In Finnish schools, students never use school uniforms. As a mother I am interested in hearing what my daughter’s school friends wear for school and who decides what clothes to put on.

Vilma, Amaya, Amanda and Sofia ready to talk about their school clothes!

Me: Can you tell me who decides what clothes you should wear to school?

Sofia: Usually I choose the clothes and sometimes mother if I don’t have time.

Amanda: Sometimes my mother suggests some clothes and if I don’t want to wear them, I say no. Sometimes I choose. Amaya: I often choose my clothes, and my mum and dad too. Dad sometimes says that it is not good to wear too many different patterns, for example.

Vilma: I choose my clothes when my mother is working in the morning shift or on the night shift. Or dad chooses. Otherwise mum decides and I choose clothes too.

Me: Do you ever have arguments about school clothes with your mum or dad?

All: Yes!
“Sometimes my clothes are small and too tight and feel uncomfortable.”
“Sometimes my clothes are too small and mum says that I should not wear them.”
“Sometimes I like some clothes that mum has suggested but I feel that I don’t want to wear them that day.”

Me: Tell me, what is nice to wear? Something that you like to wear?

Amaya: Leggings. With a t-shirt underneath and a shirt on top of that. I would also like to get new boots.

Amanda: I like shorts with tights like Amaya has now.

Vilma: I don’t quite like jeans… which I am wearing now. They feel too tight and they fall down.

Amanda: I don’t like to wear skirts or jeans either.

Vilma: I like college pants and leggings. With a t-shirt and a cardigan or with a long-sleeved shirt and a cardigan. But no camisole underneath.

Amanda: I don’t like to wear clothes if they have some pictures on them like teddy bears or something. I think they are childish.

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Amaya wears many types of clothes for school. Sometimes skirts, sometimes leggings, sometimes shorts or jeans etc. (I think she has a lot more imagination with clothes than I do.)

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Amaya and Amanda on a different school day with different clothes on. Outside shoes are not used indoors in Finnish schools. Slippers or no shoes is the norm. In this school outside shoes can only be used for the lunch break (in case there is broken glass on the cafeteria Big Bite’s floor).

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Monika Luukkonen
Monika Luukkonen is a Finnish lifestyle expert and she writes books about the Finnish way of life for the Japanese market. Her books have also been translated and published in South Korea and Taiwan.