The American education system has always been the envy of Brit schoolkids – if only because it's easy to glower across the pond at their freedom to wear whatever they want from the prickly tomb of Teflon uniforms.
However, James Madison High School in Houston, Texas, has found itself having to enforce a dress code. Not on the students, though.
No, a letter addressed to parents and guests (PDF) in English and Spanish suggests that some guardians coming in to pick up their kids stopped caring long ago.
The missive from the principal opens: "To prepare our children and let them know daily, the appropriate attire they are supposed to wear when entering a building, going somewhere, applying for a job, or visiting someone outside of the home setting, I am going to enforce these guidelines on a daily basis at Madison High School. We are preparing our children for the future and it begins here."
It goes on to list a series of prohibited clothing items or styles that conceivably must have rucked up to the school gates a number of times.
This includes wholesale bans on "wearing a satin cap or bonnet" within the building, hair rollers and "pajamas of any kind".
Then it gets a bit X-rated. "Jeans that are torn from your buttocks (behind) all the way down showing lots of skin will not be permitted." Torn-off hotpants? The Register is unsure what this refers to exactly.
Also outlawed are "leggings that are showing your bottom" and "very low cut tops or revealing tops that you can see your busts (breasts)".
"Sagging" jeans or shorts will not be allowed, and "men wearing undershirts will NOT be permitted in the building" (their emphasis).
"Daisy Dukes and low rider shorts" are right out.
James Madison was the US president during the War of 1812, when the British sailed up the Potomac, took Washington and burned the president's residence – which had to be repainted in white, hence... the White House.
Madison was one of the most important framers of the US constitution, which, among other things, ensures freedom of expression... except when it comes to footwear.
One imagines the playground wait at this institution could be a people-watching goldmine, but it also raises the question: what can parents wear?
The note concludes: "You are your child's first teacher. However, please know we have to have standards... We are preparing your child for a prosperous future. We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for any setting they may be in."
So, dear readers, how do you utilise your wardrobe to humiliate your progeny on the school run? What is the worst fashion crime you've witnessed in the playground? Let us know in the comments below. ®