When I go into my local Coffee Bean on the way to catch my bus for work (this means at like 7am), there are always groups of teens from St. Monica’s High School getting their morning java. They have a uniform: black or tan pleated skirt or pants (depending on gender), white or green polo shirts and matching sweaters.
This isn’t anywhere near as formal as the uniform was at my own girls’ school — the St. Monica kids can wear tennis shoes, for example — but still makes me think of how even within (or maybe especially within) a uniformed environment, there are constant attempts at style or fashion.
One I remember from my own high school days was the fashion of wearing huarache sandals. Sandals themselves were not allowed because the school guidelines clearly stated that we had to wear "brown or black closed toe shoes," however, it was (of course) possible to find huaraches with covered toes.
Such was the case of many fashion choices — obedience to the letter of the law while defying the spirit with as much energy as possible.
Other perienial favorites were: shortening our skirts (though the 20 plus pleats made the difficult unless one wanted to pay a professional tailor), pushing the limits of "natural-looking" make up and hair color (one friend of mine actually got assigned a detention before her mother came and explained that her brown hair always streaked red in the sun), white socks "accidently" turned pink by washing, wearing turtlenecks or thermals under our school shirts…. This list could go on and on. But what was interesting, now that I think about it, was that the conformity within our non-conformity was so profound.
So what’s "in" at St. Monica’s this Fall?
Socks. Either knee socks (though not the fold-over kind, but rather ones that are just barely too short — how do they keep them up?) and "footie" socks (the kind that are completely covered by shoes, leaving the ankles and legs bare). I’ve seen no ankle socks at all this year.
Shoes. Either Van’s slip-ons or Converse All-Star low tops.
Skirts. I suspect St. Monica’s has a "no more than 4 inches above the knee" rule. Why? Because whatever the girls’ heights might be, that’s the length where their skirts end.
As to the rest, I don’t know.