One of the things I’m going to miss about college is the fact that I can go about my weekdays dressed to the nines or dressed like I rolled out of bed. I have the freedom to present myself how I please, and it’s awesome. Once we reach the workforce, we most likely will not have this luxury, so enjoy it!
Moreover, students (especially women) just 50 years ago at West Chester University and other college campuses couldn’t live their lives with such flexibility. Granted, dress codes set a standard of professionalism on campus, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Yet it is worth noting, before the late 1960s, women were not allowed to wear pants (slacks) to the library. Even at the time of this editorial publication, women had to wear skirts and dresses to the dining hall and to class—what a different life that would be, having to dress up to go eat at Lawrence!
Below is a 1968 editorial (author not listed) stating women’s requests for revision of the dress code, especially concerning comfort for the winter months and finals week.
Revisions Needed in Women’s Dress Code
Author unknown, published in the West Chester State College’s student newspaper, Quad Angles, April 23, 1968.
Although the women’s dress code has undergone several needed changes in recent years, there seems still to be the need for revision. Very few girls object to the “classroom dress” and most are even grateful that they are now permitted into the library in slacks. We wonder, however, at the request to wear dresses and skirts into the town of West Chester. (Would that include picnics at Everhart Park?) How many coeds have you noticed wearing skirts on Saturdays to go shopping? There is also a distinction made between sports dress and informal sports dress. The informal breed includes sweatshirts, tee-shirts, cutoffs and regular sports dress that has become aged. This attire is inappropriate in classrooms, administration buildings, the dining hall, the library, and at any college event for which some other dress IS appropriate. That leaves your own room, and possibly even the hallway of your floor, officially. But cutoffs and sweatshirts are often seen on campus, sometimes even in the hallowed confines of the dining hall on a weekend. It would be nice if the dress code more realistically mirrored the acceptable practice on campus. Complaints about the code reach a peak during finals and snowstorms, both because of comfort. Even though it is now permissible to spend the day studying in the library in slacks, girls must carefully put on classroom dress for each meal during finals week. And they must dress for each final. Students are uncomfortable Just experiencing a long exam. Could it be possible to suspend classroom dress requirements during finals for the comfort of our coeds? Just a few minor revisions are needed, but needed now. Editor’s Note: After this editorial was written, Women’s Residence Council initiated beginning steps for the adoption of a new and/or revised dress code.
Amanda Mills is a fourth-year student majoring in political science. ✉ AM836938@wcupa.edu.