Uniforms: “Aren’t They Awful?”

Coming from a school where school uniforms are the norm, one question I’m always asked by those–let’s face it–smug uniform-free students is “Isn’t having to wear a uniform awful?” This is always followed up with “I would hate that” or occasionally the odd “They’ve taken your rights away!”

But frankly, neither of those things cross my mind when I think of school uniforms. Yes, it would be nice to be able to wear the fluffiest item of clothing I can find come winter, but I’m not being forced to brave the frigid wind in just a t-shirt either. Likewise, in the summer heat, I am not being forced into a snowsuit (even though British summers have the tendency to need one).

I must admit that my school uniform is not the most flattering thing in the world, but could anyone really pull off a knee-length, grey-panelled skirt? Despite the uniform’s unfavorable length and lack of WOW factors, what it does offer is uniformity, hence the name “uniform.”

Often described as “practical” by the teachers, these infamous skirts have created a sense of unity within the school; everyone is subjected to the same thing without exception (excluding those younger girls who attempt to shorten their skirts in a laughable manner). I will admit that, at first, my thoughts did wander along the “why do I even have to wear this?” lines. But having spent 3 years in uniform, I now see what ‘outsiders’ don’t: uniforms give you a sense of belonging. For me, walking into school and being hit with a tidal wave of grey is now somewhat comforting.

My description may not seem very reassuring to the average onlooker, but school shouldn’t be about fashion. I will freely admit that not everybody looks the same, and fashion may play a large role in some people’s daily routine, but that just isn’t the case for me. The significance of dressing the same as everyone is very small. In fact, I love waking up and not even having to decide what to wear; skirt, here I come.

So back to those questions I am always asked, I will respond here as I do then: Uniforms really aren’t too bad after all.

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