Of Dealing With School Dress Codes

It’s that time of year again, Snarklings. Autumn! Which brings not just cooler weather (very important with regard to a typical Goth wardrobe), but a flurry of letters, much like drifts of falling leaves, from young Goths heading back to school. Dress codes! How, oh how can they cope with their school’s dress code and still proudly show their ties to the Goth subculture? (This post lists previous lessons on school dress codes.)

Thing the First: The Lady of the Manners is going to reassure all of you (as she’s done before) that you don’t have to dress in a goth style to be a goth. No, no you don’t. Ignore those people who say you aren’t a Real Gothâ„¢ unless you are draped in black fabric and spend every minute of your life, awake or asleep, looking as spooky and undead as possible. For one thing, that’s an impossible standard that no one can achieve or live up to. (And the Lady of the Manners means NO ONE, not even our holy Goth icons such as Siouxsie Sioux or Peter Murphy.) For another thing, there’s more to Goth than “looking the part”. Being interested in the music, the literature, the art – there are multiple windswept branches on the Halloween tree that is Goth, and dark fashion is but one of them. Finally, there are times when, no matter how much you want to adorn yourself with black velvet and lace, or armor yourself in a shiny black carapace of leather and PVC, life ”¦ gets in the way, and you have to forego your finery for real-life practicality. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad or unworthy of calling yourself a Goth just because you don’t fit some shadowy paper doll ideal.

Thing the Second: Get yourself a copy of the dress code for your school. Even if you’re stuck with a mandatory uniform of polo shirts and black slacks, find out if there is an additional dress code that addresses hair color and styles, shoes, socks or other hosiery, jewelry, cosmetics, and/or any other accessories.

Read the dress code thoroughly, as in multiple times, and take notes. That may seem like a slightly over-the-top suggestion, but really, it isn’t. You need to know what sections of the dress code have fuzzier boundaries than the others. Does the dress code not mention hair color? That means you can indulge in unnatural dyes, clip-in streaks, or temporary color such as hair chalk or hair mascara. No rules about the socks that are allowed with the uniform? Then go wild with stripes, lace, or Halloween socks all year. Wear a necklace that has some gothy symbol (bats, spiders, the image of a favorite musician or writer, and so on), and make sure it’s long enough that it can be tucked into your shirt if needed. Paint your nails black, draw little bats on your arm with markers, or decorate your school bag with buttons and patches for your favorite bands, books, and movies.

Why yes, all of these suggestions are on the subtle side. Let’s face it, Snarklings: school dress codes are an annoying fact of life, and displaying your ‘everyday is Halloween’ lifestyle, while important, is almost certainly not worth your getting expelled over.

Thing the Third, which ties into Thing the Second:  Make sure you are aware of all the rules and the specific language of the rules. When (probably not “if”, sadly) a teacher or school administrator decides to make you a target, you can refer to whatever rule they claim you are breaking and defend yourself. If there is any vagueness to the language, take advantage of it. Make the school officials explain what they mean by “no distracting clothing” or “no jewelry”, because the Lady of the Manners is willing to bet at least one pair of pointy-toed boots that there are a few of your more “normal-looking” classmates who are breaking those rules, too.

However, don’t fall into the trap of “But so-and-so is totally breaking that rule, too!” as a defense. Well, don’t use that immediately as a defense. Ask the teacher or school official to spell out exactly what dress code rule you are bending or breaking.  Only mention other, perhaps less gothy, classmates who are also getting around those rules if you can give specific examples of how the rule isn’t being applied evenly to everyone.

Thing the Fourth: Talk to your parents about the dress code, preferably before you are lectured about any infractions against it. Explain to them the parts of the dress code you don’t agree with, and the parts that you may be thinking about edging around the boundaries of. While the Lady of the Manners doesn’t like pointing this out, be aware that your parents may dismiss your frustrations with the dress code, or tell you that you shouldn’t be wasting your time and efforts on it when there are more important things to be focusing on, such as what’s being taught at school. If they do this, try to stay as calm as you possibly can and explain to them why being able to express yourself through fashion is important to you. (As an aside, telling your parents that you need to do this because you’re a Goth is not exactly a good explanation.)

Yes, this ties into the whole Talking To Your Parents notion that the Lady of the Manners is always going on about. But look at it this way: it is better to prepare and warn your parents for the idea that you might be having some heated discussions with authority figures at your school, rather than bringing home one of those always-awkward official letters.

In the end, there may be nothing you really can do to circumvent the dreaded school dress code. Saying this makes the Lady of the Manners feel a little sad, and a tiny bit like a hypocrite, because the Lady of the Manners didn’t have to deal with these sorts of annoying restrictions when she was in school. She has been able to structure her life so she can dress in the style that makes her happy. But it’s a very different world now, and school boards cling to the belief that limiting expressions of personal style will reduce the bullying problem. (The Lady of the Manners strongly believes that mandatory classes on communication, empathy, and learning how to politely interact with people even if you don’t want to ever be friends with them would do a lot more to reduce the bullying problem, but the Lady of the Manners is a bit of an idealist about such things.)

Because this is one of the topics that always comes up, the Lady of the Manners is going to open up the comment section! Yes, share your stories and tips about dealing with school dress code nonsense, and show each other some support. Just like always, the comments are going to be moderated, so be polite, and don’t fret if it takes a little while for your comment to appear.

24 Responses to “Of Dealing With School Dress Codes”

  1. Little Miss Codeless Says:

    Some tips:

    Pick and choose. Depending upon the exact wording of your school dresscode, you may go the direction the Lady of Manners has mentioned.

    If, for example, colours aren´t explicitly mentioned, do dress in all black, even if it´s still slacks and a polo-shirt, there is little teachers can sensibly say against a monochrome wardrobe, provided it follows the dress code otherwise.
    Leading into the second idea. The esteemed Lady of Manners has mentioned this for work clothing sometimes, but it applies to school as well. Go formal. There is nothing not respectable about vests or waistcoats, or button up shirts, even black ones.

    Last but not least, if worst comes to worst, keep a small selection of “School uniform” clothing, and change when you come home.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Thank you for this, so much! Especially for mentioning that you do not have to dress the part to be goth. I have four children and so the majority of my clothes are gifts or hand-me-downs from my mother in law, who is very Not Goth. This is also helpful advice for those who would be labeled “normal” but who find themselves having difficulty with personal expression within the school dress codes. My daughter and I have a discussion like this every year, just to make sure we are both clear on which clothes are best for school and which are best for other occasions and still let her be her. : )

  3. Delilah B Says:

    Good morning/evening eveyone.
    I think it’s a very interesting topic. As a high school student, i clearly understand how it feels like to be put in such place where we can’t fully open our little bat wings without getting turned down.
    During the past five years, i’ve realised (At least, in my school ), that sometimes it takes more than fully respecting the dress code to actually survive it. Being a good and polite student can help sometimes.
    If you have gained your teachers’ respect with time, then it surely won’t be a one-day-against the dress code-outfit that is going to make them send a letter to your parents. I’ve seen teachers defending their students when it comes to some of the mistakes they have made.
    But the point is, you have to do your best to stay out of the danger zone. It might seem hard, but sometimes sacrifices are necessary. You have to stay patient.
    Also, it would be nice if you look for something that makes you say : ” This is perfect for school ” when you go shopping sometime. That way you’ll have some “school uniform clothing” as Little Miss Codeless said.
    That was my opinion, and those were actually things i’ve seen.
    I apologize if i went off-topic or made any mistakes..
    Thank you for your time.
    A reverence to the beloved Lady of Manners. My favorite teacher.
    Take care, everyone. Hopefully this was helpful. If not, i’ll try harder next time.
    Goodbye ! 🙂

  4. Katty Says:

    My secondary school was rather strict about uniform rules, which wasn’t helped by the fact that our uniform was a self confidence crushing green polo shirt and a black skirt or trousers (that could not resemble jeans) with black or white socks and black shoes (that could not resemble sneakers), no makeup or unnatural hair or jewellery allowed. Over the course of my time there the principal decided to get ridiculously picky about it and it wasn’t uncommon to have teachers measuring skirt length in the corridors or giving out after school detentions for wearing nail polish… which really sucked.

    I dealt with it by wearing band t-shirts under my polo shirt (and I’d usually pull off the polo shirt as soon as I was out of school), wearing a nice black blazer over my school jumper when I wasn’t in class, putting badges and patches on my school bag, having black hair during term time and experimenting with reds and purples in the summer (they’d fade to brownish shades by the time term started again), dressing up as much as I liked when I wasn’t at school, doodling on my arms and books in class and listening to my iPod whenever I had the chance to remind myself that I was still me even if I couldn’t show it on the outside. I also got away with wearing heavyish eyeliner but I think that’s because a) I always wore it so everyone was used to it and b) I had thick framed glasses that took attention away from my actual eyes.

    But my biggest piece of advice to anyone struggling against a school dress code would have to be: focus on the fact that it won’t last forever. I spent my last school year counting down the days until I could dye my hair bright blue, and it was such an amazing feeling when I finally could. I then went to a sixth form (and now university) that had no problem with me showing up in corsets, heavy boots, short skirts and ripped tights with fluorescent hair and all the gothy accessories I wanted. Not everywhere has such stupid dress codes, and not everyone in a position of authority has a problem with people dressing alternatively. It may feel like forever but just wait it out and things will get better.

  5. Sweet C Says:

    It’s totally possible to look good and follow the rules! Even if your school’s dress code forces you to make fashion choices you wouldn’t normally. I own several very pretty longer-length skirts and dresses I probably wouldn’t even have looked at twice if not for my school’s policy on ‘modesty’.

  6. Dagard Solus Ben'Shachar Says:

    As Ms. (well, I presume Ms, and not Mrs) Delilah says, it’s about getting allies.


    Okay, social engineering 101. Pay attention, there’s gonna be a quiz later in your life.

    If your school has a very strict dress code, then follow it. Impress the hell out of your teachers. Be a good little bat.

    And then, oh, after everybody in the school knows you’re a good little drone? Oh maybe you’ve got a necklace, or some earrings, too much mascara, your skirt’s a little short, or who knows what, that’s in violation of the dress code.

    They’ll give you a pass. People, generally, are forgiving of small violations of social mores.

    The Lady of the Manners is gonna kill me for this, but, it’s 100% true.

  7. Niamh Says:

    Somebody upthread mentioned button-down shirts; those were my wardrobe staple in high school. Unless your dress code is absurdly strict, there’s not much about a button-down, collared shirt with slacks that can be disapproved of. You can go all-black if you want, or mix things up with some other colors. It’s pretty easy to find button-downs in deep jewel tones.

    Button-downs also work with some types of skirt; a-line skirts are what I usually went with. Just make sure your skirt is long enough for the dress code. You might even want to go several inches past whatever arbitrary body part your school uses as a yardstick. Being obviously compliant with the length requirement can reduce the chances that you’ll be accused with a violation. (The other nice thing about skirts is that they mean you can wear funky socks or stockings, if that’s allowed.)

    And don’t forget hair accessories! Even if you can’t dye your hair, most dress codes would allow things like stripey scrunchies or hairpins decorated with subtle bats/spiders/etc. Some of the less strict ones would probably even let you wear hair chopsticks or fake flowers. For really strict dress codes, you can find hair clips that are conventional, but are in colors that complement your outfit.

    If nail polish isn’t allowed, paint your toenails instead of your fingers. Nobody will see it in school, but you’ll know you have a secret gothy layer underneath your shoes.

  8. Crystal Says:

    It’s always wonderful to hear the idea reinforced that the leather and lace make not the Goth.

    I was in high school when Columbine happened. My school, as well as many others began to discriminate against Goths, and even went as far as to change the dress code to target those who dressed in an alternative style. No amount of polite argument, or knowledge of the rules was going to stop the crusade.

    It sucked and left me feeling hurt and distrusted, but I learned really quickly that school was only 8hr a day, and the rest of those hours were mine to dress however I wanted. Those hours were hard, but they got a lot better when it finally sunk in that I was no less a Goth because of them!

  9. Delorian Jones Says:

    So much of this one is about attitude. My best friend in middle school was definitely on the goth side and everyone knew it even though we had a strict uniform. I was trying to think of tricks that she used and I realized there really weren’t any, she just exuded gothness.

    We had to wear a specific navy blue and grey uniform with no make-up, nail polish or unnatural hair. Even our socks were of a specific style and color. The only places for wiggle room were “low heeled black or brown dress shoes” and “light, non-distracting jewelry”. There were also rules regarding dress on field trips and non-uniform days, but those were more about controlling sluttiness than personal expression.

    My friend wore boots for her dress shoes and gothic jewelry and went as all out as possible on dress-down days and that, combined with the pictures in her locker, drawings on her notebooks and the fact that she wouldn’t shut up about Marilyn Manson (it was the late 90’s) was enough to let everyone know who she was. In not actively breaking the rules, she put herself forward as free spirit more than as a rebel, leading the school to see her (and the rest of our friends, who were doing the same thing but with punk and grunge) as creative, unique assets to the school environment.

    So when high school came around and the uniform was replaced by a dress code, I got a lot more leeway (the goth friend had moved away) than I would have if I’d not already established myself as a unique dresser who respected the rules. I got away with pretty much anything that wasn’t strictly codified (bondage gear, spikes, fishnets) because they knew that I would stop as soon as they asked me to, or change if an important donor was coming through. I was polite, friendly and flexible and so were they. Other students who took a more combative or “help me help me I’m being oppressed!” attitude were not given the same treatment, leading me to believe that in their minds, I had earned the right to self expression by demonstrating respectfulness. Sadly, I know this isn’t the case in most schools with a dress code, but it’s always worth a shot.

    And even if you have no wiggle room, remember that attitude is important and as long as you are secure in your gothness, everyone else will pick up on it, too.

  10. Angelica Says:

    My experiences contradict the whole “school uniforms reduces bullying” argument. We don’t have school uniforms in Sweden but in junior high I went all the way to dress exactly like my classmates (in the clothes which were fashionable back in 96-99), to make them like me, to fit in, to make them not bully me. Did it work? Of course not. Bullies WILL find something to pick on, no matter what clothes you wear. Sometimes they picked on the fact that I didn’t wear the most expensive brands of clothes but most of the bullying had to do with me being a geek because I was shy.

    In high school on the other hand I regularly wore a plastic tiara to school. Combined with long black hair, a lip piercing and clothes which were anything but fashionable or mainstream. And I wasn’t bullied. Never. Because this time I was lucky enough to be surrounded by open-minded and NICE people. Both those who dressed alternatively and those who didn’t.

    I still don’t know exactly what I think of school uniforms though. Maybe they do actually reduce some bullying. On the other hand I’m strongly opposed molding people into the carbon copies of each other, choking every piece of individuality. Also it seems like the alternatively dressed kids are more targeted regarding the dress codes than other kids, just because the shcool officials have prejudices about certain types of clothes being “trashy” and “unsophisticated”.

  11. Little Miss Miki Says:

    This is an issue that is very familiar to me. Right now I am in high school, and my school, being an academically selective school, is very strict about uniform. We are only allowed to wear the school shirt (white button up) and black skirt/trousers. Girls are only allowed white socks or plain black tights, and we must wear black leather shoes. For my first year I was able to get away with black leather high-tops or boots, but unfortunately they decided to crack down on that.
    However, there are no rules about hair, and I’ve been allowed to pass with my hair dyed black with turquoise streaks. I find hair is the best way to show individuality at my school, as the teachers all focus on uniform. I can wear all types of bows, ribbons, clips and even miniature top-hats without getting in trouble.
    Jewellery is also handy. Just a couple of vintage silver bracelets isn’t noticed by teachers, and I have a cross necklace and a Death Note necklace that I wear everyday, and the teachers are so used to seeing it they don’t care any more. Subtle rings, especially on your non-writing hand are good to.
    I think though, in the end, it doesn’t really matter what I wear at school, because in the afternoons and on the weekends, I am free to revel in my Gothy finery all I want 🙂

  12. Isho Juarez Says:

    It’s been two years since I finished highschool, but a few years ago something ugly happened with the dress code. Apparently, such a thing like wearing a tank-top, and not a low cut one, just a regular tank top, would be considered distracting (bah, euphemism for slutty) on girls with big breasts. I wore tank-tops and never had problems because I’m not too big up there, but a friend of mine was always scolded for showing too much cleavage. Totally not her fault, she’d need a straitjacket to hide her assets.

    Because of that, and some girls dressing really (so sorry for this word) slutty (but they were a minority), uniforms were forced unto us. But only for girls. And I’ve always seen boys disrespecting the dress code too (using shorts, T-shirts with inappropriate words and phrases, etc.), but only we were forced to use them. And our school’s directives were all women. I can’t believe how, being women themselves, they could be so sexist. I spoke to them, tried to convince them to remove the uniforms or implement them for boys too, and I was backed up by every girl in my school, but they didn’t give a flying Fanta about us.

    These are the uniforms for girls in public schools in Argentina: http://www.mediosindependientes.com/Fotos/Fotografia/Guardapolvo1.jpg Now, my “tips” for getting around the dress code:

    These aren’t specifically for goths. I didn’t want to dress like a goth, but I hate hate HATE with all my passions to be dressed the exact same way as everyone around me. I’m not goth but I’m very fond of the subculture and since my 11-13 years old I’ve had a mildly alternative sense of fashion. Nothing too extreme.

    I asked if I could use a black uniform, or any other color, but I couldn’t. The first two years the uniform were implemented, I was still going through my “I hate being a women I want to be a man” phase. I asked if I could use a male uniform (like this: http://www.ar.all.biz/img/ar/catalog/110495.png) and they agreed; the first year I wore it buttoned up and with a black tie, the second year I wore it unbuttoned, no tie at sight.

    By the third year I had to wear it (it was my last year in highschool) I wanted to be more feminine. I wore a custom made uniform for me; the best way to describe it would be a chef’s uniform and a typical sailor-style japanese uniform had a baby. It was white, but had laces and other details in black. And my female teachers loved it, they said I was very stylish. 😛

  13. Reggie Says:

    My school does not have a very strict dress code, but since my parents do to some extent, I have had some experience doing simple things that increase the gothiness of my wardrobe. The easiest thing I did was dye my hair black. You can be goth without having black hair, but now I find it easier to look goth without having to go all out. If I show up to school in jeans and a t-shirt, I can still look dark. Also, ribbon chokers are a great accent with any outfit. I bought a spool of ribbon from Walmart and simply cut a piece and attach the two ends around my neck with a safety pin. It’s cheap and easy. Also, for kids in Catholic or other religious schools (I’ve been there, so I feel you) religious jewelry, such as crosses, and crucifixes, can look very goth if you find the right style. I’d recommend looking especially for anything silver or darkly colored, and Celtic designs on any necklace can look spooky and mysterious.

    I am very fortunate to be able to get away with what I do. Remember, look for loopholes, and be your gothy self, even when it’s hard.

  14. Chicky Says:

    I’m about the same age as the good Lady, but not an Elder Goth. I also had the good fortune of attending a school where I could dress as I liked. This often meant I wore an aged gray cardigan of my dad’s. I liked it. Kept me warm when the room was cold.
    Anyway, a word about the increasing popularity of uniforms and why they can be a good idea. They weren’t originally meant to reduce bullying, per se, as they gained fame. They were meant to reduce the instances of students being assaulted for items of clothing, such as shoes or blazers. There were many instances of students being attacked and their Nike Air Jordans being stolen, way back in the Dark Ages. That started the trend. They’re also good for parents with a limited clothing budget for their kids. They don’t have to buy as many clothes, and they’re not as expensive.
    Now then. As a couple of posters also noted, school uniforms are not eternal. Eventually, you will graduate and you will be free of them. And also, there is the “good student pass,” for sure. If you establish yourself as being a good student, polite, not a troublemaker, not prone to excessive absences, etc., you will get a little more leeway. That’s just the way teachers are, for the most part. They may not have a great deal of authority in being able to allow students a lot of freedom, but for students who have EARNED the privilege, they’ll reward them as they are able. Most teachers are actually good people. I should know. Everyone in my family teaches. 🙂

  15. Jordan Says:

    I have no idea how to escape my school uniform, so I know EXACTLY how hard it is. My school is one full of (excuse the spite in this) stuck up rich kids from families who have to much many than they can keep up with. All the teachers absolutely despise differnces and the principal can literally smell a dress-code violation from seven miles away, no exageration.
    Coming from a middle-class family in Cape Town, I am the bane of my school’s existence in the simple fact that my dad (as a single father) struggles to pay my school fees every month and doesn’t hand in large cheques of donations almost every day as other parents do when they drop their kids off in the mornings.
    I am 13 going on 14 and have a good five years of school ahead of me. In South Africa, all schools have dress codes, even the high schools and all of them are completely and unescessarily strict.
    So, here’s how I cope:
    First off: black nail polish on my toes, except on a Monday because that’s the day they extensively search you for dress code violations.
    Second: a gold, ruby enset cross under my school polo shirt (also an exception on Mondays)
    And third: Aftercare (sort of like a big room where everyone has to wait for their parents to come pick them up at five pm)clothing because their’s nil they can do to me after school for going all goth.

  16. Eloise Says:

    Hoo, I’m a bit late to the party, but here’s my two cents!
    I’ve never really had a problem with dress codes or uniforms simply because they exist. Mine is actually fairly lenient, and for many reasons I really wouldn’t mind a uniform if it were that sort of school. However, while I’ve never actually SAID the “so and so’s breaking it too” defense, it really is the reason our codes exasperate me to no end. Our disciplinarian basically enforces school dress code on a ‘when-he-feels-like-it’ basis. Both my brother (semi-goth-in-training) and I have been targeted in different ways and for different reasons in our schools by teachers and office folk.

    My hair was the controversy, since they have a rule that states we can’t have unnatural colors. During the time in my freshman year when I dressed like a grunge reject, I had ridiculously long brown hair with neon green tips and bangs. Not a word about it until I cut my hair into a bob and redid the green on the ends – this is about when the goth disease began becoming evident outwardly on me – and it suddenly caused attention. I managed to get away with it until the end of sophomore year on the grounds of my pointing out how I couldn’t even count on both hands how many people had only partially dyed hair (streaks, tips, bangs, etc.) while only I was becoming a target.
    When I came back after the summer and stubbornly resisted changing my hair after a summer of having it bright blue, I jumped through the one loophole I could find in the rule. My hair is now gray and our disciplinarian will not even hazard eye contact with me any more.

    A different school, technically, the career institute where I take some classes. I generally only wear my gothery for half of our class time, sit in the back of the classroom, and then change into heavy work clothes to go to the workshop.
    Nevertheless, I was called up by the counselor one morning. She seemed a little confused when I walked in… and after speaking for a little she told me that, while she had no problem with my clothes personally, she had ostensibly heard enough talk about me dressing too provocatively for a male-dominated class from people (she didn’t say who, nor whether they were students or teachers) in the school. I sometimes wonder if it was simply because I’m a darkly inclined sort or because of my cup size. It’s very difficult for me to disguise my chest in anything tighter than a pillowcase, and there seems to be some social stigma surrounding ladies with large busts, never mind their clothes.

    My brother’s case is really more one of prejudice in the school that makes me say not-so-nice things about people. He’s only 11, but a Proto-Victorian if ever there was one! He has a strong fondness for nice waistcoats, intricate tie knots, and even a good pair of boots, as well as wanting strange hair like me when he gets older. In fact, he went as Edgar Allan Poe for Halloween this year, goth bless him.
    He’s constantly teased for his appearance amongst other things, mainly revolving around him simply being “different” (children can smell it! I know how he feels!) and a bit heavier than the other kids. Teachers generally don’t work to prevent bullying as much as they claim to, obviously, so this circle of hate continues.
    The principal of his school, after my brother had been pulled from a group that he lashed out at for gibing at him, insisted that he only dresses the way he does for attention and he aught to just try and fit in. This was rather upsetting to him.

    Schools can be catty, isolated ecosystems, but that doesn’t mean either the individual or the whole can’t adapt to make compromise, even in the most rigidly harsh climates. I really admire some of the comments here detailing how people can walk the line in areas where conformity is encouraged through uniforms and inspections. It’s good to see that people are able to find ways to keep true to themselves when dealing with High School- even if it doesn’t involve your clothes at all. 🙂

    Stay lovely, folks.

  17. China Ryn Says:

    As many of the lovely other commentors have mentioned, get the teachers to like you as best as possible. If you do your work, behave, and respect everyone, they’re more likely to overlook your slightly too short shorts or mildly revealing lace top. Or they won’t notice. Honestly, in my experience, I got away with wearing be-ribboned fox ears once.
    To combat bullies, however, I can only suggest this. Watch the trends floating around the school. If you see something you like that “normal” kids are wearing, go for it with your own little twist. I’ve gotten compliments from people I’ve never spoken (and didn’t really want to speak to) when I wear something semi-normal, but coated in black. (For example, black lace high-to-low skirts or big comfy sweaters with skulls.)
    I’m surprisingly lucky; I live in an area in the American Deep South where most thirteen/fourteen years don’t know what LGBT stands for.
    Good luck,
    China Ryn

  18. Rachael Says:

    I’m a bit late but as many before me have said your attitude is a major factor if you convince your teachers that you are a well behaved and polite student you can bend the rules a little I am 14 and live in london and like most schools in london have a school uniform meaning I can’t choose what I where so I add badges to my blazer and decorate my bag nail polish on my toes is a way for me to feel like me and eventhough its not aloud I allways have sometype of necklace on under my shirt.

  19. Anastasia Says:

    I love the advice. It really helps me to express myself in school

  20. Lara Says:

    I’m real late, but I live in London as well and I go to a real strict school where we’re not even allowed our own bags or anything. I’m not allowed to attatch keyrings to my bag or wear ANY jewellery at all or wear my own socks or have interesting hair accessories or dye my hair an un natural colour.😈 Does anyone have any advice? I need it desperately!

  21. Jania Says:

    why not instead of you try wearing to wear jewelry you wear contacts

  22. Samantha Says:

    This will help tremendously, even though my high school doesn’t really care what we wear anymore, unlike middle school. But knowing how my school operates, i will get in trouble for wearing something with lace that shows my shoulders just a teeny tiny bit, and someone else who is wearing really short shorts won’t get in any kind of trouble, because they have the “right” last name, and i don’t.

  23. Lady Bold Says:

    It might be different because I am Australian and every school has uniforms so everyone puts up with it. My dad was a teacher so I had to careful but the main thing I picked up from him is jewelary has be taken off when using tools and leather and steel caps are toe savers. So basicaly fashion always take second best to safety

  24. Baby bat Says:

    I am very new to the goth scene but I love it all!!! My first day of middle school is in two days and I have the most darling outfit to wear and because of this article and these comments I have found out what to avoid, and what’s acceptable to wear. Thanks to all of my elder goths I don’t think I will be dress coded (I’m fairly modest anyways.) I love gothic charm school and simply can not wait for the next installation!! Lady of manners has also given me splendid ideas th tell my parents I wish to dress more goth.
    Baby bat

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