By: Bill Bosher - email
One middle school code of conduct reads, " There is a strong relationship between good dress habits, good work habits, and proper school behavior." Daylight saving time kicked in again and spring is on the way.
While the milder temperatures and March winds foretell that summer is coming, teachers and school administrators anticipate the annual fashion show that seems to liberate young people from the hibernation of winter. The standard of dress seems to have a trickle down effect from colleges and universities where, for some, the goal is to wear as little as you can.
It is a counterintuitive venue since young adults are getting closer to a permanent workplace where, with few exceptions, standards of dress are an expectation rather than an elective. The reality is that the "less is best" behavior did not start with college or even high school.
It often had its origin in caring parents who made a critical turn the first that the middle school or elementary student asked to push the dress limits only to find the response "well that is cute." What may be cute at 10 is suggestive at 15 and dangerous at 20.
For young people, dress is a direct reflection of their emerging identity. It is the way that you associate with a group. Gangs wear colors for a reason, Affiliation.
As you begin spring shopping for those young people for whom you provide care and guidance, ask the question, "With whom are they trying to identify?" Who will be their friends."? "What impression will they give to others before they ever speak?"
You may stop to realize that you are not selecting their clothes, you are choosing their friends, and shaping their behavior.