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What are boarding school uniforms like?

Wondering what boarding school uniforms are like, and if you’ll have to wear one? Most boarding schools do have uniforms—or at least a strict dress code—but what exactly boarding school uniforms entail will differ greatly from school to school.

Uniforms and dress codes are designed to instill in students an expectation that they take pride in their appearances. Students can typically expect that the boarding school they attend will have, at minimum, a dress code. It’s common for students to be required to wear slacks, skirts, or khaki pants; dress shirts or sweaters; and blazers, as well as dress shoes. Boys are often required to wear ties, too.

FUN FACT: Many other countries require dress codes or uniforms, even in public schools. Read this article about education around the world, which contains recollections from Cheshire Academy students about their educational experiences in other countries.

At Cheshire Academy, students follow an academic dress code Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, but Wednesdays and Fridays are a different story. 

Wednesdays at the Academy are known as Spirit Days, and students may wear casual clothing that displays the Cheshire Academy name. Since Wednesdays are typically game days, this helps students show their school spirit before and during athletic events.

Fridays at the Academy are called “Formal Fridays.” Since the Civil War era, Cheshire Academy students have donned a “blue and gray” uniform: gray slacks or skirt, a white button down dress shirt, navy blue blazer with the school patch, dress shoes, and, for boys, an Academy tie. Cheshire Academy was a military academy back when the blue and gray uniform was first introduced, and it was designed to unite students from both sides of the war: Union blue and Confederate gray.

FUN FACT: Many boarding schools periodically offer “Dress Down” Days. These days can be special events, fundraisers (buy out of dress code tickets to support a charity), or rewards for class-to-class competitions. On these days, students can wear jeans, sneakers, hoodies, and t-shirts, which are usually not allowed as part of a typical boarding school uniform or dress code.

Regardless of what your school’s boarding school uniform or dress code requires, students should be prepared to adhere to the standards put forth by the schools they attend. Most schools offer instructions on how to obtain the proper boarding school uniform through online and/or local retailers, to make it easy for families to get what they need for the start of school.

Wondering what to wear on your first day of school? Here are some tips.

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Stacy Jagodowski

Written by Stacy Jagodowski

Ms. Jago joined the Cheshire Academy community in August 2013 as the director of strategic marketing and communications. Prior to coming to Cheshire Academy, she spent six years working in communications offices at both colleges and private school, as well as five years in admission at both boarding schools and day schools.

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