Dress for success

Unlike many Sacred Heart schools around the world, Convent & Stuart hall has refrained from requiring a uniform for high school students every day. Instead, the school has a clearly defined dress code for everyday except full dress days.

While fashion and dress evolve over time, students must dress with appropriate attention so that their clothing communicates professionalism and seriousness of study, according to the High School Student-Parent Handbook.

The dress code does not allow athletic clothing, beachwear, torn or disheveled clothing, and nightwear. The school also discourages excessive branding on pieces of clothing to support inclusion in the community.

Eventhough the dress code excludes types of clothing that many students would normally wear on an everyday basis, it still allows students to be comfortable and express themselves.

Dress codes foster a positive educational environment for students to learn and grow. By removing a potential distraction, they emphasize the importance of academics over appearance, and in turn, boost achievement. 

Dressing professionally leads to higher rates of cognitive activity and improved abstract thinking, according to a collection of studies in Scientific American.

The role of schools is to educate children in a safe and proper learning environment. Dress codes support this by reducing social conflict and peer pressure that can be associated with appearance as students often feel pressure at school to keep up with current clothing trends.

In the 1990s, there was a rise in adoption of dress codes as a method to prevent promotion of gang-related violence. 

The movement culminates in Former President Bill Clinton’s reference to his support of school uniforms in a State of the Union address in 1996. The mention motivated the Department of Education to circulate the Manual of School Uniforms to roughly 16,000 school districts, according to the New York Times

However in recent years, dress codes are designed to create a professional school environment and reduce conflict over designer labels, according to anti-hate organization ADL

Convent & Stuart Hall’s dress code still allows for some individuality and freedom of self-expression, which is important for kids and teens. It represents the best of both worlds.

Regardless of whether schools follow a uniform or dress code, it’s important for policies to be clearly defined. Doing so provides guard rails for students and reduces the amount of policing and interpretations of dress code. Oftentimes, new fashion trends can oppose the established dress code forcing administrators to have to continuously evolve their dress codes. The most important reason for establishing a dress code is to build equality amongst students and reduce social conflicts which ultimately creates a more positive atmosphere for all members of the community.