Dress Code: Fair or Unreasonable?


Ava Mager (‘20) does a Chemistry lab in her college sweatshirt on a Thursday during the 2018-19 school year, before hoodies were banned to wear Monday-Thursday.

The dress code is a popular debated topic among Cape Henry Collegiate students and faculty. A major factor in the dress code is that Cape Henry is a private school, which requires the school to maintain a certain appearance. The discussion of what is appropriate to wear in a private school setting, and whether the dress code is fair and equal among the community is debated regularly at Cape Henry Collegiate. With students being dress coded every day, the relevancy only grows.

No cutoff and frayed bottoms may be worn” is one of the many rules of the dress code, but what separates this from the rest is that this rule is relatively new, and seems to be one of the harder rules to follow. Both Abbey Trinidad (‘20) and Carly Bartel (19’) explain that they have been dress coded for the small fringe that hangs from their skirts. Abbey Trinidad (‘20) states that many of the rules in the dress code are “necessities” and “reasonable”, for example: no ripped jeans or short dresses, because Cape Henry Collegiate is a private school and “needs to look nice.” However, she views the fringe on a skirt as “unreasonable” because in her opinion, it is “not unprofessional looking.” Wyatt Cake (20’) sees a different part of the dress code as unreasonable, the hoodies. “No hooded sweatshirts are permitted Monday through Thursday” is a new addition to the Cape Henry Collegiate dress code as of this school year. Wyatt Cake (‘20) views this new rule as unreasonable since last year when he found out that Cape Henry hoodies were allowed he purchased two from the spirit store, but now he can only wear them on Friday. These new additions to the dress code have proved to be a common debate on whether it is reasonable that they should be banned, among students at Cape Henry Collegiate.

The dress code is not only debated for whether the banning of certain clothing items is fair, but whether it is enforced fairly as well. Madeline Ripa (‘20) explains that she notices when others are out of dress code and also notes that certain people get dress coded, while others do not. She states that “if we are going to have a dress code, then it needs to be enforced for everyone.” Wyatt Cake (‘20) agrees with Madeline’s point of view and explains that for the dress code to be “fair” it needs to be applied to “every student”. However, Abbey Trinidad (‘20) sees a different side of the dress code, and expresses that she thinks the dress code is “fair” and that it is “impossible” to dress code every student, so many times, students may get to wear something out of dress code once, but the second time be dress coded for it. 

With Cape Henry Collegiate being a private school, the dress code has to maintain a certain professionalism; however, what is considered as professional and unprofessional? As a result of the varying opinions on the dress code, it will remain a commonly discussed and challenged topic among the Cape Henry community.