“Back to school already??!!”
Call it what you will, whether schools are conducting classes in-person, using a hybrid model, or going totally online, remote learning doesn’t change the fact that a new school year is upon us. The cries of millions of school children ring out around the world as weary parents prepare for what may turn out to be a socially-distanced school year conducted mostly be video-conference.
What does this mean for students and parents alike? Do any of the old rules apply? Should there be a dress code? Are pajamas acceptable for Zoom conferences? The short answer to this last one: No.
Let me explain. As the mother of two adolescents, one a teenager just entering high school, we have had many discussions about appropriate attire for different social settings. It’s fine to dress functionally and with comfort in mind, but let’s not go overboard. I enjoy a pair of soft and cozy sweatpants on occasion, but laying around in them all day, every day, is simply bad for morale. Tuning into a virtual parent Town Hall last week, I was shocked to hear the principal of my daughters new school state, “As long as kids are fully dressed, (as in wearing clothes), and nothing offensive, that’s all we care about.” Apparently last spring they had some male students tuning into online learning topless, wearing nothing but sweat shorts, or simply rolling out of bed and straight to Zoom in pajamas.
Really? Has it come to this? A few months into a global pandemic and we can’t be bothered to even get dressed anymore? Not in my house. I took my children back to school shopping in order to keep with our annual tradition and on the first day of school they woke up bright and early, brushed their teeth, got dressed in their new outfits and we snapped that cherished First Day pic just as we’ve done for the past decade. Then they signed into Zoom from a dedicated work space for their first remote lesson at home.
Why does it matter? Are clothes really that important? It’s my view that the intention behind anything we do matters. Taking time for self care isn’t vanity. Rather, its an extension of who we are, developing our own personal sense of style. Studies show self care is often a reflection of self-esteem and represents deeper mental health implications than we may fully understand. When we are clean, groomed, wearing well made clothes that fit our bodies, we believe we look good; and when we look good, we often feel good and that’s a great way to start the day for both children and adults.
Remote learning will bring unique challenges this school year, but getting dressed shouldn't be one of them.
*The op/ed views expressed in Sartorial Style are the authors own and not necessarily representative of David Edwards Clothier.