Dress Code at LT Gets Amped Up

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Dress Code at LT Gets Amped Up

Ethan Rios, Reporter

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Reminiscent of previous iterations of the common orchestra, the Lake Travis Fine Arts department has taken it upon themselves to emulate that to which could be considered a traditional atmosphere in the realm of UIL academic competition by regulating the clothes in which one is to wear to their events based on biological sex (dresses for females, suits for males). According to an interview from a head director of the band program  “the gravity of the event has historically suggested professional and appropriate concert dress for both conductors and students” Policy such as this certainly doesn’t create and environment in which transgender individuals will feel comfortable.

In order to truly create an environment in which all participating parties associated with Band, Orchestra, or Choir are comfortable, I propose reformation in regards to the dress code of academic competition to allow one to choose what to wear based on what they find most comfortable.

Firstly it should be taken into consideration the benefits of allowing one to wear what they find comfortable. According to a paper of a study by Social Psychological and Personality Science , in a series of tests asking participants to wear what could be considered “Formal business attire” it was found that in fact wearing such clothing actually led to “increased abstract thinking—an important aspect of creativity and long-term strategizing. The experiments suggest the effect is related to feelings of power.”.

Based on this information, it’s evident that wearing attire associated with a sense of power and freedom in fact boosts the performance of individuals. Critics of the following argument may reference the idea that “Dress codes have proven to increase student achievement by encouraging students to concentrate more on their studies and less on their wardrobe.” ; however, in reality, prohibiting a student from making the choice of what they want to wear may in fact inhibit their performance due to the feeling of discomfort associated with wearing what they don’t wish to wear. Although perhaps the study referenced above is in regards to the effect format attire has on employees, the fact is that this study can be inherently applied to the subject of the dress code of competition due to the similar feelings of formality and power.

Secondly, it must be noted that a primary argument by critics of the idea of a less strict dress code is due to the treatment of individuals prior to the 21st century who were harassed due to aspects of their attire. According to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization set on extinguishing the harassment of minorities and the underprivileged, “schools have implemented student dress codes to address a wide range of issues, some of which have been quite controversial. For example, in the late 1960s and 70s, young men with long hair were sometimes physically attacked by their classmates and, as a result, many schools required boys to wear their hair cut to their ears or shorter. In the 1990s, there was a push for dress codes to prevent promotion of gang-related violence. In recent years, a desire to stop conflict over designer labels and create a more “professional” school environment resulted in dress codes and uniforms becoming more popular.”.

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