Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Not to Wear to School: A Visual Reminder

The teacher in me loves the allusion to TLC's reality show "What Not to Wear."

My female voice that prefers modest and professional attire appreciates the specificity of these images.

Every classroom, every office, every common area, every nook and cranny in my school will sport the "What NOT to Wear to School" poster.

I love this idea, the brainchild of my principal.

However, the irony of telling students they can't wear the types of clothing shown and described in the poster doesn't escape me, and it didn't get past one astute ninth grader today either. I do, however, prefer the poster to the larger than life displays sitting in student desks. I also know the other problem with the poster.

As a recent Harper's Bazaar article notes, it's possible to present oneself in an attractive manner regardless of one's income. Stacey London and Clinton Kelly make this argument regularly on "What Not to Wear."

Call me an old fashioned prude, but even I, a woman, am uncomfortable talking to a teenage girl whose "girls" are hanging out, and I don't like looking for a young man's face hiding in a hoodie.

We feed kids breakfast and lunch. We nourish their minds with wonderful stories. Don't we owe them a helping of realism that states, "How you present yourself to the world matters."

Even that old busy-body Polonius wisely advised Laertes: "Clothes oft make the man." It's true for teens, too.

*Coming next: "What to Wear to School," a post with images of the fabulously fashionable students I teach.

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