Bella Guagenti '24
As the new school year officially begins and students begin to return to school mode, one crucial shift between summer and the school year is following the dress code. While the dress code restricts specific clothing due to the expectation of “a certain degree of formality,”  The NCS dress code states the belief that clothing can “reflect one’s individuality and how we present ourselves to the community.” The dress code outlines basic dos and don’ts that allow individual expression. However, students must shift their mentality from dress codes being restrictions to being guidelines. These guidelines work with items you already have in your home, making the possibilities of outfits virtually endless.
To dress within the dress code, students first need to understand the general don’ts that apply across all clothing categories. Students are not allowed to wear:
Generally, if an item of clothing breaks at least one of these rules, it is likely inappropriate to wear at school. During the school year, setting these items aside for the weekend or after school may be helpful.
The dress code recommendations exclude clothes that violate the basic don’ts of the dress code. This guide is not comprehensive about every clothing style. Instead, it attempts to outline individual dress code-appropriate items and modifications loosely. The first guideline in the NCS dress code instructs students on shirt expectations.
Do wear “shirts that are full-length, opaque, and include at least 2 inches of fabric on the shoulder:”
T-shirts and crewneck sweatshirts are comfortable options that always follow all the basic rules for shirts. They are versatile for weather, activities, and different styles. T-shirts and crewnecks can be worn oversized or fitted and paired with most pants, shorts, and skirts. Students can also layer t-shirts and crewnecks over collared shirts or mock/turtlenecks and layer sweatshirts over other shirts to continue wearing them into colder months.
Students looking for more formal options can dress up t-shirts and crewnecks by pairing them with more formal bottoms, shoes, and accessories, or they can wear tops including but not limited to blouses, button-ups, polos, and sweaters. For a more formal outfit, these items generally can be paired with jeans, linen pants, dress pants, or a skirt (maxi or midi) with more formal shoes or boots, belts, and jewelry. Often in these more formal outfits, the shirts are tucked into the bottoms either entirely or just in the front. For a less formal outfit, students can pair these items with jeans, shorts, a shorter skirt, less formal shoes or boots, and jewelry.
Students who own tank tops or knit/ribbed tees may find themselves with shirts with shorter sleeves and lengths. These shirts, which vary in formality and style, are versatile additions to a student’s wardrobe, so students do not necessarily have to wear these clothes during the school year. If students wear tank tops with sleeves smaller than 2 inches, they must wear an outer layer such as a button-up, zip-up hoodie, cardigan, jacket, or blazer with at least 2 inches of fabric over the shoulder, so they still follow the shoulder guideline. Additionally, if students wear cropped shirts, they must pair them with high-waisted bottoms or layers that they can at least partially zip or button up to maintain the academic formality NCS requests students have.
The second guideline addresses NCS’ expectations for pants, skirts, and dresses.
Do wear “pants, shorts with at least a 5-inch inseam, or skirts and dresses of an equivalent length as shorts:”
Pants are a broad category, including but not limited to jeans, linen pants, dress pants, and cargo pants. If a student’s pants are not distressed, obviously pajamas, or athletic, then their pants do not violate the dress code.
Unlike pants which have fewer restrictions, Shorts require a 5-inch inseam, which is likely to fall mid-thigh but varies by person. Students struggling to find shorts with a 5-inch inseam can search for shorts filtered by inseam length or for Bermuda shorts, oxford shorts, ‘men’s’ sporting shorts, cargo shorts, linen shorts, or high-waisted wide shorts on a stores website for the most relevant results.
Skirts and dress like shorts must fall mid-thigh. The three common categories of skirts and dresses from shortest to longest are mini, midi, and maxi. Usually, mini falls mid-thigh, midi falls just below the knees, and maxi falls ankle length, all of which follow the dress code. If a student prefers the look of a shorter skirt, they can wear a dress code-appropriate skirt with a heeled or platform shoe making the skirt appear shorter without altering the actual length. While not specified in the dress code, students can wear shorts underneath their skirts and dresses for comfort, especially when walking through the wind tunnel in front of the Cathedral. Dresses additionally must follow both the guidelines for shirts and skirts.
Since pants consistently follow the dress code, students who struggle to find appropriate clothing items may benefit from investing in 1-2 pairs of well-fitting, non-ripped jeans and one pair of thinner pants for warmer weather.
The third and last guideline addresses NCS’ expectations for shoes.
Do wear “shoes at all times:”
Students’ shoe choices are not explicitly limited to the regular dress code; they must wear shoes at school. However, students should be conscious of their daily activities and choose shoes that are functional for them. This guideline is an opportunity to add a finishing touch to complete your creative, dress code-appropriate outfit.
Students should remember that even though NCS has a dress code, they do not have to choose between their individual style and getting dress coded. For more information about regular and Cathedral day dress codes, students can view the NCS Dress Code here.
 NCS Dress Code