What You Can Do With A Schooliform

In one of the Charlie and Lola books, Lola announces that she doesn't want to go to school because she doesn't want to wear a "schooliform." (Luckily as it turns out, her school doesn't have a schooliform and she can go dressed as an alligator if she wants to.)

Our school does have a schooliform, though a fairly flexible one. There is an official jacket, official windcheater and hat, and the uniform shop sells checked frocks, tops and trackie pants. But in reality, as long as it's navy or white, pretty much anything goes. Thus Evie went to school the other day in a dark blue Seed skirt with a nifty buckle belt (thanks, Sandra!), a white skivvy and stripy tights and got away with it.

Among the older girls,the current fashion is for white leggings (preferably lace-trimmed)* and netball skirts. Nothing else will do. Some girls also wear skinny pants under their dresses. Others wear a very smart tunic (not part of the uniform, but in prep Alice wanted one because her cousin had one, and she actually started a trend. Now she won't be seen dead in it.)

Back in my day, we rolled our socks down as low as they would go, and we all buttoned our shirts under our chins and turned up our collars (it was the 80s). We did our best to contrive drop-waists in our dresses, knotting our belts or even our school ties at hip-height (until we were reprimanded).

It's astonishing how much flexibility schoolgirls can wring out of the same basic ingredients. I was shocked a few years later to realise that the kids on the tram were wearing their socks LONG and their shirts unbuttoned and their skirts hitched UP. Quelle horreur!

So what did you do with your schooliform?

* if there is a less practical garment for schoolyard play, I'd like to know what it is. We are on our sixth pair already this year.


  1. Hi Kate! I will remember to hunt for more navy clothes at work from now on....
    I am always astounded by the variety of ways in which girls wear the same items. The next generation of girls at my high school wore their dresses so huge that they looked nothing like our tight (and possibly slutty looking) minis!

  2. I was so incredibly embarrassed by the fact that my parents forced me to wear 'school shoes' to school, rather than the stock-standard runners.

    When we had sports in the afternoons, I would sit up the back of the RE class we had before it and sneakily change into the runners I put in my bag earlier that morning.

    Otherwise I'd've to be in school shoes to play sport.

    Oh the pain, the pain of it all!