Back to SchoolAccessorizing your Uniforms

I recently received an email from a young reader who loves fashion and clothes but has to wear a uniform to school and asked if I could give some tips on helping her look fabulous this year.

If you’re a long-time reader, you may know that I attended Catholic grade school and high school and thus wore a uniform every day to said Catholic schools. While we had some restrictions on what we could wear, there were definitely ways that we tried to stand out in a sea of sameness …whether to feel more unique or even to be considered part of a certain group or clique.

. . . so

I’ll start with oxfords because really, that’s all we wore to school in the 90’s. We had to wear a dark “dress” style shoe {but couldn’t wait for rainy days when we could wear our converse low-top all stars with huge scrunch socks} …and like the 90’s, oxfords are all the rage right now. Wear them with or without socks, tights and/or leggings with your skirts or pants.


.. . .these are an adorable option as well {also topshop}

…if you have a uniform with pants and want to give them more of a harem feel

cuff them up or make a small slit about 3″ above the ankle bone and slide a cute ribbon through it and under the bottom hem and tie it on the side.

If your uni consists of mostly pants, you can make a statement by sizing up and wearing them baggy/but cuffed or even cutting and hemming them shorter.

We mostly wore skirts. In fact, they didn’t introduce the pant option until I was a senior and I was locked in on skirts by then. ALso …the pants were ultra-unflattering!

I used to hem my skirts up and use the excess material from the skirt to make scrunchies and other hair accessories.

While American Apparel may be selling scrunchies again, you may not be sold on them yet, so use your extra material for headbands or flower brooches.

flower pin

Again, now that the 90’s have made their way back into fashion, bodysuits are easy to come by. We used to wear them under our button down shirts …with the top buttons left open and the cute details of the body suit or lace tank peeking through.

American Apparel body suits

Topshop bodies

Wear a scarf!


Adding a cute blazer or jacket is a great option as well. Leave it unbuttoned or fold it over and belt it …push up or roll up the sleeves for a contemporary look.

Don’t forget to check your local thrift shops for the most recent throw-back trends! It’s better for the environment AND your wallet …and you’ll for sure have a one of a kind piece!

. . .and since fashion is just another form of self-expression, an outward extension of who we are or who we want to present to the world I hope schools allow at least a little bit of accessorizing to your uniforms so you can stand out and be just a little more yourself a sea of sameness.

Have Fun!

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • TeeTee

    August 9, 2009 |

    oooh… I will definitely be trying some of these things this year!

  • Lauryn

    August 9, 2009 |

    Great tips! I love the idea of dressing up a boring uniform. It’s so funny that styles from the 80s and 90s are coming back!

  • amoramor

    August 9, 2009 |

    hey maegan =]
    the shoes from topshop are so cute, i liked the blazer and the scarfs so muuch…
    the can change the look completely!

  • Berry

    August 9, 2009 |

    These are such great suggestions! I went to 3 different private Christian schools from kindergarten all the way through high school and I had everything from no uniform to the worst you can imagine. Thankfully, for my junior and senior year, I attended a school that allowed us to dress up our uniforms a bit.
    I jazzed up my ensemble by wearing cute jewlery, sweaters and fun shoes. And when the weather got colder I would avoid wearing the terribly unflattering pants my school required by donning knee socks or tights.

    Its nice to see school uniforms being given a bit of recognition! =)

  • Feelmore

    August 9, 2009 |

    I wore uniforms for 3 our of 4 years of high school and your ideas were way better than mine, which consisted of pretending I was too poor to buy new navy blue pants and that my ultra cool grey jeans had once been blue and turned grey in the wash…. resulting in several uniform violations… 😉


    August 9, 2009 |

    Did you see the new “Miami Social” on Bravo, where 13 yr old Angelica is sent off the boarding school in Switzerland?…she models and documents every outfit for future reference while away from “Mama”.

    Argyle socks + sparkle ballet flats matched up in every color available.

  • thesydneygirl

    August 9, 2009 |

    great post beauty!!!!!

    especially the tip about wearing the bodysuit underneath a shirt!


  • jasmine

    August 9, 2009 |

    cute! makes me kinda wish i had a uniform…

  • Niku

    August 9, 2009 |

    very cute suggestions! i attended catholic grade and high schools too! well, in the Caribbean you must wear a uniform. unfortunately, i wasn’t allowed to spice mine up a bit. awww man, i miss the 90’s..scrunchies!! lol. and i dont remember ever seeing a body suit..that’s interesting.
    …yay i have internet for 3 days! lol.

  • Shin

    August 9, 2009 |

    I went to highschool where I have to wear uniforms too! I love your suggestions, particularly the bodysuits! It’s such a great idea! You have an amazing blog! xxooxoxo

  • Glamour Bbey

    August 9, 2009 |

    Great things!

  • HB

    August 9, 2009 |

    Hi, great blog!

    Watch Funny Business cartoons at and subscribe for daily updates!!

  • Brooke

    August 9, 2009 |

    Great ideas! I also went to a Catholic high school and was forced to wear khaki pants and solid colored polo shirts with no logos. Also, you could only wear solid white shirts underneath them. The only time I got away with a uniform violation was when my friend crashed her go cart into the back of my foot, and I wore open backed shoes without socks for a day! WHOA GEEZ. I have not worn a normal pair of khaki pants since.

  • monokini

    August 9, 2009 |

    Hey Maegan,
    can I ask you a favour? 🙂 I love scarfs and I have a lot of them, but I find it sort of difficult to put them on.. I usually just wear them like this: but it’s sooo BORING! and whenever I try to get a look like this or that pink one in the upper right, well.. I just end up leaving the house without a scarf 🙂
    so, any detailed step by step instructions on how to put on a scarf with style?
    Kristina, LT

  • monkey toes

    August 9, 2009 |

    i love the first oxfords!!! they can go pretty much with everything 😀 and i have been dreaming of posessing an oversized blazer lately :S

  • Darrah

    August 9, 2009 |

    I went to school next to a private school. I always found that shoes were the easiest way to stand out. Find some brilliant shoes, and they can redefine your whole look.

  • Sabrina ♥

    August 9, 2009 |

    thanks for posting this ! i’m going to college soon i think your post really helps ! thanks ! (:

  • Glowing Doll

    August 9, 2009 |

    I got some new-old stock Mary Quant Lace body suits on Ebay a while back (Ebay is my God!)

    Not entirely sure how to wear them yet, will post a layering solution when I find one.

  • Teresa Wu

    August 9, 2009 |

    Those are some fab recs! I never had to wear a uniform- thank goodness – but I love the idea of wearing a body suit underneath… will def try out some of these anyway!

  • Susan

    August 9, 2009 |

    I wish I had this post when I was in Catholic School!

  • Joan

    August 9, 2009 |

    Ahh, those brogues are amazing… Too bad we don’t have a topshop over here in Atlanta!

    PS: I love your blog!

  • janettaylor

    August 9, 2009 |

    I love the first oxfords!


  • Brittney

    August 9, 2009 |

    I love this post, but you should also do a back to school post with regular clothes. I am a college student and would love to see what you come up with!

  • Melissa Blake

    August 9, 2009 |

    Awww, this post makes me wish I were still in school! 🙂

  • Jill Pilgrim

    August 9, 2009 |

    Love the plaid blazer!

  • Dutson Fam

    August 9, 2009 |

    I’m loving the body suits and blazer Jackets! Great addition to any outfit!

  • Grace

    August 9, 2009 |

    Almost makes me wish I was still in school.

    Love Grace.

  • The818

    August 9, 2009 |

    This is a great post! I used to get uniform violations (aka Detention) on a daily basis for my accessorizing, but it was always worth it!!!

    (The late ’90’s were a little different and a little scarier…it was all about the fishnet stockings under those hiked up pleated skirts…)

  • Susan

    August 9, 2009 |

    what a great post!
    have a lovely week, xoxo

  • Lizzy Webb

    August 9, 2009 |

    love this post.. and love your blog

  • Iva

    August 10, 2009 |

    AWESOME advise! perfect post! great points! :)Accessorize that uniform! 🙂

  • down and out chic

    August 10, 2009 |

    accessories can go a long way in adding a sense of personal style to a uniform (for sure!) i wore a uniform up until 4th grade and was so confused when i was allowed to wear whatever i wanted. needless to say it was a disaster for some time, but i survived!

  • Living and Loving In L.A.

    August 10, 2009 |

    You always have such great ideas! I wish I could go back-to-school shopping right this second. I miss that! Now I get to go work-clothes shopping instead. Oh well. Maybe I can just pretend…

  • Hanako66

    August 10, 2009 |

    lol we could wear whatever shoes we wanted so I remember wearing docs, converse and vans with funky laces, and crazy knee highs every day…we would sometimes get in trouble for our socks. I just can not believe that scrunchies are back!

  • hautepocket

    August 11, 2009 |

    Um…this post makes me really excited for Gossip Girl.

  • Diabolina Da Fashionista

    August 11, 2009 |

    am loving the lace peeking out look. especially in neon. and oxfords. we’ll see if I can rock them this fall.

  • K @ Blog Goggles

    August 12, 2009 |

    You’re so right – all I wore were Dr. Marten oxford-like shoes throughout high school. I was so cool.

Leave a Reply