By Tatiana Pérez

Well, folks, the time has come: summer is drawing to a regrettable close, and sophomore year is imminent. As school approaches and I make tentative plans to spend a day at Woodbury Commons to squander my summer earnings on new digs, I can’t help but be wistful of a simpler time… a time when all a girl needed was a kilt and a dream.

From the Fall of 1998 to the Spring of 2012 (with the exception of one hapless annum living with my family out West), for three-quarters of the year, I donned a uniform. That’s 117 months–over half of my grand total of 224–spent en uniforme. This uniform evolved as we–my fellow “Lifers” (as in, those who spent a lifetime at our school)–did. In pre-k, it consisted of a grey button-down jumper over a white ruffly-sleeved blouse; from kindergarten until fourth grade, a red-and-white checkered pinafore (tied ‘round a grey pullover, again on top of a white blouse, similar to the one we donned when we were three or four); from fifth to seventh grade, a grey pleated skirt paired with a white top and our choice of a red or pink cardigan; then, in high school, the crowning costume: in the fall and spring, we sported a pale blue skirt and our selection of either a white, blue, black, or grey top, and in the winter…oh, the winter…a sultry green kilt plaid-ed with with delicate streaks of ivory, gold, midnight, and crimson.

The Administration enforced fairly stringent rules on how we were to wear The Uniform. Of course, these rules slackened as we grew older. As you might imagine (or, perhaps, empathize), we took our uniform privileges gravely seriously. With age came certain concessions (e.g. No Collar Fridays, Boots Mondays, et cetera), and we would quite literally petition to ensure that we were granted those liberties. We test-ran the latest trends on our uniform. We challenged the The Ley with our uniform. We took pride in our (adorable) uniform, as it was among the (countless) facets that made us superior to our rival all-girls’ schools. Bitch about it as we did, we f*cking adored our uniform.

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Just my friends and me being total kooks back in the day!
(Image Courtesy of KQED)

I’m not too fabulous to admit that I don’t have “style,” per se. That’s not say that I dress poorly (I hope…), but I certainly do not fall into a sartorial category; I’m not a prepster, a punk, a hipster, or a hippie. I’m actually a big fan of exercise clothes (I know, I know — I’m a sorry excuse for a New Yorker when it comes to matters of attire), chiefly because I happen to think they’re both cute and comfortable. Sadly, however, my friends–a.k.a. my personal Administration–forced to me stop wearing my self-imposed Lululemon uniform outside of the gym after first semester (I admit, I was becoming a bit complacent with my synthetic wardrobe… and–*sigh*–denim isn’t all bad).

Because I lack style, my school uniform was an absolute boon. I always lived within ten blocks of my school, which meant that for thirteen years, I was able to roll out of bed at 7:30, blindly toss on some arbitrary variation of what I had worn the day before, and sprint through the gates (more or less) on time for my 8:05 class. Ergo, college is totally and utterly brutal in comparison; now I have to spend more than sixty seconds picking out my threads for the day. And it f*cking blows. I miss my uniform. So. Much.

My nostalgia for the days of the proverbial Kilt has never been more potent than it is now, what with the inordinate eruption of back-to-school shopping commercials bombarding me every time I sit down to watch a little Law & Order. So, as a kind of end of summer “Ode to Uniform,” I decided to flaunt my kilt for a day.

The moment I stepped out of my elevator, the doormen confronted me with perplexed looks. As I waited in line for my morning cup o’ Joe, a woman complimented me on my skirt (judging by her initial less-than-congratulatory glance, though, I suspected it was one of those feigned flatteries people tend to give in the heat of a “WTF is s/he wearing” moment). Getting out of Subway was quite the task; even though I sported precautionary shorts under my kilt (obviously… I’m not a harlot), I struggled to tuck the margin under my buttocks whilst shifting my iced latte from hand to hand. And, of course, there were the expected raspberries from desperate “gentlemen” on the street (my uniformed sisters and I became desensitized to these at an all-too-young age), collocated with disapproving glowers from conservative ladies who surely had poor opinions of my garment’s length.

And all the while, I pined for the epoch when I wore that sacrosanct skirt on the daily. Until Halloween next time, old friend.

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Channeling Blair (calm down, Mom… it’s my index finger).

Featured Image Courtesy of Behind the Talent

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