The American International School of Bucharest has had many dress code problems. Many girls (including myself) struggle to get ready in the morning to follow the dress code, and many believe that the dress code only focuses on women’s clothing, which isn’t fair.

AISB has had a dress code in place for a very long time. However, changes to it have been made in recent years in order to make it more reasonable.

For those who don’t know, STUCO created the dress code, and here is the reason behind it. Students wanted more freedom in what they could wear, and STUCO wanted to ensure that students felt more comfortable at school wearing what they wanted.

The dress code aims to ensure that the way students present themselves is respectable and decent, in order to uphold the formal nature of school.

“There hasn’t been much controversy about dress code issues that I am aware of, leading me to conclude that the majority of the student body is happy with it,” says STUCO President Antonio Z. “I think that it outlines a fair set of rules in terms of how we should present ourselves at school.”

But in my opinion, the dress code is not fair–at least for females, because there are less restrictions for males. This could be because females are able to wear more clothing options than men, such as dresses, skirts, or shorter pants. The dress code has many protocols that are for both genders, for example, specifically regarding what kind of messages your shirts can have. However, it is hard to please everyone, considering that men and women wear different types of clothing.

The current AISB dress code is as follows:

  1. Appropriate clothing – including footwear – must be worn as described by the teachers for specific classes.
  2. Clothing and jewelry should not advertise alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, or sex.
  3. No low-cut tops: skin below armpit level should be covered (the torso area).
  4. Clothing must at least have straps.
  5. No bare midriffs or hip bones.
  6. Undergarments are not to be exposed to public view.
  7. Skirts or shorts must be of an appropriate length; when the arms hang loose at the sides, the shorts/skirt should not be shorter than fingertip-level.
  8. When sitting/stretching/bending, undergarments should not be visible.
  9. Hats must be removed at a teacher’s request.
  10. Clothing is not excessively ripped/torn in a way that would reveal undergarments or the section between armpit level and hanging fingertips. (see skirts/shorts aspect).

Most clothes in our generation do not respect these guidelines. For women especially, what’s in fashion at the moment is short.  It’s impossible to find anything anything that looks particularly good while following this dress code. Believe me, I’ve tried.

AISB wanted to work with the school administration in order to ensure that we strike a fair balance between presenting oneself in a respectable way, but also giving students freedom to express themselves through their clothing choices. We based the rules of the dress code on the overarching concept of tolerance (everyone should feel comfortable to express themselves at school), whilst maintaining an environment of respect and decency. However, I, as a female student, think it needs to be readdressed– if nothing else, it should be amended to allow for shorts/skirts that come above fingertip level.