By the time my parents could afford to send me to private school, I was entering high school. I had no understanding of the benefits a private school had to offer, nor did I care. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about switching schools, and not being with my friends. My one greatest concern with enrollment into a Catholic high school was the mandatory plaid skirt, white shirt, and black shoes, otherwise known as a uniform.
I balked at my parents, “There is no way I’m going to any school where I have to wear a uniform!” Oddly enough, both my parents who were Catholic schooled from K-12, didn’t put up much of a fight, and I continued on my way to public high school (worrying everyday, of course, about what I was going to wear).
After school I worked my first job at McDonald’s and was forced to wear their uniform; a melanic mix of polyester, unflattering to the best of figures, and as breathable as a world trade center dust cloud.
By day I wore my school nursing uniform: a blue stripped dress, white tights and white old lady shoes. Its crowning feature was the starched white nurse’s cap. I looked and felt ridiculous. That cap was a scalp hazard. If I dropped something on the floor, inevitably I would slam my head into the over bed table on the way up. I was starting to develop nurse pattern baldness.
Over the years my nursing uniform has evolved for the better, and now I wear comfortable scrubs, black clogs, and thank God, no cap. But as my nursing uniform has improved over time, my personal style has digressed. Not quite twenty something anymore, yet still too young for support hose I have donned what some call the mommy uniform, others call it the over forty fatigues; I call it my transition wear: conservative, heelless, loose around the jiggly parts, and child resistant. It camouflages everything from back fat to sticky little finger stains.
For a girl who didn’t want anything to do with a uniform all those years ago, ironically, I have spent the last twenty years of my life wearing one.