ASIDE from their academic excellence, UST students stand out because of their uniforms. While other universities don’t require their students to wear uniforms, the University has always followed the homogenizing ideal of the habit-donning Dominicans.

Tagged as the most visible element of a school, uniforms serve as a “reflection” of the standards of a certain institution. Thomasian uniforms not only manifest the students’ discipline, they also embody the principles and rich traditions of the institution.

Entering the halls of the University, one would find an array of uniforms – from the generic white blouse to the navy blue skirt, from maroon-shaded garments to accented pink tops.

Ever wondered how the uniforms made the final cut?

The Varsitarian takes a historic survey on changing campus fashion as reflected in the college uniforms.

Colorful world: College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD)

When the College of Fine Arts and Design was created, its parent college, the College of Architecture, retained the maroon and beige colors of the old college.

But CFAD Dean Jaime de los Santos chose to retain the maroon color while mixing it with green.

Emerging in 2001, CFAD males wore a white polo paired with black pants, while the females donned a sky-blue blouse and dark-blue pants. But still, the administrators saw a problem with the designs.

“The ladies would wear different-colored tops under their blouses, defeating the purpose of the uniform,” said Socorro Gomez, an Interior Design professor.

The Student Council then proposed a new uniform that would incorporate the students’ demands for a more modern touch. Implemented in 2003, the CFAD uniform consists of a white blouse for females and a white polo for males, with maroon and green lining at the collar, paired with black slacks.

But given CFAD students’ flair for adventurous style and individuality, CFAD often finds itself cracking the whip on students taking liberties with the uniform, Gomez said.

Structural hues: College of Architecture

Architecture students used to wear the traditional white polo barong paired with brown pants.

“(But) we noticed that our male students kept on removing their polos when drafting in classes,” recounted college secretary, architect John Joseph Fernandez.

This prompted the change in uniform in 2001 after a plebiscite. Out of three proposed uniforms, the polo with maroon lining at the collar paired with black pants received the most votes from students.

“With the new uniform, the students were discouraged from removing their polos,” Fernandez said.

The ladies used to wear pinstripe blouses paired with brown pants or skirts. This was revamped into the current beige pinstripe blouse and maroon pants.

“We wanted our students to feel comfortable since they are out of the classroom most of the time,” Fernandez said.

Construction tints: Faculty of Engineering

Back in the 1970s, female Faculty of Engineering students wore an all-white dress while the men donned the standard polo shirt and black pants.

But as soon as other colleges started revising their uniforms, the faculty followed suit.

As gray is associated with edifices, construction, materials and metals, the faculty incorporated the color to their uniforms.

Today, Engineering students wear a combination of white and gray colors to reflect their profession.

Females wear an all-gray blouse accented with stripes of white and light gray and dark-gray pants. Males retain the standard polo shirts but with a dark-gray lining in the left pocket, and black pants.

Going corporate: College of Commerce

Established in 1933, the College of Commerce has always strived to make its uniform reflect college’s goal of “corporate excellence.”

Males then wore black pants and tucked-in white polos with a necktie. Nowadays, they wear a six-pleated white polo barong and black pants.

The women, however, still wear the same all-white terno.

To note, Accountancy majors also used to wear the current Commerce uniform before the Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy was established.

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Cool instructors: College of Education

In the 1960s, the College of Education’s uniform used to be all-white for men and women. Standard white dresses accented with round-up belt along the waist were must-wear for ladies while the plain white polo shirt with collar and black pants were the dress code for the gentlemen.

But after complaints from female students that their uniform made embarrassing lifts whenever they wrote on the blackboard or raise their hands, the college opted for a new look.

“We have to understand their requests to make them feel comfortable while delivering their lectures and reports,” said Dr. Cleotilde Arcangel, College of Education dean.

Today, the uniforms for ladies come in two parts—the blouse and the skirt. The men wear a white-colored polo shirt and black pants.

Arcangel said the college logo on both uniforms emphasizes the identity of Education students.

For their internship, students wear uniforms with a different color code.

“We want our students to enjoy teaching and to feel comfortable at the same time,” Arcangel explained. “But we have to recommend pastel colors since young students are fond of nice and happy colors.”

Arcangel said Education students should look respectable as to serve as models to students.

The College of Education highlights orange. The color signifies the flaming torch as these future teachers are expected to shed the “light” of knowledge to their students. Orange also signifies enthusiasm, in accord with the college’s zeal for excellent education.

Harmonious styles: Conservatory of Music

During the 1950s, Erlinda Fule, immediate past dean of the Conservatory, said that students used to wear a combination of pink and white colors. Ladies wore an all-pink dress accented with a necktie; the males went around in white polo shirt and black pants.

“Pink is the color of music,” Fule said. “We chose this color to create a pleasant mood for the audience when students play their instruments.”

But the uniform was similar to those of other universities.

“Our former uniform looked the same as Centro Escolar University’s and St. Scholastica’s,” Fule explained. “We do not want to be confused for them.”

Today, ladies no longer wear an all-pink dress but a pink top with vertical stripes and blue pants. The men, meanwhile, have retained the white-polo shirt with the college logo at the left, paired with black pants.

Fule said the Conservatory is not very strict with their uniform policies. The administration allows students to change into civilian clothes during musical performances, she added.

“We want them to feel comfortable when they play their wonderful tunes,” she said.

Dye another day: College of Nursing

In 60 years, the college has evolved from the old Escuela de Practicantes and the School of Home Nursing to what it is now, the country’s top private nursing college. It has also seen a similar evolution in its uniform.

Ever since its establishment in 1946, Nursing females have worn a one-piece white uniform with five pleats on each side and pockets on the left chest and the right thigh. A seemingly upturned sleeve completes the “signature nurse” look.

For the males, it is the same white polo and white pants specially worn during ward duties. Black pants are worn during Community Health Nursing (CHN) and non-duty schooldays.

With their different duties, female students assigned in wards are required to layer their prescribed uniform with an A-line styled apron, white stockings and white shoes.

Today, the gray scrubsuit embroidered with “UST-Nursing” was prescribed in specialty areas such as the operating room and delivery room. Students used to wear the current ward uniforms, save for the fact that the skirt was in “accordion” style.

Cosmetic capsule: Faculty of Pharmacy

In the 1960s, the women wore a white blouse with a pocket on the left chest. Dr. Priscilla Torres, Pharmacy dean, said that the flapped pocket was embroidered with “PHAR” in yellow stitching, while the men wore a white polo paired with brown pants.

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It seems not much has changed with the females’ uniform, only the pocket flap has been removed. The faculty uses special nakar buttons, which can only be secured in the dean’s office. The “A” line skirt has to be two inches below the knee.

Male students, on the other hand, are required to wear a white collared polo bearing a slit on the lower back side.

Medical Technology interns are required to wear a different uniform. The ladies are mandated to wear a knee-length white dress with Chinese collar. The male interns’ polo is slightly similar to the female interns’, save for the sports collar and two pleats fastened by a horizontal strip.

Clothing tech: College of Science

Before the 1970s, the ladies wore two uniforms. Female Chemistry students wore a tucked-in white blouse, paired with a sky-blue skirt with big pockets at the sides; while those from other Science courses wore an all-white ensemble.

“The Chemistry students were not happy with what they had to wear everyday, so they suggested a change in their uniform,” said Dr. Fortunato Sevilla III, dean of the College of Science. “Later on, the uniform the students proposed became the rule in the whole college,” Sevilla said, referring to the College’s white skirt and blouse female terno.

Also before, male students were required to wear any white polo, as long as it was tucked in, and a necktie.

Nowadays, male students don black pants paired with the prescribed white polo, though they are not required to tuck it in anymore. However, the college is very strict with quant rules: Men should wear only “sando” (sleeveless undershirt) underneath, and their hair must not reach the collar.

Knit and knead: College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS)

There was a time when Physical Therapy students wear same uniform as what the students of Medicine and Science. The course’s roots are still evident in its uniform’s colors of sky blue and yellow, the colors of Science and Medicine.

To be different, CRS females now don a white blouse with puffed-up sleeves paired with a white skirt, while the males sport the traditional white polo and black pants.

Due to their laboratory classes, CRS sophomores have to switch uniforms and don a white printed shirt and blue jogging pants (accented with the college colors).

Healthy outfit: Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

Men clad in an all-white uniform are often stereotyped as medical students. But in the early 1980’s in UST, this was not the case.

Formerly, male students in their first and second years wore white polos with collars. They change to V-neck polos in their third year.

“We paired these polos with black or dark pants,” recalled Dr. Jose Blas, Medicine faculty secretary. The polo is still being worn today, but now, it is complemented by crisp-white pants.

For females, the uniform has not changed drastically, except that in the past decades, the skirts were shorter. For freshmen and sophomores, women donned white collared blouses with three sets of pleats, while third-year students wore V-neck blouses. All these blouses were paired with a white pencil-cut skirt.

Medicine students will undergo yet another change in uniform for their clerkship. During their fourth year, their polo and blouses will have a train of buttons on their left.

Decades ago, the students wore metal nameplates, the colors ranging from black to violet, to indicate their year levels. Today, every batch is represented with nameplates carrying the faculty’s colors of green and yellow.

Pure in spirit: Ecclesiastical Faculties

Established in 1624, the Ecclesiastical Faculties are UST’s oldest colleges, and it is perhaps a testament to their long history that students there have followed only one dress code through the centuries: a clerical habit bearing a Roman collar and a white cross.

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“As purity, honor and propriety are associated with our faculties, the use of these secular dresses and symbols help maintain our ideals,” said Fr. Jose Antonio Aureada, O.P., dean of the Faculty of Sacred Theology.

Moreover, as the faculty was entrusted by the Church to train priests and religion, Aureada emphasized that the prescribe clothing has always been strictly enforced.

“We don’t allow them to wear indecent dresses,” he explained. “Even sandals and shoes without socks are unacceptable.”

But Aureada clarified that seminarians do not wear uniform as much as standard clothing.

“Though we seem to have uniforms with our generic clerical wear, we can’t really call it a uniform since it is also worn by other seminarians ,” he said.

Culture swathe: Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets)

To capture the liberal sophistication of Artlets, the faculty came out with a symbol-inspired uniform bearing unique cuts and colors that signify self- expression.

Originally designed in the 1960s by Dr. Magdalena Villaba, dean emeritus of the faculty, the girls’ uniform is noted for the lambda found in between the collars of the white blouse.

“The Artlet’s uniform became a sensation. We were not expecting to receive positive feedback from the other colleges,” Villaba said.

But many mistook the lambda as a necktie.

Villaba said the lambda is really the Greek letter “L”, which also stands for “Letters,” symbolizing the humanist orientation of the college.

“We want to make the Artlets proud as they carry the faculty’s name,” she explained.

Moreover, Villaba said the use of the royal-blue color adds more meaning to the uniform since it represents the color of the arts. The shade is linked with tradition and stability, apparent in the faculty’s 105 years of existence, which makes it the oldest liberal arts college in Asia.

But the uniform also underwent changes in 2002. The former five-pleated skirt for ladies was modified into two pleats and the male’s six-pleated polo was changed into 10 pleats to stand for the 10 courses offered by the faculty.

Legal tunic: Faculty of Civil Law

Lowell Culling, Faculty of Civil Law secretary, said the Faculty is very strict with its uniform policy as law school is the training ground for a profession that requires discipline.

He said inappropriate hairstyles, apparel, and accessories such as denims, shorts, revealing attires, t-shirts, earrings for males, flashy attachments, sandals, and slippers are prohibited.

Moreover, Culling said law students are required to wear formal attire while attending classes.

“Wearing decent attire plays a vital role in the profession as we want to train them (law students) to dress properly,” he said.

Sportswear: Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA)

The student-athletes of the University have to have their own comfy outfit, of course.

The female students are required to wear a gray blouse similar to Engineering’s, embroidered with the IPEA logo, and paired with black pants.

Felix Michael Silbor, IPEA director, pointed out the gray blouse is less likely to be soiled, given the students’ athletic lifestyle.

On the other hand, the males are required to wear black pants with a white polo embroidered with the IPEA logo as well.

The uniforms have been implemented since IPEA’s institution in 2001.

The merry cauldron of uniforms reflects the ideals and excellence of each college and faculty. The dress codes reveal tales of how the University’s centers of learning have blossomed into highly respected educational paragons. Yet beneath their differing cuts, styles, lines, and pleats, the uniforms shows the true colors of a Thomasian—in thought, word, and looks. Raychel Ria C. Agramon and Rieze Rose T. Calbay


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