Dear Dish-It: I Hate My School Uniform

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.


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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Dear Dish-It in the forums

EndlessDream posted in Friends:
Hmmm....Then she mustn't be necessarily "using" you, if she is not getting something in return ( As far as we know of). However, It does sound like she is being extremely unfair. That just might be how she is. Not exactly loyal to anyone. Well, try to talk to her about it and tell her how you feel. And, if it doesn't work out, then she might not be a great friend to hang around with, and maybe you will find someone else who enjoys your company. I hope this helps, and good luck :)
reply about 18 hours
XxIHateMathxX posted in Friends:
No not really. Like I said, one minute she's all smiley and then she doesn't even look at me. Most of the time I see her with Daniela and Andrea. Today she was asking me if I was going to hang out with her, Daniela, Andrea and Luisa during recess. When I told her that I was 'going to have to think' she was like, "Whatever." and ran off to catch up with the Threesome. Thanks. :)
reply about 18 hours
EndlessDream posted in Friends:
Is she asking you to do things for her? Like help with homework, carry her books and so on?
reply about 18 hours
XxIHateMathxX posted in Friends:
This is gonna be long:   I have this 'friend' Amelia. She and I bonded really fast last year and we've become inseparable.   But lately she's blowing me off and my other best friend Belen told me: Amelia is actually using you. She does this to new kids at school, especially from foreign countries. She thinks because you're Chinese and the Chinese teacher's daughter, you'll help her. She's also using you as a backup friend - a substitute. There's this new girl Daniela, who Amelia thinks is her new best friend. She thinks that when Daniela stop hanging out with her, she'll have you.   The thing is, Daniela is pretty nice and she probably doesn't know all the trouble she's causing. Belen's old 'best friend' Andrea is doing the same to her.   I also learned that Amelia is seemingly the 'most popular girl in school' because she's mean to everyone. She always passes by the little kids' classrooms and hugs them & stuff. They seem to love her, but now I know it's because they think if they're nice they won't get bullied.   Maybe she WAS using me but I dunno. Belen says that each kid in the entire school has a bad story about Amelia and something she did to them. I said, "Then how was she so nice to me last year?" Then Belen was all like, "She was using you."   I don't know if she's telling the truth. She and Amelia are deadly enemies and she might be making up the whole Amelia story just to get back at her. Although Amelia has been dropping a few signs that she IS using me as a substitute friend.   Sometimes when I walk in, she'll be like "OOOOHHH! CASSANDRA! HI! HOW ARE YOU! C'MON, LOOK AT THIS! WE'RE GONNA HAVE SOOOO MUCH FUN TOGETHER ..."   And other times I'm like, "Hey, Amelia!" and she says, "Oh. Huh? Yeah, hi ..."  Once during PE we had to sit down and on the way to the gym, she was chatting with me in a BBBBFFFF way. But then when we had to partner up she said with Andrea, Daniela and someone else who I forgot.   I don't know what to do. It's just so weird. Even though now I know she MIGHT be using me (I'm not sure if she really is) it just seems WEIRD. Even for a supposed ##### she was my possibly fake best friend for the whole of last year. It's WEIRD to suddenly switch.   I don't even know if this should be happening. We've only just started 5th grade. Doesn't this WEIRD #### start happening around middle school? Thank you, everyone who will help in advance. P.S. Please include flirting advice. - A Girl Who Might Just Lose Her Possibly Fake Best Friend
reply about 19 hours
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