UK university advises female graduates against dressing like Kim Kardashian West

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

At a major university in Belfast, Northern Ireland, female graduates have been implored to dress more like Grace Kelly for their graduation ceremony, and less like Kim Kardashian West. 

According to the Belfast Telegraph, when students at Queen's University Belfast registered for graduation online, they were greeted with an article titled "Style tips for graduation week: Wear it well." In that article, which was written by former student Thom Dickerson (who now runs his own tailoring company), women were told exactly what would be sartorially acceptable and what wouldn't be. 

"Possibly the biggest mistake I see at graduation is girls treating the event like a night out," Dickerson wrote. "Graduation is a formal event and the dress code should match this. Short skirts and cleavage on show are totally out of the question. Think Grace Kelly, not Kim Kardashian, at least until the day is done: You can always change before heading out."

Female graduates of Queen's University Belfast
Source: 
Facebook

In other words: Think about dressing like a literal princess rather than an entrepreneurial, hugely successful and influential social media mogul.

That wasn't the only questionable advice offered. Dickerson also advised that female students use "discreet safety pins" to ensure they don't have any "last-minute wardrobe disasters."

A screenshot of the article, acquired by the Belfast Telegraph
Source: 
Belfast Telegraph

What advice did men attending this graduation get? Why, they were just told to stick to clothing in darker tones, and maybe wear a pair of brogue shoes. They were not told to "Think Clark Gable, not Zac Efron's Instagram" or anything like that. 

The article itself has been taken down from QUB's website, but students remain outraged. In an email to the university, acquired by the Belfast Telegraph, one post-graduate said that the advice was "offensive and condescending"

"I understand that the university wishes graduation to be a formal event. So, why couldn't they simply state 'formal attire'?" the student continued. "Looking to the comparisons the university has made here, it's pretty degrading. The reserved, conservative Grace Kelly is the example of 'good' while the 'louder' more 'risqué' Kim Kardashian is 'bad'?"

This is a ceremony honoring each of these students' intellect. Who's anyone to judge their outward appearance anyway? 

A recent graduate from Queen's University Belfast
Source: 
Facebook

Of course, this is not the first time female graduates across the world have faced a calculated and condescending dress code. 

In 2015, a Pennsylvania high school advised its female graduates to cover up their "sausage rolls" for the ceremony. Just earlier this year, an Illinois high school was called out for asking its female graduates to dress modestly. And those are only the most recent examples.

Clearly, these graduates have more to think about, and concern themselves with, than trying to please the eyes of anyone but themselves. Our advice: You do you, girls. 

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Rachel Lubitz

Rachel is a senior Style writer at Mic. She previously worked for The Washington Post's Style section for more than three years. Feel free to contact her at rachel@mic.com.

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