Practical reasons might satisfy the practically minded. But don’t stop there. It’s all about Paideia—the transfer of “affections,” not just information and rules. Daily, mundane events in our lives can shed real, illuminating light on a very encouraging fact—we are eternal and our eternal home is beautiful.
“Huh?” you might ask.
To clarify, when it comes to uniforms, first we have to consider a principle that seems to be eroding quickly in our culture: Things like skillful musicians, wise people, and nice clothes actually exist. So do their counterparts. In all of life, we want to acknowledge and choose what is best, most appropriate, and most beautiful for any occasion.
Because here is the second eroding principle: Our actions matter. The effect of wearing flip flops and shabby jeans to a funeral is real. The effect of speaking disrespectfully about an elderly person is real. The very act of choosing to take the “high road” over another has an effect, in and of itself. That’s why you might notice this general principle at work: The more your dress reflects respect to yourself and those around you, the more others will respect you.
Let’s not forget, a student is a disciple. “An undisciplined student is an oxymoron.” (The Paideia of God, Douglas Wilson) So, in general, is a well-dressed teenager. We cannot redeem the culture of education without outward signs of its redemption. Applying the real standards of truth, goodness, and beauty, in all areas, is a good first step. So, bring on the sweater vest and pleated skirt, plaid tie and shined up shoes. Good character made, is good character worn.