Residential Life

Dress Code

Community Expectations for Dress

The Mercersburg dress code seeks to hold community members to a standard of dress, while allowing for individual expression. The dress code exists to allow all members of the community to be productive in their work and interactions as well as to create an environment that is appropriately professional.  Students are to dress at all times in a way that is consistent with Mercersburg’s values as expressed in our community expectations.

Dress Code Support

The dress code will be consistently enforced through peer-to-peer interaction and influence, as well as through the discretion of faculty.  Faculty members, guided by the dress code, may determine what constitutes appropriate dress. A student should expect and anticipate that faculty members will address the student’s choice of dress if the faculty member believes that the student’s clothing may not be consistent with the expectations below.

The dress code is meant to encourage students to consider how and why they choose to dress as they do. Therefore, interactions between students and faculty regarding student dress should always be framed as a constructive and positive conversation.

Any student not in dress code may receive a dress code violation that is reported to the Office of Student Life.  If the student receives 3 dress code violations within the same term they will receive a consequence.

Overall Expectations

  • Apply to all three specific distinctions of dress (casual, standard, and semi-formal).
  • Clothing should promote a positive, focused learning environment.
  • Clothing should promote a safe, inclusive community.
  • Clothing must be sensible, respectful, appropriate to the environment, without off-color humor, offensive messages, or references to drugs, tobacco, sex, or alcohol.
  • Clothing should align with all other community standards and rules.
  • Dresses, skirts, and tunics must be fingertip length or longer.
  • Shorts should be fingertip length or longer and must not expose the buttocks.
  • Undergarments and midriffs must be kept underneath a top layer of opaque clothing and may not be visible.
  • Clothing that needs to be adjusted to meet the expectations for dress is not considered in dress code.
  • Plastic flip flops are not sandals and slippers are not shoes.
  • Headgear (hats, caps, athletic bands, bandanas, etc.) may be worn outdoors, in the dormitory, in the Simon Student Center, and in athletic facilities. You may wear a head covering if you and your parents or guardians submitted a signed statement that verifies that the head covering is part of recognized, traditional religious attire that is customarily or required to be worn continuously.

Casual Dress

  • May be worn when standard and semi-formal dress is not required.
  • Includes all items for standard and semi-formal dress as well as appropriate T-shirts, sweatshirts, items made of blue denim fabric, or athletic attire.

Standard Dress

  • Is the minimal expectation of dress during the academic day on campus and in all buildings except the dormitories and when using the athletic facilities. These expectations apply from the first rotation of the day until the last rotation of the day regardless of the student’s own schedule, including when students are on campus between academic appointments or meals.
  • Button-down shirts, collared shirts, sweaters, turtlenecks, non-collared shirts with buttons, non-athletic tops, Mercersburg sweatshirts or ¼-zips that are blue, white, gray, or black that clearly have “Mercersburg” or “Mercersburg Academy” on them, and that are sold in the school store or approved for a Mercersburg dorm, club, or organization.
  • Dress pants, dresses, skirts, trousers/slacks, khakis, corduroys, cargo pants, hemmed or cuffed dress shorts, rompers, non-athletic leggings, non-blue denim, and non-athletic shorts.
  • Leggings must be worn covered by an appropriate length top, dress, or skirt.
  • Footwear that is designed to be worn indoors and outdoors.
  • On Fridays, T-shirts sold in the school store or approved for a Mercersburg dorm, club, or organization and that have “Mercersburg” or “Mercersburg Academy” on them.
  • During Irving-Marshall Week, approved Irving-Marshall sweatshirts that have “Irving” or “Marshall” on them may be worn.
  • Students wearing coats, jackets and other outerwear may leave their outwear on when inside, but must meet the dress code expectations if their outerwear is left open or is removed. Sweatshirts are not considered outerwear.
  • Semi-formal dress may also be worn for standard dress.

Additional Requirements for Standard and Semi-formal Dress

  • Students are expected to be clothed from mid-thigh to armpit.
  • Shirts must have attached sleeves or straps.
  • Tops or dresses with spaghetti straps must be worn with a sweater, scarf, or shawl covering the shoulders.
  • Shorts, pants, skirts, and dresses must be hemmed.
  • Clothing, including footwear, should be clean, neat, in good repair, and worn normally at all times.

Semi-formal Dress

  • Is expected for all Monday evening meals and other special occasions as announced.
  • Attire for formal dances and parties is not in line with the spirit of “special occasions” that call for semi-formal dress, with the exception of the annual Irving-Marshall Dinner, the Winter Ball, and Prom.
  • For those who do not identify as male, dresses; skirts, pants suits, or dress slacks with hemmed or cuffed pant legs with collared shirts or collarless dress shirts; dress sandals or dress shoes.
  • For those who do not identify as female, a collared, tucked in dress shirt; dress pants with hemmed or cuffed pant legs; khaki pants without cargo pockets; belts; ties (neck, bow, or bolo); suit coats, sport coats, or blazers; and dress shoes.
  • Students may wear the appropriate semi-formal attire of their native countries when worn in an appropriately respectful manner.


Students are expected to abide by the spirit as well as the letter of the dress code and are to be suitably dressed and groomed while on campus and when representing Mercersburg elsewhere.

From time to time, the expectations for dress may be altered temporarily with permission from the Office of Student Life. Additionally, the dress code may change during the school year.  Any changes will be announced and posted on the website.
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
717-328-6173