Coming from an elementary school where socioeconomic differences were more openly accepted and discussed than they are at Marlborough, I understood from a young age that not everyone has the same privileged lifestyle that I have. Unfortunately, I feel that in the Marlborough community, many girls haven’t had this same epiphany.
Marlborough prides itself on promoting equality, which can manifest itself as greater cultural diversity for students or privileges as simple as the dress code. The uniform levels the socioeconomic playing field, while at schools that do not have uniforms, like Harvard-Westlake and Brentwood, students compete with one another’s fashion sense. Having a uniform is an important piece of being a Marlborough girl; for many, it is a highlight of attending the School.
Many students appreciate the uniform for saving them the trouble of having to pick out an outfit every morning, but unfortunately, this experience doesn’t completely ring true for all Marlborough students. More often than not, students are consumed by materialistic obsessions and worries that their outrageously overpriced purse might not be “in style” anymore.
Girls tend to overcompensate for the lack of distinctive style that the uniform provides with their accessories. The uniform exists in part to prevent competition regarding fashion and socioeconomic differences, but many Marlborough girls are brainwashed into thinking that the norm is to buy fancier and more expensive clothing to make up for the lack of individuality that the uniform enables.
There are two different groupings of students at Marlborough: people who choose to express themselves through individuality and creativity, and those who have the individual idea that they want to be like everyone else. Due to the idea expressed by the majority of the Marlborough student population that it is normal to have fancy accessories and other similar items, girls who might not care about these extravagent items outside the Marlborough community feel the need to purchase accessories in order to keep up with trends. Normally, I, along with many other students, pride myself on staying grounded and not getting caught up in trends. However, as a Marlborough student, I found myself asking for a new pair of Lululemon leggings and a Marc by Marc Jacobs bag for Hanukkah this year. Before coming to Marlborough, I hadn’t even heard of Marc Jacobs or Lululemon.
Many come to school hoping to assert their uniqueness despite the uniform code; however, they falsely believe that the only way to do so is by wearing their Comme Des Garcons Converse or carrying their Marc by Marc Jacobs tote bag every day. Yes, it is important to have outlets for individual expression and creativity; however, it is not the best idea to let that happen through clothing at a school with a dress code that exists to level the playing field and make economic status and competition less prominent.