As most students have heard, Ursuline just added a pants option to the required uniform for regular school days. Since the Ursuline uniform has always been recognizable by the traditional plaid skirt, some were surprised by the new optional uniform piece.
Dean of Students Kayla Brown announced the pants’ upcoming availability at class meetings in early January.
“I believe it was a few years ago when some students brought up the idea,” Brown said. “Dr. Shurley and I knew that Hockaday offered plaid pants, so we started to look into them.”
As administrators considered bringing pants into Ursuline life, they closely examined the school’s values and whether they aligned with the idea.
“We are always trying to stay innovative while also keeping Ursuline’s traditions and values at the forefront of all decisions,” Brown said. “It is not always the easiest balance, but it is what we strive for.”
Another factor that encouraged the idea was the constantly changing nature of fashion. Brown and her fellow administrators tried to modernize the uniform since pants are now increasingly popular among teenage girls.
“We understand that fashion and trends change a lot over time and wanted to make sure we were giving our students new options when we could,” Brown said.
They then decided to execute the idea by contacting Mills Uniform Co.—the same brand that makes Ursuline’s white button-up blouse and plaid skirt—about manufacturing plaid pants.
“Once we knew that our uniform vendor could make the pants, we wanted to make sure any and all parties were aware and were okay with the decision,” Brown said. “Our school administrative team and our campus administrative team all had to approve the decision.”
According to Brown, the pants are made of the same plaid fabric as the skirt. They have pockets, and a navy or tan belt must be worn with them at school.
“I think it’s important to still incorporate the school plaid into the uniform,” Emma Brodsky ’22 said.
Mills Uniform Co. has agreed to make the pants if Ursuline receives at least 48 orders. One pair costs $69.95, but these pants—unlike the skirts, which come in traditional, less precise sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large—will be tailored exactly based on the student’s given measurements.
Despite this exciting new alternative on regular school days, skirts must be worn still on special assembly days. Whenever there is Mass or a school-related function during the school day, students will be required to wear their skirts.
In addition to providing an alternative uniform piece that adheres to Ursuline’s values and successfully encapsulates new clothing trends, the pants are intended to be an enjoyable change for the students—especially if they prefer wearing them instead of skirts.
Brown said, “I think they will give our students another option that they may like!”
Assuming that Ursuline submits the minimum required 48 orders to Mills Co., students will be able to start wearing the pants in April 2020, towards the end of the school year.
“I’m excited to see the pants in circulation,” Ellie Skelly ’21 said.
Students are now intrigued to see pants replacing skirts at Ursuline. For so long, skirts have dominated the typical Catholic school uniform, so offering another option could mean long-lasting change for Ursuline and potentially other private high schools where students must dress according to a uniform.
Despite all the excitement that has arisen from her recent announcement, Brown doubts that many girls will buy the new clothing option in the long run.
“I think a small number of students will ultimately invest in the pants,” she said. “I think the skirt is pretty iconic and alums and students recognize UA by the skirt!”