From a reader:
We belong to a Catholic homeschooling group and now that our children have reached their teen years, we are beginning to organize dances and formal social events for them. The question of modest dress came up after a recent dance and caused a bit of controversy since some parents believe there should be no specific standards while others would like to implement a basic dress code to avoid the more egregious and inappropriate fashions at these events.
Do you think a specific dress code at formal Catholic teen social events is necessary? If so, what bare mininum (no pun intended!) standards would you suggest?
As an example, some parents formulated the following list as a possibility. Do you think this is adequate?
No strapless dresses
No spaghetti straps
No backless dresses
No skin-tight garments
Shirt, tie, dress pants.
Thank you so very much for any advice you could offer on this matter.
I am reminded of the great Italian film Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, wherein the parish in Sicily has a movie theatre, a focus of the town. The priest censors the films and cut out every scene that he thinks isn’t decent, especially every kiss. I recall a scene – I think I have the right movie – in which there is a dance, during which Father works pretty hard to prevent anyone from getting close.
In the list, above, that the girls are defined by “No” and the boys… well… pretty simple. I guess we know what fact of life is being addressed.
I think a dress code is reasonable at that age and parents have the right to impose one.
However, I want to bring parents into this. Perhaps they have been through this issue and will have insights earned through experience.