The Homecoming Dress: Who Gets to Judge?
October is right around the corner, and so is that delightful high school ritual of … Homecoming. Gonna be honest: I’m a Homecoming hater. It makes me cringe just thinking about all that awkwardness, the suffocating cloud of Axe body spray, the date drama, the ungodly expense for just one night.
But one aspect of Homecoming in particular has gotten completely out of hand: the homecoming dress. Last week, I was with some mothers whose sons attend the same all-boys school as mine. The conversation went something like this:
“Is your son going to Homecoming?”
“Yes, he’s going with a group of friends and girls. How about your son?”
“Yes, he’s going with a cute little blonde girl. But if I get to her house and she’s wearing some super short, sprayed-on little dress, I’m telling her to turn right around and go put something appropriate on. And I’ll do it, too!”
I wanted to high-five her—even if it’s hard to imagine actually policing your son’s date’s dress. But it is time for some pushback on the homecoming outfits.
When my son started going to high school dances a few years ago, I was shocked by what some girls wear. Dresses so short, you can see the curve of her rear (how is she going to sit down in that?). Cut-outs, thigh-high slits, backless, and strapless with cleavage on full display. One really stands out in my memory: a custom-made, bright blue, mid-thigh length, strapless latex little number that apparently required talcum powder to get on. Classy, huh? Another “dress” had a shiny bronze jog bra type top and what can only be described as a puffy diaper cover bottom. All worn with four-inch heels. These poor girls spend the entire evening simultaneously hiking up the top of their dress while pulling down the bottom. And I’m not a 14-year-old boy, but even I have trouble not staring.
I don’t blame a teenage girl for having poor judgment. But I question her parents. Because some adult either went shopping for this dress, or paid for it, or watched it walk out of the front door on their daughter. Why do some parents encourage, facilitate, and apparently take pride in dressing their daughters in clothes that suggest a street corner? Even though many schools have resorted to dress codes for dances, teens continue to violate them, apparently aided and abetted by either clueless or indulgent parents. We have to choose our battles with teens, but school dance dress codes are the perfect excuse for parents: Sorry, kid, it’s not allowed.
Homecoming dress code or not, it’s time to place responsibility where it belongs: on parents. Say no to the barely-there dress. Those Gunne Sax and Laura Ashley dresses were good enough for us. Our daughters will look pretty whatever they wear. And they’ll probably have more fun dancing if they aren’t worried about a skintight strapless dress failing. Mothers of sons everywhere–and maybe, someday, your daughters—will thank you.
This article was updated on Sept. 19 in response to some strong discussion on Facebook. Your Teen would like to thank our readers for their honest feedback. We heard you.