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Dear Dish-It: I Hate My School Uniform

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Dear Dish-It,

My school has a really strict school uniform, and it’s almost impossible to LOOK like an individual, no matter what you are. I want to look different, but it’s proving really hard. I don’t really want to break too many rules, but I don’t want to be a sheep, either.

DramaQueen

Dear DQ,

Great question! Lots of kids have to wear a school uniform to school, and, obviously, each and every one of those kids is a unique individual. Luckily, there are lots of ways to “dress up” a school uniform to make it a better reflection of who you are – in other words, a more accurate portrait of your own, personal style and preferences. Of course, keep in mind that I am not familiar with the particular rules your school has about school uniform – some schools are more relaxed and some are more strict when it comes to personalizing and customizing the clothing required for dress code. But here are some basic solutions that may shed some light on your problem.

Boring Basics

Unfortunately, many kids lack creativity when it comes to personalizing their school uniform. By that I mean that most teens end up with shortened skirts (I remember stapling the hem of my school uniform up to make it much shorter than allowed), untucked shirts, holes in their sweaters and scuffed-up shoes. But these contribute to a more messy look than one that tells a story of who you are as a person.

Decorate Yourself!

Instead of ripping your hemline or letting the moths have at your school sweater, try fancying up your school uniform by following one of these suggestions:

  • If you can wear a non-regulation coat, buy one that’s knee-length and belted at the waist (or any coat you like).
  • Start collecting brooches (pins); different ones for different moods. Try to avoid badges (unless they are exceptionally stylish) but snap up any interesting school pins you see. Pin them on your sweater or blazer.
  • Accessorise with hats, scarves and gloves (especially fingerless ones, since you can write with them on). In winter, look for oversized knit hats or tea-cozy hats. Get one in a colour that complements the rest of your school uniform (or not!).
  • If you’re into old-fashioned style, wear vintage silk scarves on your head when you’re having a bad hair day.
  • Switch your generic shoelaces for a pair that make you smile and, instead of boring black lace-up shoes, try a pair of ankle boots, mary janes (with a platform!) or crazy sneakers. If your school will let you get away with wearing legwarmers, do that, too.
  • Your hair is your own – do it up the way you like it and adorn it with interesting hair accessories!
  • Wear strands of pearls or costume jewelry around your neck.
  • Rings are always fun – the kind that have letters on them can even be used to spell out different messages across your fingers!
  • One thing everyone needs at school is a bag. A tote with a design that you like is going to get a lot of mileage, as you lug your books around.
  • Paint your nails.
  • Get cool, stylized school supplies.
  • Protect yourself from the rain with a stand-out umbrella.
  • Lunchboxes and pencil cases are a great way to advertise some of the things you’re into, whether it be a band, movie, TV show, celeb, etc.

Extra For Experts

If you’re still having trouble expressing yourself in your school uniform, take comfort in knowing that you WILL graduate some day and be free to wear what you want out in the REAL world. In the meantime, try talking to friends who feel the same way as you or reading books with characters in them that you can relate to, like Stargirl By Jerry Spinelli, a novel about a girl who refused to be like anyone else.

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