Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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What’s the Deal with School Uniforms?

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It’s time for back to school shopping in my neck of the woods–only 19 days until school starts! When I was growing up, back to school was when we bought new clothes. Even though it was 100 degrees outside, I’d want to wear my newest clothes, most of which were meant for the dead of winter (Long-sleeved rugby shirts and thick, new jeans, just the ticket for the dog days of summer.) Do you remember the stress of trying to decide what the most perfect first day outfit would be? No? Just me?I’ve so far avoided the crush of new clothes tied to a new school year. You can chalk it up to my two oldest being boys, but they don’t really know that going back to school means a new wardrobe. And you aren’t allowed to tell them, deal?

Part of me wishes we attended a school with uniforms. How simple to wear a set combination of clothes every day without having to think about what they’ll wear. I didn’t have uniforms during my school years. Is it really easier like I dream it would be? Would I need to be organized enough to make sure the kids always had a pair of clean khakis with a navy shirt? One of my neighbors (with five daughters. FIVE) laments the lack of uniforms because she feels like she’s sending off fashion show participants instead of arithmetic students. She thinks that many of the social cliques would disappear with uniform adoption. I’m not so sure.

In any case, tell us what you think about school uniforms: Are you into them? Think they’re borderline fascist? Had uniforms and they changed nothing about the school experience?

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Comments (10)

  1. cheap school uniforms 11/24/2013 at 2:17 am

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  2. Trish 05/31/2012 at 3:09 pm

    I’m a little late joining in, but I had uniforms growing up and they did NOTHING to curb the social cliques. (They were also ugly to boot!)

    Now that I’m an adult and working in healthcare I love wearing a uniform. Cuts down on the stress in the morning considerably. 🙂

  3. liz 08/17/2011 at 7:54 am

    Where we live in Chile, uniforms are worn at every school. We LOVE them. And yes, one of my kids occasionally has to fish a uniform shirt out of the dirty clothes hamper. I don’t know if they change the educational experience much, but it makes mornings with several school-age kids easy easy easy, and the kids don’t mind them at all — they just become a non-issue.

  4. Katie @ Team Skelley 08/15/2011 at 1:42 pm

    I think that the uniforms can be extremely expensive. I had a Twitter friend who was looking for khaki shorts and the cheapest pair she could find were $32! Why? Because the school system said that they had to be pleated. I can say that I did not spend anywhere close to $32 on my kids back to school clothing. Like another poster said, kids and parents will always find a way to still judge each other on appearances, if they are so inclined.

    Carina, our mutual friend Lynette sent me a link to your blog here, and I have enjoyed reading your writing. If you have a free moment, I would love to talk to you about Today’s Mama. Thanks! 😀

  5. Melissa 08/09/2011 at 2:48 pm

    As a mom of 5 kids, I hate uniforms. Only our middle school has them, so my 2 oldest have been wearing them, with my next oldest starting to wear them this coming year, so a total of 3 in uniform now. What we found is that the kids want to change immediately after school into something else, therefore causing twice the laundry for the uniformed kids. Since they can’t just wear the clothes they already have, we have to not only buy regular clothes for after school and weeekends, but also a full uniform wardrobe, so it is definitely not cost or time effective! It doesn’t seem to help as far as cliques because they are allowed to wear whatever accessories with it (jewelry, different kinds of belts, etc) anyway. I think if schools would just enforce a dress code properly, there wouldn’t be a need to go so far as to make the kids all dress alike. Let them be individual kids while still making sure they dress respectfully enough for school!

  6. Sheri 08/08/2011 at 4:36 pm

    We went to a Charter school for 5 years and LOVED the uniforms. Red, blue, or white shirt–khaki or navy pants (or a dress of similar color for my daughter). It was sooo easy! I could shop all year long and find deals because it would always be in “style”. Now that we are onto Jr. High the drama of morning–what do I wear will start again.

  7. Amy 08/08/2011 at 3:03 pm

    School uniforms are great, but research I read in grad school diid not show it made a difference for the kids long term. I am sure if research was done on the parent it would find that school uniforms would releve parents of stress.

  8. Heather 08/08/2011 at 12:40 pm

    My kid has been in uniform since Kindergarten, now going into 5th. I love it and so does he. I think he’s actually learned how to dress nicer than he normally would because of the polo, khaki and belt. And, no, that kind of outfit doesn’t stop a kid from having fun on the playground either! The school can focus more on, well, school and less on “Is it too short or inappropriate?” issues.

    I know better each week exactly what needs to be washed, most of which can be done in one or two loads for the week.

    What a kid wears doesn’t determine what kind creative mind he has nor what kind of friends he will have. Those things come from within and from the home. They show their individuality through their work and other outlets. To limit one’s creativity to one’s clothing I think is more limiting than the number of clothing items acceptable at school.

    As a mom of a boy, I look forward to my son not being AS distracted by inappropriate clothing of his female peers so he can focus more on what he’s there for. I’m not saying he won’t be distracted by a pretty girl (I might get concerned if he’s not) but I am saying it is one less distraction.

    And talk about cheap! Our school has a “swap shop” where you can donate used clothes in good condition or purchase each piece for $1.00. I can also skip the back to school shopping frenzy!

  9. This is Carrie 08/03/2011 at 9:10 am

    As a fashion design student in college, I remember writing a scathing article about why requiring school uniforms was (as you say) facist. Not allowing children to express themselves through their clothing was taking away their imagination and creativity!

    Now that I’m a mom of 4–the two oldest being girls in elementary school, I thank my lucky stars that their public school requires a uniform. Shopping for back to school clothes is SO easy. Getting ready for school each morning is SO easy. Never a fight about what to wear.

    Sure there are still cliques. People will always find ways to distinguish themselves. But in our school, I do think it helps soften the financial demographic lines for which I am also grateful.

    In my experience, school uniforms are just as amazing as you dream them to be.

  10. Erin Oltmanns 08/03/2011 at 8:37 am

    I don’t think the uniforms will get rid of cliques. Clothing brands are getting smart – Gap, Old Navy, and Cherokee are churning out “school uniform” items and I’m sure the ultra fancy-pants brands are too. Kids will know the difference between a Ralph Lauren polo and an Old Navy polo just as sure as we knew the difference between Girbauds and everything else.

    I’m on the fence. I can see advantages for uniforms, but I don’t want to turn my kid into a robot. I’d like to think that she’d be nice to a kid no matter what they are wearing.

    And laundry is a beast, not matter how you slice it.