Compromise Reached In NJ Middle School Strapless Dress Ban Debacle

shutterstock_60528112__1367763186_142.196.167.223It seems there’s finally been a compromise in the great-New Jersey-strapless-dress-debacle-of 2013. The people have voted and have decided one strap will do. How’s that for compromise?

Principal Sharon Moffat was worried that strapless gowns would be “distracting to boys.” This pissed a lot of people off – and I think rightly so. The implications that boys couldn’t control themselves and girls were responsible for the way boys acted via their wardrobe choices was too much for some parents to handle.

In the two weeks following the principal’s statement, the concern somehow morphed from “distraction” to “wardrobe malfunction.” So I guess she was worried that a bunch of boobs were going to be slipping out of their dresses, thus distracting boys. I hate to break it to her, but strapless dresses are kind of designed to hold those things in.


The controversy turned in the past two weeks into one over fears of “wardrobe malfunction.” The board action Wednesday night came in the third vote on the matter. Two motions led to tie votes, and board President David Livingston then implored the eight-member body to take definitive action.

The board then by a 6-2 vote approved the initial motion, which was to endorse the “compromise outlined by Mrs. Moffat, that includes the addition of clear or spaghetti straps to reduce the risk of wardrobe malfunction.”

I know that I would have been bummed to have to add those ugly clear straps to my prom dress. Aren’t those things just meant to be cut off when you get home from the store? At least it’s a compromise. And at least the principal can cover her ass by acting like she’s saving the world from a bunch of nipple slips. Aren’t there more important things to discuss at these meetings?

At least Boobgate 2013 is finally over.

(photo: Ahturner/ Shutterstock)

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  • brebay

    That is incredibly stupid. Has this woman never worn a strapless gown? I have never, EVER, in 30 years of teaching/chaperoning dances, seen a girl pop out of a strapless dress. “Wardrobe malfunctions” are much more likely in a drapey, halter-style, i.e. “side boob.” This is nonsense and clear straps are tacky.

    • Blooming_Babies

      Not to mention that this is middle school, generally it’s the large breasted women who pop out of a dress… I’m guessing that most of the girls don’t have this problem yet.

    • Daisy

      Haha now that I think of it, at my high school grad, we did have two girls falling out of their strapless dresses! (That still doesn’t mean I think it’s a legitimate reason to ban them, but I have seen it happen :P )

    • Ashley

      Eh…if your strapless dress fits you perfectly, sure, you’re unlikely to have a mishap. But it happens. My friend in high school wore a slightly too big strapless dress (a thrift store find) and popped out dancing at homecoming (no one noticed). BUT I still think it’s silly to ban them. Let the individual students decide if it’s a risk they want to take.

  • Tusconian

    And I see this “compromise” has everything to do with an arbitrary dress code rule, and nothing to do with the sexist language the administrator used. Adding clear straps is not a compromise if the problem was the sexism and not the dress code.