Believe it Or Not: An Unethical Sorority Dress Code

Abuse of power comes in all shapes and sizes. Witness the sorority Pi Phi, which apparently is hell-bent on proving that “Mean Girls” was a documentary. The fashion website “Fashionista” got its cyber hands on the sorority’s dress code, which makes West Point look lenient.

Here are some examples from the six page manifesto, the invention of Pi Phi’s rush chair:


  • “Denim leggings are appropriate as long as it’s done right: aka, not from American Apparel and worn with chic, cool, chunky boots over them and a longer top.”
  • “No satin dresses. No one looks good in satin dresses unless it’s from Betsey Johnson or Dolce & Gabbana, you weigh less than 130 pounds, have three pairs of Spanx on and it’s New Years Eve.”
  • “No sleeveless dresses, unless you have really good arms.”
  • “No Frumpy, maternal knits.”


  • ‘Yes to nice flats: Tory Burch, etc. More evening-ish, understated, patent leather good. I’m thinking mid-height Mary Jane heels, or mid-height chunky Kate Spade.’

On Jewelry:

  • “I expect everyone to be wearing accessories. This is an important part of every outfit and can make or break any ensemble.”
  • “Bangles need to coordinate. I’m not saying you have to wear a Harry Winston wreath, but I am saying I won’t tolerate any gross plastic shizzzz. I love things on wrists and I demand earrings if your ears are pierced.”


  • “You best have a mani pedi when you get to Ithaca.”

What’s wrong with this nonsense? Only this: organizations of any kind that try to enforce this kind of extreme control over the personal choices of others are inherently lacking in respect and fairness, and cannot be trusted with power. Allowing other autonomy in important aspects of their lives is not only an ethical ideal, but an American ideal. Individuals in power who choose to use it in this such oppressive ways are likely to abuse power in other ways as well.

Unless you are willing to turn up at the sorority door dressed like Minnie Pearl with unshaven legs and your teeth blacked out, the appropriate response to a set of demands like this is a nice, polite note that says, “Thank you for your views and opinion regarding proper dress. I have my own, and as I will not dictate mine to you, you should not dictate yours to me. I will not be seeking membership in your sorority.”

And then turn up on their doorstep dressed like Minnie Pearl.

6 thoughts on “Believe it Or Not: An Unethical Sorority Dress Code

  1. I’m alarmed by the loathsome grammar, and the somewhat passé use of the hip-hop colloquialism “shizz,” which she apparently can’t even spell correctly. Is “Frumpy” some new designer, or could she have meant, “frumpy,” the adjective?

    These are college students, presumably? Perhaps English 101 is no longer taught in Ithaca. Certainly good, polite behavior to your potential new members is not.

  2. This article carries TWICE the entertainment value if you read it using a Valley Girl accent (in your “inside the head” voice, of course).


  3. Pingback: The Rutgers Sorority Hazing « Ethics Alarms

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