School Uniforms

A Guide to Wearing Your New School Uniform

Whether you’re wearing school uniforms for the first time or you are gearing up with your uniform for a new school year, having some guidance on wearing your new school uniform can help ease anxiety about the start of the school year.

Get All the Pieces You Need (and Some Extras)

If you are in middle school or high school, mom or dad may allow you to pick out or even order your own school uniform pieces. Younger kids may also get some choices. This is especially true for schools that offer flexible school dress codes that allow for mixing and matching of certain pieces and colors within the schools’ dress code regulations. If you are browsing on your own or with your parents, take a look at your school’s dress code guidelines and requirements beforehand. Then jot down a list of all the items you need to have a complete uniform for all your classes; this may include:

  • Shirts (long- and short-sleeved, as needed)
  • Pants
  • Shorts or skorts
  • Skirts or dresses
  • Required jackets, vests, or outerwear
  • Required accessories such as ties
  • Any uniforms or warm-up suits for special activities, such as phys ed uniforms or swimwear for swim classes

Once you have a list of your basics, make sure to get all the items required, and stock up on a few extras, such as pants and shirts, to be sure that you have clean, fresh outfits for each new school day, or an extra uniform on hand in case of a stain or spill. Don’t forget something to carry your school supplies! A personalized backpack or custom cup for lunch time (with your school logo or initials) would be a fun choice.

Add on Optional Uniform Items

If optional pieces are permitted within your school uniform dress code items, now is the time to add those things to your list. Consider the normal weather throughout the year for your area and when you may do activities outside, such as science explorations or nature field trips. Some schools allow for outerwear options such as hoodies or sweatshirts, button or zip sweaters, vests, fleece jackets, and more. Cold-weather gear such as warm hats, scarves, and gloves or mittens will also be a must-have for recess, outdoor activities, and events, or even just getting on and off the bus in cool or cold temperatures. A custom umbrella might be just the thing to get you from the bus stop to school warm and dry.

Don’t Forget Undergarments

Comfortable, well-fitting undergarments are the mainstays under your school uniform, so get basic undergarments as well as tanks or camis, tees, and leggings that can be worn under your uniforms as needed.

Layer It Up

If your school allows you to layer uniform pieces, this is a fun and easy way to get a stylish look in uniform while staying warm and looking put-together for school. Layer a simple tee under a long-sleeve polo, appropriate-colored tights or knee socks under uniform skirts or skorts, turtlenecks or button-down shirts under smart blazers, cardigan sweaters over polo school uniform dresses, blouses with Peter Pan collars under jumpers, or wind jackets or fleece pullovers with pants and tees. A soft shell jacket can complete the look.

Shoes and Socks Make the Look

See if your choices in shoes and socks can make your uniform a little bit more special. Some schools may allow you to wear patterned socks, for example, which can be more fun than your basic white, black, or gray. You may also be able to choose your shoe style if it is in a specific color range (for everyday uniforms, many schools require neutral shoes, such as tan or black).

Add Accessories to Customize Your Style

One thing students don’t always love about school uniforms is that the clothes aren’t as original or unique as they would like. School uniforms can be a great choice that lets students focus on their education, but if you want your look to be unique, think about how you can incorporate accessories within the rules to add to your uniform look. Things such as watches, belts, hair accessories or barrettes (as long as they aren’t over the top), subtle jewelry, purses, backpacks, lunch boxes, and even umbrellas can all help show your personal sense of style. You may even want to add custom notebooks to your list!

Ask About Spirit Days or Dress-Down Days

Some schools have options such as spirit days or dress-down days that allow students to change it up from wearing their regular uniforms. On spirit days, schools may allow students to depart from girls’ or boys’ uniform shirts and pants and wear athletic clothing, spirit wear tops in the school’s colors, or solid-colored tops and bottoms in the school’s colors. Dress-down days may permit students to wear denim, jeans or jeggings, vacation or sport clothing, or other casual wear items. Nail polish or makeup may be allowed. Keep in mind that in most cases, even spirit days, dress-down days, or no-uniform days will require students to wear neat, clean, and modest clothing.

Try It All On

Try all your items on, from basic uniform pieces like shirts and tops to accessories such as belts, vests, and outwear. Make sure that everything fits properly and that you can layer things as you like (as long as it’s allowed within your school’s policy) comfortably and neatly. Follow this guide to stay looking your best according to your school’s guidelines, and get ready for a great year!

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