Episcopal Reverses Outwear Policy


Chey Ann Boyd '21, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that the global pandemic has changed all of our lives, whether it’s going to the movies, traveling abroad or simply inviting family over for dinner. So it didn’t surprise me at all that going to school would be different, too.

Walking through the halls every day I witness the gratitude students feel for having the opportunity to come to school in such hard times. But given that fact, there is still growing disappointment among the student body about the lack of normalcy for certain procedures and policies. Particularly, the outerwear policy. 

The outerwear policy states that “all non-Episcopal outerwear must be in the approved footwear colors. Only one emblem is allowed and it must be located on the upper chest pocket area.” For a long time this has always been the standing policy for uniform outerwear, but last year the policy allowed students to wear hoodies and sweatshirts with any size logo. It may seem silly to be this invested in the logo policy at Episcopal, but it’s much more than that.

Whether it’s showing Eagle pride or displaying appreciation for a favorite television series, logos matter. When we have to wear masks all the time, our outerwear gives us the opportunity to display our personality or even a sense of individuality through logos. Some have argued that having large logos may distract from an educational environment, but they also represent a sense of identity and free self-expression. A simple logo can be the change that makes a student more confident and even more engaged in the classroom.

I wanted a different perspective on the change to the outerwear policy so I asked some seniors how they felt about it, the responses are as follows: 

“I think it’s a little excessive. They shouldn’t make the rules so limiting. Everyone should be allowed to wear a hoodie as long as it’s not too obscene or the wrong colors.”

“Honestly, I was disappointed at first about the logo policy for outerwear, but I understand the reasoning behind why it needed to be changed.”

“Why did the school reverse their decision? I never saw any inappropriate jackets last year, and I felt like the students became more expressive and confident. I don’t understand how a logo bigger than an ID card would hinder someone’s identity as an ESJ student.”

“To be completely honest, it’s a little frustrating because when the outerwear policy was changed last year I bought items that followed the guidelines. I was so excited because I had the confidence to express myself, but with the new rule I feel stripped of self-expression.”

“I understand the rationale behind it, but people who didn’t grow up in this culture are going to have a different view of what outerwear is ‘appropriate’ to our PWI. I feel like outerwear or accessories in general are the one chance you have to show your individuality within our uniform system. And for many people those small bits of accessories are hugely important to developing their sense of self as a growing adult.”

“In my opinion, it’s a little counter-intuitive. I totally respect the authority and decisions made by the deans, however I personally don’t understand why there was a change to the outerwear policy when we’re attending in an already “uncomfortable” and “new” environment due to COVID-19.”

These arguments don’t negate the privileges we do have as Episcopal students, they simply shed light on the student perspectives about the logo policy. In a world of such chaos and change, wearing logos of any size would bring a sense of normalcy that would make our environment more comfortable.

Image courtesy of Chey Ann Boyd ’21.