Free dress days at Marlborough are like eating a red velvet cupcake after living on porridge for a month. We cling to free dress days, opportunities for our appearance to reflect our personalities, and savor the burst of color as we walk onto campus, a more than welcome change from the bland sea of khaki, navy, white and grey. Not surprisingly, the announcement that last year’s monthly free dress days were being abolished was met with with horrified gasps and indignant shouts from students.
According to Coordinator of Community Outreach Miranda Payne, All-School Council and the Administration discontinued last year’s free dress policy in order to make room for more free dress opportunities that are tied to events or holidays, such as National Coming Out Day, Spirit Week, Pumpkin Day, Winterfest, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.
The new policy portrays opportunities to vary the uniform as somehow compensating for the loss of regular free dress days. We had these one-item free dress days last year, too, and we’ve never found them to be very practical. The themed, specific “free dress” options send us digging through our closets in search of uncommon articles of clothing like rainbow-colored accessories for National Coming Out Day. However, rainbow socks are not a staple of most girls’ wardrobes, and we’re not going to go out and buy some in order to wear them to School for one day.
In order for a free dress day to actually be “free,” it should not be restrictive or only allow a partial change in uniform. Wearing socks, jeans, or accessories of an assigned color is not much of a chance for personal expression.
Another downside of this year’s policy is the confusing lack of a pattern to when free dress days fall this year (on Sep. 23, Oct. 20, and Oct. 28). Some of us don’t get e-mails reminding us to wear free dress and have to depend on remembering quick announcements made during All-School Meetings. For those of us who do receive e-mails from the Council reminding us, the message sticks in our minds for about ten minutes before being replaced by desperate thoughts of APUSH reading and other homework. We often wake up on the morning of the free dress day and automatically pull on our uniform, forgetting to put on regular clothes until minutes before we need to leave, or else forget entirely.
These random free dress days are also stressful; no one wants to mistakenly come to school in free dress when everyone else is in uniform, or come to school in uniform when everyone else is in free dress. Until recently, some students did not even know about the cancellation of last year’s policy and have shown up to school in free dress on the first Friday of the month.
We at the UV miss waking up on the first Friday of the month and looking forward to free dress.Now, we struggle to remember if someone made an announcement about free dress during ASM.
While the Administration’s new policy is understandable, we wish that a better system could be established to remind us of free dress days, or that these additional free dress days followed a more predictable and uniform pattern. With tests to take, homework to do and a new schedule to learn, we students shouldn’t have to deal with additional stress from an opportunity that’s supposed to be fun.