One New Jersey teenager was such an outspoken opponent of her school’s dress code that she decided to have one final say on the subject — through her yearbook quote.
Victoria DiPaolo, who is set to graduate from West Milford High School next week, made a fashion statement with her senior portrait by wearing a shoulder-revealing black top (a traditional drape that many women put on) and a cheeky comment to accompany it.
While most of her peers chose quotes from historical figures and celebrities, DiPaolo went with, “I’m sorry, did my shoulders distract you from reading this quote?”
On her inspiration for the quote, the 18-year-old tells Yahoo Style, “Over the past four years, myself and many of my friends have received dress code violations for clothes that were nowhere near inappropriate. I became a bit infamous around school for fighting the administration about dress code, so I figured I’d use my senior quote as one final jab. I just found it funny that the outfits for senior portraits technically violated the dress code by exposing our shoulders, so I saw my opportunity and ran with it.”
She shares that she never really agreed with her school’s dress code throughout her high school career.
“It’s all based on sexism, and it is completely unreasonable,” she says on the code. “There have been a number of incidents where I was called into the office due to what I was wearing. Whether it was my bra strap showing, or my midriff being a quarter inch exposed, administration always gave me a problem.”
The official dress code for West Milford Public High School reads, “Halters, half-shirts, shorts, or sweaters and blouses that expose breasts or stomachs may not be worn. Shorts and skirts should not be a distraction. They should not be above the extended fingertips. Muscle shirts, mesh shirts, and loose-fitting tank tops are not permitted. Patches, decals, or sayings affixed to clothing are inappropriate if they are suggestive, drug-related, obscene in nature, or cause a disruption in normal proceedings.”
The code also details, “no article of clothing is permitted that exhibits rips, tears, or holes that causes the clothing to become revealing or suggestive.”
She shares that she often took a strong stance against the administration when being reprimanded. “I’m an AP student, in academic clubs, and on the tennis team — I’m not exactly a delinquent — but I’ve spent hours sitting in principal’s offices because 40-year-old men were offended by my back showing. They would tell me to change or go home, so my classic response was ‘How much of my skin is exposed when it’s 90 degrees out is more important than me receiving an education at a school? Okay.'”
She continues, “At one point I put a shirt right over mine, asked if my principal was happy, then got up and walked out of his office and ripped off the T-shirt. I got pretty rebellious, but I never actually received disciplinary action because I argued my point; no one likes to hear that they’re sexist and oppressive.”
The reception DiPaolo has received from the quote has mostly been positive.
“After making this my quote most of my classmates laughed and complimented me. A lot of people also posted it on their social media,” she says.
“One of my teachers actually came up to me to tell me she loved my quote and thought it was hilarious. Most teachers have laughed at it. The general consensus at my school — unless you’re the principal — is that the dress code is ridiculous so people have loved the quote so far.”
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