Students React to Dress Code

Dress code: the most common phrase you hear when walking down the halls at Northwood School. With the next school year just kicking off, the faculty is buttoning down on dress code. It is clear that there are mixed emotions regarding Northwood’s dress code among both new and returning students. Ella Fesette ‘22 said, “the dress code doesn’t let students express their styles and themselves.” On the other hand, Madison Novotny ‘20 said, “I like the dress code as it makes everyone at Northwood look nice, welcoming, and professional.”

What is dress code and what is not?

Marina Alvarez ’21, Lucas French ’20, and Ella Fesette ’22 demonstrating the differences between what is dress code (center) and what is not.

Northwood is unique in that we have students from over 24 different countries who all have different opinions on the dress code. For Ben Norton ‘22, Northwood is his third school and second preparatory school. “In England, I had to wear a blazer, tie, shirt, dress pants, and black shoes. In Austria, there was no dress code. [I think that] Northwood’s dress code is fair,” said Norton.

Camouflage is one of many styles of clothing against the school’s dress code. But many students, especially girls, find it difficult to understand why. Fesette said, “I disagree with camouflage being a dress code violation because personally, I love to wear camouflage. It is part of my style. [The rule] is taking away my opportunity to express my true self.” However, Magdalena Erbenova ‘20, a new student this year, said, “I don’t mind not wearing camouflage. If I could add anything [to the dress code], it would be denim, hoodies, and t-shirts.” She even believes that the dress code could get stricter. “In my opinion, I prefer uniforms because everyone is equal. And you don’t have to think about what you’re going to wear in the morning,” Erbenova said.

Early in Northwood’s history, students were required to wear formal dress: shirts, ties, and blazers. Over the years, Northwood’s dress code has become more relaxed with only one expectation remaining: looking smart and presentable. According to the Northwood School Handbook, “Northwood believes that neatness of dress and appearance conveys an attitude of seriousness and respect toward academics, ourselves and others, and toward all community activities at Northwood.”

The majority of Northwood students prefer to be more untucked about the dress code, but is a change possible?

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