September 26, 2018

Smartly Dressed: A Case for School Uniforms

Christina de Fontnouvelle ’12

The girl worriedly fidgets with her perfectly gelled hair, carefully avoiding her powdered face and meticulously outlined eyes.
“What should I wear today?!” she thinks desperately. “My black tank top and jean miniskirt? No, Mom will get mad at me for being too revealing… Tube socks, shorts, and my striped polo shirt? No, a little too out-there…”

After half an hour of scrambling through her closet, she finally settles on capris, wedge sandals, and a tight blue blouse (at her mother’s annoyed yelling to hurry up). Amidst this hustle and bustle, she has lost valuable time she could have spent studying for the vocab quiz she has today or sleeping in a little later, not to mention that throughout the day she will be constantly adjusting her outfit and measuring it against the clothes of other girls to make sure she looks “cool.”

If only her school required uniforms, this girl could avoid all this hassle and concentrate more on what really matters in school: learning.

Yes, I do acknowledge that everyone likes to have her own unique style; kids like to show off their individual personalities with their clothes. And I do recognize that school uniforms often look dorky and “uncool.” Yet, if everyone was wearing the same dorky outfit, would it really be so uncool? And isn’t beauty and personality more than skin-deep?

Thus, I think that a uniform policy would be a change for the better at any school.

If students aren’t worrying about how they look or feeling uncomfortable in their heels and skinny jeans, they will be able to concentrate more on their work. Also, by creating an equal and orderly atmosphere in school, uniforms can reduce the formation of hostile cliques and discrimination based on the physical appearance of students.

Uniforms could further unify a student body by removing the socio-economic hierarchy among students that can be reflected in their choice of clothing; how much a garment cost or whether it’s from True Religion or Old Navy.

So, let’s say the said girl’s school finally decides to institute a uniform policy. At first, she and her friends would grumble and complain to each other. But although she would never admit it, she would enjoy a healthier and more productive school atmosphere. She could avoid the hassle of spending hours at the mall choosing outfits and pestering her parents to buy the cool brands. She could reach out and make friends with a broader group of students who could no longer judge and exclude her based on what she wore. She could concentrate on learning instead of how she looked.

After all, most jobs require some sort of uniform; why not instill a similar professional, distraction-free atmosphere in school?

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