After years of hearing Aucklanders bicker over who has the least horrific school uniform, Tauranga-born Janaye Henry decides once and for all who is serving the best looks at the inter-school events.
Spoiler alert: Contains pinstripes, skorts and cufflinks.
Who knew there were so many colleges in Auckland? Certainly not me when I embarked on this ranking. I once wore a school uniform and worked for nine months in a retail store and this qualifies me to judge every single school uniform I could find. Of course my personal opinion on fashion and school uniform matters hugely and therefore all opinions are final, correct and almost fact.
99. King’s College
The most horrific skirt I have ever seen in my life for the obscene price of $113. Think Miss Trunchbull from Matilda: it’s camel coloured, full length, tight around the lower abdomen and then pleats on out. Serving zookeeper realness. It’s a skirt that would give you an insecurity complex for the rest of your life, paired with what can only be described as a sturdy belt. In some of the photos, the skirt is black, not beige. But it could be any colour, it would never redeem the horridness of this skirt. Could it be the uniform is actually meant to deter girls from going to this school?
The boys are rocking grey drill shorts and an off-green-looking top, or sometimes it’s a white top. The whole look is tied together with the all important belt which somehow dominates the entire outfit. A $307 red, white and blue striped blazer can be added to this lewk. It’s an outfit that says, “We think throwing money at things makes it fashion!” This is untrue. If pubescent insecurity had a uniform, this would be it.
98. Baradene College of the Sacred Heart
Long black skirt, pinstriped blazer and a muted gold tie for year 13s. The full year 13 fit will set you back $611 – that’s disrespectful to both you and I. Before you receive your long black skirt to signify adulthood, you are forced to wear a red pinstripe skirt that is also pleated. It is a true fashion nightmare and I’m sending all my love to the students who have to wear this absolute travesty.
97. Auckland Girls’ Grammar School
Two skirt options, zero pants options. It’s not the 1940s, let ’em wear pants! The long skirt and a blouse paired with the navy/ gold striped blazer will set you back $298! I’m sorry, are we going to the Oscars? This is some grade A bullshit and it’s not even cute. This has angered me.
96. Auckland Grammar School
Cooked that they don’t have to say Auckland BOYS’ Grammar School in the same way the girls’ grammar has to. To have school cufflinks and a ring is pretentious to me and I do not respect it. The school rain jacket is $165. I’d rather get wet.
95. City Impact Church School
I learnt while reading the parent guide that the uniform “is designed to be attractive, functional and practical”. One of those things is not like the others. Bike shorts have to be worn under all skirts for girls – at a certain point, why not just choose a skort as your uniform instead? Also, pinstripe blazers are heinous and I don’t want to see them.
94. Auckland International College
$350 for a blazer. Students don’t need blazers, I have never in my adult life worn a blazer – which might say more about me than these kids. The rest is just a classic uniform look.
93. Albany Junior and Senior High School
I had to create an account to get into the uniform shop and I just don’t respect that kind of admin so I’m already dropping it down the ranking. This is generic: white shirt, shorts for boys and a skort for girls. Bring back the skort, I like the ability to high kick and stay clothed! This look is let down by those clompy black shoes from my nightmares. On the bright side, once you hit year 11: no uniform baby!
92. Auckland Seventh-Day Adventist High School
You can buy this uniform from The Warehouse, which I respect. I can’t work out if the seniors also wear this uniform, as all the pics I could find featured kids. The blue tartan skirt could be a look if you’re a fashion-forward uniform wearer. I’m not and this skirt would make me feel sad inside.
91. ACG Sunderland
The blue and red pinstripe blazer is not a look, I can’t imagine a single scenario where this blazer would make sense. The skirts and shorts are charcoal grey with a white shirt. The energy is quite stiff and I imagine it to be uncomfortable. Luckily, I’ll never have to know because I will never pay $291 for that blazer.
90. James Cook High School
A terrible school name, inspired by a terrible man. The logo is the Endeavour ship with a little kōwhaiwhai. The actual uniform is a pale blue or grey shirt with either pants, a skirt or lavalava. It’s OK but I really can’t look beyond that heinous logo.
89. Epsom Girls Grammar
After seeing this uniform, it’s clear the people at my uni who went here and looked down on other schools had no right to. Blue shirt, navy skirt, navy jacket or blazer combo. Are you asleep? I’m asleep, that’s so boring! You brag too much for this to be the look you are serving.
88. Carmel College
A transition from a blue blouse to a white blouse indicates your seniority at this school. They have a blue school cardigan which is so cute, however it is $100 which is too much for a cardigan. The skirt and short options are both pinstriped – this is a mistake. The skirt has two weird pleats halfway down. Overall this look belongs to a different era.
87. St Dominic’s Catholic College
When I first laid eyes on the dark green tartan skirt, black cardigan and white shirt, I was mesmerised. The flaw is, I think this uniform was made for a very specific body type in mind. This is the school equivalent of being made to buy a bridesmaid dress you know doesn’t flatter you or make you feel good but makes ONE of the bridesmaids feel amazing. The full fit costs between $450-$500.
86. Wentworth College
The generic navy bottoms and white top combo. This uniform is doing the absolute least and I felt fine about it until I read the price list and saw the navy pinstripe blazer is $290.
85. Ormiston Junior College
An olive and white shirt which is a very tight checkered pattern – it looks like a visual illusion. You can also buy a shirt that looks like those lined pages of a maths book, if the book was lined with orange and grey. I want to acknowledge that I think it’s great they stepped out of a plain white blouse. But the patterns let down the colour palette – and that orange and grey let down everyone.
84. Diocesan School for Girls
The pleated skirt does work for me. The pinstripe blouse, however, absolutely does not and is so offensive to my eyes. Pair that with a pinstripe blazer? You are serving pinstripe squared and I am furious.
83. St Kentigern College
This is a uniform from a horror movie. Everything is just a bit too crisp for me; it’s what you imagine school uniforms to look like, not what they actually look like. It’s crisp and clean, but it gives me spooky vibes and as the reviewer I don’t wish to be spooked.
82. Lynfield College
Another school describing the uniform as “attractive [and] practical” which is a haunting description. Shares a $113 skirt price tag with King’s College. A knee-length pleated skirt symbolises youth, being available to only year 9-11. Once you are year 12 you may opt for either a long pleated skirt or a knee-length pencil skirt. The forest green jumper and blazer is cute.
81. Massey High School
Blazer with yellow pinstripes, this exercise has broken me because the blazer cost $195 and I feel nothing. Long skirt, long pants. I’m excited by the little black and yellow line around the cuff of the sleeve on the girls’ shirts.
80. Sacred Heart College
White shirt, navy blazer, black pants. I mean sure. It’s literally so easy to serve a look in a uniform if you’re a boy.
79. Manurewa High School
A button-up, charcoal/ green pinstripe shirt. The stripes are green, the shirt is white and it’s everything I don’t like in school uniforms in one garment. Stripes, button-up, white and tight-fitted. It is not the student’s job to fit the uniform well; it’s the uniform’s job to fit the body in a nice way and I can just see the specific body this shirt was made for.
78. Rutherford College
Light blue tartan skirt matched with a slightly different shade of blue polo shirt is… a choice. It’s not one that pays off. I know seniors get to wear a different uniform but you’ve already offended me.
77. Destiny School
Black bottoms, white top. I’m not mad, just disappointed.
76. McAuley High School
The maroon jumper and blazer has cute, cosy vibes. I appreciate that the blouse is either blue or grey, white is not a functional learning colour. However the three pleat skirt is an absolute no from me. Three is far too few pleats, at a certain point just don’t pleat!
75. Whangaparaoa College
On the website they noted “no boots or slave sandals allowed”. I feel like they could’ve found a better phrase than slave sandals. The actual uniform is generic, practical and not notable.
74. Mount Albert Grammar School
It’s all about the details. I’m into the black buttons which contrast with the white blouse. I’m into the black line on the cuff of the sleeve. The skirt is described as tartan on the website, but such a dark tartan I couldn’t actually tell which I am surprisingly very into. However, the girls’ trousers remind me of horrific pants I had to wear when I enrolled in jazz dancing for a term, somehow both too fitted and too flared. This is also the first time I’m clocking the boys’ uniform as worse than the girls’. A grey polo with a navy collar and a light blue logo is so bad. It’s paired with black dress pants or black shorts, serving dad at a barbecue on top and summer wedding on the bottom. Mount Albert, you’ve confused me – the highs are high but the lows are very low.
73. Edgewater College
Blue button-up shirts – maybe I’m just scarred from growing boobs so fast in year 10 but a button-up shirt feels impractical to someone growing boobs? Mid-length or full-length skirt options, shorts or pants for boys.
72. Pinehurst School
From what I can tell, navy jacket and skirt with a white blouse. Look, if you don’t have lots of photos of your uniform easily available and you get a low ranking, that’s on you buddy!
71. Westlake Girls High School
Red pinstripe blazer, black bottoms and a white shirt. I like the red blazer; the pinstriping is my fashion enemy and was a mistake.
70. Kaipara College
Blue blouse, navy skirt, navy shorts or grey trousers. Sure, it’s fine.
69. Mount Roskill Grammar School
This is the first school I have seen where the girls modelling the uniform have all opted for the trouser/shorts option! It’s nice to see, instead of pants feeling like an afterthought for girls. Grey button-up shirt, black bottoms and a navy or a dull red jumper. The shirt looks uncomfortable to me, slightly too stiff. I had a chuckle at a picture of a boy in uniform – the ratio was two thirds shirt and really added length to the torso.
68. Pakuranga College
A green or white blouse with either black shorts, skirt or pants. $63 feels like too much for a blouse. I feel like I’ve seen this exact uniform five times over already. Didn’t like it the first time, don’t like it now.
67. Takapuna Grammar School
Pinstripe blazer alert. When did we decide pinstripe is the LOOK for students? I see zero pinstripes in my day-to-day adult life, so why are students being subjected to this?
66. Green Bay High School
Another vertical striped shirt. Why do we keep doing this? The skirt is pleated to the side, confusing.
65. Marcellin College
OK, I love a uniform being sold at The Warehouse, however $109 for a school vest feels extortionate. A bold choice for your school colours to be navy, blue and yellow – a choice that does not pay off. However, I do want to acknowledge this is one of the few pleated skirts that is pleated in a way that makes sense to me. The pleats are just down the front and back, none of this side panel pleating business.
64. Waiheke High School
Category is blue on blue on blue. You are Waiheke High School, stand in your power! You could be serving cute, flowing vacation vibes.
63. De La Salle College
Grey drill shorts, blue shirt, maroon jersey. The blue and the maroon clash.
62. Westlake Boys High School
White shirt, black pants, green pinstripe blazer, red tie. This gives me big “trying to be the fun uncle at Christmas” energy.
61. Macleans College
The junior girls school uniform is a $135 red kilt paired with a blue shirt tied together with an electric blue jumper. It’s hard because all items in isolation I’m OK with, but the combination is hugely hectic. When you become a senior you get a long blue skirt. The boys are in navy shorts and a light blue shirt. This ranking is reflective of Macleans not being fashion cowards but also a recognition that not every bold move is a good one.
60. Avondale College
Auckland, we need to have an intervention about your love for long skirts and blouses! Avondale offers no pants option for girls which is barbaric. Boys get dress pants and a shirt. It’s fine, if a little uninspired.
59. Vanguard Military School
This is a school uniform that I find genuinely intimidating! Blue dress shirt tucked into grey pants, a belt and a tie. It’s very sterile and I get it, that’s the whole shtick. This is something I can imagine fancy men wearing to business meetings which is a look, sure, but ultimately it’s not serving school energy.
58. Marist College
I’ve been doing this for too long. I feel like I’ve seen this exact uniform three times already. Pinstripe blazer, long skirt, white shirt. The logo is a confusing pop of yellow. I don’t hate this, it’s just repetitive.
57. Pukekohe High School
You know what Pukekohe? I RESPECT your charcoal skirt. I was unsure at first but it’s refreshing to be allowed to wear a skirt above your knees. It’s quite hard to move if your legs are confined to a sausage casing of a skirt all day, and this allows freedom. Boys get polo shirts, which feels like a uniform classic to me. Is the full look cute? No. But is it the worst uniform I’ve seen in the last three hours? Also no.
56. One Tree Hill College
Stocked at The Warehouse, which, as previously noted, I love. Pick up your uniform and a little choccie bar. This whole uniform is muted blue hues. I like it when the students are not wearing the tie with it, students don’t need ties. At a certain point, we said goodbye to the Avril Lavigne tie era. Now having to wear a tie to your maths class just feels wrong.
55. Pukekohe Christian School
Maroon, navy and white: our classic uniform colour scheme. This is the iceberg lettuce of the uniform world, all crunch no flavour.
54. Orewa College
Juniors get burdened with a muted green tartan skirt; once you become a senior you get the honour of transitioning to a charcoal colour. Boys are wearing the classic grey school shorts and either a grey or white shirt. I would love for the green to be brighter, but I do give points for the ambition.
53. Rodney College
White or blue shirt, dark skirt, dark shorts. Honestly, nothing notable either way.
52. Sancta Maria College
Blue blouse or dress shirt, navy bottoms. It’s fine, it has just been done before. With a beautiful name like Sancta Maria I imagine floral, I imagine linen, I imagine flowing. This is fine too I guess.
51. Selwyn College
I’m in white shirt, black bottoms purgatory. Will I ever get out?
More definitive rankings:
50. Aorere College
Years 9-11 get to wear a forest green polo; once you become a senior you have to don a sickly green blouse. The girls go from a cute mid-length skirt to a full-length skirt, because of course once puberty hits your lower legs must always be hidden. The black ankle skirt is giving me tangi vibes which makes it a great dual purpose garment.
49. Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate Senior College
Baby blue shirt, navy bottoms. In some of the uniform pictures I looked at I saw people tucking the shirts in – I don’t know if this is a dress code violation but I like it.
48. Rangitoto College
White or blue shirts for girls, black bottoms paired with a red jumper. I really appreciate the bright pop of red. I can’t tell from looking at photos how long the skirt is meant to be ideally; I’m seeing anything from just past knees to full ankle skirt. I would love it if we could have a meeting and decide together what we’re doing.
47. Papatoetoe High School
Maroon outerwear, white shirt, tartan skirt or navy/ black pants. Maroon is serving Warblers from Glee energy and I’m tired of a white blouse.
46. St Paul’s College
See St Mary’s below but make electric blue. It’s a look. Are St Mary’s and St Paul’s brother and sister schools? Regardless, it feels like they have the same uniform designer.
45. St Mary’s College
Electric blue jacket and skirt, a paler blue top. It definitely packs a punch. Not sure if feeling visually assaulted is ideal in a school uniform, but points for being memorable.
44. St Peter’s College
Is this the exact same uniform as St Paul’s? I am very confused.
43. ACG Parnell College
When you reach Year 12 you no longer have to wear a uniform, fun. Before that point, you’re in a white polo shirt and a grey skirt and shorts. Look, the grey may actually be navy or black. I’ve been looking at uniforms for what feels like 20 years now.
42. ACG Strathallan
Is this the same as Parnell but with a navy blazer? This section has been so confusing for my brain.
41. Kia Aroha College
A red jumper and vest with a confusing bottom right logo placement. All the coolest people I follow on Instagram are wearing vests again so maybe they’re coming back in, perhaps with Kia Aroha College leading the charge. Classic white shirt, navy skirt or pants combo.
40. Onehunga High School
Serving predominantly green, black and a hint of red. The green jersey with the green and red striped scarf is giving me cosy Christmas movie vibes, however the blazer is an actual nightmare. I could not find the blazer for sale, so maybe the school just owns them. I respect this, no one should have to pay for a green and red pinstripe blazer.
39. Waiuku College
Congratulations Waiuku for making it onto the Auckland schools Wikipedia! White shirt, generic bottoms, maroon pop. It’s not new, it’s certainly not exciting, but it is practical.
38. Long Bay College
White top for girls, grey top for boys, both turn into pinstriped tops when you’re a senior. I’m bored of pinstripes. The uniform is tidy and fine, I’m just bored.
37. Te Kura Māori o Ngā Tapuwae
Grey skirt, trousers and polo shirt. The boldness of choosing a single colour and then for that colour to be grey is very confusing to me.
36. Tangaroa College
White shirt, generic bottoms, electric blue blazer! I love the blazer, it adds some spice.
35. Tāmaki College
Long skirt, white blouse, navy shorts for the boys all tied together with a pinstripe blazer. This feels like a rerun of so many other uniforms. Copy and paste this onto 15 other schools.
34. Waitākere College
Pinstripe blazer, blue or white shirt, black bottoms. Auckland, how are you telling your schools apart at inter-school events?
33. Zayed College for Girls
White shirt, long black skirt and a maroon cardigan. Sure. I’ve seen it 100 times today and it’s solidly OK.
32. Al-Madinah School
The uniform price list downloaded onto my computer, this upset me. Make it a website. Grey tunic and grey pants for the boys and a navy version for the girls. This uniform has real drama teacher vibes, serving layers and comfort.
31. Kingsway School
Light blue or white shirt, pinstriped blazer, generic bottoms. It’s just so uneventful.
30. Botany Downs Secondary College
A tight looking, lightly pinstriped, white button-up blouse paired with a skirt that goes past the knee is my actual fashion nightmare. However, I love the autumnal pop of maroon for the jumper.
29. Mahurangi College
Button-ups continue to make no sense for humans who are growing and changing body shapes quite rapidly. White or washed out blue shirts, skirts, shorts, trousers. It’s a standard school uniform. I love that they added a laundry pen to their uniform store, great initiative.
28. Elim Christian College
Electric blue blazer, black bottoms and a white shirt. We know I’m partial to electric blue, I’m into this.
27. Dilworth School
Dark green pinstripe blazer, white top, black pants. We’ve seen it already but it does work.
26. Otahuhu College
OK, a royal blue jumper, I’m in love! The juniors have to wear a tartan blue skirt, seniors get a long black skirt. My recurring issue with the tartan skirt is that it is so close to being a serve, however they are all slightly too bright. Boys get shorts, men get pants.
25. Glendowie College
OK but the teal blazer is a serve. The teal works less for me when it is in jersey form, however I appreciate making the most of having a black base (pants, skirt).
24. Mangere College
White top, navy bottom feels so standard. Big navy energy. It looks like there is one middle pleat in the long skirt which seems a bizarre choice.
23. Te Wharekura o Manurewa
I respect the blue polo shirt for students, it’s less stuffy than a blouse. However, a black pencil skirt is not the move for humans in the puberty process. Extra points for having a cool school logo.
22. Rosehill College
The blue and red tartan skirt is actually quite cute. I was excited to see it and then I caught sight of a maroon blazer and my eyes immediately glazed over. I would’ve loved to have seen the blazer match one of the colours in the skirt! It feels so obvious to me.
21. Glenfield College
Juniors get a cute checked shirt, seniors get a white blouse with a red stripe down it that I find less inspiring. I think the shirt with the stripe would give me mountain range energy, the stripe would weave in and out of my body, which is not my personal favourite look. Girls get a culotte option! I love a culotte, perfect to swish around in. Boys get black dress pants or shorts.
20. Howick College
The skirt looks like a cute shape. Howick also has a pant option specific to the girls. Tidy vibes overall.
19. Kristin School
A emerald green pinstripe blazer, generic fit underneath. The emerald took me by surprise and at this stage in the game anything that takes me by surprise gets bumped up.
18. Birkenhead College
Why do we continually insist on putting students in vertical stripes? Despite the striped jumper, the rest of the fit is good. Options for shorts, trousers and skirts are available to all students.
17. Hobsonville Point Secondary School
A dull red plaid shirt for the girls, a navy plaid shirt for the boys. The different coloured plaids for the different genders is unnecessary. The plaid is so cute and super on trend right now. Is that a Hobsonville uniform or a Glassons purchase?
16. Ormiston Senior College
Let’s talk about the horizontally striped jersey. Serving Freddy Krueger in grey realness! I love the cosplay element of this uniform even if I personally would hate to wear this. This may be shocking after my clear dislike for anything pinstriped, but the pinstriped grey skirt kind of works for me, though paired with the jumper you’re a walking visual illusion. I’ve honestly been doing this for five days straight now and anything that isn’t a white blouse with a black skirt is exciting to me, no questions at this time.
15. St Cuthbert’s College
Long green tartan skirt, white top and navy blazer. The navy of the blazer matches the navy in the skirt and this made me happy. It’s not a full serve, but the basis is there. That’s what this list is about, helping school uniform designers reach their full potential!
14. South Auckland Middle School
Lots of blue, on the polo two different types of blue. I like the idea of accenting a shirt with a different shade. The lighter panels of blue should’ve been put in a different place. However I love that there is a bold concept. I want to help you help this shirt reach its full potential.
13. Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Hoani Waititi
A navy vest moment, white dress shirt and long navy skirt. I’m really digging the vest.
12. Mission Heights Junior College
I just want to have a quiet word with whoever concepts uniforms: a buttoned down shirt OVER a skirt is way less of a serve than you think it is. The skirt is cute, it’s black, above the knee and something I would wear in my youth. Black shorts for boys, sure! The soft grey school shirt gives me pyjama vibes.
11. Papakura High School
To my eyeballs, this shirt is either pale blue or pale green. I’ve been writing this article for days, I see blouses in my dreams. They have a dark green blazer and I think it looks sharp paired with the black bottoms.
10. Liston College
Year 12s and 13s get the honour of wearing a white shirt and long black pants. Prior to this it’s a maroon shirt with a black collar and black shorts. Bizarre that the privilege of a warm leg is reserved for seniors, however I thought the black collar on the maroon shirt adds a little fun. All years have the option of black shorts or long pants and a maroon jumper. Maroon works for a lot of skin tones, I am OK with this uniform.
9. Wesley College
Category is monochrome! White top, black bottoms – feels generic until you hit the blazer. The blazer is black with bold white stripes and I am into this whole look. It’s bold in design, so simple in colour palette; a clever move. The blazer is $240 if you are an XL or under and $280 if you are above an XL. I don’t like the price discrepancy between the sizes.
8. Rosmini College
Long black pants, a blue polo or white dress shirt and a navy blazer. It is tidy and it really reiterates to me how easy it is to uniform boys – it’s so easy to get a tidy look. Replace the school logo with any random logo and I could see many men wearing this on a night out.
7. Henderson High School
White shirts, black pants and skirts. Honestly, I rate how honest it is about being a school uniform. It gives me school debating team vibes in a good way. A cute, basic monochrome moment.
6. Kelston Girls’ College
The shirt has a navy trim which I am super into. There are pants, shorts and two skirt length options. I am into the variety and love to see a short/pant option tailored for girls. Go off Kelston!
5. Kelston Boys’ High School
It’s tidy and $35 for a white uniform shirt is one of the best prices I’ve seen. White is only for year 13s, otherwise it is navy on navy baby! They also offer cultural attire, a wide brimmed hat and a belt. The accessories really elevate this look.
4. Southern Cross Campus
The green vest with the white shirt under it is INCREDIBLE. Generic bottoms which is fine because you should be looking at that vest. I’m really obsessed with this ensemble. Bravo Southern Cross Campus. You can also get the vest in a jumper form if you want that arm warmth, it’s such a look.
3. Northcote College
Could it be? A dark navy shirt and an unpleated skirt! Northcote, you fill my heart with joy. A small glimmer of hope is growing, maybe there is a light at the end of this uniform tunnel. Is there still a pinstripe blazer? Ha! Does Auckland Grammar sell cufflinks? Of course. We can’t have everything, but I thank you Northcote for showing me that somewhere in Auckland there are people who are not forcing students to have yellow stained armpits in white shirts.
2. ACG New Zealand International College
A short or long sleeved white polo with a fashion-forward thin black border on the cuffs and neckline. I am obsessed with the shirt, so cute. There’s also the standard pant/short/skirt options. I am surprised to see the $135 soft shell jacket – it feels like something a dad would wear when going on a walk. Maybe a good gift idea?
1. Alfriston College
A short option specific to girls, I am obsessed. Also lava lava, vests, even a bucket hat or beanie! Honestly, cop the whole look. The colour palette is navy, white and blue. I like the variety despite a button-down shirt being my pubescent nightmare. I’m just obsessed with the variety. You can get a fleece, vest, jumper, rain jacket. I think the amount of options provide an opportunity to serve a look that reflects who you are and offers different options for different body types. Bravo Alfriston!
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