Fashion forward

Wearing uniforms does not level the playing field, as some smart people think. I wore the uniforms of parochial school, waitress, girl scout, cheerleader, lifeguard and the blue-jeaned; thus claim entitlement to state: Uniforms foment the churning need to stand out, to differentiate.

This may explain the emergence of weird behaviors among the uniformed.

In Immaculate Conception kindergarten, in a hunter green jumper, I once sobbed throughout an entire half-day. I don’t know why I was sobbing but enjoyed the teacher patting my shoulder until I fell asleep at my desk. I liked being singled out.

Waitresses, myself included, exaggerate body movements. In a checkered-sack with hanky-size apron, I didn’t walk about a restaurant. I strode, even swiveled. I didn’t serve a cup of coffee. I flounced it upon the table with a flourish. A tip told me I must surely be one-of-a-kind.

A cheerleading uniform is formidable garb, what with the expectation you will uplift all humanity during the game. But, each cheerleader attempts the higher jump, the wider split, the louder bleat. In box pleats and white sneakers, I sure did. Competing with each other outranked winning some game unfolding on the field.

Lifeguard and Girl Scout uniforms have this in common: they declare the wearer is engaged in service to others; thus, better than everyone else.

Jeans. Jeans are the most individual of all uniforms. Nobody, and I mean no body, looks alike in jeans.

About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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