When I started high school our uniform was horrid pink dress in summer
and a grey a-line skirt and blue shirt in winter with school jumper or windcheater.
In summer, apart from looking fairly foolish and almost entirely sexless (which seems
to be the point of most school uniforms), the clothing was acceptable. Light,
loose, and cool.
But in winter we froze. Even with thick ugly grey stockings, the skirts were not warm enough, and
the wind blew up our legs.
We all complained to one another, but no one ever did anything about it.
Until year nine, my third year of high school, when I got sick of it.
I bought myself a pair of grey gabardine slacks, just like the boys wore, and began wearing them to
school every day.
No one was impressed.
The teachers put me on after-school detention, day after day, week after week, for being
out of uniform.
The girls laughed at me.
The boys called me a lesbian.
But really, detentions aside, it wasn't any different from my day to day life Before Trousers. I'd not ever been popular so
I was really losing nothing.
So I persevered.
My mother was good about the detentions. She thought I'd made a decision about
"rights" and "equality."
I think perhaps I was just being bloody-minded.
I'd decided to wear these trousers, and I was not going to back down, no matter what.
After about three weeks, the detentions stopped suddenly.
I exulted quietly, and went on wearing my trousers whenever it was too cold for the pink dress.
When I left school four years later, there were a handful of girls wearing the trousers instead of skirts, and now whenever I see a girl dressed in the
Croydon High School winter uniform (which has been updated and is really quite attractive now) and wearing the nicely fitted trousers that are now an option listed in the uniform
manual, I feel a huge surge of pride.
It's not much of a mark, as marks on the world go...
But it's my mark.