My spouse (and personal shopper) was recently looking through my closet, assessing my wardrobe for the coming school year. I love her for this, for if I trusted my own sartorial sense I would surely look the slob. So each year we trek off to the mall, an almost viscerally painful experience for me, and we purchase new clothes for the year, to be supplemented later by a couple of holiday additions. I’m free to purchase clothing on my own that can’t be readily seen, such as underwear and socks, both of which I consider to come in two colors: white and not-white.
As you might guess, I don’t pay much attention to fashion, but I have listened in on a enough lunch-time conversations among faculty and staff to know that there is a certain shared angst about what to wear to school each day, the rising costs and decreasing quality of what we purchase, tips for where to find good deals, and even offers of clothing loans and swaps. My gaze then falls upon our school’s maintenance staff, each wearing an olive colored shirt with jeans to ask my self “what-if?”
Our school has a long tradition of a uniform for students—a tradition not likely to fall by the wayside. While some students may try to push the boundaries of the uniform form time-to-time, I think deep down they like the notion of having less choice at the start of the school day. Public schools are adopting uniforms as a way of instilling pride among students, while lessening the economic burden on cash-strapped parents to keep up with the latest fads in clothing, thereby equalizing the school fashion runway for all students.
So why not extend these benefits to faculty and staff? Think of the gains:
- Less time figuring out what to wear in the morning, resulting in less stress.
- Group purchasing power can bring down the cost of school clothing; certainly an economic boon in “these tough economic times.”
- Uniforms could be sourced from organic, fair trade sources helping us fulfill our school’s mission statement regarding sustainability and justice.
- Students would spend less time talking about faculty and staff clothing, and more time on, well, Facebook where they can talk about what they’re going to wear outside of school. (This one needs some work, granted.)
Maybe such a dream is a “guy” thing, but I think not. I think it’s a “green” thing. Better for the pocket-book, better for the environment. Fashion can still flourish among the uniformed through accessories (or in my case underwear and socks.) I’m already designing the Tech Department’s shirt in my head. I wonder if I could add a Dilbert embroidery to denim?
Hey, there’s a serious idea in here!