I don't know why I put that in bolded capitals. Just because. But it was fun, so let's do it again!
Yes, that's right. I went to a Catholic Secondary School and uniforms were par for the course. They were also ugly; unflattering colour combos and uncomfortable cuts. Kilts, dress pants and shirts, ties, scratchy sweaters, polo shirts. The school enforced them because they were 1) cheaper than buying an entirely new back-to-school wardrobe, 2) they gave the student body a sense of togetherness, 3) it meant automatic wardrobe appropriateness for the hallways (no hot pants!) and 4) they eliminated competition (using clothes as status symbols).
I'm a big fan of the freedom of self-expression, just like this up-and-comer whom you may or may not have heard of:
...And though I'm not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination (ha!), the uniform I had to wear felt awful and looked pretty bad on me. I felt stifled and insecure because I knew how unflattering my clothes looked on me every time I got up, got dressed and went to school. Also I lived in fear of being "kilted," which is when someone runs up behind you and lifts your kilt up. Yeah, I know.
As the school year went on, something that was impossible not to notice about the uniforms was how they didn't really work in the way the school intended, which made them all the more frustrating to wear. Yeah, we were all wearing the same clothes but the lengths we'd go to to spit in the eye of the reasoning behind enforcing them in the first place was pretty impressive.
Some girls would hem or roll their kilts as short as they could possibly go, to the point that some kilts made hot pants look like a more modest option. Some guys would see how sloppy they could tuck their dress shirts in or how crooked they could wear their ties before they got called on it. If there was a way to make a uniform inappropriate, we were on it. Cliques thrived in spite of the similar wardrobe issues--so we were no more or less together as a student body than we ever were. Brand name wars evolved--it was all in how you accessorized. This would often make me look down at my kilt and then up at the sky and ask the question, why are we wearing these stupid uniforms?
On the other hand, the lengths we'd go to express ourselves in spite of the restrictions placed on us were equally impressive. Brand name wars aside, accessorizing became an art form. So sometimes did make-up and hairstyles. I was not the most adventurous person evah but seeing my fellow classmates, boys and girls, make bold moves to stand out and make a statement always made the whole uniform issue a little more bearable and a little fun. At times, their creative choices were a real testament to teenage ingenuity. So in some ways, I have to admit the uniforms encouraged us to be more inventive in the ways we expressed ourselves as individuals.
But on a personal note: I still don't like them! I would've much rather had an enforced dress code over a uniform. I mean, did uniforms help Jerry Renault? No. They wore ties and dress pants at Sacred Trinity and yet that school STILL had that darn Chocolate War!
And now, my questions for you, dear readers are:
Do you or did you wear a uniform to school? Or does your school have a dress code?
Do you wish you had one or the other?
If you wear a uniform, how do you choose to stand out against all that fashion sameness?
If you don't wear a uniform, how would you describe your personal style?