Cardigan Mountain School A boarding and day school for boys in grades 6 through 9

Dress Codes & Packing Guide

The dress code at Cardigan is intended to create a shared sense of purpose, pride, and camaraderie among the student body and the broader school community. Student dress and appearance should be neat, presentable, and functional. There are varying dress codes for varying occasions, but the three most common are class dress, dinner dress, and Chapel dress.

Cardigan students in class dress

Class Dress

Our most common dress, class dress consists of a collared shirt (such as a golf shirt, rugby shirt, or button-down), khaki/dress pants with belt loops (no elastic bottoms or cargo pants), a belt, dress socks, and dress shoes (or boots, if the winter weather warrants*). Khaki/dress shorts and sneakers are permitted in September and May.

Cardigan boys wearing dinner dress in the dining hall

Dinner Dress

Once a week, we ask the community to dress in dinner dress. Dinner dress consists of khaki/dress pants with belt loops (no elastic bottoms or cargo pants), a belt, blazer, dress shirt (button-down/Oxford type), tie, dress socks, and dress shoes.

Chapel Dress

Usually worn on Thursdays, chapel dress consists of a solid, plain white dress shirt, a tie, polishable leather dress shoes (more formal than shoes worn to class), dress socks, brown or black leather belt, dark gray slacks, and a green Cardigan blazer. The School will provide directions for acquiring chapel dress during registration.  

Buffet Dress

A few meals each week will be "Buffet meals" where dress is more casual. Occasionally, there will also be “dress down” days (usually associated with a fundraiser for a worthy cause.)


Boots are allowed with all dress codes when weather-appropriate. 

Athletic Clothing and Gear

Packing plenty of t-shirts and athletic socks is certainly advisable, but be aware that the boys are issued uniform practice clothing—shorts and t-shirts referred to here as “greens and grays,” in addition to game attire—which is washed by our athletic staff via a “laundry loop” system, so packing excessive pairs of “runaround” gym-type shorts is not necessary. Athletic gear can be brought to school, and depending on what it is, kept in the boy’s assigned gym locker. (If, after arrival, your son would like to try a new sport for which he does not have appropriate footwear or other gear, arrangements will be made to get him what he needs, with those charges appearing on his student account.) 

What to Bring: Required Clothing

Cardigan students need to be prepared with clothing appropriate to the various occasions and settings for which they will dress. Because the laundry service delivers only once each week (on Wednesday, after a Monday pickup), they will need nearly a two-week supply of class, dinner, and “free” dress. 

All items must be clearly marked with the student’s full name. Extra name labels or a permanent marker should be supplied for items purchased after arrival at school.

*Indicates items that are for sale in the School Store.

Class Dress (10-day supply)

  • belt*
  • dress shoes/winter boots (when permitted)
  • dress socks
  • collared shirt
  • long khaki/dress pants and shorts (shorts are permitted in September and May)

At the request of E&R Laundry, collared/polo shirts must not be Lacoste brand. Please keep in mind the six-day class schedule. 

Dinner Dress

  • necktie*
  • belt
  • dress shoes
  • dress socks
  • Oxford-type dress shirt 
  • class dress slacks
  • sport jacket and/or suit jacket

Graphics or lettering on any piece of dinner dress is not acceptable. In contrast to class dress, dinner dress standards are the same throughout the year.

Chapel Dress (2 sets)

  • necktie*
  • leather belt 
  • polishable leather dress shoes
  • dress socks
  • Solid white button-down dress shirt
  • Cardigan Mountain School blazer (1)
  • dark gray slacks

It is suggested that students have two sets of Chapel dress clothing to accommodate the school laundry-service cycle. This means having two dark pairs of gray slacks, two or more solid, plain white dress shirts, and one Cardigan blazer.

Additional Items

  • athletic shorts*
  • athletic socks
  • underwear
  • sweat pants/sweat shirts*
  • pajamas
  • t-shirts*
  • casual clothes

Multiple sets are likely to be used during a typical week, although the School issues practice shorts and tees for sports practices.

What to Bring: Purchasing Clothing

Students are required to wear different types of clothing at different times, so Cardigan has teamed up with two clothing suppliers to assist in the selection of clothing (optional).

Lands End
Cardigan Mountain School Code: 900109612
Phone: 1.800.469.2222 (reference school name)
Online: Go to

Red Brick Clothing
Select Cardigan Mountain School
For Questions Call 603.882.4100

What to bring: Suggested Clothing

Cardigan boys will need to be prepared for outdoor activities, and due to the wide seasonal variations of the New England climate, appropriate outerwear is made available for purchase in the School Store. 

*Indicates items that are for sale in the School Store.


  • rain jacket
  • lightweight jacket* 
  • heavy winter jacket*
  • gloves or mittens*
  • winter hat*
  • weatherproof boots
  • bicycle helmet (required if using bike, skateboard, longboard, Rollerblades, or scooter)

Additional Clothing Items (Optional)

  • bathrobe
  • bathing suit
  • slippers 
  • flip-flops* or other slip-on style shoes

Buffet Dress (also “Dress-Down” or “Free” Dress)

  • sweatpants*
  • jeans or work pants
  • t-shirts (several are advisable)*
  • sweatshirt*
  • sneakers
  • athletic socks*

Boys may “dress down” for specific dinner meals (usually Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday dinner, Sunday brunch, and Sunday dinner). However, sandals, flip-flops, tank tops, and cut-off shirts are not permitted in the dining hall at any time.

All items must be clearly marked with the student’s full name. A permanent/fabric marker should be supplied for labeling items purchased after arrival at school.

Laundry Service

E&R Laundry in Manchester, N.H., provides the laundry and dry-cleaning for Cardigan Mountain School. The fee for this service is $1,400.00 for the entire school year and will automatically be charged on the tuition bill for all boarding students.  E&R Laundry will ONLY be supplying 2 E&R Laundry bags (must be used by all students).  **We ask all families to bring their own bed sheets, pillow(s) and pillow cases, blanket, bedspread, and bath towels.** 

E&R cleans all of the above, as well as all personal laundry and dry cleaning weekly. Any items provided by E&R Laundry that are not returned at the end of the academic year will be charged to your son’s debit account. Students will be required to sign for the provided items received at Registration. ALL clothing articles must be clearly marked with the student’s name. Please contact Sandra Kinne in the Cardigan Business Office, at 603.523.3549 or, if you have any questions regarding laundry service.

What to Bring: Required Personal Items

Please Note: Students are not allowed to have prescription drugs, supplements (including protein), or over-the-counter medications in their rooms. The school nurse dispenses all medications and supplements.

*Indicates items that are for sale in the School Store.

Room Furnishings    

  • alarm clock*
  • desk lamp*
  • flashlight*
  • dustpan and broom or small vacuum (optional)
  • hangers*
  • bin for under bed storage

Personal Items

  • personal hygiene items and various toiletries*
  • fully charged phone card (limited supply will be available in the School Store)

School and Paper Supplies

  • stationery and stamps*
  • pens and pencils*

Bed and Bath Linens        

  • pillow
  • bedspread          
  • pillowcases
  • blankets              
  • sheets
  • bath towels

Dorm Room Furnishings

The School furnishes each room with a twin-size bed (regular length, not XL), a dresser, a desk, a desk chair, a small safe, and one landline phone. Each boy has his own closet space as well. Posters that are tasteful are permitted if hung properly (e.g., to the walls with plastitack or “blue tape” or to the moldings with thumbtacks). We ask that families limit the amount of belongings that a boy has in his room in an effort to reduce clutter.


Students may bring bicycles to campus, but they must remain outdoors. There are bike racks outside many of the dorms. Bikes may be stored on campus in the winter. Please bring a bike lock and helmet with your bicycle.

School Supplies

Cardigan asks that your son comes to school with a backpack, pens, pencils, and a pencil case to hold all of these belongings. Cardigan will provide the majority of the academic supplies for students. Occasionally, there will be subject-specific items charged to the student’s account.

Items Not to Bring to Cardigan

NO Mobile Phone

Cell phones/smart phones may be used for travel purposes only and must be turned in to dorm parents or the travel coordinator when boys are here at school. If a student has his music only on his cell phone/smartphone, please bear in mind that he will need to turn this in when on campus, so some other means of listening to music (e.g., a simple MP3 player) might be desirable.

NO Computers, Monitors, or Printers

All Cardigan students participate in our One-to-One Laptop Program. Personal laptops or monitors from home are not permitted on campus, nor are individual printers (the School provides the only printers that will work with our laptops.) The laptops issued by the School come equipped with iTunes for music, but they permit the installation of only certain games. The School has console gaming available in The Haven (the student center in the lower level of Cardigan Commons).

Please note: Any device that uses 3G/4G/5G/LTE or wifi to access a browser is not allowed. Those devices include, but are not limited to, smartphones, certain iPods, 3G iPads and other tablets, and 3G Kindles with browsers. The reason for this is that internet access over 3G or 4G/LTE does not go through the Cardigan network, and therefore access cannot be filtered or monitored. This type of connection is out of the School’s control. We appreciate parent partnership in not sending these devices to school with your child. 

NO Costly/Expensive Items

Dorm rooms cannot be locked, so students should avoid bringing expensive sound systems, costly jewelry, or large sums of money to school. Students are allowed to have up to $50 in their possession. Cash over $50 must be turned in and will be held safe by the travel coordinator or the business office. The School Bank is available at various times during the week if more money is needed.

NO Cooking Devices, Fridges, Lava Lamps, or Black Lights

For safety reasons students may not possess or use electric microwaves, micro refrigerators, hot pots, toasters/toaster ovens, or any other portable electric cooking device. Additionally, electric blankets, portable heaters, and certain lamps with bulbs that overheat are not permitted on campus.

Other Items to Leave Behind:

  • weapons of any kind (including toys)
  • lighters 
  • pets
  • sound systems
  • inappropriate posters
  • anything designed to hang from the ceiling
  • movies rated above PG-13
  • shooter (video) games
  • hoverboards
  • bean bags and other furniture
  • personal mattresses

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