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U.K. schools ban skirts to combat 'hemline creep' Add to ...

Take a close look at what your teenage daughter is wearing this morning as she heads out the door. You may thank heavens she's modestly dressed, and her outfit is appropriate for school. But are you sure it'll stay that way once she's out of your sight?

According to the Los Angeles Times, British schools have been struggling against "hemline creep," the age-old phenomenon where girls cinch their uniform skirts at the waist to shorten them to more revealing lengths (usually once they're within a safe distance from home). Now, tired of rebuking their pupils for hemline creep, some schools are taking the drastic measure of banning skirts altogether, in favour of trousers.

The ban is meant to prevent the sexualization of girls at increasingly younger ages, the L.A. Times reports. One headmaster said girls were wearing skirts "almost like belts," while another worried their attire could prompt "inappropriate thoughts" among the boys.

Unlike in North America, school uniforms are the norm in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, some parents and girls feel the latest measure has taken dress code regulations a step too far, complaining that they'd like to have a choice between trousers or skirts.

Moreover, trousers don't necessarily ensure modesty. The L.A. Times points out that headmaster David New caused some grumbling two years ago when he banned trousers by the clothing label, "Miss Sexy," which were reportedly tight and low on the hips.

"Staff were becoming embarrassed by seeing too much of the girls instead of the uniform," Mr. New explains.

He acknowledges, however, that it's an unending battle, trying to regulate what his pupils wear.

"I suspect that, teenagers being teenagers, there will be a new uniform violation that becomes the habit," he says. "That was true when I was at school, and I'm sure it was true when my father was at school."

Is it possible to control what teens wear, and how they wear it?

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