Dress Decoding Falmouth Academy: New Year Brings Changes to FA Dress Code


From left to right, Piper Augat ’22, Lucca MacDonald ’21, and Justine Clement ’21 all demonstrate the changes in this year’s dress code

Ursula Junker, Independent Writer

It feels like everything is different this school year, and dresscode is no exception.When  students returned to the campus this fall, many dreaded leaving behind cozy Zoom-school attire. But FA cushioned the blow by changing its dress code in small but significant ways.

The only actual difference in dress code is that this year, sweatpants and athletic wear are allowed during the school day since we can’t use locker rooms to change for gym or sports. But broadly, the dress code this year seems generally more casual. If it even exists. 

“I just think that there’s already so many restrictions on you all, that I think the enforcement has relaxed a little bit,” said Mr. Mike Earley, Assistant Head for Student Life. “We’re not looking for problems, you know? If we see it, we address it… I think the kids look professional enough for school in general, so we haven’t had a lot of problems yet.” Mr. Earley said the faculty has dress coded very few students this school year.

 The FA dress code states, “Know where you are. You are at a place of work.” So have the changes in dress code made FA less of a productive learning environment? 

“No,” said Mr. Early. He was in agreement with every one of the students and teachers that I spoke with. 

Many students don’t strictly follow the technicalities of the dress code. “Nothing I have seen anyone wear to school this year has been unreasonable,” Sadie Leveque ‘23 told me, adding, “I broke [dress code] yesterday. I wore a very short shirt.” She clarified, “It wasn’t that short, but there was at least a solid inch of abdomen exposed.” She has never been dress coded for any of her past transgressions.

“I wear [hats] all the time, and no teacher comments about it,” said her classmate Ned Heywood.

These three students replied with a categorical “no” when asked if they saw a reason to follow the dress code. 

“I follow dress code because I myself want to look professional every day and if I look professional I know that I will challenge myself and work harder,” said Abby Neubert ‘22, offering a different perspective than her fellow students. “My personal opinion is just that I dress well because it propels me to do better.” 

There is some confusion about the practical application of these new, relaxed standards. 

In a conversation with several tenth grade students, Mr. Early stated that shirts with words or pictures are allowed, “as long as there’s nothing offensive,” although the student handbook only allows “dress t-shirts with no images or graphics.” The Handbook further stipulates that “Sweatshirts are acceptable if they have no images, graphics, or logos at all or they have Falmouth Academy or the name of a college or university on them.”  

 “I personally did not know that there were a lot of changes to the dress code,” said Maria MacDonald ‘23. “So I could wear leggings and a non-college sweatshirt tomorrow, and I wouldn’t get dress coded?” 

“I like this year’s dress code a lot,” agreed Matthew Coggins ‘23. “We just need to work on the hats and we’ll be 100%. Just legalize everything that’s not offensive, and you will have a much happier student body.”

Has the pandemic permanently changed our idea of school clothes? Opinions were divided on whether or not the dress code will ever go back to how it was last year.

 “I think they might put the dress code back to normal and kind of try to enforce it but nobody will follow it, and so they’ll just give up,” Sadie said. 

“I would say that we’ll go back a little bit,” Ms. Nelson said, “but I think it’ll be much more gender neutral, maybe not quite as casual.”

“After COVID? Yes,” said Abby, when asked if the dress code will return to normal. 

“I sure hope not, but I think that it will, because people will be a lot less sympathetic towards us,” remarked Matthew. “I think they’ll go straight back to normal, no mercy, classic Falmouth Academy.”