Dress for Success (Pt. 2)

Last week my students took their End-of -the-year-district-writing-assessment.

The prompt:  “Dress for Success” is a phrase all of us have heard before, but it means something different to each person.  Write an essay explaining what “dress for success” means to you.

When I first saw this prompt, I was worried because I was afraid my students would not understand the concept “dress for success.”  I found several articles on the topic for my kids to read, talk, and write about.  We also went over a few articles and examples as a class.  As a result, I was quite impressed with the essays my students produced.  For the most part, their papers had an introduction, middle, and conclusion, and they were able to clearly express their understanding of the topic.

There were a couple that gave me a good chuckle.  Here are a few highlights from some of my favorite essays:

~When I think of the phrase “Dress for Success!”  I think of a person getting ready or preparing for a big job interview.  Like when  person goes to a job interview wearing a muscle shirt and shorts for a job that requires you to cook food.  Or when a person wears super fancy clothes to an interview that requires you to clean bathrooms.  “Dressing for success” is like a guide telling you what you might need to wear to make a good impression.

~Dress for success means to dress for the occasion.  You want to dress for the occasion because you don’t want be out-of-order.  An example of this is going to church in pajamas.  That is an example of dressing out-of-order.

~Schools are even making their dress codes better.  They don’t want the kids to dress themselves in tank tops and super short shorts.  Some girls do that just to fit in.  Those girls are dumb.

~Dressing for success doesn’t only apply to job interviews, but for many other things.  If you’re running for long distances, you don’t want your everyday clothes to slow you down.  How coul you fix this simple problem?  You could get the appropriate clothes for running and it would help you by taking off unneeded weight and make you not get tired as quickly.

~When you are applying for a job interview, you should look nice.  If you want to get a job at a bank, you should wear nice pants and a nice shirt, or a dress. If  you are applying for a job at Hot Topic you could probably wear a T shirt from your favorite band and skinny jeans. Avoid too many body piercings though.

~When you go to a job interview or someones funeral you have to dress with respect.  And nice.  You don’t want your butt or boobs hanging out.  You want people to think your decent and well-behaved.

~Another example is when you wear a tank top and some booty shorts to school.  That’s not a good thing to wear.  You got to wear non-distracting clothes.

~When you come to school you don’t really have to dress for success but you don’t want to come looking a hot mess.  Come looking decent.

~I think dressing for success is important because people will make assumptions about you.  If you’re in Wal-Mart and you’re wearing old pajamas with holes in them in all the wrong places, people will think you’re weird.  If you’re at a school dance, casual, and you wear a wedding dress, people will think you’re lame and weird.  If you go to prom wearing a dressing robe, people will NOT dance with you.

~When I think of dress for success I think of… Say you wanna go to Adventure.  Your friends are dressed in booty shorts and tank tops but there are hundreds of people they’re looking at you, is that really how you wanna dress?  People don’t want to see girls in booty shorts walking around at the age of 11 or 12.

~I think people should dress a certain way.  One reason is if you own a fortune 500 company and you wear flip-flops and a tank top.  The workers won’t take you seriously.


Dress for Success

This week I will be giving my 8th graders the following writing prompt for their spring district writing assessment.

            “Dress for success” is a phrase all of us have heard before, but it means something different to each person. Write an essay explaining what “dress for success” means to you.

I love that this prompt includes the phrase “is a phrase all of us have heard before.”  Really?  All of my 8th graders are supposed to be familiar with the phrase “dress for success”?  I’m thinking back to occasions when my students have had to dress up. I have quite a few students who attend church (although I’m not sure what their weekly attire includes), and I have several students who have attended a quinceanera or two but aside from that…

This is what I have witnessed at H.M.S in regards to students dressing up:

  1. School Sports Teams and Game Days:  Like most schools, on game days, our student athletes “dress for success.”  This usually includes the boys wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and a tie which usually ends up tied around their head Rambo style or around the neck of the girl they have a crush on. I have also witnessed these same dashing gentlemen dive rolling into my classroom while wearing their “dress for success” attire.  My favorite is when they use their ties to snap each other in a locker room fashion.  Today, I had two girls from the soccer team, who were “dressed for success.”  One had on a skin-tight skirt that didn’t quite reach the length of her finger tips, and the other one had on a short ruffled number that was a little two free-flowing each time a student passed her in the hallway.


  1. End of the year 8th grade promotion. In our school we have promotion vs. graduation (due to the fact that students don’t really have to pass anything to be passed along to 9th grade- don’t even get me started on this). For this event… oh boy. Here are a few high lights from past years.

A blue circa-1980’s prom/bridesmaid’s dress worn over a sports bra.

A bright red “pimp suit” complete with a hat (that had a feather in it) and red suede shoes.

An outfit that can only be described as “Sandra Dee” at the end of Grease when she turned slutty and took up smoking.

Now to be fair, the majority of the kids do dress appropriately when what they are to wear is explicitly spelled out to them, but the behaviors I witness while students are dressed up, is what baffles me. So, when I see the phrase “dress for success,” I’m not sure that my students really get the reasoning behind dressing up.  I’m sure their essays are going to be stellar.

>School Uniforms

>As a kid, I always wanted to attend a private school, mainly because of the school uniforms. In the movies, kids who wore uniforms to school lived such exciting lives. I believed that if I wore a uniform to school, I would find myself sneaking out of class to audition to be a regular on DanceTV- or in my case, Dance Party USA. I would be just like Sarah Jessica Parker, with my Helen Hunt best friend. We would meet cute boys and live life on the wild side. Destroying the rich kids’ sweet 16 birthday parties by inviting break dancers and punk rockers. It would be awesome.

As I got older and entered Jr. High, the prospect of school uniforms did not look good. I was stuck on a public school campus, across the street from a local Catholic school. I would daydream about what went on over there. Watching Nuns deomonstrate how to use the pomel horse- perhaps one of the nun’s would really be a Vegas lounge singer hiding out in the witness protection program…

Now 25 years later, our students will be required to wear school uniforms. Ahhh… what shenanigans will these kids try to pull? If I get students named Janey and Lynne look out.

I’d better brush up on my 80’s movies. Gotta stay one step ahead of these guys.