BMC News

Can I Wear This to Prom?

Despite+dress+codes%2C+high-school+girls+are+still+able+to+find+unique+and+colorful+dresses.+%28Photograph+by+Ursula+Shehan%29
Despite dress codes, high-school girls are still able to find unique and colorful dresses. (Photograph by Ursula Shehan)

Despite dress codes, high-school girls are still able to find unique and colorful dresses. (Photograph by Ursula Shehan)

Despite dress codes, high-school girls are still able to find unique and colorful dresses. (Photograph by Ursula Shehan)

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It’s the time of the year again when girls and guys are getting ready for prom. Girls are buying their outfits and getting their hair, make-up, and nails done, while guys are buying their suits. It seems like boys have an easier time getting ready; all they have to do is get the right suit. It becomes even harder for girls when they have to follow the school’s prom dress code.

“[The] prom dress code should feel relatively free. You should be able to wear a dress that you like and not be worried about being turned away at the door because of your dress. [I think] to some extent [a] student should be able to dress as they please一with some exceptions,” says junior Liam Baker.

There are many mixed feelings regarding dress code issues. Some people believe there should be a strict prom dress code, while others believe there should be a fairly lenient one. There are also people who believe there should not be a dress code at all. When the code is lenient, and students are given the opportunity to wear what they want, they often abuse the privilege, causing schools to enforce a stricter dress code.

“I personally don’t like strict dress codes. I see the purpose, but I don’t like them. I consider a good dress code being something that is reasonable一not anything extreme like turtlenecks or ankle length skirts. Students should be able to express themselves through their clothes,” says senior Jordan Steele.

Prom dress codes are not the same across the board. For example, Woodmont High School has a stricter dress code than Brashier Middle College, which has uniforms; many would assume schools with uniforms would have a stricter prom dress code. Others would assume it would be based on the school’s values.

“I think that we have it better off. Public schools tend to be harsher on students when it comes to the prom dress code. Private schools tend to be the harshest on students. Unlike the other two, [public] charter schools are more [balanced],” says junior Nia McNab.

Much like how individual schools have different dress codes, the dress codes for different types of dances vary. A more casual dance, like the Spring Fling, requires less formal attire.

“Prom is more open [compared to other school dances], but it should be more generalized for all genders,” says senior Joshua Whisler.

Dress codes are very important, especially for students who like to push boundaries and wear whatever they want. Conversely, they are not important when it comes to a student who wants to express themselves. Dress codes are based on the school and societal standards, so are they really appropriate for prom?

“[I think dress codes are appropriate] to an extent, but prom night shouldn’t be about dress code. We should be allowed to wear two-piece dresses, V-neck dresses, or dresses with open backs/mesh inserts without the fear of being dress coded. I do think it’s fair to have dress codes if it discourages people from showing almost their entire body. I don’t think it is fair that they shame us for two-piece dresses or especially something like mesh inserts,” says senior Danielle Washock.

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Can I Wear This to Prom?