WASHINGTON AND HOLMES COUNTIES - School dress codes have become increasingly specific over the years due to changes in fashion, safety issues, and trends. It's something that both Washington and Holmes school districts have taken into consideration when designing their dress code policies.

School district officials say an enforced dress code should be at the top of parents to-do-list.

"Preparing your child to follow the rules and the dress code will help day-to-day operations run more smoothly," said Washington County School Board chairman Susan Roberts. "Faculty and staff should be prepared to enforce the dress code with consistency throughout the entire student body."

Parents can save money and frustration by becoming familiar with their school district’s dress code before shopping for back to school apparel. Tax-free weekend is Aug. 3-5.

Here are a few guidelines to remember when shopping for clothes for your Holmes or Washington County student:

• Students may not wear any garment with suggestive, obscene, offensive, or gang-related language; or drug, tobacco or alcoholic beverage advertisement on it.

• Shoes (not bedroom shoes) must be worn at all times.

• Students may not wear clothing that reveals undergarments, the midriff, or cleavage. Blouses or shirts that are low-cut or see-through may not be worn. **Note that Poplar Springs High School students may not wear gym shorts, and all shorts and skirts much be knee length or longer.

• Head coverings, sunglasses or jacket hoods (hats, caps, stockings, etc.) are not allowed to be worn in school buildings. However, these items must be properly stored at all other times. Bandanas, do-rags, and stocking caps are not allowed on campus.

• Items indicative of gang memberships, such as bandanas, clothing, or other items are prohibited on school grounds and at school sponsored functions.

• The wearing of objects/jewelry in a visible body piercing will be limited to ears only.

• Oversized pants and shirts are not allowed. "Sagging" pants (those resting on the buttocks) are not acceptable, per Florida Statute.

• Pants or shorts cannot have holes above the fingertips and must be pulled up to the waistline.

• Shorts, skirts, or dresses may be worn but must be at or below the finger tip even when worn over leggings/pants. Some high schools have additional more restrictive requirements for length of shorts and skirts, at as this varies from school to school, it is recommended that parents consult the handbook provided by their child’s school.

• Belts must be buckled and suspenders fastened.

• Armbands, wristbands, belts, wallet chains or other items with heavy metal projections are prohibited.

• Because of the types of activities in elementary physical education, it is recommended that girls wear shorts under their dresses.