School dress codes

Do you think that school dress codes can be a good way to determine if you are dressed modestly or not?
My school’s dress code is pretty average: fingertip length skirts/shorts, no bra straps, no cleavage.
If skirts that are only as long as fingertip are a mortally sinful distraction to boys, then how can they be allowed in schools?
I’m not a boy, but I don’t understand how it can be so easy to fall into sin. If a girl has her shoulders, boobs, and a decent portion of her thighs covered, what are you going to do? Be sent off on a rampage of lust over her forearms? Fight to control yourself over that sexy flat portion of skin between the boobs and the neck? If I see a guy shirtless, it’s not exactly difficult to look away and think no more of it, and shirtless guys are nowhere near as normal as girls in short skirts. Actually, shirtlessness is pretty much exclusive to films and sweaty joggers. Therefore it should be way more difficult to control myself over that, than a guy over the same short skirt that he’s seen 30 different times that same day;I’m less used to it than he is. Right?

Either I’m way overestimating males in general or I’m missing out on something big here. I mean, yeah, the more modestly you dress the more charitable you’re being to guys, and it’s still a good idea to dress more modestly when in doubt. But I’m thinking of all the Catholic girls that I know, from school, from church, anywhere, that dress like a totally normal teenage girl. I can guarantee you I’m the only Christian in my school who regularly wears skirts longer than fingertip length, and there is actually a pretty good number of Catholics and other Christians who do believe in modesty. What about everyone else who does not feel the need to do that? Are they really in a state of sin? For dressing in something that is considered culturally appropriate? I don’t know, guys, I’m struggling to understand that concept. If it’s necessary to wear knee-length skirts, I can count the Catholics I know who are not in a perpetual state of immodesty on one hand or less, probably.

What is immodest is relative - in Victorian days it was immodest to show an ankle, and you could only display your shoulders and decolletage in the evenings. In fact, legs were not even spoken of - they were ‘lower limbs’, and legs on tables, and pianos were draped! Hows that for weird?

In Japan the back of the neck and upper spine were considered an erotic feature, so kimonos were worn high at the front, and the collar was slung low at the back, exposing white painted skin.

Hair up, and hair down was another Victorian convention. Upon ‘coming out’ in society, a girl wore her hair up, and from then on only her husband was meant to see her hair loose and flowing.

To tell you the truth, it really doesn’t matter what a woman is wearing. Certainly, modest attire can help delay the attraction, and overtly immodest attire is an attention-getter, but…if a young man sees a young woman, and he’s attracted to her, what she’s wearing won’t make any difference.

I was at a dentist’s office. I had never seen the hygienist except when she had on a mask that covered her face. All I could see were her eyes. And the whole time I was lying back in the chair the thought kept running through my head, ‘She’s got the most beautiful eyes…She’s got the most beautiful eyes…She’s got the most beautiful eyes…’ :rolleyes:


This reminds me of a class on Islam I took in college, and the professor showed us a photo of a woman covered from head to toe, except for the eyes, and he said pretty much the same thing you did - that even though this woman was so covered up, and there’s no way that what she was wearing could be described as immodest, her eyes were just enchanting!

I think school dress codes are probably pretty good at nailing down what would be considered modest by cultural standards. My sorority had a dress code for our official meetings that I use as a guideline - our necklines had to be high enough that we could put our badge in a particular place, for instance.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with covering up more than a school dress code suggests, but modesty is also about not drawing undue attention to yourself. If you wear something really out of the norm, even if it covers a lot of skin, I think there’s an argument to be made that such is not “modest.”

Dress/skirt/shorts length is relative. Some here will say that you shouldn’t show your knees, others are fine with knees, etc.

I typically wear nothing higher than my finger tips out and about, I may have a few shorts that aren’t right at my finger tips.
Nothing that a typical person would raise their eyebrows about. Lol. I have really big boobs for my size, I’m five foot with DDs. It’s hard for them to not be noticeable. I try not to wear things that will show cleavage, but I don’t get the whole no shoulders thing. I think shoulders are like knees and elbows, they just aren’t every attractive. Lol. I wouldn’t wear anything strapless to Mass and most of my dresses have at least a cap sleeve.
I’m not opposed to tank top width or halter tops, in public. I think spaghetti strap shirts/camis are tacky and should only be worn under another shirt.
School dress codes usually are appropriate and are a good guideline.

what bothers me about dress codes is when kids violate them with impunity. My kids go to public schools, and I frequently hear about girls and boys being either sent home to change or to the nurses’ office—the nurses usually keep a box of donated clothes that the offenders have to wear for the school day if they can’t go home to change.

When I was in a Catholic school we had a dress code but no uniforms. No blue jeans allowed. But there were two sisters who wore blue jeans so often that the principal must have decided to let them get away with it. (They were fashion jeans, not faded beat up old Levis).

My public high school had a very strict dress code. Khaki or navy pants, skirts, or shorts. White or navy collared shirts. We were allowed to wear jackets or hoodies from clubs or athletics we were involved in. No flip flops. Shirts had to be tucked in and if you had belt loops, a belt must be worn. It didn’t matter where your fingertips reached, skirts and shorts had to be no shorter than 3 inches above the knee. Tennis shoes had be to predominantly black or white.
I envied the school closest to mine, it was in a different county and they had a very relaxed dress code compared to ours.

What is interesting is that Catholic school uniforms have become a sex symbol recently. From Japan to Brittany Spears. And the schools have not quite caught on to this yet.

Errr…I wouldn’t say recently. :o

Around 1990 a classmate (from graduate school) and I drove past a girls Catholic high school, and we looked at each other. We were both Catholic, and got a laugh out of the irony.

Unless you’re so old that 1990-91 counts as “recent.” :smiley: It almost does for me.

Yeah, the 90s are pretty recent…:wink:

It’s amazing to me that normal, decent clothing is considered a “strict” dress code. When I was in high school in the 60s, the girls couldn’t even wear slacks to school at all. Boys could not wear shoes without socks. There was a definite written dress code for other things as well. And this was in a public high school. The Catholic all girls school where I spent one year had a stricter dress code. You had to wear a uniform as specified by them - a specific plaid skirt to which you could add nothing (no belt), a white short sleeve blouse, a navy blazer (one style only), navy blue shoes (hard to describe but like what senior citizens sometimes wear today) and navy blue knee socks. Too hot near the end of the school term in May-June? Tough - offer it up. We were only allowed to remove the blazer on rare occasions (it had to be really unseasonably hot and only if they announced we could take it off). The skirts absolutely had to be long enough so that if you knelt on a 2 inch book the skirt would touch the floor.

I wear normal decent clothing all the time and it doesn’t consist of 3 colors. You don’t need a polo or button down shirt to be decent, either. And the 60s were a long time ago, heck there was still segregation back then. I think we can say that a lot has changed since then. Thank God I could wear pants to school.

Therein lies the problem, you are not a boy. You, as a girl, have no idea what it is like to be a guy. Women would be shocked if they could ever spend 10 minutes in the mind of a guy.

Therefore it should be way more difficult to control myself over that, than a guy over the same short skirt that he’s seen 30 different times that same day;I’m less used to it than he is. Right?

Wrong. Females are much less visually stimulated than males are. Trust me, it is not about the skirt.



My wife’s mother and aunts talk about that a lot. They had the same requirement. They joke–after the “length” test they would roll their waistbands and shorten the skirt.:stuck_out_tongue:

There are times when I’m afraid to myself.




I am not a fan of your sexist comment. This kind of “boys will be boys” attitude is the same logic people use to defend rape. Females are much less visually stimulated than males are, so of course males just can’t help themselves.

Nothing sexist about it, just a fact. There is nothing in my post that even suggest what you attribute to me and I take exception to your accusation.

I said NOTHING about males not being able to help themselves, did I? READ what I wrote.



I didn’t think it was sexist and I think tying it to a “Rape” attitude is inflammatory. To pretend that there is no difference between the sexes is to be ignorant of what it means to be human.

I fully agree with the dangers of letting boys be boys. But that doesn’t change the fact that boys’ brains are generally imbalanced, and this imbalance doesn’t really settle until around age…how old was Methuselah?

And so far as letting boys be boys leading to rape–of course that happens, but fortunately it’s becoming less and less likely. I don’t see a connection between comments on boys’ brains as being a permissive attitude about rape.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit