SHE SAID: Uniforms

I never had to wear a uniform while in school.  For years in grade school I was governed by a dress code requiring collard shirts on the boys, plain shirts with no writing and no jeans, but that was about as serious as it got.  Most of the reason I didn’t apply to a certain boarding school was because, if my memory serves me right, the girls had to wear dresses or skirts one day of the week.  Just to give you a idea of how little I thought of being told what I could and could not wear.

Perhaps I could have used some more structure in the wardrobe department and I might have avoided some catastrophic combinations (all of which seem to have been captured on film and haunt me still).  Instead, I was allowed to roam free in whatever horrendous trend my peers and I celebrated at the time.

I understand the ease of a dress code.  There is less fussing about what to wear, less picking on kids who aren’t wearing the latest and greatest, less of a chance the girl in front of you in biology is displaying her new thong and thus more focusing on the topic at hand, and easier shopping for those who can’t last more than 30 minutes in a store and get tired from trying on clothes.  I’m sure there are more benefits I am forgetting.

And I also understand the flip side: that it’s important for us each to demonstrate our individuality be it through clothing, music or hairstyles, that we don’t all look good in plaid, and that comfort often times carries confidence.

But having worn a uniform of sorts for the last few weeks, I will tell you a few things.  One is that you get bored of your limited clothing options pretty quickly and second, wearing a uniform makes accessorizing ridiculously important.  Watch or no watch becomes a huge decision.  Gold jewelry or silver?  When you have a limited selection of tops and bottoms, it’s the tiny details that take up the rest of my time.  So the theory that a uniform results in less fuss is moot.  The fuss is just being focused elsewhere.  If I were in high school, I would be spending a large amount of time finding ways to make my uniform more demonstrative of my personality.

Add the restriction of one color to a uniform, and the morning wardrobe selection process that I used to adore seem a heck of a lot like ground hog day.  I’m not getting to the point where I’m more comfortable in uniform, although I could see that happening since I don’t really have to think about it and I’m getting used to it, but it makes me wonder if getting comfortable in it means that I am changing, or my perspective on the uniform is changing?


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