Back to School – How to spice up a frumpy uniform!

As a student myself, I know from experience how difficult it can be to look decent while being forced to wear a boxy blazer and shapeless shirt . But if you look hard enough you can find something that not only looks good, but fits in with the sometimes restricting requirements set by schools. It takes just a few simple details to completely transform a frumpy uniform.

While I recently went shopping for my back to school items I focused on three key elements: fit, style and details.


School trousers are always difficult to find, especially in secondary school where you actually care about how clothing fits on you. Schools often have rules about what type of trousers you’re allowed to wear which makes it even harder to find something you’ll feel comfortable in. The best advice I could give would be to avoid shopping in the back-to-school section. As a teen girl, you most likely already shop in the women’s section for your everyday wear; for your uniform it should be no different! Focus on a specific style or image and use that as a guide to help you decide what to buy. If you’re going for a preppy style, a pair of chinos or straight leg peg trousers will give you a tailored yet stylish look. If your aim is to look serious and professional, tailored straight leg trousers or high-waisted trousers will help you look like you mean business. If you’re just looking to be noticed, skinny trousers (not jeans or leggings) will show off your figure without breaking school rules or looking tacky.


Skirts are always a debatable topic at school. Some girls wear them long, some short, some flared some fitted; but which one is right for you? Firstly your skirt length should fit the school requirements; most schools usually say skirts must be just above or at the knee. I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard to follow that rule and not look frumpy  but there are ways to look great in a skirt without breaking the rules or offending anyone.  If you’re going for professional, pencil skirts are always an immediate go to! However pencil skirts and tight jersey bodycon skirts are two completely different things that give two opposite images. If you want to look classic, go for a slim fit pencil skirt with detail to make it stand out. If you want something to show off your legs and figure, a tube skirt will fit perfectly with your look! For a more preppy style, skater skirts are one of the biggest skirt trends right now and are flattering on almost everyone!

Shirts & Blouses

Let’s face it, no girl wants to be seen in those boxy oversized shirts or polos they try to make us wear as school uniform. We want to look like we actually have a body under there! A lot of times I see girls who decide that if it isn’t fitted enough, they’ll just buy a shirt two sizes smaller. There’s a small problem with that though; for one it actually makes you look bigger than you actually are and, chances are, it won’t fit right on your body. Instead, try to look for shirts or blouses that are tapered in at the waist (they normally have two darts at the back). They’ll fit much better and you wont look like you’re about to burst out of it!


Even if you have the perfect shirts & skirts, if your shoes are all wrong, you’ll get attention for all the wrong reasons. As a kid, your shoes were probably really simple, plain black, maybe a few flower details and one thick black velcro strap. But as a teenager, you’re open to a whole new world of fashions and styles and it can be difficult to decide what to put on your feet. One type of shoe that I think always works for school is a pair of brogues. Even if they’re not for school, brogues are definetely a style staple to have in your shoe closet. There’s such a variety out there that you’ll very rarely have many people with the same exact pair as you. I recently bought myself a pair with small studs on them just to spice them up and make them stand out from everyone elses. Whether you go for plain or patent leather, sneaker style or classics, brogues are always the perfect addition to a boring outfit. If brogues aren’t for you, loafers are also comfortable and stylish and will look good with almost anything.


Another great way to spice up a plain uniform is to accessorize! Accessorising can come in different forms from belts and buckles to headbands and bows. Belts are a great way to bring plain trousers or skirts to life. If you just need a belt to hold up your bottoms, go for a belt that is a similar shade to your bottoms or if you want a belt that is the same colour, go for one that has a different texture like snakeskin patent leather or suede. If you just want a belt to spice up your outfit, go for a complimenting colour to your uniform, a neutral colour that stands out but isn’t so bright that it catches the beady eyes of teachers in the hallways! Headbands and bows are perfect for a preppy look and come in all styles, shapes, colours and prints. Take a tip from Blair Waldorf, the queen of preppy chic who wore her headbands like tiaras! Similarly to the belts, wear a style that matches or compliments your school colours! If you wear glasses like I do, get a pair with personality! When it comes to glasses, the nerdy look is always in; go for a pair with a shape that compliments your face and has a dash of colour! Afterall, teachers can’t very well make you take them off so be daring and get a pair that will make sure all eyes are on you!

Hopefully these tips will help you look new and improved this September!