When I was a kid going to a New York public school in the 1980′s, we had no school uniforms, but we did have a dress code. Suffice to say, most of the students did not dress well. It probably was economic. However, my mother wanted me to look professional, and she would dress me with cardigan sweaters, dress shirts, ties, and suspenders. This made me a hit with the teachers, but my fellow students were a bit intimidated.