American school uniform use is on the rise, and students are looking for practical tips on how to make a school uniform your own. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 19 percent of American schools require school uniforms. The trend toward school uniforms has been built on the idea that it decreases costs to parents, bullying, and classroom distractions. These are all good things. But students who wear uniforms still want to express their individuality through their clothing. Dress codes differ from school to school, but you still have quite a few options to show your true self through your wardrobe.
School Uniform Choices
In an effort to offer some options, many schools have several versions of the school uniform available. Between skirts, pants, shorts, vests, and sweaters, there are a lot of outfit combinations to be considered. But some schools also give color options, like the choice of a plaid or solid skirt in school colors. This allows all of the students to have a uniform look but the choice of how they want to go about it. If you’re not a cardigan person, you can wear a sweatshirt. And for those days you want to show your legs, choose skirts or shorts over slacks
As tech focused as we have gotten, books are still a part of the school equation. And how do you get your books back and forth from school? Your trusty bookbag. Or maybe a messenger bag. Or a duffle. Or a hobo bag. Just the style of bag you choose to wear can say a lot about you and your personality.
Have a favorite color that isn’t included in your uniform? Your bag is easy way to incorporate it into your daily routine. You can also further accessorize your bag with charms, patches, or pins. Can’t wear that tee shirt with the slogan you love? Put it on a pin and put it on your bag. And you can change it for each day of the week or depending on how you feel when you get ready in the morning.
Jewelry has always been a very personal way to express who you are. For example, you can wear necklaces to show your faith, your hobbies, or even your birthstone. Charm bracelets are another
popular piece that leaves room for personal expression. Although girls tend to wear more jewelry than boys, boys can get into it, too. Just keep in mind that many school dress codes ban jewelry that’s too big or distracting. And some dress codes also limit the number of pieces to be worn. Be sure to check with the student handbook if you’re unsure if your dress code specifies any limitations.
Many dress codes don’t require certain shoes to go with the school uniforms. As long as the shoes are not open toed, you can use them to bring a little of how you see the world to your outfit.
Shoes are great for this because they can dress up or dress down a uniform. You’re saying one thing if you’re wearing high top sneakers with your uniform and you’re saying something else if you’re wearing dress shoes. Many schools choose uniforms to avoid students having to compete with expensive fashions. Still, you can wear shoes that show your fashionable side if you’d like.
Don’t forget the hair! Hair is just an accessory that comes out of your head. You’ve got to do something with anyway so you might as well take some time to make it reflect your personality. For the boys, a specific haircut or design might be the way to shine. Girls have a few more options because their hair is usually longer. Updos, curls, braids, and ponys are all interesting options.
As with jewelry, most dress codes include a rule about keeping hair neat and avoiding distractions to the other students in class. If you think your expression of your hair may be a little too much, considering running it past the dean of students or the vice principal’s office before you get that edgy cut or buy your hair dye.
Read more about dress codes
Tegan Connor is blogger and Brand Advisor for Neverland Store. She enjoys writing about learning topics, as well as fashion, lifestyle, and student life.