Basics for the first-grade fashionista

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, September 1, 2012

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There’s something to be said for khakis and a blue polo shirt.

The understated, but respectable, ensemble would simplify life.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

As a kid, I never would have supported the idea of school uniforms, but as a parent, I can appreciate how it might streamline the morning routine.

After reading the elementary dress code for my kids, a “uniform” might simplify the day-to-day routine for teachers and administrators, too.

The 20-item list goes into great detail outlining what is not acceptable, most of which is within reason, some of which left me laughing.

For example: “Overall buttons will be securely fastened and straps will be worn on the shoulders.”

I’m fairly certain no one has worn overalls with one strap undone since 1991. The trend was popular in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but elementary age kids today probably haven’t worn overalls since their parents put them in Osh Kosh as infants.

The one-strap style was popular about the time I started high school. Think: “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Will Smith, who played the main character, often wore overalls with a crazy-patterned rayon shirt underneath.

It was considered cool then, but I have yet to see a 7-year-old rocking this style.

Now when ’80s Day rolls around, we might have a problem. Fashion police should be on high alert.

Another gem: “Cover all tattoos.”

Obviously, this was written for the kindergartners. It’s a widespread problem with that age group. Think about it: How many 5-year-olds have you seen with those edgy Hello Kitty tats? Or the boys with Spider Man inked on their arm?

Some even have “criss cross applesauce” emblazoned across the backs of their little necks. A certain distraction.

I’m sure parents crowded the store buying bandages to cover their kids’ body art before the first bell.

And another: “Headgear – Hats, caps, hair curlers, hairnets, shower caps, bandanas, etc. are not permitted during the school day.

The prohibition of shower caps and hair curlers probably ruined more than one first-day outfit. Isn’t that what all the fourth grade girls are wearing?

Of course, there are also a slew of standard entries that are more applicable to the youngest students in the district.

For example, “Shorts, skirts and dresses must be at least finger-tip length.” I agree. And it’s easy enough to follow. A child holds their arms at their sides, and their fingertips mark the line to which their shorts must reach.

Another: “Halter-tops, spaghetti straps, tube tops and slumber shirts are not permitted.” Although I’m not convinced spaghetti straps should be a fashion offense in elementary school, I understand the reasoning behind the rule.

“No risqu or ‘off color’ clothing with abusive, suggestive, offensive, lewd or violent themes may be worn. This includes shirts or garments that display skulls or other images that are construed by administration to be inappropriate for an academic setting.”

Agree. Agree. Agree.

But I’m not sure why skulls were singled out. I can think of several other highly offensive images, but so be it. No skulls.

I realize the dress code is probably written for the entire district, and each school’s name is just cut and pasted to the top. But I’m also betting some of these items were added just for the parents’ entertainment – a reward for those who actually read everything sent home.

But after going through it line by line, I still think it could be reduced to two.

“Blue on top, khaki on bottom.

Nothing else is acceptable.”

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