Writing
Comments 17

To uniform or not to uniform?

I’ve been challenged by the lovely people at 4imprint to give the idea of uniformity some thought and create a blog post around my thoughts about what it is to wear printed t-shirts as a uniform.

I have been wearing uniforms all my life, from when I started primary school in Romania at the age of six, many, many moons ago.

I remember disliking the feel of the plastic onto my skin but cherishing the identity the uniform gave me. I was a big girl, going to school on my own (those were Communist times still and both my parents had to work in order to be able to provide for us) and I belonged to a community of little people, all dressed up more or less in the same fashion as myself.

Fast forward six years and me being in my first year of grammar school, when monumental things happened to the leadership of the country and Romania achieved its “democracy” from 45 years of dictatorship. People were elated and they demanded freedom in everything, including from our school uniforms. An instant influx of bad quality jeans inundated the market and everybody decided that they were to be preferred to a uniform.

I hated it, the lack of uniform in my grammar school. It immediately turned into an opportunity to highlight the financial gap between families and implicitly, the children.

I still have photos I have hidden away in my mum’s home of me wearing horrid, baggy clothes, the only ones my mum could afford buying for us.

My clothes did make me stand out but not in a good way. I would have appreciated the uniformity of a common outfit for all the pupils in school at this point and preferred the anonymity of the uniform over the embarrassment of ill fitting clothes as a teenager.

I moved to Northern Ireland 10 years ago and worked as a teacher intermittently in a lot of local schools. I soon realised that even the teachers adhered to an unwritten code of uniformity for which I felt very grateful, as it gave me a sense of guidance and belonging.

Of course, when Emma started school three years ago, I welcomed the strict guidelines that came from her school regarding not only the code of conduct but also the school uniform.

I love seeing her all ready in the morning, looking sharp and tidy and I do know that she always feels a sense of pride when wearing her uniform, as it gives her an identity and and motivation to keep her behaviour in check as she represents her school while she is out and about.

Lately I have been working as a nanny and even there, I did feel the need of a “uniform”! The school where I did the pick ups is in quite an affluent area so my Joules t-shirt “uniform”, although comfy and informal, did reflect the intention to comfort to the environment.

I have added an infographic on the subject as well.

Do let me know what your thoughts are on the subject, I’ll be very interested in hearing other opinions on the subject!

4imprint-deconstructing-the-uniform

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.

This entry was posted in: Writing

by

Mum of one beautiful girl on earth and one sweet baby boy in heaven. Daughter of a wonderful woman. Wife of a very entrepreneurial man.

17 Comments

  1. I do like my children wearing a uniform to school if only because there are no clothing decisions to made each morning! I do think the lack of labels and brands on the uniform is much better for the children on an everyday basis.

  2. Some great points Oana, especially regarding the financial gap being more obvious when there is no use of uniform. I used to hate days at school where we were allowed to wear our own clothes, not only because my parents couldn’t afford the last trends and designer labels but also because I had (and probably still do have) a pretty bad dress sense and have never conformed to what ever one else sees as in fashion. Also in my final years at primary school and as a teenager I had stupidly big feet and had to wear men’s Dr Martin work boots as back then they didn’t do suitable school shoes in larger sizes. Although Tia has only just started school, on days where she is able to wear her own clothes I do like to make sure she still looks presentable. And I do love how smart she looks in her school uniform.

    Having nearly always worked in the childcare sector I preferred to wear a uniform, as getting ready in the morning was always much quicker when you didn’t have to decide what to wear and also there was no risk of ruining your own clothes with paint etc. Now that I am a stay at home parent, I do miss having a uniform.

  3. I really enjoyed wearing a uniform at school. We wore a kilt in secondary school so it was a little different. and it was nice not to have to think about what to wear each day – life can be a competition when you’re a teenager and it would be hard picking out what to wear each day I think

  4. I do love a uniform! Especially for kids. There’s enough for kids to contend with, without being judged by their clothes etc at school. My husband is in the military and that’s a good uniform too! 🙂 x

  5. I’ve always been a big fan of uniforms and felt such pride in my school uniform (not so much in my B&Q student job uniform, ha!) x

  6. pennyalexander says

    I hated them at school myself, but as a teacher it made a lot more sense and as a parent I think they do make life easier for parents and kids. Although I think they need to be comfy and not restrictive, I hated spending all my time telling kids to tuck shirts in, polo shirts are so much easier!

  7. susannabritmums says

    I like uniforms for all the reasons you mention … perhaps there could be some middle ground. A uniform with a way to personalise it? zz

  8. Cass@FrugalFamily says

    I’m a big fan of uniforms as they take the pressure off what to wear – I don’t wear one anymore and I spend at least ten minutes each night choosing what I’ll wear the next day x

  9. mrsmagovern says

    I’ve always enjoyed wearing a uniform (not in a kinky way) – it’s always helped me feel an identity for my school or workplace. I love seeing my kids in clean, fresh uniform too – makes me feel proud.

  10. Vivienne Ferris says

    I can’t say I particularly enjoyed school uniforms, but do believe it provides a more fairer and even playing for those who can afford the designer clothes & labels & those who can’take. My nurses uniform however, both in training & when qualified was extremely important to me. Probably for several reasons. I was the only child out of a family of five who left school at 16 & didn’t do A Levels. That labelled me to many, including some family members as a dunce & a bit of a let down to family tradition. I worked for 18 months for what was Northern Ireland Railways (Now Translink), as an invoice clerk. Then I started my nurse training, (the real reason was to leave home having had a very strict father at that time). Despite never had ‘the calling’, I took to it like a duck to water. I was fortunate to be of an age where nurses wore smart uniforms, with starched collars, hats and apron. I loved this new identity and everything that came with it. Hard work, good times, sad times and happy times. Everyone looked out for each other. We worked hard and we danced hard, climbing out of our nursing accommodation windows after being checked in by Night sister. I could write a book. That/those uniforms gave me a feeling of achievement, huge job satisfaction and so many happy happy memories. It was a privilege to be involved with patients and their families, often in very intimate and personal situations. Wearing that uniform, and being that nurse, in a wide variety of disciplines and different countries gave me equal pride and satisfaction of being a wife and mother. When I had to give up my clinical role due to ill health, I was devastated. I lost ‘my identity’. For me, it was akin to a close family bereavement, which continues to this day. I could write a book. For me, that uniform and everything connected to it, changed and enriched my life. I’m proud and happy to have had the opportunity to wear it and ‘nurse’….

  11. ChelseaMamma says

    I like uniforms for both work and school.Not only do you not ruin your own clothes, but everyone looks the same which causes less friction and you don’t get the one-upmanship

  12. I am really pleased that my boys wear uniforms, however, I do like them to have some freedom and be able to express themselves.

  13. We never wore uniforms in Germany and I don’t think they ever introduced it since.
    Personally from the normal clothes side of things it’s good to wear uniforms because everyone is equal and no one gives out about someones clothes but on the other side I hate uniforms.

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