Academically attired

Recently our town has gone round and round over adopting a uniform policy at the public schools. Currently, only Javi's school requires them -- but his principal was recently named principal of one of our local high schools, so she wanted to bring her academic-attire policy to that school, and another elementary school has tossed around moving to a similar academic-attire policy.

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.**


  • Anonymous

    I think uniforms are a great idea. I would love my kids to have a uniform.

  • Katie Jones

    I desperately wish our school had uniforms - and that includes teachers! It would make getting dressed in the morning for me and for kids in the future so much easier. My mom wears uniforms at her job - the Post Office - and she says she loves having to put no thought into her work clothes. I bet it would save money, too ... there'd be no fears of repeating an outfit too often!

    Congrats to Javi for being Terrific Kid and AB Honor Roll!!!

  • Cheri

    Back when our local elementary school was considering a uniform policy, my problem was not loss of self-expression. It was the ability to find anything that would fit! Maybe today these items come in a better range of sizes, but my girls are (and always were) quite thin (definitely don't take after their mom) and wore "slims" - the local retailers that carried uniform style clothing did not carry slim sizes - so if we wanted waist to fit, the pants would be too short. If we wanted a correct length, the pants would be so baggy they would fall off without the belt - literally. Expense would not have been in the clothing itself, but in the alterations! These days my girls are happy when soccer (they play JV) dictates what they have to wear on any given day.

  • Kim & Dave

    Yes! Yes! Yes! GREAT post!!! Our oldest is a part-time homeschooled/part-time charter schooled child. The charter school has a uniform & we love it-for all the reasons you stated-& because we don't have to figure out what she's wearing every time she goes!

  • Cheryl

    Way to go, Javi! I personally would have loved a school uniform (as both a student and a teacher).

  • TKW

    I agree--why all the fuss over clothes? Kids will be able to express their creativity in other ways, don'tcha think?

  • Heather

    I think uniforms are great. I want American public schools to be more strict and structured. Plus, it takes away the clothes battle many parents have to face in the morning! :)

  • Anonymous

    I would be on board with uniforms if our school did it. Plus, for the kids who can't have the HUGE wardrobe, it doesn't set them apart.

  • Amy

    My kids' school wears uniforms and we love it. Blue pants, plaid jumper, or blue skort today? White or blue shirt? The end! No worries about what to wear and what brand things are.

    And lucky for us, the school keeps a room of used uniforms that sell for $5 a BAG... that's been a lifesaver! I've also learned to pick up blue & white polo shirts when I find them at thrift stores. I know we save money by having uniforms.

  • XmasDolly

    Oh yes, I totally agree with you. You'll have to save your money all through grade school if they go to public high just to buy them the fashion then. Yes, it gets very expensive.

  • amber_mtmc

    Thank you for this post!! I used to disagree with uniforms but am now seeing their utility. I hope that my kids go to a school with a uniform policy. I guess it will depend on where we end up!

  • Anonymous

    I grew up wearing a uniform to school and loved it. It took so much pressure off of me and I was able to focus on friendships and school work instead of what I was wearing. I also taught in a school where the kids wore uniforms and the kids really didn't seem to mind. Neither did the parents - who seemed to appreciate the reduced number of morning battles with their kids, not to mention an easing in the pressure for their kids to keep up with fashion trends.

  • Anonymous

    I'm all for uniforms! When I was in school we didn't have uniforms and I wish we had.

  • Kelly Miller

    It's cool so many of us are on-board with uniforms. Our town had a huge debate over it and people were up in arms. Uniforms lost at the other county schools, so they remain only at our school. I don't know what the big deal is!

    @Lauren - I'm surprised! I thought you'd be anti-uniform.

  • Melissa

    WE homeschool but if my children were in school I'd be the one trying push uniforms!!! I think they're a fabulous idea and I love your post about them!

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