I read a post which reminded me, not in a good way, of the 8 years I had to wear a hideous, scratchy, red plaid jumper/skirt to school year round. I’m well aware how the sexy school girl look has become so bizarrely fetishized, but I’m fairly confident most of us who ever authentically wore it, did NOT feel or look “sexy.” In grade school, I’d be hard-pressed to recall anyone who even looked good in that miserable uniform.
We were pasty-white, skinny kids mostly, who in winter found our little legs raw and chapped from having no protection from cold. Coats were mostly short too, so they were no help (What sense was that? To bulk up a kid on their top half alone and leave the lower half-open to frigid temps??). Our legs were either red or chalky-dry from the elements. Oooh sexy!
Since we were kids, scabbed knees and ugly leg scrapes were par for the course too. Nothing says “sizzling hot” like oozing, scabby cuts! It didn’t help that our playground for recess, lunch break, and some sports activities was a parking lot. Many a child running at full tilt took a nasty gravel burn fall on that pavement. The girls, in stupid skirts and knee socks got the worst of it.
Kids from big families like mine, often passed down uniforms to other siblings so it wasn’t unusual to see a girl overwhelmed in a too big or poorly fit uniform she’d been stuck with. I remember one wearing a skirt that fell below her knees. That skirt wore her.
In later years, the girls in my grade started wearing gym shorts under the skirts, both to facilitate the change for gym class and as a kind of fashion statement. And even as someone who sometimes did it too, I have to say it was an odd look, as the (pre-spandex and lycra) shorts just added a weird bulk to the ensemble. Another habit among the older girls was to roll the waist band under once or twice to “shorten” the length of the skirt. That didn’t work so well either, because the skirt flared immediately below the waistband, plus there’s be a thin white cotton button-up blouse already tucked in to the skirt, so the result was several layers of bunched-up fabric at the waist.
In all the years I dressed up for Halloween or any other costumed event, never once did the thought of trotting out the sexy school girl look cross my mind. Thinking now, what would make a good costume, might be cultivating the authentic school girl look: atrocious jumper/skirt; fake blood leg cuts and scars; pilled, elastic-shot fallen down knee socks; beat-up, industrial-looking shoes with untied, broken laces; shapeless, boxy, short-sleeved button blouse of thin, cheap fabric paired with trainer bra or white undershirt. Topped off with a bad haircut and home-cut, uneven bangs. Now that, that would be a costume.