The first uniform I had to wear was my Brownie tunic and yellow scarf; it was second-hand but I didn’t care I was very excited, and liked to wear something which showed I belonged to a group of others who I liked. Thinking about it, I’m surprised at how much being a Brownie influenced me – not the uniform wearing, I’m not a person to conform these days, but the commitments I made as a little girl to ‘help other people every day’, ‘to do my best, to do my duty’ – and by duty I now understand it to mean to do what I have promised/agreed/undertaken/committed to doing, are actually sound things to try to do.
My next uniform was my secondary school uniform, bottle green skirt and jumper, white shirt, green and blue striped tie, green duffel coat. I never minded wearing this – it was convenient and easy, it made us in many ways equal, and later when I was a mum with children I really liked the fact that they had particular clothes to wear which kept other clothes in good condition, which were easy to wash, easy to organise for busy mornings, and were, to my mind so convenient.
There were other ‘uniforms’ in the loosest way – at the swimming club we had a club costume which we felt proud to wear. it was when Speedos first came in – before that the ideal was to wear a black costume, very plain, just black – we all aspired to have one! Out club costume was a blue, Cambridge blue colour, and how proud we were to wear them!
When I became a teacher there was always the issue as to whether students should wear uniform or not; the arguments were that it made everyone equal, that children out of school were identifiable, that it would be easier for parents (grants were available to help buy it)
In the news today was a school where the boys, adhering to the uniform, turned up in skirts because long trousers were too hot to wear and shorts weren’t allowed. Good for them!!!