Here are the words/opinions of two other wonderful people in my life; our son and a best friend.
Again, brief bios, just so you get a little feel of who's at the podium.
Our son. Graduated third in his class. Was solicited by the Navy for their nuclear program. He declined and pursued electricity, instead. Today, he's the Chief Electrician (analog and digital) at a major automotive engine parts manufacturer. He not only repairs equipment and programs computers and robotics, he fabricates machinery and assemblies on demand.
As a parent, he has three teenage children to raise; one boy and two girls, plus two preschool twin boys.
In his spare time (which is often slim) he is a class-A off-road enthusiast who builds his own custom Jeeps from the ground, up.
Here's what he has to say about appropriate/inappropriate dress. He writes in a more stream of consciousness style, but you won't have a hard time understanding him.
"The bottom of the decency scale has fallen out. I have a pretty good sense of character and BS detector. There's some savage element to mankind that drives sexuality, sexual thoughts and urges, and physical/mental attraction. It goes right down to why cardinals are different colors: evolution.
Some people have control over sexual thoughts and urges to greater and lesser degrees than average. Even when they're suppressed by societal pressure, religious tenet, professionalism, or alternate sexual desires, nonetheless in the majority of the population those thoughts are present in one sense or another. And it doesn't matter what the target of that instinct is. It could be young, old, animal, mineral and in a lot of cases, virtual. Unfortunately, sometimes those urges morph into horrible kinks, fetishes and obsessions.
But sticking to the topic, we're talking about your garden variety of sexual attraction. Male to female. It's basic survival science. There are signs and triggers that evoke those reactions, and they vary in minor ways. But the thought or promise of carrying out those desires are observed throughout nature in mating dances or a female cat in heat. So, when any person (more often female) exhibits anything that personifies a sexual preference, it will trigger a sexual desire. Nobody but a true narcissist is attracted to himself; so nobody dresses sexy or slutty to look at themselves.
To me, it stands to reason that all promiscuous behavior and provocative dress serves no other purpose than to garner attention. Whether said attention is to fulfill an inner emptiness or whether they can't help themselves or whether it's just the instinctual mating dance in constant search for a mate, or whether they just really don't know why they do it, the underlying factor is attention, plain and simple.
The real problem is the denial of the truth by those that choose to flaunt that attention-seeking behavior. And they take affront when someone challenges their motives. Regarding our daughter that just graduated, we have forbade her from certain dress and activity, in order to protect her from provoking a situation that could go beyond her control and in order to maintain a certain respectable image, we've put the brakes on a few times. Regardless of whether her friends parents lacked that sense.
Sometimes you have to save them from themselves. I'd rather be known by her as a hard-ass than be known around town as the guy whose daughter was found in a ditch.
I don't even want to hear parents' excuses about boosting self-esteem, or letting them be themselves, or having freedom of expression. By exposing those kids to disrespect, objectification and risk, they are just as negligent as parents that would encourage their kids to play in the street.
A Best Friend.
Here's the opinion of a mature, talented, successful elementary teacher/administrator. She's a great teacher not just because she knows her job, but because she possesses that special magic of being able to really communicate and connect with children. Believe me, not all teachers actually have that. The best teachers - like her - can grab the children's attention and hold it in the palm of their hand.
"The way one dresses is a personal preference. It is certainly, in most instances, to attract attention or to make a statement or because it is trendy. It is also sometimes offensive and crude. Although a personal right, one should consider that others will comment and may have offensive thoughts or comments. It also reflects on the respect you have for yourself. Schools are another story. We all have to follow rules and laws. The way one dresses in school does distract learning for bother other students and the adults. Dress codes, even uniforms, have made the school environment more conducive to the business at hand."