Uniform – the designator for U in the NATO International Alphabet.

JackyEven if you didn’t have an official school uniform, you probably wore clothes that were uniform in their character.  They blended in with your schoolmates’.  Even though we like to be different, there is a phase when we are young where standing out from the crowd is excruciating.  Most of us grow out of it, sooner or later.

Uniforms can be good or bad.  They can help provide a sense of cohesiveness and comradeship.  They can bring people together in a common bond.  They can also be used to degrade or dehumanise people.  Think The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

G Pett webGPA010 Wadi Saidna Sept 1942

I’ve had a few uniforms in my time: three school ones, my Brownie and Guide ones; various sports uniforms (either team colours or conforming to required dress standards).  My father looked very dashing in his Imperial Airways uniform – both formal and ‘tropical kit’.  My youngest brother was in the Royal Navy, but I haven’t managed to find a photo of him in his kit.  There must be one somewhere.


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U for Uniform
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23 thoughts on “U for Uniform

  • 24 April, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Good post! My sister wore a uniform at her school, but I didn’t at mine, and so it was a big subject for us at the time. Makes a big difference, but that difference is not itself uniform- some people thrive in them, some don’t. I think.

    • 24 April, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Good point, Melanie. We had a ‘failing’ inner-city school opposite where I worked. It was not pleasant being there when the kids were out and about. Then a new head came in, and everyone went into uniform. Behaviour improved overnight. I’m sure there were many other changes that the kids responded well to, but this was the one the neighbours saw!
      In a few years’ time I expect the way to improve behaviour will be to allow self-expression through clothes!

  • 24 April, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Awwww… look at adorable Jemima. I love that photo of you and the photos of your father. It is funny, I pretty much have a Mom “uniform” I wear to make my life easy – jeans and a shirt with a pullover (3 different colors, Ha!) when it is colder.
    My flip flops are on even on some chilly days. I wore many uniforms in my life being a starving actress….I mean waitress. I always liked that I didn’t have to think about what to put on (still do) when I had jobs with uniforms – and even when working in the theater – I had a costume to wear, but I have NEVER been one who was into clothes and fashion – so it works for me. More time to do other things. 🙂 I think my daughter would be horrified to wear a uniform to school, however, she loves her new Karate uniform. Such a fun discussion. I bet it would be fun to share “uniforms” worn in life with a bunch of people…okay my crazy mind is kicking in – I shall go now. ;0) Thanks for sharing and have a fabulous night/day ahead!

  • 24 April, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Interesting observation about the connotations of uniforms.
    Visiting from A to Z ~
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

  • 24 April, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Personally I like uniforms, even in colleges and universities. Mainly because it saves you from the headache of planning of what to wear everyday! Being a girl, this is a constant dilemma.

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      It is indeed, Nats! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • 24 April, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I always looked forward to wearing my Brownie and Girl Scout uniform to school on the days of our meetings – the sash with badges, knee socks, beanie – all symbols of who I was. My blog for today was also on uniforms but from a storyteller’s point of view. Please visit if you have time.

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      I will do! I found another great blog with uniforms too 🙂

  • 24 April, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I’ve always been in favor of uniforms for school – so much less angst over what to where and easier on the budget for families. I had the usual – a pinafore for my Catholic school, sports uniforms, and of course my son now wears one for the US Army – Airborne.
    You were so darling in your school uniform, Jemima. Great photo!

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks, Noelle! I bet you looked great in yours, too 🙂

  • 24 April, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Interesting post
    thank you for your comment on my blog.

    am curious where you found a review of The Bench
    and yes, now you found me lol

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      You’re welcome, Susan. I’m fairly sure the review of your book cropped up in my Goodreads feed this week. It must have done, because I was intrigued and took another look at the details 🙂

  • 24 April, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I never had to wear a school uniform except for feast days. We had to wear a tie. I hate wearing a tie 😀

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Tales of colors
    MopDog – The crazy thing about Hungarians…

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      I preferred wearing a tie to those silly scarves that were part of lots of retail uniforms in the 1980s; just give us ties like the men have!

  • 24 April, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I liked wearing my uniform back in school, compared to some other uniforms, it was rather nice. The trick was to see how individual you could be whilst still keeping to the school rules!

    I also love that you’re doing to NATO alphabet as your challenge, you have no hardships on thinking what to do each day 🙂 (My U post was a nightmare to think up).

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Right on both counts, Jess. The length of the hem of your school skirt was the key issue in my day! And once I settled on the theme it has been easy from that point of view – I’m so bad at making decisions I’ve already started jotting things down for my next year’s theme!

  • 25 April, 2014 at 2:35 am

    OK first of all your dad was handsome! He looks like a film star in that one picture by Paramount! A man in a uniform always looks wonderful. I still wish nurses had their old style uniforms (they can wear pants) but they were so nice and starched with the hat. I had to wear a uniform in High school and the cardigan, which was outrageous in cost, was so badly done. I remember one arm being much longer than the other:)

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks, Birgit – he was handsome, although I didnt realise it at the time! The dark one is probably when he was about 18-20. Funnily enugh his expression is the same as mine in my first passport photo and also one of my youngest brother. The second photo is on his id card for an RAF base in the Sudan in WW2. I can see a lot of things in that one.
      I’m workng on his memoirs – a book called White Water Landings – to be released this summer.

      • 26 April, 2014 at 3:00 am

        Oh that is great! How wonderful

  • 25 April, 2014 at 3:21 am

    My kids attended Catholic schools and wore uniforms. I liked the uniforms concept. It made dressing for school every day easier.

    Precious Monsters

    • 25 April, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I’ll agree with you there, Jolie. Funnily enough I still favour the colours of my school uniform – may just suit my colouring, though 🙂

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