Over the years Lovett’s uniform has remained largely unchanged, but with the pandemic came a loosening of requirements. Last year, boys could wear shorts, and boys and girls didn’t have to wear Lovett-branded bottoms. This year, the shorts option has continued, as well as the opportunity to wear a non-Lovett sweatshirt, with certain limitations. Lately as you walk down the halls, you can see some students taking advantage of these changes, and others going with the traditional attire.
In fact, even though 80% of upper schoolers surveyed said they like the changes, 64.5% of students said the changes had not impacted the way they dress.
So what do students like best about the changes? 45% of students cited being able to wear non-Lovett sweatshirts. To be clear, the sweatshirts still have to be a certain color and without logos, but luckily, we still have a lot more freedom in that area now.
Junior Cameron Foster-Martez is one of those students who enjoys getting to wear hoodies that are not from Lovett. He still wishes the guidelines around them were looser though.
This is a sentiment other students echoed. Sophomore Rylie Tatum explains, “They barely affect me because most of my sweatshirts have big logos or designs on them.” Another student said, “I wish we could wear sweatshirts with logos on them.”
Even with the loosened outerwear regulations, some students are still pushing the boundaries of what they can wear, as seen with many of the non-regulation sweatshirts on campus. One student on the survey, who said he has a reputation for “pushing dress code guidelines,” wrote that he planned to go a whole week seeing what he could get away with.
Another major change was the uniform bottoms. The new rules state that you can wear any solid colored bottoms that are not athletic pants,jeans, or sweatpants. Still, some students, like Cameron, hope these restrictions expand even more.
Unfortunately, after talking to Mr. Boswell, I can say that’s unlikely. “No, we won’t make wholesale changes,” he told me. Apparently, the changes last year are about it. In fact, he also told me that while the changes “probably feel very significant to a lot of people” they’re really not.
As it turns out, the uniform has always been something of a work in progress. But at its core it's basically the same. “We’re all still wearing khakis and gray skirts,” Mr. Boswell said.
And we’re also still wearing Chapel uniforms, a prospect that many students dreaded.
In fact, according to our survey 45% of people hate them and most others aren’t far behind. Which leads me to believe many of us will agree with Cameron’s assessment: “I’m not 100% the biggest fan.” But, Rylie’s “absolutely not” might resonate even more.
Cameron pointed to their lack of comfort as his main grievance against them. The bowtie he wears is really tight, and so are the shirtsleeves. “It’s really just hard to move around, especially your arms and neck,” he said. Rylie doesn’t like how thin the blouses are. “I think they can be uncomfortable and papery,” she mentioned.
So I asked Mr. Boswell why they brought them back, and he told me it was a way to mark a special day at Lovett, adding we’re a “faith based school” and Chapel uniforms show that. Amazingly, it’s a tradition that’s been around since Lovett ceased to be Little Lovett, so it holds meaning for a lot of people, which is probably why 13% of students are very excited about the return of Chapel Uniforms. One student wrote, “I like the tradition of dressing up every six days.”
I was curious to know who had been involved in the changes. Luckily, Mr. Boswell was able to tell me all about it. He says they put together a council of administrators, teachers, and the student body president. The council met over the course of last year and discussed making changes to the uniform. Then at the end of the year “they made a recommendation to the leadership of the school.”
The Diversity Board also looked at the uniform and weighed in on it in terms of the role of equity, according to Mr. Boswell. This spurred them to change the rules on such things as jewelry and hair, allowing boys to wear earrings, for example, and have longer hair.
But the changes to make things more equal didn’t end there. After all, their goal was to make the uniform policy cohesive across lower, middle and upper school, since they don’t want us to have as much change. So they reassessed rules around socks, shoes, etc. As you may remember our sock options in middle school were very limited.
Mr. Boswell also mentioned that these changes had nothing to do with the pandemic; they were simply something that needed to happen. What was obviously a result of the pandemic though was the winter uniforms last year. While we can only speculate, those are unlikely to return as well.
“A part of me hoped the rules on sweatpants and leggings would stay for when it becomes cold,” Rylie said, “but I have a feeling that they will revert to how it was before.” Cameron also “wouldn’t mind it all” if those rules returned.
Whatever happens though you can always count on having a uniform at Lovett. So, if you’re the student who wrote on the survey, “I hope we don’t go full no uniform. That would terrible,” you’re in luck. Hopefully, though, we can all try and use the new changes to enjoy wearing flat fronted chinos, a Patagonia sweatshirt, or, if we’re feeling really wild, a navy skirt.
Of course, there are some students for whom these changes bring up some deep-seated resentment. As one senior said: “I don’t like that underclassmen get to wear navy pants.”