Uniforms: Pros and Cons

Today I’m featuring another A-Z Challenge guest blogger. Welcome Becca from Wright / Wrong


When I wake up in the morning, I take a shower, dry my hair, contemplate bothering with makeup, drink coffee, and go to school unwillingly. The one difference between me and about half of the public school students in the United States of America is that I never have to think about what to wear.

Almost every day of school for the past ten years, I’ve been putting on white knee-high socks, a red plaid skirt, and white short-sleeved blouse: my uniform since second grade. Since I’ve been wearing one so long (although that will come to an end next year when I start college), I feel obligated to share with you the pros and cons of uniforms.

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What you should be wondering right about now is if Becca’s friend Bryce is wearing pants underneath those chest-waders.

Pros:

  • No thinking. I’ve gotten to the point where I literally don’t even realize I’m putting on my uniform until I’ve walked out the door.
  • This one is definitely debatable, but I personally focus better when I’m not distracted by other people’s clothing.
  • Less bullying. Students are rarely teased for what they’re wearing since the person teasing them is wearing LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME THING.
  • Even though I hate my school sometimes, uniforms help show a sense of togetherness. (At least we all suffer together!)
  • Comfort: School uniforms are surprisingly comfortable! My parents always wonder why I’m still in it by the end of the day.
  • Less shopping. I (almost) never buy clothes.
  • Other than receiving my diploma, nothing will feel as satisfying as ripping my uniform up on the last day of school.
  • My friends Jacquelyn and Tj dressed up as “private school drop outs” for a party they went to during their first semester of college. It was… perfect.

Cons:

  • Less shopping. My mom went through my closet the other day and realized that I have no clothes for college. (Wearing t-shirts every day is a thing, right?)
  • Restricted freedom of expression. There aren’t many options for dressing up a uniform, unless your school is slack about it. (Many public schools in my area only require you to wear certain colors, while my school and others have a set uniform.) Many people feel uncomfortable wearing uniforms simply because they feel as if it doesn’t express their personality.
  • Depending on what type of uniform you have to wear, uniforms can be expensive. For example: I can only wear school jackets on campus, and those items can cost up to $50/item. (The used uniform store is my best friend.)
  • Self-image. Unfortunately many uniforms are “one-size-fits-all.” When students have to wear the same outfits, rather than being allowed to select clothes that suit their body types, they can suffer embarrassment at school.
  • Dress-down days. Again, YOU HAVE NO CLOTHES. What the heck are you supposed to wear when you finally get a chance to wear something… different?!

Even though I love my uniform at times, I think the cons outweigh the pros for uniforms. I’ve never truly got to experience life without one, though, so who knows!

Let me know if you guys had/have to wear uniforms while in school! I’m scared and excited to start living life outside of the plaid skirt.


Rebecca Wright is currently a high school senior at Savannah Christian Preparatory School. Next year she will be attending the University of Georgia and will (hopefully!) be pursuing degrees in both Visual Journalism and Marketing. You can check out her blog here.

This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here

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37 thoughts on “Uniforms: Pros and Cons

  1. Great post. In the Netherlands, there are verey few schools (usually fundamentalist religious schools) that even have a dress code, let alone a uniform, although the majority of school sseem to have some restrictions on wha tyou can wear to school (eg. no very short skirts or tops). I can see the pros though. Used to believe that the less bullying was a myth propagated by the schools requiring uniforms, but now I see this mentioned in a balanced post.

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  2. I went to a public school in southern California for high school and I can definitely see the benefits of having everyone on the same level with clothing although I love to express myself with through my clothing choices, so it would also be challenging to have that freedom taken away so much of the time. Thanks for sharing, cheers!

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  3. i went to a high school that required me to wear a uniform and i HATED it. people, especially the administration, always claim there is unity with a uniform and everyone wears the same thing so no one can be bullied, but that’s no true. you can still tell who wears the brand name pants and what shoes are trending. uniforms at my private, catholic school were meant to make us look more professional and presentable. i tried to break every rule of that uniform though and everyone usually ended up looking like a slob. on dress down days though, when we could be individuals and express our own fashion sense and creativity, we usually ended up dressing nicer than what our uniform was. i think uniforms are overrated and people need to reevaluate if they’re worth it.

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  4. Interesting perspective from someone actually going through it. My son is on a waitlist for a charter that would require he wear a uniform. I kind of like the idea, but I see the cons as well. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I never had to wear a uniform except for girl guides, and that was only once a week! I think for little kids who don’t care, it’s probably easier than choosing clothes every day, but when you want to express yourself I would be it’s a HUGE barrier (as confirmed by other posters). It’s tough because the U.S. some schools do and some don’t. All or nothing might be a better strategy.

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    • When I went to private school they had uniforms for 1st-5th grade. Above that, self-expression was allowed but there was still a dress code. For my private school girl scout troop we had to have a whole uniform (skirt, shirt, etc. plus the standard vest/sash) but once I switched to public school the troop only required the vest/sash!

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  6. I’ve never been a fan of uniforms for kids, and I think there are definitely problems in this country with the way some of the school dress codes are set for girls versus the ones set for boys. However, I do have friends who love that their kids wear uniforms to school. It saves them a lot of time, but not a lot of money…they wear uniforms because they pay for high priced private schools that come with other pricey expenses AND their kids still all want to wear the cool clothes outside of school. My kids don’t wear uniforms but also don’t care much about clothes anyway. I appreciate your perspective on the pros and cons. Great post!

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  7. My school didn’t adopt uniforms until a few years after I graduated but I sure wish they had done it earlier. It would have made life much easier for a number of kids who were made fun of for not wearing the right labels, or not having the newest fanciest clothes.
    I don’t buy the *uniforms impede self-expression* argument. Drawing attention to yourself through your choice of clothing is not what I would consider a positive form of self expression. There are so many other ways to express oneself through our work and all of the other activities we do in school – leave flamboyant on stage with Lady Gaga.
    – Grumpy old man out :-)

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  8. I don’t have anything against the uniform thing if boys and girls can wear the same thing. I don’t like it when the girls have to wear skirts and the boys get to wear pants. So not fair. Uniforms wouldn’t be needed at all if parents would do their job in proctoring their children’s clothing.

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  9. In many parts of Asia, there are uniforms and the community feel and ease of getting dressed are pretty big. I do understand the frustration if the uniforms are not for your body type, but I also think when it comes to self-expression there are many other ways than your clothes to differentiate yourself- and maybe that’s a good thing to have as a mindset, though now it makes me think that when there should be an extra class offered at uniform schools on how to style yourself after school life…

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  10. The principal at my kids’ middle school, who was also a child psychologist, used to say that he preferred kids not be in uniforms because when everyone was in uniform, it was easier to miss cues about dangerous activities and dangerous psychological issues which often come to light most easily in the clothes our kids wear. My kids never had to wear them but always wanted to. Then the one year that my daughter transferred to the school where I taught and had to wear a uniform, she hated it! So go figure!

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  11. I wear a uniform at work and I wore a uniform through high school and all my previous jobs and I totally know what you mean. It’s so easy to put your uniform on every day but at the same time, yeah no clothes for when you are dressing casually.

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  12. Interesting post. I went to public school and have never really considered the pros and cons of uniforms. But it may be something that my children have to deal with!

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  13. I have never had to wear a uniform for school or for work, but I can see how it would make life much easier. :) As things stand now, I don’t think my kids will need to wear uniforms for school, and I kind of like that, but I can see both sides.

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  14. I live in Japan, where school uniforms are the norm. The students take great pride in their uniforms… they know other school’s uniforms and emblems as well. I think the uniform part is fine. The part I worry about is how heavy backpacks are getting these days!

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  15. I’ve always been on the fence about it. I think it can save the families a lot of money in the long run. The only problem I have with it is the body image issues. Different people with different body shapes have certain ways of dressing that make them feel more comfortable and less self conscious. When I was in Middle School I had to wear a back brace for few years then a body cast (on my torso) It was hideous looking and I wore leggings and very long shirts to try to disguise it. If I had been forced to wear a uniform I would have been mortified. It would have been really really awful. So I can see where someone who is very self conscious about their body or their shape would want to have a choice in the type of clothes they wear.

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  16. Growing up, I never had to wear a uniform, but these days in the UK most kids where uniforms. The pros and cons are right, but there is the issue I have that in some schools girls have to wear skirts and pants aren’t allowed, which for self-conscious girls is hard and for others means a constant run in with the school for wearing them too short. Plus, ties – why are girls wearing ties at school when nobody expects them to wear them in the workplace. It’s a very mixed approach to uniform. I prefer a colour code – its the best of both worlds.
    My husband wore uniforms throughout school and hated it, now the only time he’ll wear a suit and tie is at weddings or funerals. Pity, because he looks smart in them!

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  17. Pingback: On The #AtoZChallenge | Victim to Charm

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