Why uniforms?


When I was young, my family was pretty poor, and I rarely wore brand-name fashion.  And by “rarely” I mean “until I had a job and could buy it myself.”  As a middle-schooler, I got my first taste of how that impacted my social life.  I can tell you; it wasn’t positive.  It was embarrassing.  I felt a great deal of shame for not even knowing what A Smile or Guess jeans even were, let alone how to coordinate the colorful or faded or strategically torn pants.  Not having the latest trends set me apart from my peers — and not in a good way.  Whole groups of students (especially girls) knew exactly how they were supposed to feel about me just by the way I dressed, and there was nothing I could do about it.  

We’ve all been there — dressed the wrong way for an occasion, like showing up in a costume for a Halloween party where everyone else is in jeans.  No?  Just me?  Okay.  

Uniforms go straight to the heart of our core value of equity.  If all of us are wearing the same wardrobe (khaki pants, shorts, or skirt and an assortment of shirts and outerwear), it eliminates one way in which we make judgments.  If we’re wearing the same kinds of clothes, I have to get to know you before I can decide whether or not I like you.  That requires conversation, openness, vulnerability, and critical thinking, all of which we value highly at Willow.

Uniforms also go straight to our core value of community.  Why do sports teams wear uniforms?  Partly so you know who’s on your team, and partly to express pride in that team.  When you put on your Willow uniform, I want you to feel proud of it.  I want community members who see you in the uniform to know that you are part of a team that cares about its members and its community.

We value the input of students and parents about school uniform choices, and about design.  Contact us to add your voice to the conversation!

Brenda McDonald