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I found the sentence

バスから降りた、制服に身を包んだ少年少女たちは全員この門をくぐり抜けていく。

translated as:

All the boys and girls in uniform got off the bus and passed through the gate.

What would be the difference with some equivalent expressions like: 身につける、or others ? Does 身を包んだ add some kind of nuance ?

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I don't see any deeper nuance to the phrase 身を包む. It literally means 'to wrap yourself up', or in other words 'to wear'. To me, it simply conveys that they were dressed in uniforms. You don't mention the source but I am assuming it is from a novel perhaps? As with English, writers often use alternative ways to express something if they feel it is too prosaic. If that were the case here, instead of using 制服を着ている少年少女たち which is perhaps a little prosaic, the writer might have wanted to choose a more 'literary' phrase like 制服に身を包んだ.

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  • Hi, thanks for the respons, yes it is from a novel. And thanks for the explaination – Makoto Mar 21 at 17:06
  • I think there is an implication it's dressed up fancier than normal clothes. I don't think you would say Tシャツに身を包む for example except ironically. I've heard that because one would wrap 着物 around oneself that it derives from that, but not really sure about that one. – Ringil Mar 21 at 22:23
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    Maybe but I think it's a stretch. Why would school uniforms be considered fancy? – kandyman Mar 21 at 22:29

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