A Project for Better Journalism chapter

An open letter to Homecoming fashion

Dear teen girls of LHS:

Happy Homecoming Week! If you have a date, I am so happy for you! If you don’t have a date, that’s alright babe, you’ll rock the night. If you don’t want a date, do your thing, homegirl. If you’re not planning on going, I highly suggest that you reconsider, but I respect your life choices.

For those of you that are planning on going to the dance, I bet the highest priority for you right now is figuring out what to wear. Maybe you already have a dress, or maybe you’re like me and will frantically buy one the day before. Whatever the case, I advise you to be certain of one thing: whatever you wear, keep it classy, not trashy.

Don’t get me wrong. I am about as feminist as anyone can get, and I understand your desire to show off your beach body and lingering tan lines. I agree with you that some of the dress code rules are downright misogynistic and ridiculous. (Especially the open-back rule. Giving sexual connotation to someone’s back is downright weird).

However, there is a fine line between working with what you’ve got and letting it all hang out. Bra straps? Hard pass. Thong lines? Easily avoidable.

But those are general rules. Let’s talk about what goes over that: The Thing (a dress, outfit, or romper, or other fashionable clothing item).

When you’re looking for The Thing, find one that works FOR YOU. If you’re not comfortable in a tight cocktail dress, try on something that flows. If you don’t want to be worried about holding your dress up all night, go for something with straps. If a dress is not your style at all, you are allowed to wear a skirt or pants! This is a little-known loophole, but as long as you look semi-formal you will be within the dress code. This means that for all you butch or genderqueer ladies, you have the option to wear your dress pants and collared shirts and express your identity.

Additionally, you may want to present yourself in a certain way. Some like to show themselves as sexy, some like to be perceived as cute, and some want to be straight up bad girls. No matter the style you want to attain, remember: classy, not trashy. And I’m going to go one step forward and add in “practical” as a criterion, too.

What do I mean by that? Allow me to compare two attempts at a sexy look.

-Look 1: stiletto heels, tight dress, swooping neckline, and a high hem all mean you’re pulling your dress up and down at the same time all night while wobbling around like a newborn giraffe.

-Look 2: stiletto heels, tight dress, low neckline, and a moderately high hem equate to you strutting confidently from dinner to midnight.

Can you spot the difference? The outfit is almost the same, but it comes down to how it fits. Ladies, you know when your outfit is a size too small, or when your heels are too high for you to walk in.

Ultimately, it comes down to your call. If you are physically uncomfortable, rethink your look. You can show your assets while still being realistic about what you can wear. And remember: classy, trashy, and practical.