From ages 5 to 14, I attended an all-girls day school in New York City. It was there that I received your typical late 90s/early aughts education, from perfecting the art of--(wait for it)--cursive to anxiously digesting our sixth grade supervisor's announcement that it was time to start wearing deodorant. Now that my brain is on the brink of graduating, I can say that these formative years of schooling alongside my fellow female creatures served me well--I can read and write and play Cat's Cradle and even do some math stuff. But important curriculum staples aside, my time there blessed me with an entirely different yet equally life-enhancing skill.
You see, from ages 5 to 14, I also had to wear a strictly enforced uniform. My school's dress code was pretty standard fare--pleated jumpers and blouses in lower school, kilts and collared shirts in middle and upper school. I essentially spent my days surrounded by varying shades of green.
|Note my sultry sock-rolling technique|
So getting back to the point of this endearing narrative, I learned a special skill: how to maintain a unique sense of style amidst a sea of (very literal) uniformity. Ladies and g's, it was not an easy task. It took many years and many cafeteria muffins to perfect, including some inevitable trial and error. Take the time in fourth grade I decided to forego the green uniform shorts we were required to wear underneath our green uniform kilts. What an innovative choice! A bold and silent rebellion! I thought to myself. That afternoon, my entire class received the rare privilege of visiting nearby Carl Schurz park as a mid-day treat. Being an excitable and limber burgeoning adolescent, I headed straight for the monkey bars and promptly swung myself up so that I was perched on top of them, legs dangling. At that exact moment, our chaperone (30-something Irish Catholic cop-resembling male science teacher and incidental girlhood crush of yours truly) decided to look up.
Babies cried. The sky darkened. Jesus laughed. The teacher delicately reminded me that we were supposed to wear green uniform shorts under our green uniform kilts.
Learn from the blunders of others, people! Whether you're a kilt-clad student or a denizen of some other uniformed lifestyle (e.g. bobsled team member, lifeguard, investment banker, candy striper), heed my words and treasure these nuggets of stylistic wisdom. From the depths of my humble experience, here are SEVEN foolproof methods for exhibiting zesty fashion statements while remaining in uniform and even concealing your underwear:
1) Accessorize. This is an obvious one. If clothing options are out of your hands, at least slap on some stupid-cool bracelets and rings to mask their helplessness.
2) Apply fake tattoos. Subtle smiley face on your ankle? Obnoxiously humongous dragon around your torso? Guys, guys, guys: you get to choose.
3) Put on some patterned socks or tights. I'm talking polka dots here, people. Alternatively--on a bold day--pink camo.
4) Get creative with fingernail polish. Self-explanatory instructional media here and here.
5) Make your hair awesome-er. Ideas: clip-in purple streak, Baby Spice pigtails, dreadlocks.
6) Wear your feelings on your face. By which I mean, do fun stuff with makeup. Nothing says uniform? what uniform? like a rebellious red lip.
7) Embellish. Three words: glue, rhinestones, go.
If you get any flack whatsoever from figures of authority real or imagined, please direct them to this blog.
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