Clothes Retrospectives

Uniform rules

(All the posts from the Sydney trip are now online)

Read an article yesterday about new non-tuck school shirts to avoid the endless problems of students not tucking their shirts in. Seems to make sense, particularly in summer.

As far as I recall, during my school-uniformed years (years 9-12), while most didn’t, I did tuck my shirt in. But then, I was a geek. I also seem to recall I never wore shorts, which must have been bloody hot on the hottest days. What was I thinking? Some kind of phobia about displaying my knees in public?!

In year 12, there were special jumpers you could wear signifying your superior status over the other students. I think it was maroon instead of the usual green. Or was it green instead of the usual maroon? No, the former. With a special logo and VCE 1988 lettering. But a quirk in the school rules said you couldn’t wear the jumper without a jacket, unless you were wearing shorts. Some of us rebelled against that, keen to show off the status. And got told off for it. Seemed like a silly rule to me.

Though not as silly, I think, as the proposals from one SRC (School Representative Council) presidential candidate to introduce school cardigans. Cardigans?! We were teenagers, not retirees.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Uniform rules”

Related to shirt-tucking is the teenage fashion of showing the top 5 inches of your underpants. Ugghh!! When I was at school, if you showed your undies you would wag school for a week to avoid the mocking.

I was at a state school in Queensland. The girls had a choice of shirts specifically designed not to be tucked in, with a band around the bottom of the shirt that sat on the hips, with enough room for movement (if you see pictures from Brisbane Girls Grammar School, that was the style). Eminently sensible, flattering for a wide range of figures, and very neat. Boys still had standard shirts, and got told off all the time.

Oh, and the non-tuck shirts were MUCH cooler. Few of us chose the tuck-in ones, iirc.

(p.s. I finished school the same year that you did, Daniel)

Cardigans were all the rage in senior years at my school. They somewhat disguised the fact you were wearing a sleeveless, body hugging, v-neck shift dress in an almost seethrough pale gray cotton – with an absolutely ginormous white sailor-style collar plonked on top! If you didn’t have a tan or boobs or sensible coloured underwear you’d wear a cardie three sizes too big to gain maximum coverage even on the sweatiest of days. Can’t believe I survived.

(the same year as Daniel and flerdle… or the year before? Maths not so good as I spent a lot of classtime in the sick bay suffering from cardigan-related dehydration.)

I went to Malvern Girls Central and I can remember two things distinctly regarding our uniform – No. 1 was that some of us (myself included) carried elastic to put around our waist if we happened to have our uniform belt confiscated because our dress was considered to be too short. No. 2 was kneeling down to have your uniform length inspected. When kneeling on your knees the dress had to be just above your knees but only just. Any more than say a couple of centimetres and the belt (refer No. 1 above) would be confiscated. We had to impress the De La Salle boys so that is why the elastic was held as an emergency belt.

I am talking about the sixties here when it was even considered scandalous for ladies to wear a “trouser suit” to work

‘But a quirk in the school rules said you couldn’t wear the jumper without a jacket, unless you were wearing shorts.’

That has a semblance of sense.

Dramatically over-dressing the top while under-dressing the bottom is gauche. As dumb as wearing a suit & tie with thongs (or runners).

It’s better to be consistenty under-dressed (thongs, shorts and T-shirt) or consistently over-dressed (the full bag of fruit) than half & half, split at the ankle or waist.

A slight variation (eg jumper + shirt + shorts or trousers + T-shirt) is also OK, but only by one degree of dress formality. Which is more or less what the old rules were getting at in their allowing jacketless wear with shorts.

Even in a formal setting, a slight under-dressing all over is surely better than a radical top/bottom split, which looks tacky.

My school had this bizarre rule where we weren’t allowed to wear a jumper without our blazer… Ever. Which was pretty bad when it rained because our blazers were cashmere blend which is very pretty but smells like wet dog when its rained on.

Whatever the outermost item of clothing was had to have the school emblem on it.

At our eldest son’s school they have to wait for the principal to announce that it’s time to wear your next seasons uniform ie winter to summer & vice versa. They do have a really nice polo for for boys to wear in summer.

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