Friday, July 1, 2011

Sartorial Consistency--School Uniforms

LFG wore uniforms for the first three years of her higher education sojourn. I loved it. It was a no-brainer for me to get the little Monkey ready for school.
I’m also partial to those kindergarten-first grade years. Yes I’m biased but please; in the name of God, show me another little girl so adorable. And her little personality matched her impish-puckish-piccolo presence. I remember one time when she was about the age depicted in these kindergarten pictures...she was sitting on my sofa looking at a picture book and out of the blue…out of the silence said to me, “Come sit beside me cute boy.” And I did.
My brother and I are moving forward with our plan to start our own country. I was hot on the idea two years ago and back then, Toad even found me an island for purchase. Not sure where we’re gonna plunk down our sovereign-esqueness but we’ll be in touch should we desire your citizenship. But know this going in—we are going to require uniforms.

Onward. Uniformly.


Here’s a few considerations from


1. School uniforms would save parents money. The up-front cost of a uniform would be much less than a new wardrobe of the new "coolest" styles.

2.  School uniforms would save time for both parents and their children. Children would not have to think about what to wear in the morning and parents save time taking children shopping and waiting for them to get ready.

3.  Children who come from a less fortunate economic background would not appear to be "lacking" or made fun of because their parents could not afford to buy them the newest trendy garment. As children are very often harassed or embarrassed because of their clothes.

4.  Any sort of gang related identity or markings would not be an issue. In addition baggy clothing to used to hide weapons, drugs or pregnancy would make the lives of teens more transparent and less hidden from adults.

5.  At the end of the day school is primarily a place of learning. The garments worn should be reflective of that. Clothing should be respectful and conservative falling in the lines of the schools dress code.

6.  Uniforms make identification of children who belong to the school and those that don't easy.

7.  Children will be that much less focused on appearance and more on learning. Appearance can be very distracting for pre-teens and teens.

8. Because ADG damn says so. Shut up.


1. School Uniforms are an upfront expense for families who live off of hand-me-downs and used clothing. Programs to recycle used uniforms and funding to provide poor children with no cost or reduced cost uniforms would need to be in place.

2.  School uniforms will restrict the outward expression of a child's unique individuality. School's primary function is to educate, but secondarily is a platform for socialization where clothing can play a role. We should not be teaching our children to blend in.

3.  In the rare event of an emergency (such as a natural disaster) identification of students by their parents could be difficult if all children are wearing the same exact things.

4. God help us if they mandate polyester.


Anonymous said...

I went to Catholic school until the seventh grade. I loved uniforms. It did make everything easier. I was perfectly able to express my individuality at home in my play clothes. Geez. If children don't learn that different situations require different attire... well, then you end up with people grocery shopping in their pajamas. (shudder).

ADG said...

I did not wear uniforms but I had college fratty brothers who did...from K-12 and one guy in particular, had to wear black watch plaid pants for all those years. As a result, he'd NEVER wear anything plaid...pants or shirts. Interestingly though...we did wear uniforms at the KA house. The code was fairly rigid. Khakis and button downs and Weejuns. Anything much of an outlier beyond that assured ridicule at minimum and an ass whipping sometimes.

I have a friend in Sussex England whose little girl always wore uniforms. But the ONE little expression of individuality that was allowed manifested in their ankle socks. They were allowed to adorn their white socks with little adornments.

meg*ville, now relocated said...

12 years in the most ghastly mid-blue jumper with white shirts, knee socks and brown lace-up oxfords. Ugh. They finally let us wear turtlenecks and tights when it got cold, but that was about 10 years in.

ilovelimegreen said...

I wore uniforms for 12 years too. Saddle shoes and plaid jumpers until highschool then slate blue skirts until 12th grade - we had some freedom with shoes. I got a pair of Bluchers in 11th grade that were not considered "out of uniform" but my mother declared them to be "orthopedic". I tested the uniform code with Fair Isle sweaters - not acceptable - but cable cardigans buttoned up the back were OK.

Gym uniforms were a nightmare - yellow mini-dresses with BLOOMERS. I shudder when I recall our treks to the nearby publoc school track where we ran. Ypi can just imagine the catcalls - and other comments - we received.

David V said...

Eight years at Catholic grade school and another 4 of Catholic high school. That's 12 years of tie wearing! Ties are not uncomfortable to me. As for Id'ing our bodies, that was what the sew in name tags where for!

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

The cons about wearing school uniforms are all nonsense, even the economic one. School uniforms are generally inexpensive, and schools which require them provide assistance if needed as inclusion in scholarships, etc. The good schools have plenty of less-fortunate children for whom payment is an issue, and several of the more affluent parents are expected to quietly absorb the tab, which is often unknown to even the parents of the recipient. These occur in quiet dealings between administrators and benefactors, and are never quid pro quo. Most trustee boards (of schools) have silent agreements like this as well, including field-trip funding, etc. Parents in this position should very quietly alert the administration if they are willing to participate in this sort of giving. It is well worth it.

JMW said...

I attended Catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade, the high school years at an all-girls school. I am a HUGE proponent of uniforms, which my daughter now wears at her school. And, her school always has a used uniform sale before the new year begins, so you can score some gently used items for a great price. In my book, the pros outweigh the cons. (Precious photos of LFG!)

Anonymous said...

We had uniforms at our school, too. It was named for a SC governor ( John G Richards) and the state supplied everything- clothes, food and free tuition. Some graduates were so grateful, they have devoted their lives to the service of the state. Some students would go home for a while, but inevitably they returned. In many ways, we could be considered "progressive": we grew our own vegetables, we had single gender ed before it was cool, and much of what they call "character education" was built into our curriculum. We sure had some characters.

But don't really expect some kind of Egalitarian Educational Utopia. Any uncool 13 year old can tell you how the cool kids will still enforce all kinds of hierarchy. There is a reason Animal Farm is so popular with high schoolers- they know first hand about some being more equal than others.

I agree with YWP about the bogus cons. Expense can be a legit concern, but schools ought to be able to work on that. The rest is bad bad bad silliness. Children who can't express their individuality and creativity in their dress are forced to express it in other areas, like creative arts and writing. or maybe service to others. golly.

Lee Harvey James Earl Wilkes Booth

Preppy 101 said...

Love the LFG stories that you share! She is such a dear.
Completely and totally PRO. I would've been on Cloud 9 as a teacher had I been required to wear khaki skirt w/ white OCBD shirt every day - which I did wear quite often anyway ;-). xoxo

Anonymous said...

"My brother and I are moving forward with our plan to start our own country - we are going to require uniforms."

Two boys starting an island country with uniforms required.

Nekkid skin is my guess. 24/7, nekkid skin uniforms required, no clothes allowed.

"I'm running out of devices."

No you're not.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 kids that at any one time attended 4 different schools. Two of the kids will have worn uniforms through 12th and the other two wore uniforms during part of their education. The uniforms were way less expensive than being trendy. The kids got a chance to express their fashion individuality on weekends and in the summer and learned how to be creative with accessories. (They also relied upon their personalities/wit to define them rather than than threads on their backs.)They were always happier in their uniforms and I never once heard a compliant about needing to wear them; they saw it as the privilege that went along with their education. And

Giuseppe said...

I wore a uniform in Catholic elementary school. It's one of the reasons I know how to wear a tie correctly today.

old said...

Wore trad attire - sport coat, OCBDs, repp and club school ties, dress trousers and Weejuns for four years at day school and then at prep school. I am a better man as a result.

Younger sister's private school had a unique dress code - a common dress design with required white collar and cuffs. However, the garments could be made in any fabric of the young ladies' choice and had no length requirements. This "rule" was a boon to local dressmakers and created a thriving aftermarket for hand-me-downs. Best dressed babes of all times!

ADG said...

Obviously an issue that provokes strong memories and opinions!

John G. Richards....damn cuz...I hadn't thought about John G. in ages. Almost went there. Twice.

Reggie Darling said...

I wore uniforms from third grade through seventh, then jacket and tie (no jeans) and required leather oxfords through twelfth. I am a huge proponent of uniforms and dress codes, as I have written on my own blog.

CeceliaMc said...

In your country, please make the male uniform those white dress ones from the Navy. Bobby Trendy could look devastatingly masculine in one of those.

Please understand too that it only takes one time of seeing firemen in their yellow striped coats and fire hats, to instill in women an almost irresistible urge to activate fire alarms.

CeceliaMc said...

Oh, and we don't want to forget about UPS men in those brown uniforms with shorts.

Lots of those, please.

ilovelimegreen said...

CeceliaMc- You've got me singing Gang of Four's "I Love a Man in a Uniform"!

Hilton said...

My school uniform was mostly made up of old-fashioned clothing that my grandmother acquired from garage sales. I also wore a military uniform while attending FUMA. (Aside from a few private schools, it was all in decline.)

I sent you an email regarding this week. How does Tuesday look on your schedule?

Patsy said...

There is a world of difference between a uniform and a dress code.

Good luck with non-polyester uniforms. Summer cottons have to be ironed and winter wools, dry cleaned. My mother thought she died and went to heaven when they changed to poly for my younger sisters.