposed diaphragms

It's common for students to want to uncover the abdomen (the area between the chest and waist) to keep up with pop star fashion. It can also be common in some subcultures for students to show off a navel piercing.

Depending on the age of the students and the ethos of the school, you may ban exposed abs.

A common way to achieve this is to create a rule: collarbone to thigh coverage (according to the closed rule of thumb for thigh length).

9. Jewelry must not be allowed to dangle (ear studs recommended)

This rule is primarily for the safety of the students. Loose and dangling jewelry can cause serious harm to students. Earrings that can snag on clothing, or even necklaces that are too large, can cause safety issues.

However, note that some people choose to wear jewelry for religious or cultural reasons that may need to be respected.

Annesley Elementary Schooljewelry policyoffers some good guidelines:

  • Refrain from wearing jewelry except for religious or cultural reasons.
  • Only allow studs.
  • Sticking over jewelry for non-contact sports.
  • Remove jewelry for contact sports.

10. Hats must not be worn indoors

Some people consider wearing a hat indoors to be a sign of disrespect. Also, wearing a hat indoors seems impractical - hats are there to protect you from the sun!

However, this can be difficult. Many girls incorporate novel headgear into their hairstyles that they cannot easily remove. So it's worth discouraging headgear that can't be removed.

In addition, many religions require headgear,including:

  • Islam– Hijabs, niqabs and burqas.
  • Judaism– Yarmulkes and Tichels
  • SikhismDastare

I'm sure there are many others, so a blanket exception for true religious headgear may be needed.

11. Hats must be worn during the lunch break

While we discourage the wearing of hats indoors, you may require students to wear hats during recess and lunch.

In fact, this is an overwhelmingly common requirement in Australian primary schools, where the sun can cause serious harm to children. In fact, melanoma cancer (a cancer caused by sun exposure) is one of themost commonCancer in Australia.

Although less common in the northern hemisphere, mandatory hats (and sunscreen) can be a great way for your school to teach positive safety and sun awareness habits to students, especially during the warmer school months.

12. No gang affiliation badges

The presence of gangs in schools is a threat to student safety and can make students feel very uncomfortable. The threat of gang recruitment in schools is very real in many parts of the United States.

To counteract the influence and visibility of gangs in schools, you can introduce a rule that prohibits gang colors and brands.This studystresses that school leaders believe that consistent policies can reduce gang presence in schools.

I've also found reports of brand names that gangs are associated with being banned, such as:Ban on Dickies clothingat a Georgia school because gangs started using Dickies as a sign of gang affiliation.

13. No pajamas

Pajama day at school can be a lot of fun, but wearing pajamas outside of the novelty of pajama day might cause some problems.

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One could argue that wearing pajamas is a sign of disrespect and does not conform to community standards. This is clothing for lounging and sleeping, not for working and studying.

But others might argue that what you wear has nothing to do with how well you study. It might seem like an arbitrary rule.

This is a rule worth discussing!

14. No see-through clothing

Sundresses and lightweight tops can appear see-through in the wrong light. Although it may seem sensible not to wear them,Children lack common sense!

See-through clothing can cause offense to parents and community members. It can also embarrass the person wearing the clothing (especially if they didn't know it was see-through!).

So it's worth banning see-through clothing to avoid embarrassment for students and to prevent possible community backlash against student outfits.

15. No shoulders

In private and religious schools, the “no shoulders” rule is still common. It's not nearly as common as it used to be, andmany parents and studentsprotest against the fact that this rule still exists.

If you insist on "no shoulders," make sure your community agrees with the rule and you have clear agreement before implementing it.

Related article: 17 Surprising School Uniform Statistics

16. Tops must have shoulder straps

It used to be considered unacceptable for girls to show their shoulders or knees in public. As society has become liberalized, it is generally considered okay in most parts of the world for girls to show their shoulders and knees.

But many people draw the line at "skinny tops," which don't have straps that hold the top up at the shoulders. A major concern here is that the tops fall off too easily, especially during gym classes.

17. No cleavage ("armpit to armpit" rule)

Your community may expect you to adhere to a standard of no cleavage being shown.

The “armpit-to-armpit rule” helps here. The student should be able to draw a line from armpit to armpit and cover anything below these points with clothing. It ensures that low-cut V-neck shirts are banned.

18. Winter coats must be worn between December 15th and February 15th

In colder locations, a winter dress code should be observed to ensure students are dressed appropriately for the conditions. This may include ensuring that all students wear winter coats to school between specific dates, depending on the climate you are in.

In particularly cold areas (including schools where I taught in Canada) you can even insist on full winter gear, including waterproof winter pants and hat.

19. No makeup

Elementary and middle schools have this rule more often than high schools, but it is oneknown politicsacross different types of schools.This Catholic school, for example, allegedly forced girls to take out their false eyelashes to comply with the school's no-makeup policy.

A primary reason for this policy is to mitigate the vanity that can arise when students choose to wear makeup. Childhood is a short period of life that should be protected fromAdultActivities such as wearing makeup.

But some people have expressed concern about a no-makeup policycan be harmfulto students. Students who are being bullied because of pimples or acne scars may feel more comfortable if they can apply makeup to their faces.

If you choose to accept moderate amounts of makeup at school, you could set rules for the more visible features, e.g. For example, simply ban excessive lipstick and false eyelashes while still allowing students to use foundation.

Likewise, you could set age limits (e.g. no makeup before 10th grade).

20. Covered shoes at all times

Above all, covered shoes are a safety measure. By covered shoes we would normally mean shoes that cover the whole foot up to the ankle. This would effectively ban sandals and flip flops.

There are two safety-related reasons for banning uncovered shoes.

First, it's difficult to exercise wearing shoes that don't fully wrap around your feet. Games like soccer also allow students to step on their feet from above, so covered shoes also protect the tops of their feet.

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Second, closed-toe shoes are often required for science laboratory classes to protect feet from potential spills during experiments.

21. No heels

High-heeled shoes may be considered inappropriate for children by some community members.

First, they are required for some classroom and campus activities, such as B. Games during the lunch break, not suitable.

Second, they can be expected to unduly hasten the end of childhood. High heels are, by and large, adult clothing. Some might argue that children should be discouraged from becoming adults too soon.

And thirdly, wearing high heels before the foot is fully grown can actually be harmful to your feet. For this reason, Dr. Ramona Brooks of the American Podiatric Medical AssociationIn this articlethat children up to the age of 16 do not wear high heels.

22. Gender neutrality

At a time when we increasingly acknowledgeexpression of gender identity, defined by gender self-identification rather than biological sex, many schools and teachers will encounter situations in their classrooms working with trans and gender-nonconforming students.

A modern school dress code will likely want to develop a gender-neutral dress code that gives boys and girls equal freedom to dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

Schools should be aware of this potentially difficult (and highly political) issue when creating the dress code. Solutions could include:

  • Choosing not to refer to "boys and girls" in their dress codes.
  • Expressly point out that dress codes forboth
  • Explicit affirmation of children's right to dress according to their gender expression.

In addition, it is important to note that the following statesrequire by lawthat you affirm the right to self-identified gender expression within a school dress code: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Washington and the District of Columbia.

23. No tattoos

While you wouldn't think that too many school-aged people would have tattoos, some schools seem to explicitly do soBan visible tattoos.

This is one of the dress codes that I would categorize as a dress code for preserving (western) childhood. In many cultures, it is not inherently objectionable to be tattooed as a child (Maori tattoo their children with traditionalTa-Mokotattoosab 15).

However, Western culture favors delaying "adult activities" such as B. tattooing, until early 20s. By banning tattoos, schools are reaffirming their commitment to drawing a clear boundary between childhood and adulthood, in which students remain “children” at least until graduation.

24. No hair color

This is a rule that I think is common enough that you see it everywhere, but is also included in less than 50% of school dress codes, I estimate.

Many children like to experiment with hair dye and many parents have no problem with it. But schools that want to maintain a clean and professional image might see hair coloring as undermining the school's brand.

Dying hair pink and purple is also often associated with the alternative punk music subculture, which is also seen as anti-authoritarian and going against the culture of some more conservative schools and their communities.

Some schools also specifically allow natural hair dyes, but prohibit non-natural colors such as blue, purple, and pink.

25. Bring a separate gym outfit for gym class

Some schools have a separate sports dress code. This helps for several reasons.

First, it ensures students wear clothing that allows them to do strenuous exercise without the clothing getting in the way. Athletic clothing should usually be loose-fitting and allow you to stretch your limbs in directions that non-athletic clothing (e.g., skirts) does not allow.

Second, it means students can strip off their sweat-soaked clothes, saving everyone the discomfort of sitting in a room full of sweaty, smelly teenagers.

Sometimes it is possible to create a special uniform for physical education, which can even be sponsored by local community businesses.

26. No non-prescription sunglasses indoors

Sometimes the students believe that it is soCoolwear sunglasses indoors. It is generally considered rude to wear sunglasses indoors. Not only is there no sun inside, but it also prevents you from being able to look into each other's eyes.

A minor complication is that some students wear glasses with dark sunshades. These students need an exemption so they can use the glasses for prescription purposes.

27. No distracting hairstyles

This is a dress code I see a lot and find pretty vague. I assume it refers to hairstyles like:

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  • Mohawks
  • Spikes
  • beehives
  • Extreme Afro

Obviously, mohawks and beehives can be overly distracting for students in a classroom as they can block other students' views of the teacher and the front of the classroom.

The problem with this rule, however, is that it often conflicts with ethnic minority hairstyles. For example, cornrow and dreadlock hairstyles are commonly associated with people of African descent (including African Americans). By banning this hairstyle, you risk being accused of suppressing minority cultural expression in school.

28. No form-fitting clothing

Tight, form-fitting clothing may include:

  • yoga pants.
  • Muskelshirts.
  • Tight clothes.

This clothing can sometimes be considered unacceptable by community norms. Parents may think they are emphasizing adult behaviors, such as B. Bodybuilding to “show your muscles” at school.

Likewise, tight-fitting dresses and pants for children can be seen as overly sexualized.

29. Jeans and pants worn at the waist

In the early 2000s, there was a subcultural fashion trend of wearing jeans very low on the waist. It would often result in underwear being exposed and (according to parents) having a messy appearance.

At this time, many schools introduced bans on wearing pants low and began to insist that they be worn on or above the waist. I remember my school had spare seat belts in the front office to loan to students who are breaking this policy!

30. No tears or holes in clothing

To maintain the clean look of a school, you might also insist on clothing that isn't ripped or torn.

That way, the school can insist that kids with torn shirts throw them away and throw away fresh shirts that aren't likely to snag (or continue to tear) on obstacles during athletic activities.

Some jeans are sold as a fashion statement with holes and tears in the knees. So this rule would need to be introduced with a fair warning to parents so they can make timely purchasing decisions.

You could also relax this rule by saying that jeans must not have rips above the knees so that ripped fashion is more modestly tolerated.


As I'm sure you can tell, school dress codes are incredibly controversial. You set out what your school's values ​​are and how traditional you want to be. There is potential to offend religious groups, cultural minorities and LGBTQI+ people, all of whom should be consulted so that inclusive policies can be implemented. Additionally, some policies that used to be commonplace can now be seen as oppressive toward women, that is, womenmustare at the heart of the counseling process.

Personally, I think it's important to get community approval. If your school is private, values-based, or has a stated religious belief, it may be easier to develop and enforce a dress code because you have a base to rely on in establishing the policy.

As you can see, school dress code guidelines are highly dependent on the type of school and the community setting in which the school is located.



Chris Drew (PhD)

website |+ Posts

(Video) How to speak so that people want to listen | Julian Treasure

dr Chris Drew is the founder of The Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in Education and has published over 20 articles in professional journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.


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