Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Catholic School Girl Uniforms...

Today, Donna Freitas, author of The Possibilities of Sainthood, gives us advice on how to alter our Catholic school uniforms... who knew???

As a lifer at Catholic schools, beginning all the way back in first grade, I wore a school uniform for TWELVE entire years. After that much experience, a girl (and her best friends) eventually develop ways of…let’s call it “altering” the plaid and the wool and the knee socks and all that go with those God-forsaken outfits. My protagonist is no exception in the art of uniform alteration, and included in THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD is her very own guide to this all-important procedure for girls forced to wear uniforms on a daily basis. Here’s an abridged version of it:

Antonia Lucia Labella’s Catholic School Girl’s Guide to Uniform Alteration
1. Most important is rolling your skirt so that it is a virtual mini (you keep folding it over at the waist-band). The key to successful skirt rolling is to be sure your Catholic pleated plaid is already hemmed at least two inches above the knee. Otherwise, if you have to fold it over, like, twenty times at the waist, you end up looking as if you’ve got a serious amount of extra inches around the middle. Not attractive. If you have a mother like mine who insists on skirts at least to the knee, then you have several possible options: get out the ironing board and iron the desired hem, then either tape said hem or carefully safety-pin it all around the bottom, ideally so that none of the pins show through to the front.

Why not just pull out a needle and thread and hem it for real? Because you always need to be prepared for emergency hem-letting-down when your mother wonders why your skirt seems so short. If she realizes you illegally hemmed it, getting grounded is almost inevitable.

2. The question of boxer shorts: to wear or not to wear boxer shorts underneath your skirt? Mothers of uniform-wearing schoolgirls across the nation hate this trend of wearing boxers even more so than the rolling up of the plaid. Preferably, you should buy your own boxers. It’s weird to steal from Dad, though some girls do it. I don’t know when or who started the boxers craze, but it’s been going on for as long as I’ve been at Catholic school (which is always). To be honest, I don’t know why wearing boxers is cool, because sometimes, frankly, it looks kind of bad, but we do it anyway. Still, depending on how much you want the boys to see, boxers are a good preventive measure for the accidental flashing factor.

3. Legs: as bare as possible. Wear socks only when you are made to, and when wearing them, make sure they are scrunched down to the ankles. Never, I repeat, never wear tights.

4. Standard white oxford: ideally two buttons un- done and never buttoned all the way to the neck. Cute, tight-fitting tank top underneath for before and after school when you are hanging out in the parking lot.

The tank top allows you to remove the required oxford entirely if you so choose and transform yourself into the ideal sexy Catholic schoolgirl that every Catholic schoolboy wants to go out with. Note: Never ever let your mother or teacher/principal see you in just a tank top or you’ll be in trouble for sure.

So that’s Antonia’s advice!

Did you—or do you—have to wear a uniform to school? And if so, how did/do you go about altering it in creative ways?
Donna in her school uniform!


Anonymous said...

Donna, you look exactly the same!

WannabeWriter said...

Man, I'm in Catholic school & I hate the socks so much I was about to wear tights ... but now I know to steer clear, haha. I had my skirt fixed up so that it's a whole size tighter - but it was too big anyway, so I guess that's not really altering it ...


- Paige

Jimmy, Jennifer, Evelyn June and Arun Bradbury said...

Fun post, Donna! Oddly enough, after teaching HS for 8 years, I sort of wished I had a uniform to wear to work each day.

By the way, if the photos of your launch party on Fuse 8 are any indication, that was one fun party!