I’ve talked about the effect uniforms have had on me before (see this post for some mom jeans and introspection). But today I’m not just talking about them, I’m stepping back to high school. The things I do for this blog.
Okay, that’s not entirely fair, because I love this sweater a lot, and have been looking for a decent plaid for a while. But when I slipped these on and stood in front of my mirror, I was not prepared to see 17 y/o Chrisy staring back at me.
High school was a pretty solid time. I had amazing friends, was blessed by caring teachers, and we could see the ocean from the patio where we ate lunch, for goodness sake. We had our fair share of dramas and angst, of course, but that’s going to happen anywhere.
We did have red and baby blue polos that we had to wear, with these awful electric blue plaid skirts. They were supposed to be at least five inches above the ground when kneeling—I kid you not—which meant maybe 2 inches above the knee when standing…not a flattering cut.
We all rolled them.
I didn’t start until senior year, because it wasn’t until then that I realized I could get away with it. My advisor called every girl to the front of the room and measured their skirts with an index card, but not me and not my friend Ariana; she knew ours were long enough (clearly, I was one of the cool kids)(not at all)(insert hairflip bitmoji anyways).
Anyways, it was then that I realized I could get away with rolling my skirt, because my teachers just assumed I wouldn’t. I think my classmates did to, and let’s be real, the extra inches that I could convince myself to reveal (because I was too much of a rule follower to actually make my skirt a flattering length, and just wanted to feel like I was rebelling, instead of actually showing off skin) didn’t draw any more attention to myself.
I don’t talk about modesty a lot on here, because I think it’s such a relative topic, especially in a school setting. And my feminist side comes out to fight: women shouldn’t be required to dress preemptively and defensively. I’m going to stop before I get up on that particular soapbox, but you can assume I have plenty of thoughts on the matter of dress codes.
I will say, though, that I wish I hadn’t rolled my skirt.
It’s classic peer pressure, doing some inane thing because you think it’ll change someone’s impression of you. Chances are, no one else notices. In my case, that rang particularly true, and I kinda wish I’d realized that. That the people whose interest would be impacted by a shorter hemline, these were not the people I wanted as friends. And the friends that I did have, they didn’t notice. Because what is a hemline next to your eyes or your laugh?
Yeah, it’s cliche, but the people whose opinion matters, they aren’t looking at your legs, or at how well you wear a uni-gender polo shirt (I can confirm that they’re as bad as they sound). I wish I could’ve told that to a high-school me.
Which was why it was so interesting to try on something so reminiscent now. To put on an unflattering skirt that makes me happy, to wear clunky shoes of my own volition, to slip on a giant sweater that doesn’t do anything for my figure. When you are unabashedly who you are, the clothes you put yourself in dim in comparison to that character.