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How Does Dress Code Relate to Socioeconomic Class?
Deerfield Community
January 18, 2013

The dress code is one of the biggest ways socioeconomic issues come out into the forefront of our culture, because I know if I’m going to get a real blazer, it’s a huge investment. I like the point about dress code meaning we are shifting to a potential set of career opportunities and that sets some expectations, but we need to examine what we take on solely as a tradition and can’t accept it just because it is a tradition. We need to consider the pros and cons outside of the idea.

-Nolan Bishop ’13


I would say that we are outgrowing our dress code. It’s going to start to push the good people away from Deerfield. Second Visit days are very interesting for some of the female students who come on campus, because they see students and can say, “These girls look like they’re going to a garden party. Is this what you wear when you learn?” And I don’t want to criticize the girls, don’t get me wrong, but I feel that the dress code, because the the male code sets the standard and there is no standard for women that matches coat and tie, is problematic. What is the right choice is the question. Maybe no dress code. I actually like it better when we dress “down,” and this aspect of other schools’ culture may be attracting more diverse students than we are.

-Sonja O’Donnell, English Teacher

I used to work at Andover and it has no dress code; students can wear whatever they want. I think Deerfield’s dress code sends a message. Every day boys here have to put on a jacket and tie, and girls often dress in skirts. This is a class thing. Lower-income prospective students touring Deerfield won’t see people who dress like they do, so I would imagine they might feel uncomfortable here. I think our dress code may turn off students from classes other than the wealthy.

-Elizabeth Bishop


Faculty and staff may be modeling class differences. Faculty need to follow dress code and can’t wear jeans, while some staff do. It’s not very egalitarian.

– Ada Fan, English Teacher


I have a fetish about people not dressing nice. Where I live in Turners, everybody dresses like bums. Here, there’s no problem. They’re always dressed nice. I must be getting old, but I just like people to dress up nicer.

-Bruce Dion