Would Your Prom Dress Have Made The Cut With These Schools’ Dress Codes?

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal wrote about the fact that high schools are trying to keep their female students from looking like trollops at prom by issuing dress codes. The codes prevent nice young ladies from wearing gowns that are too low-cut, or too backless, or too short, or show too much sideboob.

The Journal posted some pics, but as it turns out a simple Google search for “prom dress guidelines” turns up a number of results in the form of PDFs. Here are a few — note how the female body winds up resembling one of those drawings of cows that explains which part of the body yields which cut of meat:

Images via Naperville High School, Crawford High School, and Evergreen Community High School

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    • Lo

      “Here are seven more pages of inappropriate dresses. Students also may not be covered in oil.”

    • Cee

      Prom is a school sponsored event. Just like a work party is a work sponsored event. When you go to a work party you don’t dress the way you would if you were going to the bar with your friends. As I said before, just like adults have places to wear the clothes they want…teens have a place where they can wear that clothes, and that is the after party , you or your friends sweet 16, and all the parties your friends throw between prom and a month after graduation. Come on, everyone goes to at least one of these!

      I am not against people dressing how they want, there is just a level of decorum that should be maintained in certain places.

      • Ewa

        Precisely. Technically, prom = school, in a way. You don’t get drunk on a school trip with impunity, you don’t dress like a skank to a prom.

    • Eileen

      Yes, my dress would have been just fine. And, honestly, I don’t see what the problem with having a dress code at a school-sponsored event is, especially given that high school girls are more likely than pretty much any other group of women, except for strippers currently on the clock, to try to push the limits of how much skin they’re showing.

    • Cee

      I just showed this post to my high school aged sister and she brought up a few points. She said “I don’t mind being told not to wear skimpy outfits but why do they market all these skimpy dresses to teenagers on my seventeen and prom magazines? This tells me and other teens trying to fit in that this is what I should be wearing, that I should be thin enough to wear those cut out dresses, that all the other girls will be wearing something similar and will get guys attention.”

    • Cassie

      If the school takes a beach trip, are the girls not allowed to wear bikinis?

      While I agree with the other comments that decorum is necessary at school activities, I think this goes a little far. You can only pull off this sort of outfit for a short time at a few events, so I say go for it while you have the chance.

      • Lindsey

        My school had a pool and we were required to swim in gym. Even in the single sex classes we had to wear single piece bathing suits. It was super frustrating. Because we had to get naked in the changing room to get into our suits, but they had to be singles for modesty???

      • Cee

        Oh the trauma of wearing a one piece… How did you recover?

    • Sam

      I understand the need for a dress code, but what’s left to wear? Potato sacks?

    • Rose L.

      Yep. I’m perfectly set with my prom dress by all these codes. Probably coz I’m from Utah and dances are very much stand SO FAR APART you can fit an ELEPHANT between you and your partner.

      Prom in Utah. Not so fun.

    • Jessie

      I don’t reallllyyyy see what the big deal is. The rules for all dances at my High School were that dresses had to follow the dress code set at school, but there still seemed to be girls who showed up with their teenaged backs and side boobs exposed anyway. I do think it is questionable that this is what is being marketed to high school girls.

      That being said, I feel like the lines of age-appropriateness are becoming increasingly blurred. When at my cousins Bar Mitzvah a few weeks ago, I was shocked at the amount of mini skirts, stilettos, and low cut desses being worn by tweens. I felt old for feeling a slight twinge of disapproval (just another step closer to being a bitter spinster), yet I also felt awkward, underdressed, and out swagged by ladies 14 years my junior.

    • Fabel

      My prom dress was perfectly appropriate, but the neckline & leg-slit would still have been deemed inappropriate by these ridiculous standards.

      I know the current style is to have cutouts absolutely everywhere, but high school prom is the only event where a girl can get away with that, so why take that option away?

    • Nancy

      Mine would fit the guidelines! And I’m not a prude or anything, it was a beautiful dress. Anyway, maybe there is some point to this. When I was in high school we might were a cleavage-y shirt and jeans to a dance; now, my little cousin in 8th grade has photos on Facebook of her and her friends drinking beer and wearing dresses waayyyy too short. And I mean, I wear short dresses, and it’s cool if they want to, but they don’t wear it correctly and it looks like you are literally a centimeter away from seeing all of their Britneys. hehe that term… On the other hand, maybe people at prom age would know better.