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!
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.