It's the first day of school and you have to find the perfect outfit to make a good impression. Lucky for me, I don't have this problem: my private school requires I wear a uniform. Some may think this is not a good idea, but I think it is very positive.
In school, one of the most important things is your style. The more you have, the more popular and noticed you will probably be. With uniforms, there's no discrimination because of what you're wearing. Everyone is united under the same style.
Clothing often reflects who you are and who you socialize with. In most schools, there are groups of students who dress alike. All the jocks dress differently from the preps who have a different style from the punks. You may even avoid a particular person because of what they are wearing. Uniforms require students to get to know each other by finding out about who they really are.
There are many styles of clothing, some appropriate for school and others not. Peers and the media pressure us to dress and look a certain way. Some clothing contains logos promoting drugs, alcohol or even violence. Midriff shirts, halters and mini skirts are advertised everywhere. Since students want to fit in and be cool, they want to wear this type of clothing. In most school systems, however, it is not allowed. Uniforms help eliminate these problems. All students look similar. They all fit in. There are no distractions. Uniforms allow students to concentrate on learning instead of what they are wearing.
Money also plays a big part in the clothing we wear. Not all styles are affordable. Students are ridiculed because they can't afford "in" clothing. Some may even feel pressured to steal to get the right clothing. Although uniforms are initially expensive, they can be worn for years, making them cost effective and less expensive than regular clothes.
When my school allows us a dress-down day, we can wear regular clothes. We show off our styles and wear our favorite shirts with jeans. Surprisingly, on dress-down days, we remain similar. We know each other well enough to be ourselves. Even without uniforms, we dress alike!
I believe uniforms help unite us in a common goal: to do well in school. It is a symbol of our unity. They demonstrate to everyone that we are more than just our clothes: we are all individuals.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.