This is in reference to recent uproar and debate being generated in certain sections of media whereby the action of university administration has been criticized which asked the students to follow a certain dress code in the university. As a father of a daughter, I fully subscribe to the policy of the Universities of asking students to dress modestly.
Dress codes are written and, more often, unwritten rules which dictate the norms of the society. Different societies and cultures have different dress norms and similarly Muslims have their own set standards. As a Muslims we are supposed to dress modestly and not to follow other societies blindly. Moreover, clothing has a social significance and it conveys a social message, even if none is intended; for example, wearing expensive clothes can communicate the image of wealth. However, the problem arises when the observer's understanding of the message differs from the sender's intentions resulting in misinterpretation. So, clothing is a social issue and not a personal one and in what we dress, we have an obligation not only to ourselves but to others as well.
Schools, colleges and universities are place where young students are more likely to misinterpret the social message associated with dressing. By requiring students to wear simple and modest clothes it gives everyone to be on the same footing not intimidated by designer clothes.
This brings the students closer and helps them to get to know one another by their personality and who they really are, rather than the clothes they wear. Moreover, the students are there in a university for a purpose, to get an education and not for participating in fashion parades. Lastly, it would be right to change the discussion from being about modest to "appropriateness" and we should also realize that this applies to men equally as much as to women.
UK, October 29.