dress for success

Middle School Fashion Is Totally Wild, Huh?

Seriously, what is going on?!?

Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock

Current middle school fashion is wild. And I’m over here respecting the trends and trying to go with it — crop tops, Crocs with socks, flare jeans (again?!) — but I finally found my absolute limit. Call me a trend-loser or a fashion-dream crusher but for me, the pajama pants are a no for school.

It started as a typical Tuesday morning. I was frantically packing lunches and putting shoes on my elementary school crew before they headed out the door. My 10-year-old fifth grader, now in middle school, has a later start to his day. So as I kissed the heads of the others before they left, I yelled up to my middle schooler to summon him down for breakfast. Ten minutes later I heard his footsteps as he slowly made his way downstairs. And before I could even comment on his outfit, he launched into a preemptive defense of his choice: “These aren’t my pajamas,” he mumbled. “I am just wearing pajama pants to school.” Say what?

There he was, in a black oversized hooded sweatshirt and a pair of bright orange Reese's peanut butter cup fleece pajama pants. He looked like he was headed to the living room couch for a cozy day of TV watching, maybe out to breakfast if it was early and somewhere extra casual, but definitely not to school. And when I made him change, he was pissed.

Now, I get the urge to make this fashion choice. For one thing, all the kids are doing it. I see them at drop off and pickup looking like they rolled directly out of bed and into the school parking lot. It often looks a little alarming, like maybe they fled the scene of a house fire and didn’t have time to grab a change of clothes. But God, this is a great example of just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right. Because this is one of those fashion choices that only Justin Bieber can get away with, sadly.

I also understand that they likely provide an unmatched level of comfort. They likely promote coziness, calmness and relaxation, all things necessary for sound and comfortable sleep. But those are definitely not things typically associated with learning. I have to assume that while my middle schooler is not anti-school by any means, I don’t think he needs to be wearing anything to promote rest when his teachers are trying to simulate his mind for things like long division and advanced writing techniques.

I think the phrase “dress for success” is typically a little stupid and likely outdated. But it might have some relevance here. Because I know for me, how I get ready (including what I put on my body) to prepare for certain events does matter. I mean, if I showed up to a workout class in jeans and a sweater, I don’t see myself being super successful. Different kinds of clothing can put me in different mindsets. It’s a readiness thing, and I assume it would be the same for him.

So for now, I am drawing the line. He still lives under my roof, and that means he is going to follow my rules. And in ten years, if he ends up living at college, who knows if he will end up throwing real pants on before heading out to his morning lecture. At that point he can make that call. Until then, he can look forward to the school-sanctioned pajama days every couple of months.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.