Dress code

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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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