By Ellie Bailey NCS ‘19
On June 5, 2017, a single user posted a comment in the NCS Class of 2019 Facebook group that resulted in a digital burst of shared excitement and frustration among the then rising Juniors.
For the amount of discussion and chaos that arose from that day, the original comment was surprisingly brief. It was eight words long: “like this if ur down for a uniform”. Of the sixty-two users who viewed the post, over half “liked” it.
This somewhat unusual comment out of context resulted from the Upper School meeting that had occurred earlier that day, in which the updated dress code was unveiled to the student body. To the dismay of many students, the new dress code prohibited sportswear, ripped clothing, and shorts with an inseam shorter than five inches.
Following the original post in the Facebook group, internet polls were sent out, “likes” abounded, and counter arguments were posted. Everyone seemed to have a strong opinion about the dress code or potential uniform, yet the school had not even mentioned the possibility of a uniform.
Exactly three months after the first mention of a uniform in the Facebook group, the original poster published links to purchase a uniform that she and a friend had designed. She specified that the uniform was “obviously completely optional and not restrictive in [any way].” The girl who designed the optional uniform declined an interview, asking to remain anonymous until she starts wearing the uniform to school on September 25, but she invited other juniors to wear the uniform to school, noting: “we decided on a khaki skirt & navy polo, and of course [students] could choose to vary the colors of polo, or mix and match in any way.”
When asked their opinions on the optional uniform, upper schoolers are divided. Out of thirty-one junior girls polled on the issue, thirty-nine percent declared that they would not wear the optional uniform, thirteen percent declared they planned on wearing it, and the remaining forty-eight percent remained undecided.
Bridget Clare articulated: “The dress code isn’t that bad. We don’t need a uniform, but I’m also not against a uniform. [The girls who want to wear the uniform] can [wear the uniform] if they want, but I think compared to St. Albans and other schools, our dress code is pretty good.”
An STA Junior, confused by the concept, commented: “I don’t understand the point. If it’s optional there’s no point in having it at all.”
Maggie Wang noted a similar sentiment, explaining: “I think the idea of having an optional uniform detracts from the purpose of having a uniform at all because it would create a divide between the students who would want to wear the uniform and those who don’t.”
A different junior, Izzy Allum, said: “I don’t really care what [the girls who are creating the uniform] are doing, but if you are going to make your own uniform, you might as well make it prettier than a khaki skirt.”
Katelyn Craven sympathized with Izzy, stating: “If it wasn’t a khaki skirt I would buy it. Khaki is gross.”
Conversely, Nina Miller commented: “I am for the optional uniform because I think it will make mornings easier for me. I won’t have to stress out about finding outfits to wear every day. Last year I could just throw on leggings and leave. It was a lot less stressful. [This year] I can just throw on a uniform and leave. The new dress code is a lot more restrictive on what you can wear. Every day you have to wear nice, sometimes uncomfortable, clothes so a uniform creates another option.”
The jury is still out on whether the optional uniform will be a popular outfit this fall or another passing fad. Keep your eyes peeled for upper schoolers wearing khaki kilts in the coming weeks to see how this trend plays out.