School-goers around Ireland are throwing their uniform in the bottom of their wardrobes for the summer holidays and I am sure many are glad of it. I never minded my school uniform, everyone else had to wear it so it lessened the sting of it being a bit shapeless. Adding to that, there was no stress about what to wear for the day, although you could have a mini panic attack when your only jumper suddenly had a hole in it.
I am pretty much pro-uniform when it comes to school overall. However, as these fictional worlds have proven, it could have been so much better.
School of Rock (2003)
School of Rock saw Jack Black step into the shoes of a failing musician desperate for rent money, who poses as his flat-mate to teach at a very prestigious school. He then discovers that some of his students are talented classical musicians and plots to enter them into a battle of the bands for a cash prize. Jack Black movies can be hit and miss for some people but the charm and hilarity of School of Rock has been met with much positivity.
I went through a phase of watching this movie a lot when it first came out on DVD. As everyone knows, the more you watch something, the more you notice. I noticed how interchangeable the Horace Green uniform was. I thought of my own boring bottle green jumper, socks and red and green tartan skirt that I wore every day, and I was very jealous. Horace Green students could wear a tartan trousers or skirt one day, and a grey one the next. Their neckwear included ties or bows that were either striped or tartan. Their upper body choices included cardigans, blazers and sweater vests. They even had a choice of shirt collars!
Canis Canem Edit/Bully: Scholarship Edition (2006/2008)
The world of Bullworth Academy is a lucrative one, you discover this soon after Jimmy Hopkins runs into trouble with some bullies when he first sets foot within its grounds. You also soon learn that the bullies are but one of many factions operating in the school. Between classes, curfews and detention, it is up to you to bring the school together before your sociopathic bff turns the school (and even town) into an even bigger war zone.
The factions use their Bullworth Uniforms as an expression of their own identities, even Jimmy Hopkins can buy and dress in some of the alternative uniform options. When not cosplaying, the nerds are all identified by their light green sweater vests (honourable mention goes to nerd Algernon’s iconic broken pants zipper). Nerd girl Beatrice also wears light green but in the form of a tartan skirt, with suspenders and shirt with a pussy bow. The jocks are easy to spot, usually wearing baggy jeans or uniform trousers teamed with dark blue Bullworth varsity jackets. The jock faction also includes cheerleader Mandy, who spends her time in a dark blue and gold cheerleading uniform. The preps all shop in an expensive boutique in town called Aquaberry, which stocks argyle sweaters and sweater vests. The bullies keep it simple in short sleeved white shirts and baggy trousers. The greasers wear their dark blue bullworth jumpers with leather jackets (surprise), although greaser Lola Bombardi does not wear a uniform at all. Most other students just wear dark green jumpers, which seems like a safe bet when there is so many enemies to make, as Jimmy Hopkins finds out.
Gossip Girl (2007-2012)
It would be a crime to exclude those upper-east siders from this list. This series began life in a book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, where she outlined the “scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite”, all narrated by the mysterious Gossip Girl. It was snapped up by the CW and in its early life as a television show, it became almost like a living magazine, telling people what music and fashion they should be paying attention to.
In the initial seasons the young socialites in Gossip Girl still had school to go to. The girls of Constance Billard customised their uniforms accordingly. Blair Waldorf and her crew often opted for neck bows, classic tailoring and of course the signature “Queen B” headband, all true to Blair’s perfectionist tendencies. Ex-party girl Serena Van Der Woodsen took a more relaxed approach, teeming a tank top or baggy t-shirt with a cardigan, all topped off by a loose tie and knee high boots, sometimes heels.
St. Trinian’s (2007)
Anarchic all-girls school St. Trinian’s was first unleashed upon the world by cartoonist Ronald Searle and was later followed by a quartet of movies starting in 1954, and one more in 1980. The 2007 version follows the St. Trinian’s students and staff as they plan to raise school funding by stealing a priceless piece of art. After all, a bake sale would be far too easy…and far too legal.
The uniforms in this St. Trinian’s revival are very much a faction thing yet again. The “posh totty” group mixes suspender stockings, thigh high socks and fishnets in with their uniform look. This is accompanied by romantic ruffled collar blouses, miniskirts or pinafores. The emo group is a lot edgier, taking away ruffles and tailoring and adding studded belts and ripped tights. The nerds keep is simple and wear something that is more like a real school uniform, most notably the skirt below the knees (although I know many who got away with not having that). True to their youth and finding their footing in the St. Trinian’s pecking order, first years look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards. It works in a “let’s take on the man” kind of way.
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