Dress Code: Really, Really Short Skirts

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From time to time Ethan comes home with some form letter sent from his school. Usually they don't pertain to him. One came home yesterday "reminding" parents of the dress code now that it's warm weather again. Since kindergarten kids never got this information in the first place, it's not really a reminder for us but is simply new information.

One of the items regards the length of skirts and shorts. I find it completely unfathomable:

Skirts and shorts must abide by "fingertip rule" -- shorts and/or skirts should be as long as the tip of your middle finger.
I'm at a loss to understand what that might mean that's remotely in the area of appropriate dress or short length. As far as I can tell, any plausible sense of what "as long as the tip of your middle finger" might mean is still going to be not much more than a few centimeters. They can't seriously mean it's ok to wear a skirt or pair of shorts that's only a few centimeters long. It would basically be a waistband, not a skirt or shorts. So what can they possibly mean?


It's not worded correctly, but it means that when the girl is standing with her arms and hands straight down, the hem of the skirt should be lower than the tip of her middle finger.

I think they're attempting to say that the skirt must be long enough that, if your hands are at your sides, it reaches at least to the tip of your middle finger as it lays against your thigh. I think parents of daughters would generally understand the rule, but I agree it is rather poorly stated.

The parents of my daughter had no clue what the rule was supposed to be saying. If that's what it means, then they did not report it in any way remotely resembling what they meant.

I recall hearing it a lot in high school. But maybe not worded quite that way.

I was more disturbed by the fact that they felt the need to send such a notice home and that it is a routine notice that other parents are familiar with. Not surprised mind you. I've seen what's on the store shelves for little girls these days (shudder). And I've seen what some people let their little children wear (again, shudder).

In addition to being horribly unclear, the wording makes it sound like they are mandating an exact length, not a minimum length. If read very literally, a floor length skirt would be disallowed.

I'm not sure I'd go that far. We often say something "should be as long as" a certain length to mean that it should be at least that long. If this were a set of instructions to a clothing designer, I think that would be a fair complaint.

but wait. this was in a dress code for kindergarten? say word!

It was a dress code for the whole school, which goes through sixth grade. Some of those kids are approaching or beginning puberty.

This reminded me of my junior high school days when skirt length was *the* hot topic of the day. At first they tried to hold the line at the length where if a girl kneeled her skirt length would touch the floor (about an inch above knee length or so). Eventually they had the fingertip type of regulation to maintain a semblance of decency. But I remember all the girls rolling their skirts at the waist to get the de rigeur fashion length.

I sort of feel sorry for the school officials in charge of these things. I think elementary age regulations are really regulations for the parents, not so much for the kids.

They ought to just go with uniforms and put us all out of our misery. I know some Americans totally flip out over the idea but wearing a uniform to school is unlikely to scar someone for life.

it means that when the girl is standing with her arms and hands straight down, the hem of the skirt should be lower than the tip of her middle finger.

And this is a dress code? A skirt of that length would be awfully dang short, not even as long as a typical mini-skirt (well, that's just a guess, but it's based on my own arms, which are very long).

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