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Dress code

April 24, 2013

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My eldest daughter absolutely loves her new school and, much to my relief, is really thriving there. The one thing that drives us both mad, though, is the dress code. She’s in the sixth form, but they don’t have to wear uniform – they are supposed to turn up each day in ‘interview wear’. This is absolutely fine for the boys. They can get a couple of suits, five shirts and even fewer ties, and they’re done for the year. For the girls, though, there is endless, quasi-philosophical questioning to be done. What is an interview, exactly? A good question, as none of them have done a proper interview yet, apart from school interviews, for which they would most probably be wearing school uniform.

So, is it a job interview they are dressing for? I can only imagine it is. But that doesn’t answer the question of what to wear at all. Because we need to know what the job is. Are they dressing to be investment bankers? Art teachers? Creative writers? Language students? For a boy, a suit covers all these and more. For a girl, we’re spiralling into nightmare territory. Clothes say so much about you, and so quickly. At a real, genuine interview, you are summed up in seconds as soon as you walk in through the door, and what you are wearing is a huge factor in the impression you make. A sombre dress can be smart – or it could be downtrodden, depressive, lacking in self esteem. A fuschia blouse could be fun-loving and outgoing – or it could be strident, bossy and rude.

One of my early tips to Child One was to see what others wore and adapt accordingly. But, as we watch the other girls parade through the gates in the morning, I’m rather glad she hasn’t taken my advice too much to heart. One or two of her cohort definitely appear to be auditioning to be lapdancers.

Anyway, it’s all costing us about ten times as much as a uniform, as of course she CAN’T be seen in the same thing twice and she MUST have a whole selection of options. Thank goodness for shops like Uniqlo and New Look. They’ve just brought out some shift dresses which may just save our bacon now the sun is out. Otherwise it would be straight to debtors’ prison for us. Without even an interview.

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  • janerowena April 24, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    What they want is Ally McBeal in longer skirts. Or smart trouser suits. My son is just as bad. He wears blazers with either grey trousers or chinos, but of course he just manages to slide in the skinny look without it being too obvious, and he must have at least 30 shirts, because he can’t wear the same shirts every day either. I had hoped he would have half a dozen white ones with a couple of blue and that would be the end of it, but we have various strange pockets, odd-shaped collars and he also has several pairs of shoes. Don’t get me started on the socks and ties… There’s a lot to be said for the days when boys took no notice of their appearance. Girls got most of the wardrobe space, for starters.

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Talking of longer skirts, Child One went off to school in a maxi skirt today. She nearly tripped over twice and killed herself before we even got in the car. She should be wearing L plates really. Gosh, I had no idea that mothers of boys suffered from this clothesaholisim too – poor you as there is absolutely nothing more boring than shopping for boy clothes (apart from paying for them, maybe). And while we’re on the subject, TL takes up twice as much wardrobe space as me and has FAR more pairs of shoes.

  • Naomi Richards April 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    New look is amazing for suit stuff. I remember about 15 years ago I used to get all my work get up there and it is fairly cheap. Must be difficult for many parents if they have to buy more clothes than if standard unform.

    • Dulwich Divorcee April 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

      New Look is great, isn’t it? We were in there again at the weekend, buying the maxi skirt which Child One is now tripping over every two seconds. I hope she doesn’t have to do too many stairs at school. A friend broke her elbow tripping over her trousers not so long ago. It’s perilous being female!