7 Chief Pros and Cons of School Dress Codes

Arguments over the use of school dress codes are not new, where decades saw policymakers and parents debating whether it is necessary or not. While there are many academicians, parents and students who love the idea, there are also those who do not like the practice.

Truth is, there are certain technicalities, both in favor and against school dress codes, and they are all subjective. Some people like the appearance of uniforms, with children looking good in them, but it is important to know that there are certain uniforms that do not make wearers feel good or look cute, rather making them uncomfortable. The debate might be far from being settled, but there can always be an objective analysis of the pros and cons of school dress codes. It is best to not look at these policies from the perspective of subjectivity, but from the rational point of view.

List of Pros of School Dress Codes

1. They often make it more affordable for parents.
In most cases, school uniforms would cost less than normal dresses. In contrast to the practice that necessitates buying of many dresses, which would be the case if dress codes are not implemented, parents would have to purchase only a few uniforms, which can be worn again and again despite regular washing. They would not have to buy dozens of new clothes every few months because it is just good enough to buy a couple uniforms for one academic year. As a result, parents can save hundreds of dollars, and this is one of the greatest advantages of dress codes.

2. They make everyone equal.
It would be great to imagine a situation where children get to wear what they want. However, it is fact that there would always be some rich and relatively poor children, as well as those coming from the middle class. While the rich would always have the luxury of money, they can buy what they want to wear, which would possibly be more expensive and more attractive than that of the poor’s or those from the middle class. It has been noted that children often pressured to dress well in the absence of a school dress code, and seeing others dressed in expensive garments would make them insecure, feel bad and even depressed. It is not appropriate to expose children to social and economic inequalities at tender ages, and implementing a school dress code would greatly help with achieving this goal and doing away all the worries. Educational institutions should try and do everything in its power to make everyone feel equal, dress codes do contribute to that.

3. They can create safe and orderly schools.
It is the school’s responsibility to offer a safe and orderly learning environment for their students, as well as one that is conducive to learning. According to the National School Board Association, approximately 135,000 firearms are brought to the 85,000 public schools each day in the US, which is the main reason why school districts use to implement dress codes. Some schools even require their students to have their belt-lines exposed at all times for concerns of concealed guns under clothing. In addition, educators have reported a decrease of fights at schools, a drop in violence and improved student achievement when they implemented a dress code.

4. They improve student concentration.
Many people often propagate that school dress codes can help students to focus more on their academic performance. They say that such policies can instill a sense of discipline and responsibility among students. After all, they would be paying less attention to what they would wear and how they would look, giving them more time to concentrate on the academics. There are even limited studies that infer school dress codes do help students with getting better in their studies.

Aside from this, school dress code would do away with the possibilities of teasing and bullying, especially among those that are based on attire and style. Since there is little scope to find unique styles by having to wear uniforms, it is unlikely that children would get picked on by the peers at school due to the way they dress or look.

List of Cons of School Dress Codes

1. They destroy the freedom of expression.
Imposing school dress codes can thwart children’s ways of expression through attire. This can lead them to venting their wishes through other means, which could be through jewelry, makeup or even piercing. These would not be seen as desirable alternatives for many parents, and dress codes have often been criticized for this reason.

2. They would cause personal aversion.
While school dress codes are considered as a social and economic equalizer, they do prevent children’s freedom to wear what they want. A child might not want to wear a particular uniform, and implementing a dress code would impose the rule and thrust on him the need to wear certain clothing, despite the fact that he would not look good in it or find it uncomfortable. Thus, there would be personal aversion to its idea and practice.

3. They do not often make for comfortable attire.
How dress codes would be accepted can depend on the design, materials, design and the students’ physical attributes. All in all, they should be comfortable. This way, there should be lesser issues to tackle to compel students to oblige.


According to experts, dress codes can set the tone for a school campus’s atmosphere. While there are various types of dress codes, from acceptable attire to uniforms, the primary rationale in schools is to increase student safety. If students feel safe, they will learn more.

While there are reasonable arguments on both sides of the subject of having school dress codes, it is ultimately up to the combined efforts of the school officials, teachers and parents to decide the best course of action with regards to the way students dress within their campus. Take note that each situation and school is different, thus should also be addressed differently when issues arise.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.