I’ve always had an appreciation for private schools; more than anything because of the dress code. When I moved to New York City twelve years ago, I imagined I’d be attending a private school. After all, it’s the environment I grew up in, so it was hard to think any different. I found it even more difficult to adjust to the transition from a private school in a different country (Nigeria) to a public school here in New York City. Early on I took note of the students’ attire (among many other things) and how different it was from what I was used to. Every school I had attended up until that point were private schools; and each required its students in uniform.
While I’m all for self expression through clothing, I personally believe that uniforms would play a significant role in schools, and not just the private ones. When a school boasts standards that reach far beyond academia, that, to me, is a recipe for success–for the school and its attendees. By setting parameters for school wear, they not only preserve the aesthetic of the institution, they also challenge students to higher standards–of appearance and aspirations.
While some may argue against the induction of dress codes in schools, I would have them weigh the gains and the losses. Dress codes have the potential to assist in steering students’ focus back to what truly matters: education. When students appear as one in uniform, school becomes less about what item(s) in fashion are trending, whom is more fortunate than who, etc. and more about what lessons are being taught and learned. Not to say that uniforms will alter personalities for the better, but the impact they’re bound to have in the long run is, without a doubt, promising.
If students are provided with uniforms and reasonable dress code guidelines, I see no reason why self-expression should be stifled in the process. There is always something that can be done if one’s creativity is not put to rest. And in the case that all other options are exhausted, do as Will Smith in “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, and turn that blazer inside out to showcase the floral (or whatever) prints of your jacket lining.