As we FINALLY return to in-person learning 5 days a week, should the idea of uniforms be readdressed?

402 day! Come next Monday the kids will do something they haven’t done for 402 days, they’ll begin in-person classes full time, 5 FULL DAYS! I don’t even remember what that was like! Will the struggle be real? Um, YES, most def! Trying to get into the swing of things, going to bed early, getting up early, packing lunches for 5 days…how did we used to do it? The past two weeks have been filled with a lot of preparation, including meal planning, sleep training, and our biggest issue, clothes!! I never thought we’d be doing back-to-school shopping in April, lol! For the most part the kids have just worn play clothes/PJ pants and a nice shirt, ya know, the classic pandemic wardrobe while learning remotely. Since they only started hybrid learning last month and their group of students (Group B) were lucky if they received two full days of in-person schooling a week there really wasn’t a huge need for new clothes. And since kids never seem to stop growing it seemed silly to waste a lot of money on new and/or seasonal clothing that they would just grow out of and ultimately not get much use. Thus, that is how we ended up  back-to-school shopping mid-April and to say it was a challenge is an understatement. 

I should preface this with the fact that the children up until this school year had a strict dress code, it was practically a uniform, with solid collared shirts, and the black, navy, khaki pants, skirts, etc. So this year when the dress code was laxed it was kinda a HUGE deal. And while the kids think it’s awesome this momma found it extremely challenging to not only find clothing that met the current dress code requirements but as well as the kids preferences, specifically, my tween daughter’s requirements.   

Dress Code Requirements:

  • They can wear jeans but they can’t have any tears or holes in them (currently fashion style trends, holes and tears are all the rage).
  • Leggings are allowed but shirts must be long enough to cover, thus mid-thigh, (current fashion trend, crop tops).
  • Skirts and shorts must be no higher than just above the knee (If you’ve got a tall skinny daughter you can just eliminate shorts altogether, you will not find a pair that fits their waist and isn’t too short).

Tween Daughter’s Requirements:

  • No unicorns (She legit went from being obsessed with unicorns to suddenly disliking them overnight?!)
  • No “baby” outfits, like the “matchy-matchy” outfits.
  • Wants jean overalls (but remember they must not have any tears or holes per dresscode)
  • Wants pretty dressier shirt (all seem to be crop top styles)

Added challenge:

  • She’s at that age where she’s no quite in the “Miss” department, but wants to wear Miss clothing
  • She wears a 10/12 thus, there’s still a lot of “little kid” prints and styles
  • She’s wonderfully tall, thus, shorts are out of the question…they’re all too short, capri’s will have to be her main summer go-to 
  • Lastly, we needed to stay within a budget, preferably no more than $30 an outfit

Thus, with all our requirements and challenges clearly defined we headed out on the hunt for the “perfect” last month of school wardrobe, but first, caffeine, lol! 

And then…let the hunt begin!! 

We managed to find longer tops at H & M, (thanks for the recommendation, Ebone ;)) well to be specific 3, 3 longer tops, they weren’t exactly the ones she wanted, but they were longer. Stopped off at Dillard’s but all the shirts she liked were way too short. After our first few stops it was clear that the word, “compromise” was going to need to enter the conversation. What was our compromise? Accessories! 

Never underestimate the power of accessories to not only turn that frown upside down, but to also embellish the wardrobe. And praise the lord, Claire’s had an entire section of clip on earrings (in our household you have to be in 6th grade to get your ears pierced, so she’s still got a couple years). And we managed to find some cute necklaces too, in return she agreed to getting more of the longer “kid” shirts, but no unicorns. Next stop, Old Navy!

We scored this adorable dress that can be worn as a smock/tunic or dress, I’m all for versatility in a wardrobe! And this romper that she can wear with tights.

Then she made the ultimate sacrifice, she agreed to get larger/longer shirts from the “kids” section at Target. 

Isn’t this the cutest? It’s a nightgown…though I told her it’d totally pass for a dress w/or w/out leggings.

So, I know from experience I’m just beginning the clothing struggle with my tween.  I’ve been living it with my 15 year old daughter for a good 6 years now and while I’d love to say it gets easier I feel it remains a constant struggle between the school’s dress code, their own personal preferences, their body types, and the current trends. And to be honest, I feel like kids already have enough pressures and anxieties between school work, pandemic issues, trying to navigate a social life as they return to school full time, etc. I really just wish they still had the stricter dress code, at least it was consistent, kids knew what to expect, parents knew what to buy, and clothing “distractions” weren’t an issue. Shhhh, don’t tell the kids. Lol! I know they adore the freedom to express themselves via their clothing style and they feel more comfortable for the most part…though should school be all about comfort? Should school be considered like their “job” and they should be dressing for success? Has the aftershocks of the lockdown made us too relaxed when it comes to our wardrobes? What are your thoughts? 

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