by Oona Lundgren, Staff Writer, October 2021

Yes, Nobles Dress Code is elitistNo, Nobles Dress Code is not elitist
Within a longstanding, privileged institution such as Nobles, many aspects of the community can be debated as representing the exclusivity of the socioeconomic elite. Some opponents of the dress code argue that it serves as a pillar of elitism. 
First and foremost, acceptable clothing according to the dress code is different from what most students wear outside of school. Students have to figure out a separate wardrobe that they can wear to school. More professional and conservative clothing tends to be sold at a higher price point, putting a financial burden on students and families when purchasing apparel that complies with school rules. “You never know people’s financial circumstances,” Leila Rodriguez (Class I) said. She added, “We should be able to wear blue jeans and leggings, which are accessible and affordable.” Additionally, with teenage students growing throughout their time at Nobles, some point out the continuous strain the dress code puts on families who may not have the financial resources to maintain an influx of clothes for their children. 
Further, the school’s ban on blue jeans can arguably be attributed to denim being a longstanding symbol of the American working class. Blue jeans were originally designed for miners and cattle farmers in the American Southwest, coming into fashion through popular culture such as Western movies in the 1950s that highlighted the stories of working-class people. Some observe that banning blue denim turns Nobles’s eyes away from classic comfort and symbols of the working class and towards boardrooms and beacons of socioeconomic advantage instead.
The Nobles reputation and legacy already boast ample representation of the upper echelons of society, but we can and should be built on more than privilege. Changing our dress code may not solve the issue of elitism at school, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Since its inception, the school has maintained a dress code. In fact, most academic institutions, public and private alike, maintain some semblance of a dress code to cultivate the culture and mindset they wish to encourage. Supporters of the dress code argue that Nobles is an establishment dedicated to rigorous academics and leadership, and dress code aids in setting apart school from casual life. What is considered acceptable for school may differ from the dress expectations in other spaces. The dress code serves to set a standard of respect and unity for the community as a whole. 
The dress code also serves as a training ground for life outside of school by getting students accustomed to the stricter dress standards commonplace in professional settings. “Many Nobles students will be in environments where they are asked to dress a particular way,” Head of Upper School Michael Denning said. He added, “It’s a tool we use to help folks be a part of a community.” Adopting and complying with any dress code is practice for being a respectable member of a community, a crucial skill all throughout one’s life.
Moreover, the school’s dress code is relatively unrestrictive, as opposed to the strict blazer and tie/dress mandates at many other independent schools. Allowances are also made for non-logo sweatshirts and other accessible articles of clothing here. Basic clothing of this nature tends to come in a vast price range. Nobles intends to leave students some room for expression, while still setting an appropriate standard for professionalism and community unity.