From Our Teen Readers
March 24, 2015 3:06 pm

Anyone who knows me could tell you that I have a bit of a shopping addiction. I always vow to save my paycheck, yet somehow it seems to dwindle away whenever I browse through Modcloth. Typical as it may be, one of my favorite weekend activities is shopping. I love clothes. I love finding the perfect outfit. I love the way my favorite polka dot sweater gives me confidence.

But despite my obsession with all things fashion, I actually don’t mind wearing a school uniform. In fact, I’m glad my school requires one. Although this may seem like a contradiction, I have found that there are five main benefits of wearing a prescribed outfit to school.

1. The extra sleep is fantastic!

I never have to think about what I’m going to wear to school — I just throw on a plaid skirt and polo, and I’m ready to go! This saves me an exorbitant amount of time in the mornings. Some days, I am so lazy that I wear my uniform to bed so that I don’t have to change when I wake up!

2. Uniforms have saved me from embarrassing trends.

Wearing a uniform helped me avoid some pretty horrendous trends. Thanks to my trusty plaid skirt, I steered clear of those gaucho pants and Crocs!

3. Uniforms force you to pick friends based on more than outward appearance.

I began wearing my uniform at the beginning of middle school — right at the height of my awkward self-exploration faze. I wasn’t quite sure who I was yet or which crowd I would fit in. But when everyone is dressed the same way, you are truly forced to select your friends based on more than an outward appearance. I have made so many wonderful and diverse friends during my time in plaid, and to some degree, I think my uniform is to thank.

4. Casual days are extra special.

Approximately once a month, we are given a “casual day” at my school. In order to gain the privilege of casual clothes, each student brings in a dollar to donate to charity. These days generate a lot of excitement, and everyone gets to show off a bit of their personal style. I love how wearing a uniform can make a day in our own clothes feel so special.

5. Uniforms help to develop self-expression.

Many argue that wearing a uniform can stifle self-expression, but I would argue that it has the opposite effect. When you wear a uniform, you cannot rely on your clothing to express what type of person you are. Instead, you must show your personality through your actions and words. I think that this is particularly important, especially during middle and high school. This is a time of so much introspection, and when you strip away the pressure of clothing, it creates a totally open environment for self-discovery.

Students have a wide-range of opinions when it comes to uniforms. All I know is that for me, they have definitely been a positive experience. My advice to those who attend schools with uniforms is to embrace all the positive aspects of them! Enjoy that extra fifteen minutes of sleep while it lasts.

Lillie Penley is a polka dot enthusiast living in Nashville, Tennessee. Her hobbies include binge watching ‘Parks and Rec,’ eating gummy bears, and crying over videos of yawning kittens. If she isn’t onstage or cooped up in the library, you can probably find her in English class.

(Images via here, here, here, here, and here.)

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