I was shocked by how heated people get over clothes. I can understand not wanting to stifle someone's expression or creativity, but it's just clothes. I look at my little sister's too-low-cut tops and my nephew's skinny jeans hanging off his butt and wonder -- why wouldn't their parents want a dress code for them? With that in mind, I'd like to debunk a few myths about school uniforms:
Myth #1: Kids don't like uniforms. Besides personal preference, dressing according to an academic-attire policy has been a real life saver for us. Our mornings used to be full of arguments and tears over what Javi would wear, why he couldn't wear this or that shirt, why these pants or those pants aren't appropriate, and so on. Now, though, mornings are really painless. Javi has a handful of shirts and pants/shorts and he can choose any combination he wants. That's it.
Myth #2: Uniforms are expensive. I can understand some folks' concern over cost, but we've spent maybe $60 on an entire school year's worth of clothes each year the policy has been in effect. And this year we spent much less than before because we learned the tricks of the trade -- like removing the thread from monogrammed/branded shirts, shopping at thrift stores (where we can find gently used shirts and pants donated by the private school families), and swapping with other families in the same school. Before moving to uniforms, I know we spent at least $150 on clothes as the wear wore on.
I should point out that our policy doesn't require certain brands of clothes. The children must wear black, navy, or beige pants/shorts (add dresses/skirts for girls) without pockets on the legs. They must wear solid-colored shirts. If their pants/shorts have belt loops, they must wear a belt. That's it. Javi has worn polos, tees, and dress shirts -- and none of those violated the policy.
Myth #3: Uniforms stamp out creativity. I am blown away by the interesting ways the kids at Javi's school show their uniqueness. At a recent assembly, I saw a girl with hot-pink high-top converses, a girl with a sparkly belt, and a boy with a faux hawk. I noticed that each and every kid's individuality shined through despite their similar outfits. I'd guess these kids are more creative than the kid wearing head-to-toe camo or the one in skin-tight jeans -- because Javi's peers have to really work at it and find non-traditional ways to express themselves.
So if your school system launches a campaign for support of uniforms or an academic-attire policy, don't immediately demonize it. Uniforms really work for us -- and they would probably work for you, too, if you'd just give them a chance. (And, yes, I totally had to find a way to show off these pictures of my big kid who is both Terrific Kid and on the A/B Honor Roll for third quarter!)
**This post is part of the 30-minute blog challenge, Works for Me Wednesday, and Wordful Wednesday.**