Back in high school, uniforms made up several schools’ dress code. At mine in particular, we had a choice between grey, green, and gold polos paired with navy pants or khakis. For four years straight, I wore nothing but a grey polo and khaki pants.
Even in college, it can feel like there’s some type of dress code. When it’s warm, it can seem like every girl is wearing Nike shorts and a baggy tank top. When it’s cold, yoga pants and a fleece jacket. I’ve watched people look down on someone dressed in anything nicer than jeans and a t-shirt.
Although uniforms are convenient, what’s the point of them? Are they really necessary?
One reason that’s always cited when it comes to the decision to switch to uniforms is people dressing too provocatively. Shorts are too short, pants are sagging too low, shirts are too low cut, or even tank tops have too large of arm holes.
I’ve always disagreed with this conclusion. Although I’m not a particular fan of knowing exactly what pattern of boxers the guy sitting in front of me is wearing, it’s not the end of the world. If a girl is wearing short shorts because it’s 98 degrees outside, is that really so bad?
In many instances, administrators will say that having free reign when it comes to clothing, or even a dress code, can cause distractions to the education process. If someone is too distracted because of a pair of girl’s legs, then that is not her fault. Legs are not sexual, and if they are that much of an issue, then the person becoming so distracted by them is the problem.
In college, it’s much different. We pay thousands of dollars to attend school and almost everyone is a legal adult. We can dress however we want as long as we don’t break the law. Uniforms could not and will not happen in college.
It can feel that way though. When it comes to the greek community, most of those involved wear some type of identifying information, whether in the form of a t-shirt or a pin. It’s genuinely hard to find a girl in a sorority who isn’t sporting the Nike shorts and tank top look. In that way though, a type of dress code or uniform can be helpful. Members of the same sorority can recognize their sisters, even from afar.
Now, I’m not naive. I understand why many public schools have switched to uniforms and by the end of my high school career, nobody particularly cared. We were all happy because we were finally allowed to wear colored undershirts and that was enough for us. However, the reasoning behind it could be examined. If I have to hear another story about a girl being forced to change out of perfectly reasonable clothes because a boy was distracted by it, I am going to scream.
Uniforms can be beneficial. They can be annoying, but they work, especially for low-income students who can’t afford to buy too many clothes. Once schools can reasonably address this apparent distraction that everyone has with clothes, then I’ll be fully convinced. Until then, maybe schools should just stick to a dress code.