If you're like me, you don't have much trouble picking out what you're going to wear for school the next day . . . because you have to wear a uniform. I know, uniforms aren't exactly flattering, flashy, fashionable, or any other word that starts with an F. ;-) But my friends and I always look for ways to personalize our uniforms without breaking the rules of the dreaded dress code. So here are some things I do day-to-day to stand out, get noticed, and still have a functional uniform.
Let's start with your head, shall we? Your hair already makes you your own person because most likely, your hair isn't like anyone else's. (This is a good thing.) Ribbons, hair pins, scarves, head bands, and clips are always a quick fix when you need a little color or spice added to your outfit. I have tons of hair clippy dippies. I get complimented on them all the time. Go for things that hardly anyone has. There are also so many colors, prints, and textures that the possibilities are infinite! Most of these things also come cheap or you can make them yourself.
Jewelry is a fast way to set you apart. Again, the variety of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces are pretty wide-spread. It's not hard to find maybe a few things you'd like. Also, wearing sentimental jewelry sort of gives you a story to tell if people ask or comment on it. (Conversation starters, hello!?) Jewelry is also fun to make. You can make beads, string, bows, anything! Your local crafts store probably has thousands of things you can turn into your own creative pieces. The big trend at my school is stacking bracelets. They don't have to match, you can wear tons at one time, and you can always mix it up for a new look everyday. I actually do this daily, whether I'm at school or not.
Backpacks and bags are a whole other ball game. What your bag/backpack looks like can say a lot about you. Mine has tons of pins and buttons on it that I've collected from various family vacations, concerts, and gifts from friends. There's also tons of notes on it that my friends have written for me with colored sharpie. Don't forget about the safety pins, ribbons, and key chains I have! By the end of the day, my bag weighs about 10 pounds more than it should from all the things I have on it, but tons of people tell me how they love my bag. Your bag can mean a lot to you if your friends over the years have signed it, or you took it on a trip, or if it was a gift. But do remember, that a functional bag is most important. Make sure it can hold your books and pens first, then make it unique.
Shoes . . . I personally have somewhere between 25-30 pairs of shoes that I try and wear on a regular basis. My school colors are blue and white. (exciting, I know.) But none of my shoes are actually those colors. Shoes don't have to match the exact color of your uniform. In my opinion, it just makes you look like you bought those shoes just so that you'd match. Although if you do like them, more power to you. Canvas shoes are great because if they get dirty, they're easy to wash. Plus, you can draw on them and personalize them with no hassle. I'm also a fan of funky laces. I even put pins on my shoes. Ditch your white socks. They get dirty and often times can't be made completely white again. Go for some sweet socks that maybe match the accent color of the shoe. Show some personality. :-)
Wear colored t-shirts under your polo. Now I realize that not all people who must wear uniforms actually wear polos. But many Catholic and private schools that I know of do in fact have polos as part of their uniform. No matter what color the uniform shirt is, wear a brightly colored shirt underneath. This definitely shows personality. I used to just wear white t-shirts under my blue polo because I thought nothing else would look good with it. I soon realized that it doesn't exactly have to match. Pink, red, orange, black, lime green, the possibilities are endless. If you're like me, I play tons of sports and accumulate tons of t-shirts from teams, sometimes concerts, tournaments, and school functions. Save your t-shirts! The color list goes on and on.
Belts are simple, yet there are so many options. I actually wear the same one everyday. I don't really have time to change it or I don't think about it. But no one else has my belt. People ask me where I get it all the time. Find one you like that you'll be sure no one else has. Mine came from the county fair at a small booth. :-)
Nail polish is pretty self explanatory, but it does help you be an individual. There are a lot of different colors. Again, don't worry about matching. No one will notice that your finger nail polish doesn't go with your shoes. They'll notice that you're wearing a pretty color on your nails. When I see someone with pretty nails, I often go home and paint my nails. Something about seeing someone else's nails painted gives me motivation to pain mine. Haha. That does sound rather cheesy, but true.
10 Second Re-cap:
1. Hair accessories! Try something new.
2. Jewelry. Funky, fun, colorful. Maybe even sentimental.
3. Bag/Backpack. Functional first! Then unique.
4. Shoes! Don't forget laces and socks too.
5. Colored t-shirts under polo's will always work.
6. Belts. Keep it fun and simple.
7. Nail polish. Doesn't have to match.
8. Don't worry about matching too much.
9. Making things yourself is always fun and lets you be creative.
Truthfully, there are so many ways to help yourself stand out in a crowd of people wearing the same thing you are! (Other things like make-up, your locker, ever your pencils!) Realize that your school staff isn't trying to punish you by making you wear uniforms. They're just trying to help prevent problems like worrying about if the clothing chosen by the student is appropriate. It also avoids the issues of, "Oh my goodness! I can't wear that shirt mom! I wore it three weeks ago on Tuesday!" and "Ew. Did you see what she's wearing today?" It avoids so many problems and keeps everything in order. Also, outside of school, your classmates can see what a fashionista you really are. ;-)
I know that some of the things I mentioned would still be breaking the rules at your school. I'm going by the rules at my school. I'm sure you can find the ones that would be appropriate for you to try. So when you head back to school, keep some of these things in mind! And try one out if you have one of those "I look like everyone else!" days.