The girls' school instituted a dress code this year. Not just a What's-okay-vs.-what's-not-okay-to-wear-type dress code, but a full-blown Code of Dress. A.k.a. Uniforms.
The uniform is pretty easy to follow. Khaki bottoms - pants, capris, shorts, skirts, and jumpers are all okay - and white, black, or hunter green collared shirts on top. I was on the committee that helped come up with the Code of Dress, and I felt (and still feel) pretty darn good about it. I like that the kids still have a choice of what to wear. If it doesn't feel like a white shirt day, go with green. If you don't want to wear your polo shirt, go with a turtleneck. Sounds pretty good, right?
Well, to the 4th and 5th graders, it's akin to torture.
They whine. They complain. They show up at school in non-approved apparel and are sent down to the clothes closet, where parent volunteers such as myself, who originally thought we were signing on for a month-long position, happily hand them the appropriate items, show them to the first-class dressing room (a.k.a. art supply room) and inform them that they can come back at the end of the day for their skull-embroidered shirts or their black skinny jeans. The clothes we have on hand aren't particularly cute, and, to be honest, don't actually fit several of the offending 5th graders (wow, kids mature early these days!), and yet they continue to act as if they prefer to spend the day in ill-fitting, slightly ugly clothing that belongs to the school and is washed by somebody else's mother, rather than their own clothes, which may look like everyone else's, but at least they fit and don't smell like someone else's house.
I don't get it.
Today Vicki was complaining about the uniform. Again. When this idea first came into being she thought it was a good one, but by the time she and her classmates were finished hashing it out, she was in protest mode. She says that school uniforms keep kids from being able to express themselves. I can understand that. But I think that are better ways to express yourself than by what you wear. I asked her what she'd wear that would express her own personality.
Her answer? "I don't know...something cool."
So I asked her, "What's cool?"
"Skinny jeans. Everybody wears them."
Ah, sweet, sweet irony. How I love thee.