It was the mid - late 80s when I attended high school (stop snickering) and it was a Catholic school. Yes, the dreaded uniform. That which students loathe, and parents, teachers, school administrators and other oppressive regimes love. The first year we got away with a dress code uniform of a white or navy golf or dress shirt and grey trousers or skirt. Naturally it was abused right off the bat and white became cream, navy was baby blue and grey trousers, faded (or not so faded) black jeans. Can you blame us for trying?
We thought we were smart (then again, I also thought a perm and navy eye liner was a good idea) but we didn't get away with it for long. The next school year the official uniform was introduced - white dress or golf shirt with school logo and for the girls, the 'choice' of grey wool trousers (seemingly modelled after the 'Mom jean') or THE KILT. The grey, white and burgundy (to match the hideous, mostly ACRYLIC burgundy logo v-neck sweater we had to wear in winter) wool kilt. Made of the itchiest of wools so we're talking premium fibres here, with a little Brillo pad for filler. We still tried to get away with some modifications - rolling up the top to make it shorter or hemming it. Threats immediately ensued and we were told to wear them no higher than the middle of the knee or face detention. I once witnessed a teacher get down on his knee to check whether a girl's hem was slightly above the line of moral decency.
To be fair, when I worked at Yonge & Eglinton in Toronto there were a few Catholic high schools in the area and there was obviously no rule about hemlines. The majority of the girls had them hiked up to the upper thigh. And the combination of the flared style of the kilt, extreme wind at this particular intersection and the way teen girls tend to bounce instead of walk, meant that I saw more under-age butts than an unlicensed tattoo parlour. So our school may have had a point. But it still sucked big time.
So, now we have Gossip Girl. A show about those wealthy, fashion-obsessed, contemptibly privileged New York society high school kids whose lives surely make our kegger/bush party days seem pitiful in comparison (because we thought they were cool before, right?). If only it were fiction. Imagine a 'uniform' as seen above (shirts provided by French Toast, the real-life supplier of American school uniform apparel), or rocking up to the school's front doors accessorised like this:
There is one drawback to this scenario, however. When you're this fabulous, usually so are your friends. And when you all have to-die-for coats, the latest 'it' bag and shoes that are too good to make contact with the ground, it's hard to stand out, as this photo illustrates. (And having matching hairbands doesn't help.)
After reading an interview with the Gossip Girl novel author Cecily Von Ziegesar (who attended a small, private girls school on the upper east side), I could smell a reality show a la The Hills being cooked up. She mentioned how her classmates would sometimes miss school to be private-jetted to Paris for couture fittings. So, I bet it's not long before we've got the real Gossip kids flaunting their stuff in our faces - who wouldn't want to see filthy rich 16 year-olds living lives we can only conjure in daydreams? Please, at least spare us that irritating, giggly-sinister narration. (Oh, I know I'd watch it anyway.)
What is with the guy who plays Chuck? He looks like the offspring of Jimmy Fallon and The Count from Sesame Street.