News & Runway

FRENCH STUDENTS FIGHT FOR FASHION

It seems that students and workers in France are always striking for one reason or another. Now High School students in the world’s fashion capital are fighting for their right to wear revealing clothing to school. Having spent my childhood at a French Lycee, I know how strict the dress codes are. In fact, when I was growing up, if anyone dared wear something that was the wrong color or if a boy forgot his tie for example, the student was promptly sent home.

Personally I never minded the dress code. We had to wear gray pants, a white blouse, and a dark sweater, blazer or cardigan, and pair them with dark shoes. When you’re bogged-down by school work, social responsibilities, and after school activitie,s the last thing one needs is to worry about what you’re going to wear the next day. Plus with a dress code – versus a strict uniform – you can still express your personal style as long as it stays within the color combinations allowed.

Apparently the students at the Lycée Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire in Essonne, south of Paris, do not see the situation in the same light. Three hundred out of 2,100 students protested by coming into school for two days in skimpy clothes, while 200 students from the Lycée Condorcet d’Arcachon in Gironde protested after it was established that they would not be able to wear low-slung trousers, short garments, or piercings.

Sociologist are blaming television for the fact that more teenagers are looking to dress provocatively, and given how the characters in shows like Gossip Girl show up to class, I would venture to agree. I have to say that while I think it’s important for young men and women to express themselves via their clothing, as long as you’re not restricting them to strict uniforms where they have absolutely no say in what they can wear, dress codes seem wholly acceptable. Plus just because faux students are dressed in cocktail dresses to go to school on television shouldn’t mean we should accept the same behavior in real life. There’s always the weekend for the party clothes…