The Uniform Blues
It’s a tradition, they say. Summer Arts Camp at Interlochen is synonymous with blue, corduroy knickers.
This, from the HR Director: “Just wait until everyone arrives. The campus looks like a bunch of blueberries.”
This, from my boss: “At least we all have to look dorky together.”
This, from my students: “It’s for real. It’s incredibly strict. There are no exceptions.”
I’ve been in denial ever since I decided to stay on for summer, but I can’t put it off any longer. I turn my camp staff manual to page 27, where the uniform policy is outlined in detail for both genders. Never mind what body type you are. Never mind if you’re on a budget. Everyone does it, hands down, do or die, no way around it, finis.
From the toes up, socks are required and may only be white or navy blue. Bottom attire for women may be slacks, knee-length skirts or shorts, jumpers, or knickers. No yoga pants, sweat pants, or short anythings. All navy blue. All the time. No stripes, no tears, no fading, no denim. Top attire must be a long- or short-sleeved collared shirt with buttons, sky blue Tuesday-Saturday, white on Sundays, and either color on Mondays. No tears, no cleavage, no excessive frills, no stripes, slub, or colored trim. The kicker: shirts must be tucked in at all times. Hello world, these are my hips. I don’t believe you’ve seen them since 1986, when tucking in shirts was “trendy” and, oh yeah, I didn’t have hips then.
Can I wear my own clothes on my day off? Too bad, unless I’m off campus. Faculty housing? That’s still on campus, therefore I have to be in uniform. Just crossing campus to get to my car? No luck. Going to see Lyle Lovett when I’m off the clock, I’ve paid for tickets, and I’m ready to rock? No can-do. Blueberries unite. Walking to the gym to work out? Ok. That’s the one and only exception.
What if I’m cold, you might be wondering. Interlochen has an array of red cardigans (button up or pullover only) for sale at the student store. Aside from fowl-weather raincoats, this is the only acceptable outer layer. Accessories? Keep them to a minimum. Nothing unnecessary. Nothing, too, artsy, if you will…and of course, therein lies the irony. Isn’t this an art camp?
Oh well. I can handle looking like a patriotic ball of cotton for a few weeks. Just don’t tell anyone, ok?