The dress code is an essential part of school life. From 8:30 to 3:15, upper schoolers must follow strict guidelines regarding their attire. But many students push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Much to the irritation of a few teachers, untucked shirts and blazerless students are a common sight. The reason for this flouting? A discrepancy between students and faculty with regards to the dress code’s effect on the community.
For history teacher Mr. Timothy Lengel, the guidelines reflect the school’s serious academic environment.
“I think the act of dressing up, intentionally choosing something that is not casual, makes us feel like we are doing important work, which we are,” Mr. Lengel said. “So I think it’s not the tie, it’s not the jacket, it’s that we’re choosing to dress up in what historically has been fancier wear.”
“[The dress code] is a thing that separates us from the outside world to an extent but also unifies us at the same time.”mr. Luqman kolade
Mr. Lengel believes dress down days are examples of how the dress code affects learning, citing the relaxed atmosphere on these occasions. The idea that the dress code promotes the mindset that education is valuable is one of the many reasons why faculty members harp on students’ attire.
Dean of Students Mr. Luqman Kolade had a similar perspective to Mr. Lengel, but he offered additional supporting points.
“I had this conversation with [Head of School] Mr. Casertano, actually, about how the idea of having something that unifies a community is really valuable, and I hadn’t thought about that,” Mr. Kolade said. “[The dress code] is a thing that separates us from the outside world to an extent but also unifies us at the same time.”
Mr. Kolade also believes that dressing professionally encourages students to act professionally, while also preparing them for a future workplace that might require them to dress in a fashion similar to what Haverford’s guidelines require.
“If you roll out of bed and you come to school in your pajamas, there’s no shift between home you and school you, at least not for a while.”Mr. Luqman Kolade
“If you roll out of bed and you come to school in your pajamas, there’s no shift between home you and school you, at least not for a while,” Mr. Kolade said. “When you have to actively get dressed for school, there is a shift, a difference between your home life and your school life.”
The impression others get from the dress code is another reason why Mr. Kolade finds it so valuable.
“People who visit here see the way the boys are, and they’re like, ‘I want my kid to come to this place because I like the structure that [the dress code] gives,’” Mr. Kolade said. “So, from an outward perspective, it does play a big role.”
Some students agree with the benefits that the dress code gives but fail to see any direct effects on academics.
“I don’t feel it adds anything explicitly to learning,” Sixth Former Elijah Lee said. “Most of its benefits lie in ‘preparing boys for life.’”
Because all students do not value the dress code the same way as faculty, they will continue to push dress-code boundaries. But at the end of the day, teachers who remind students to tuck in their shirt and put on a blazer have a purpose.
“If we don’t have a line, things start to get blurry, and people start to get lax in other areas of the school,” Mr. Kolade said. “You can see it; people just relax in a way they shouldn’t.”