For the first time in its near five-decade history, an all-girls high school in Taipei is allowing students to wear slacks during winter.
St Bonaventure Girls’ Senior High School in Neihu District (內湖) recently changed its uniform guidelines so that during winter, students may choose to wear either dress pants or the school’s traditional navy blue pleated skirt.
A number of schools in Taipei require female students to wear skirts all year round.
Following a student survey, St Bonaventure administrators decided to give students the option of wearing slacks in cold weather for the first time since the school was established by the Catholic Order of Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus in 1966.
“This is a church school, so we take our students’ image and appearance seriously. That is why we have always required them to wear skirts,” student affairs office head Tsai Wan-chen (蔡宛臻) said.
Tsai said that more than 200 of the approximately 800-strong student body have ordered the slacks after being shown samples.
“Most of the seniors did not order the pants because it is their final year, so they prefer to continue wearing their skirts. Others have said they want their slacks to be custom-made by tailors,” she said.
However, Blessed Imelda’s School in Taipei, another all-girls Catholic institution, will keep its traditional uniform: a mid-hemline black skirt, white dress shirt, and cardigan red sweater-vest.
Founded in 1916, the Blessed Imelda’s uniform is a reworking of an earlier version of the outfit that was created by alumni fashion designers in the 1990s.
Principal Ou Yang Tai-ying (歐陽台英) said Blessed Imelda’s students have worn skirts for more than 30 years.
“Female students look more elegant in skirts. Our uniform is based on the habits of Catholic nuns and the skirt tradition perseveres to this day. This is explained to all new students and the information is on the school’s Web site,” she said.
Dao Jiang Senior High School of Nursing and Home Economics, established in 1939, is another all-girls academy in downtown Taipei. For more than 30 years, its students have worn a tartan skirt.
“Our uniform is smart and appealing. It has become part of our tradition and adds to the school’s distinctive character,” principal Chu Tsan-huang (朱燦煌) said.
“We have not received any complaints from students about the uniform. We have even had students enrol in our school because they want to wear this beautiful outfit,” he added.
Most Taiwanese girls’ high schools and co-ed schools make students were dress pants in winter, while a few give them the choice of wearing a skirt or slacks.
Additional reporting by Hung Ting-hung