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Formal Dress Guidelines


(This policy applies to Snowball, Sophomore Dance and both Proms.)

1.       Dresses may not be cut below the bust-line in the front; this includes cut-outs below the bustline.  No excessive cleavage will be permitted.

2.       Dresses may be backless; however, they may not be cut below the natural waist.

3.       Dresses may not have the midriffs exposed including both the front and sides.

4.       Dresses may not be shorter than or have a slit that exceeds 3 inches above the knee.

5.       Dresses may not utilize see-through fabrics, such as (but not limited to) tulle, netting, or “illusion,” below the bust-line.

6.       No pinning will be allowed for as an alteration to a dress if without the pins the dress does not meet the dress code.  You will not be allowed to pin dresses to make them meet guidelines while waiting to enter the prom/formal dance.  Fabric inserts must be sewn-in as alterations to the dress.

7.       No cover-ups (shawls/wraps, sweaters, coats) will be allowed over dresses that do not meet the dress code.

8.       Undergarments should not be visible.

9.       Prom/Formal Dance Pictures

- Attire for pictures should meet the dress code.

- Students will not be allowed to wear an inappropriate dress or suit for pictures and then change into appropriate attire to attend the prom/formal dance.

Buying your formal dress is an expensive purchase. Please keep the dress code for the prom/formal dance in mind as you shop for your attire. 

Attire worn by someone else to another dance or highlighted in the Prom Fashion Show is not automatically “appropriate” for our dances, per the above guidelines.  The dress must be appropriate for the wearer.

While we will be reasonable in our interpretation of these guidelines,  students will be held accountable for them if in violation.   Students and guests dressed inappropriately will not be permitted to have a formal portrait picture taken at the event.

Additionally, Cardinal O'Hara students violating the code will be given the option of wearing a provided cover-up or calling a parent to take them home.  Students in violation will receive 5 demerits and a Saturday detention.

If you have any questions about your dress please bring in a photo of the front and back to have it approved prior to purchasing it.  To verify that your dress meets the established prom/formal dance guidelines, you should contact Mrs. Lanza or Mrs. Wert.