July 7th, 2006

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12:35 am - on appropriate apparel...

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on appropriate apparel... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:03 pm (Link)
It's a matter of degree, though. I certainly don't dress sexily for work. I don't look like a boy, either, even when I just wear a t-shirt and jeans. I've got boobs. I've got hips. (Really I do!!!!) They are noticable - especially given that a lot of women's t-shirts these days are not the big baggy unisex t-shirts of concerts and popular attractions but actually have some shape to them, and it is impossible to buy a pair of jeans that are not low- to ultra-super-buttcrack-low-rise.

Dressing in a feminine but not sexy way eliminates all but the most neanderthal of men from hooting. What they're thinking (but not saying) is their own business.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:12 pm (Link)
obviously, its easier to point out the extremes. My point wasn't so much to say that you had to be as sexy as possible. My point wasn't even to say that you weren't allowed to be masculine as possible. I'm more wondering how much effort people put into things and why? Ad what they think is appropriate.

You're a school teacher, for instance. Ignoring the rules of your school. How do you feel about kids (male or female) wearing tight or revealing clothing? What about insulting T-shirts? Or gang colors?
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:04 pm (Link)
Haven't I posted on this already, or had a long discussion about it with you on IM? Don't I deserve some kind of credit in the original post? :p

When it comes to school clothing, I'm very conservative. Someone else said something about being comfortable and making those around you comfortable. Not happy - comfortable. To me, our school dress code does that. Even though you told me to disregard it, I really can't because if I were to write a dress code, this is the one I would write. Clothing must cover the student from shoulders to 4-6 inches above the knee with no gaps. No headwear, no expensive jewelry, no gang apparel, no depictions of illegal activity (booze, smoking, drugs), no tattoos (?!?!), nothing "designed to cause undue attention to the wearer" (I think this means spandex). I'm for it.

Gang colors are pretty much impossible for me to determine. The boys all like wearing massively oversized solid-color t-shirts with matching baseball caps and I really don't know what gangs have what colors. I'm more concerned about gang tags on my walls and furniture than gang colors.

I don't want to see my students' skin. I don't want to see anyone's cleavage at work. It grosses me out when my girls dress like hoochiemamas in the tightest possible t-shirts and jeans so low I see their butt cleavage when they sit down. I hate the anti-law and Bugs-Bunny-doing-pot t-shirts. I think they're rude and uncouth and I am shocked that parents let their kids out of the house like this.

I know many of my kids go to school not to learn but to see and be seen. That's a cultural difference between me and them. However, I am a teacher and I believe school is a place for learning, including learning how to get people to take you seriously. My kids know how to get their friends to take them seriously, but their friends will probably not be the ones hiring them in the future. I do think they need to learn the behaviors that will get them closer their dreams. Learning how to dress is one of those behaviors.

You said you were against school uniforms because they quench individuality. Bah. You wanna be original? Say something original, do something original, overwhelm me by doing something that shows you don't follow the herd. Most clothing follows a herd; that is why it is designed, marketed and sold in the first place. That said, I do applaud kids who follow a different herd than the one everyone else is following. I adore my little goths and punks for daring to be different from the masses.

As a teacher in NYC I don't have a dress code. I must come to school dressed. However, I do follow the student dress code because I think it is reasonable to expect any professional (except sex professionals) to cover him or herself from the shoulders to 4-6 inches above the knee with no gaps and not to wear latex or spandex or gang signs or shirts depicting illegal activity. Though beer and cigarettes are not illegal for adults, I would still not recommend an adult wearing shirts depicting these products to work, and particularly not to a job where they are in contact with children. My union rep wears t-shirts and holey jeans to work. And dammit no one misbehaves in his class! Nor do they misbehave in Tyrone's class, and Tyrone wears shirts and ties nearly every day.

Me, I've started dressing quasi-goth lately. Why? Because I'm thirty-fucking-one and it's about time I had some fun with my clothes. I spent too much of my life being called "conservative" and considering that an insult. However, if I end up in a new school I will tone it down for a while until I get a sense of how people will react. I like to stir things up a little at a time, and they'll probably have enough problems with my inability to follow scripted curricula. Pgh_ex_bf1 said something once about how if he dyed his hair blue he'd have to dress even more formally for work, and I agree...you have to temper one off-the-wall habit with over-adherence on another front. I can get away with red and black striped stockings or blueish hair because I'm a good teacher.

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:05 pm (Link)
You said you were against school uniforms because they quench individuality. Bah. You wanna be original? Say something original, do something original, overwhelm me by doing something that shows you don't follow the herd. Most clothing follows a herd; that is why it is designed, marketed and sold in the first place. That said, I do applaud kids who follow a different herd than the one everyone else is following. I adore my little goths and punks for daring to be different from the masses.

I could make the same argument about your feelings on dress code being unoriginal. That said, i really do very much believe everything I've said here.

In the case of uniforms vs. following a fashion trend, there is a very real difference. The kids who go out and buy GQ or Cosmo and try to wear the latest trends may not be blazing new ground, but they are CHOOSING how they want to look. Even if their personality is totally derivative and they are complete followers, they are still doing that on their own, and that promotes growth of identity (even if that identity is that of a fashion lemming). By providing uniforms the choice is being removed from them, and the individuality subjugated. The identity is being forced on them, and I consider that wrong. For instance, I'm pretty clearly pushing for people to take pride in being as pretty as they can, but I totally support an individuals right to choose to not be pretty. That's different than me requiring people to be pretty.

The purpose of uniforms is specifically to supplant individuality in favor of the group dynamic. That's why the military wears them. Look it up. :-) The purpose of fashion is to create a template by which one can express themselves in an attractive manner, the individuality comes in the specific ways in which that template is implemented. I made that one up, but I believe it.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:18 pm (Link)
If I had said I was totally against the dress code, you could say that was unoriginal too. After all, you said it "first," [1] so agreeing with you would be just as unoriginal as agreeing with the dress code. So it's good you didn't make that argument.

As for uniforms...I don't think how a person dresses is the ultimate or only possible expression of their individuality. I think a person's ability to be an individual can not be squashed by putting that person in a uniform. One could argue that taking away the easiest expression of individuality - clothing choice - requires a person to find more creative ways to express who they are - poetry, dance, music, sports, class clowning, blowing up stuff behind the Quickie-Mart, sexual promiscuity, whatever you like.

But let's get to the real issue. (Why) Do you value individuality over fitting into a group?

[1] Where "first" equals first in this post, not first ever.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 07:50 am (Link)
I thought I answered this already, but I don't see it.

One may look at the stereotypical promiscuity of catholic school girls, one might assume you're right, but i tend to attribute it much more to kids in general just wanting to rebel against authority of any type. I think a far better way of promoting individuality than forcing visual conformity is to simply promote those individual pursuits.

I wouldn't say I devalue group dynamics. Quite the contrary. I value individuality because diversity improves the group dynamic by bringing alternate ideas and concepts into it.
[User Picture]From: sugarpinkrose Date: July 15th, 2006 - 05:05 am (Link)
I'm not disagreeing at all, but I just want to add that it also totally depends on where you work...right now I am freelancing for a company that manufactures t-shirts. Many of their designs incorporate beer bottles and assorted other drinks. No one at this place would even think twice if I showed up to work in one of them. I don't, but if I did no one would care.

The garment industry on one hand allows for a little more flexibility in dress, but on the other hand you can count on all of your co-workers being very clothes-conscious.

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 15th, 2006 - 06:16 pm (Link)
yeah, that's different. I think my point is not so much about the specifics about what you wear but that people should understand that the outfits they pick do make different statements. Everyone you work with understands what it means to wear a T-shirt vs. a business suit vs. an evening gown vs. ripped jeans and flannel vs. the classic Revenge of the Nerds look. How you lookd DOES matter on a day to day basis. That's why you choose to not wear the t-shirts you manufacture to work. Some people seem to deny that though.

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