If your child is ‘lucky’ enough to go to a school with no uniform, you may have come across the fine social distinctions that kids make when assessing what someone else is wearing. Otherwise known as straightforward snobbery, what a boy or girl wears to school is as much school ‘Uniform’ as this. I have been to two schools that had no uniform – the only stipulation at one being that ‘we were not allowed to wear partitions between the legs’. This was an unecessarily pompous way of telling several hundred young girls how to dress. They could just as easily have said ‘NO TROUSERS’. (To be fair to the writers of my school’s constitution, they were probably concerned Victorians whose offspring were catching wind of the emerging Suffragette movement and thought their beloved daughters may break out in something like this): To disguise the fact we weren’t wearing skirts, we all tested this rule as far as we could by wearing culottes, until we were caught out waddling down the central corridor of our school like a David Attenborough cast of penguins. Designer labels and passing fashions weren’t as much a feature then as now, although I remember one girl in my year coming to class dressed head-to-toe in colourful, matching woolly Aztec hat, scarf, gloves and toeful socks. We all begged our parents for the same gear, and envied our friends with enough pocket money saved up who could buy it for themselves. We were too young to be Vietnam war protesters, but not too old to look like Tintin on a mission in South America. I come down on the side of an official uniform. If nothing else, you can tell if a child roaming the streets is playing truant, or just a short tourist. Incidentally, if you were wondering why all the Dads in today’s cartoon are wearing red trousers, you probably don’t live in London, or the Home Counties. Be very grateful. With thanks to Hergé’s estate
I remember culottes, oh how I hated wearing them. I wore a school uniform for all of high school, no pants, a kilt and white blouse.
This reads SO differently in the UK. But I know what you mean about pants. 🙂