Uniforms Make Dressing for School So Much Easier

A typical uniform a girl
would wear to school in Japan.

Junior high may be the most brutal time to go to school for any teenager. Teen angst starts to kick in, popularity wars begin and the sudden urge to always fit in becomes the priority for many incoming students. So dressing for school wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to do at times.

I remember many of my friends trying their hardest to get a hold of the “hottest” Abercrombie shirts or arguing with their mothers about being able to shave and wear makeup “because everyone else is.” I won’t deny – we were all too young to understand that trying to be like everyone else was just silly. And like the other kids at school, I would continuously worry about what I was going to wear the next day.

This all changed for me when I moved to Japan after finishing my first two years of junior high. All the sudden everything was different and there was so much adjusting to do. I enrolled in a Japanese middle school and learned that I would be wearing a uniform to school everyday. At first, I wasn’t too fond of wearing the same outfit day after day, but it gradually grew on me as I became more accustomed to my new life in what felt like a foreign country to me.

My school uniform consisted of a plaid skirt, white shirt and a bow and in the winter we’d also wear cardigans and blazers (sound a lot like Gossip Girl?). There were no more endless searches in the closet to find the perfect outfit; it was already chosen for me. No more pressure of what everyone else would think, since we were all essentially dressed the same.

But that’s not to say that all competition ceased to exist. Instead of trying to find a way to be similar to one another, we’d all struggle to do something to make us stand out. Whether it was by shortening our skirts or wearing cute hair accessories, we’d do anything to be different to impress one another. So when colored cardigans became all the rage, every girl had her own bright color (although they were immediately banned by the school due to them causing “disruptions in class” and followed by an unsuccessful petition which the teachers shot down in a heartbeat).

So even though there were limitations, I enjoyed having a uniform to wear everyday and it certainly took away a lot of unneeded stress for a girl that age. I think at times it even sparked more creativity and uniqueness because we all got bored of looking exactly the same.

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