For Girls, Warm Weather Clashes With La Salle’s Dress Code


Maggie Rasch, Staff Reporter

As the sun starts to come out more and more, school dress codes become harder for girls to maintain without overheating during the school day. This is especially true at La Salle. Summer is right around the corner, making the expectations unrealistic for the warmer weather we’re currently having.

La Salle is one of many high schools with dress code restrictions that especially impact girls. Although the handbook does not state what gender it addresses, it is generally directed towards girls with many of the regulations specifically addressing girls much more than boys.

The overall dress code rules are fairly simple: Shorts and skirts have to be within two inches above the knee, and any athletic pants are not permitted, except on Falcon Fridays, unless they are covered to the normally required length. Shirts must come within two inches of the collarbone, cover shoulders completely, and touch the top of the bottom worn at all times. All dresses also have to follow these rules.

Although the goal of the dress code is to create a safe Lasallian environment, it is actually targeting girls while making it harder for them to dress themselves, especially in hotter weather.

Society has always judged girls by their appearance and outfits. Girls are instructed to cover up whatever they can in order to prevent themselves from being a distraction. Girls are often told they are wearing something too sexual or that they shouldn’t be showing that much skin. However, when girls get comments like these, it can bring down their whole self-esteem, and it can be embarrassing and unnecessary.

At La Salle, when girls try to go around the dress code, they get either a warning or a dress code violation. Speaking from experience, I can say that getting dress-coded at school is one of the most humiliating things. I know La Salle’s intention isn’t to embarrass girls, but that is the reality of what happens.

Portland recently broke records with a particularly hot week for April. During this time, I definitely struggled with putting together an outfit where I wasn’t going to sweat all day. I ended up wearing jeans on an 80 degree day because I couldn’t find anything else to wear that matched the school requirements.

Last week, I had track practice after school, and other girls and I were particularly excited to get outside in the warm weather to practice. However, before going to change, a coach informed us that we could only wear leggings during the practice. We were all upset and confused.

Why did we have to cover up our legs in 75 degree weather? Meanwhile, the boys were able to wear whatever shorts they wanted. Some boys even took their shirts off during practice.

Within this last year, La Salle has taken a step towards making the dress code less strict by allowing leggings and sweatpants for girls on Falcon Fridays.

Despite this, leggings seem to be the number one reason girls get dress coded during the rest of the week. The most popular reason is because leggings are supposed to be worn with a “tunic,” a dress or long shirt that covers the butt. However, many girls at La Salle like to ignore the rule and wear leggings with normal shirts or jackets, which is the way leggings are intended to be worn.

Instead of risking the rules by wearing leggings, some girls resort to wearing skinny black jeans. Nonetheless, these are nearly the exact same as leggings, except with pockets and a zipper.

There shouldn’t be differences in rules between wearing black jeans and leggings when they are practically the same thing.

From a distance, it’s very hard to tell the difference between a girl wearing black jeans and leggings at La Salle. Skinny jeans aren’t considered a distraction, so why are leggings?

Not to mention, the majority of a student’s day is spent sitting down or walking around with a backpack on. Therefore, leggings shouldn’t be described as a distraction at school, and girls should be able to wear them more often.

Although there are dress code rules for boys, it is a much easier code to follow. The only downside for them is that boys aren’t allowed to wear basketball shorts, except on Falcon Fridays. However, boys usually wear longer shorts than girls, which makes it easier for them to follow the dress code, but still be ready for the warm weather.

Girls have to struggle with finding skirts and shorts that aren’t too short, as well as shirts that aren’t low cut and have sleeves. To add onto that, dresses have to follow all the rules also.

This leaves girls helpless as they try to put together an outfit that follows all the rules on a 80 degree day. Girls should have at least a little more freedom, so they’re not as restricted. It is unlikely La Salle will make drastic changes to its dress code soon, but we could start with some simple changes.

La Salle should allow dresses and skirts to go to fingertip-length, allow running shorts during the warmer months, and permit shirts that go to within three inches of the collarbone.

These changes could really prove that girls’ outfits are not distractions to the school community.

La Salle’s dress code is not fair to girls, especially during the warmer months, and it needs to be changed soon. It discriminates against girls and labels them as distractions. Girls should be allowed to choose what they wear to school because it is their own body.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash. Used with permission.