Residential Life

Dress Code

Dress Regulations

Mercersburg has a dress code whose purpose is to foster a sense of appropriateness of dress in different settings and on different occasions. Students are expected to abide by the spirit as well as the letter of the dress code and dress respectfully, sensibly, and appropriately at all times. A well-defined, observed, and enforced dress code allows students and faculty to focus on school and community life without distractions. In selecting their dress, students should always be mindful of modesty, good taste, and the sensibilities of others. Students are expected to be suitably dressed and groomed while on campus and when representing Mercersburg elsewhere.


Three specific distinctions are made by the dress code: casual, standard, and semi-formal.

Casual dress is acceptable before 8:45 a.m. and after 3:45 p.m. on school days, at certain meals designated as such, on weekends, and when otherwise announced (e.g., final exam periods).

Standard dress is a minimal expectation of dress during the academic day (8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.) in all buildings except the gymnasium and the dormitories. These expectations also apply when students are on campus between academic appointments or meals.

Semi-formal dress is expected for all Monday evening meals and other special occasions as announced.

  • Casual dress:  At times appropriate for casual dress, students are free to wear what they want within these guidelines: Clothing should always be sensible, respectful, and appropriate to the environment. Any clothing in poor taste, with off-color humor or that includes references to drugs, tobacco, sex, or alcohol is prohibited. Any clothing that is overly revealing or distracting will not be allowed.

  • Standard dress: Standard dress includes collared shirts, sweaters, non-collared shirts with buttons; non-collared blouses; slacks/khakis/corduroys, or hemmed or cuffed dress shorts; and footwear that is designed to be worn both indoors and outdoors. Blue jeans or blue denim fabric is not allowed. Any Mercersburg sweatshirt that is sold in the school store or was approved for a Mercersburg club or organization and has “Mercersburg,” “Irving,” or “Marshall” on it may be worn. On Fridays, T-shirts that are sold in the school store or were approved for a Mercersburg club or organization and have “Mercersburg,” “Irving,” or “Marshall” on them may be worn. Semi-formal may also be worn for standard dress.

  • Semi-formal dress: Semi-formal dress consists of collared dress shirts; dress pants with hemmed or cuffed pant legs; belts; neckties or bow ties; suit coats, sport coats, or blazers; socks; and dress shoes.

    Semi-formal dress also consists of dresses; skirts or dress slacks (not khakis) with collared shirts or collarless dress blouses; dress sandals or dress shoes.

    As an alternative, international students may wear the appropriate semi-formal attire of their native countries.

Additional specific requirements for both semi-formal and standard dress:
  • Shirts and blouses must be completely tucked in unless they are clearly tailored and designed not to be tucked in.
  • Outerwear does not include sweatshirts other than those described under standard dress.
  • Outerwear other than sweaters, blazers, or the designated Mercersburg sweatshirt should be removed in classes and in the dining hall.
  • Headgear (hats, caps, athletic bands, bandannas, etc.) may not be worn indoors, except in dormitories, the Simon Student Center, and athletic facilities.
  • Leggings are not a substitute for pants. They must be worn covered by an appropriate top, dress, skirt, or shorts that is fingertip length or longer.
  • Tops or dresses that expose much of the shoulders, back, or front may not be worn unless the student wears an appropriate jacket or sweater over the top or dress.

Specific requirements for casual, standard, and semi-formal dress:
  • All clothing should be neat, clean, and in good repair.
  • Footwear should be in good repair and normally worn at all times.
  • Hats must be removed upon entrance to any campus building other than the athletic facilities, the Simon Student Center, or dormitories.
  • Students cannot have facial hair.
  • Dresses and skirts must be fingertip length or longer.
  • Shorts must be an appropriate length to stay within the parameters of modesty and good taste, ideally fingertip length or longer.
  • Underwear should not be visible outside of clothing.
  • A student’s midriff must not be showing.
  • Overly revealing or distracting clothing is not permitted.

From time to time, the dress code may be altered temporarily with permission from the dean of students. Due to the rapidly-changing nature of clothing styles, these guidelines may change during the school year. Any changes will be announced and posted on the website.
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Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center.
Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236
GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236