Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Old Dress Code

Standards of dress have changed, and will continue to change over time.  When we graduated the girls did not wear slacks or jeans although that was acceptable for boys, and the boys often allowed the belt-less look to let the jeans slide down substantially like today's hip-hop wannabes.

By the late 60s the girls were indeed wearing slacks, and how logical was that for cold winter days.  In 1969 Tinker vs Des Moines Board of Education struck a huge blow to dress standards in schools when a Supreme Court decision ruled it acceptable for Tinker to wear an arm band in protest of the Viet Nam War, and schools changed forever.

Whether the impact is positive or negative when the dress codes were relaxed, there was always something to be said about dressing up, about "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes.  A graduation party or other special event meant the uncles were going to be dressed up with shirt, jacket, and ties, under the assumption that you can always "dress down" but it is really hard to "dress up" once you get there.

Glenn Rezabek, Scientist

Recall that teachers like Lyle Bestul always wore suit or jacket and tie, and Glenn Rezabek was normally in a lab coat.  His commitment to professionalism may have come from his having discovered a teaching career after working in retail and other business operations for a number of years.  His obituary was listed in a prior posting in October, 2010, and you can read it here . . .

Good Guy Gone Bad - Walt White
(Recently my favorite chemistry teacher to follow is Walter White, from Breaking Bad, now in its 5th season.  The only time he puts on a lab coat and full protective gear is when he is cooking meth, but that's another story.)

The point is simply that times have changed.  If you walk into today's schools you see teachers often wearing beat-up tennis shoes, knit shirts, and apparel that they might also be wearing this upcoming weekend, though perhaps not Sunday morning.

And speaking of Sunday morning, that has changed as well.  A recent email conversation with Ann Sandberg Johnson sparked memories of her folks all dressed up on a Sunday morning, and generally speaking so were all the other parents.  Today the percentage in "Go to Meetin'" clothes is minimal.  A good thing?  Or bad?  Decide for yourself.

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