Girls wearing shorts under school dresses

(145 Posts)
eandemum Sat 28-May-11 20:48:39

When DD (5) started wearing her summer school uniform (the usual- checked summer dress) I got her shorts to wear. Not Bobby Charlton style really baggy ones, more like black cycling shorts in T-shirt material - we call them "modesty shorts"!!

Anyway, DD comes home on Thursday with a note re: this (all got this note not just her) - saying such shorts were not part of the uniform and shouldn't be worn (leggings were ok in certain cases).

She doesn't wear them for religious reasons - just 'preserving her dignity' - we have practised sitting in a ladylike fashion but I know this goes out the window once she is in school.

I wrote back suggesting a compromise; white shorts that don't come below the hemline (her black shorts would be at the hemline) so can't be seen.

What do you think?

mrspnut Sat 28-May-11 20:51:03

I just send my daughter to school during the summer in shorts, she wouldn't wear a dress anyway.

I think that white cycling shorts under a summer dress is a very sensible idea, especially when it comes to climbing etc, no thigh chaffage. grin

MmeBlueberry Sat 28-May-11 20:51:22

I don't understand why you don't think that knickers are enough.

FlorenceMattell Sat 28-May-11 20:55:16

Sounds abit hot. Is an American idea. I went to American school in 70s and they wore them. but imo not needed in UK. Maybe little girls need to learn to not show their knickers. And if they do is it end of the world. Cant she just wear trouser and summer blouse or is that not allowed at your school. In a couple of years she will want to be same as friends not different too.

RatherBeOnThePiste Sat 28-May-11 20:58:42

By Y6 my dd had started to wear cycling shorts under school dresses because the boys were obsessed about trying to see their knickers. Plus how can you do cartwheels at lunchtime otherwise! But that came from her. She did sometimes wear shorts to school but found them v hot. They ended up with boys shorts.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 28-May-11 21:04:28

If its a state school they can't enforce a uniform so your DD can wear what she wants.

AbigailS Sat 28-May-11 21:09:26

Now the weather is better lots of our girls spend playtimes doing handstands and cartwheels on the field. A few were concerned about boys commenting on their knickers so started wearing shorts under their skirts and now it seems to be the "fashion" and they almost all do, regardless of whether they do playtime gymnastics. Most wear white above the knee type leggings, so we're not worried. If it makes them happy, fine. In fact they look quite pretty as they are edged with lace.

eandemum Sat 28-May-11 21:15:37

I didn't realise that state schools can't enforce uniform?
But I am quite happy to tow the school policy line!!

Yes agree knickers should be enough - but they always seem to 'gape'
Maybe I need to have something else to over think/fuss about smile

littleducks Sat 28-May-11 21:18:36

DD's school have complained about the girls wearing leggings under their gingham dresses, so i have managed to get her some cotton cycling shorts...which was tricky, the fashion appears to be hot pants in quite 'stiff' materials and there were hardly any in the shops.

I was considering getting MIL to run up some loose shorts in matching gingham that cant be seen at the hemline easily for future years. I expect if she could do a job lot then she could sell them to all the mothers in the playground and start a fashion grin.

The hemline (and sleeves actually) of the summer dresses seem to be creeping up, I went to John Lewis specially for dd's (just covers the knee if she stands still) the supermarket ones were very short.

AbigailS Sat 28-May-11 21:27:50

Ohh! That reminds me; a couple of my class last year wore gingham shorts and the white short sleeved polo teeshirts (part of the winter uniform). I thought that was great and looked for some for my DD in her school's colour, but to no avail. I promised her I'd find or make some for this summer. Anyone seen any or will I be getting my sewing machine out between school reports this holiday?

leiela Sun 29-May-11 10:48:50

I would ask the school why its a problem?

I have boy's so i don't have this problem but if i had a girl, knowing she'd be likely to be doing cartwheel's and handstands etc a "discreate" pair of tight fitting shorts seems a reasonable way of keeping abit of modesty while allowing her to have fun.

Honestly i don't know what the fuss is about, they are just a pair of shorts so i would challenge the reasoning and see if the school where willing to comprimise. If not ask if it's acceptable for the girls to wear pants. i know a couple of girls at my sons school who wear pants for none religious reasons im guessing they just like them.

Also another suggestion what about getting some knickers like these??

I used to be a dancer and i used to wear them under the flimsey costumes to keep "everything in place and covered up"

Not sure how easy they would be to get in small sizes for primary school childen (again sorry i don't have girls) i bought mine in primary for about £1 a pair and the size 6 is pretty tiny would easily fit a 10-11 year old i would imagine because they stretch.

leiela Sun 29-May-11 10:49:32

Err bought in primark!!

megapixels Sun 29-May-11 16:13:33

I've noticed the hemlines creeping up too. DD is quite tall so I have to buy about three sizes bigger or it looks like a mini. Wish they'd allow shorts for girls as well, then no need for this dress and shorts nonsense. DD loves doing cartwheels but feels too shy once it gets to summer-dress weather.

GiddyPickle Sun 29-May-11 16:35:58

If the shorts can't be seen (except during handstands) what's the problem? The school uniform is being worn correctly and as long as the shorts don't poke out of the bottom of the skirt or show through the dress fabric too much - how can they dictate policy about shorts being worn as supplementary undergarments?!

piprabbit Sun 29-May-11 16:39:20

Lots of girls at DDs school are wearing culottes with their usual school shirts - looks very practical.

ASByatt Sun 29-May-11 16:41:08

Yes this years dress designs seem to be far too short! Dd is tall, but having to size up by at least 3 years, so then they're baggy on the top half.

campion Sun 29-May-11 16:59:19

In my day we just tucked our dresses into our knickers.

We survived.

gramercy Sun 29-May-11 18:20:20

It's bizarre that on the one hand you have teenagers heading out wearing next to nothing and celebrities/pop stars clothed in... virtually nothing - yet people are fussed about their daughters showing a pair of knickers!

In my day we wore vest and pants to do PE. Who cared? No-one. Pants aren't something "dirty" - they're pants.

bluebobbin Sun 29-May-11 18:28:36

I hate these dresses. My eldest is a boy (youngest a girl but not yet school age). Anyway, I'm waiting to pick DS up one day, lots of kids sitting on carpet in summer uniform. Boys fine - shorts covering. But one girl - cross legged - knickers on display - also moving knickers aside to scratch fanjo! Also, these dresses can be hazardous when climbing. I think that the white little shorts under the dress sound perfect myself. Better still, I would like to see the option for girls to wear shorts in summer. My DD wears shorts/cropped leggings in the summer all the time and the only time she will need to wear a summer dress is for school.

leiela Sun 29-May-11 18:29:44

hmm people who say that clearly haven't heared the things some of the little angel's in my nieghbourhood say. Clearly they are too young to understand it but i dont think id like to hear boys shouting likes like "I can see your C**T to my daughter"(if i had one of course) which i have heard from kids as young as 4.

mrz Sun 29-May-11 18:46:11

bluebobbin if they are wearing shorts/trousers they just put their hand down to scratch.
What sort of message are we giving young children that they can't play/sit on the carpet for fear of showing their pants hmm

Sylvaniasandwich Sun 29-May-11 19:25:25

My Dd's school has banned leggings under dresses. It's not a modesty thing - it's practical. If they fall over, they fall onto a covered knee not a bare one. I really can't see why it is a problem.

megapixels Sun 29-May-11 19:45:27

I don't see why the girls have to have their underwear on display though. The boys have theirs tucked away neatly and out of sight, so why not let girls do the same as well?

CarGirl Sun 29-May-11 19:49:21

Get to H&M and buy your dds boxer style pants, they look like hotpant shorts - great coverage wink

bluebobbin Sun 29-May-11 19:49:37

mrz - I don't think I would have minded a child of either gender putting hands down shorts for a scratch. But when the knickers are already on display and they are moved aside for a scratch there was really far too much on display.

LawrieMarlow Sun 29-May-11 19:54:21

I used to tuck my dress into my knickers to do cartwheels and handstands etc. Has never entered my head to get shorts for DD to wear under her dress - and calling them "modesty shorts" feels weird IMO.

LawrieMarlow Sun 29-May-11 19:55:43

Haven't noticed hazardous dresses when climbing either - if they get caught up in things I don't see how wearing shorts underneath would help tbh.

post Sun 29-May-11 19:57:58

dd wears boden's lovely big solid knickers under summer dresses, proper old-fashioned undercrackers; I don't like the flimsy ones that seem to be standard everywhere else, but these are fantastically reliable

mrz Sun 29-May-11 19:59:19

bluebobbin I once taught a small golden haired cherub who frequently had her hands down her leggings and went red in the face until the sweat stood on her forehead ...I think you might have minded

mrz Sun 29-May-11 20:00:56

post some of our very young children are wearing thongs undermodesty shorts under skirts!

RatherBeOnThePiste Sun 29-May-11 20:02:05

My DD couldn't have cared less about anyone seeing her knickers, until the boys started making crude and suggestive comments, and they were only in Year 6. That's when she wanted cycling shorts!

TrinityIsAShreddingFatRhino Sun 29-May-11 20:04:21

dd2 wears leggings under her skirt or dress at the mooment becasue its too cold for just the skirt or shorts and she has no trousers and we may not have tights clean

I would go in and say she is in uniform end of

an added pair f black shorts is silly to be getting told off about

as long as your colours are somehting and black

having said that dd2 wears all sorte of coloured legginsm the same as all sorts of coloured tights (when they are clean)

Portofino Sun 29-May-11 20:04:51

We are talking little kids here though. I am a bit confuddled as to why this is even an issue. It never used to be. There is all this talk of not prematurely "sexualising" our children in terms of inappropriate clothing, but now everyone seems to be paranoid about them wearing totally normal clothing too. Pants is pants. Who cares if other children the same age see them?

Dilligaf81 Sun 29-May-11 20:05:14

My DD will be going up to juniors in September and they insist that if you wear a skirt you must wear cycling shorts.
I think this gives the wrong impression, fine if people chose to wear them but insisting.
FGS its like the threads about being suspious of old men near parks who clearly dont have kids with them hmm Why cant they just be kids anymore.

TrinityIsAShreddingFatRhino Sun 29-May-11 20:06:26

but the op has stated very early on that it is about GAPING not seeing her pants

piprabbit Sun 29-May-11 20:08:33

My DD had some pants that tended to gape... so I bought her better fitting pants. Problem was solved.

TrinityIsAShreddingFatRhino Sun 29-May-11 20:12:27

I'm with piprabbit

the girls all own some pants that aren't overly good fitting but tons that do fit well

mrz Sun 29-May-11 20:13:28

Actually I can understand it in Y6 because some girls are starting to develop I can't understand it when children are 5 years old good pants should be enough and cheaper than modesty shorts

SoupDragon Sun 29-May-11 20:15:58

FFS, DD is 5 and it never crossed my mind to make her wear shorts under her school dress.

Madness. Utter madness.

FionaJT Sun 29-May-11 20:34:12

My dd wore calf-length cotton leggings (in the colour of her dress) under her dresses last summer, as she has always had excema on the backs of her knees, and it frequently flared up when hot bare legs were rubbing on chairs. The school weren't terribly keen, but let it go, although the TA made lots of comments about how hot she must be getting. I would've prefered her to wear cotton trousers but she was desperate to be in a dress like the other girls.
This year her skin is much better and she is so pleased to just wear a dress. If modesty/practicality was an issue I would tell her to put on trousers, as I do when she's going to the playpark etc.

mynameisplonker Sun 29-May-11 22:12:50

My eldest (y6) wears her PE shorts under her school skirt.

She's always doing handstands and cartwheels on the playground but is very aware that the boys can see her knickers (and yes they do look), so wears shorts. Her choice. Very sensible I think.

The school have no problem with this ...I really can't see why they would confused

My second (y3) also does handstands and cartwheels but couldn't give a monkeys about whether the boys see her knickers (and neither could they, which I think is the key!) so doesn't wear shorts. Again, her choice.

It seems such a non-issue to me as to whether a little girl wears shorts under her dress ...particularly if they can't be seen.

sarahfreck Sun 29-May-11 23:32:50

"I was considering getting MIL to run up some loose shorts in matching gingham"

Gosh - don't some things come round in full circle - that's the sort of thing my grandmother would have made for me in the 1970s but would have been thought of as old fashioned then!

fairydoll Sun 29-May-11 23:45:43

I really don't think it is any of a schools business what a girl wears under her dress.

'Pants aren't something "dirty" - they're pants.' My 5 yos pants are often skiddy or a bit wee stained.If she is cartwheeling or hanging upside down on the bars i think it is better she wears shorts than display grubby underwear

mummy68 Sun 29-May-11 23:56:29

To be honest it really is no-one's business what is worn under a skirt or dress unless it is visible below the hemline of the dress or girls are purposely lifting the skirts/sprawling legs to show the shorts. I recently saw a girl in a blue gingham dress with blue shorts that were exactly the same length and could be seen with any movement. Otherwise who cares. My youngest DD at 9 is a bit funny about this as well, but it is her business. We (adults) don't comment on knickers under a skirt as that would be inappropriate so why shorts?

As a side note I agree about showing knickers. They are to cover a girl's private bits after all so why is an extra layer needed?

Oakmaiden Mon 30-May-11 00:01:49

Tell the school they are not shorts, they are big knickers.

seeker Mon 30-May-11 00:13:54

Modesty shorts - WTF????

You do relaize that next year they'll be wearing longer shorts to cover the short shorts that they wore to cover their knickers which they wore to cover their bottoms.If an older gorl wants to wear shorts une her skirt then that's her choice. But I can't begin to imagine the mind set that puts shorts over the pants under the skirt of a 5 year old.

jabed Mon 30-May-11 08:22:35

I am a man so I really should not comment - forgive me ladies. However even in the prep where I work the school uniform does not extend to under wear.
I know our Head of Prep did ban thongs and those crop top things for girls on modesty (or lack of) grounds.

I think in todays society where there is so much more secual awareness at much younger ages, wearing shorts under a summer frock is a good idea. Have you asked the school why they object?

Modesty shorts? peculiar choice of name. I second the H+M knicker suggestion. DD wears them and she is very thin. No gaping or banjo flashing in her knicker area.
I may change my tune, her new school has a uniform grin and they are a bit strict about dresses etc. OTOH, she isn't bothered who sees her girl pants.

seeker Mon 30-May-11 08:36:24

I just find the whole thing seriously worrying.

"Modesty" in my experience is a word only ever used by people who want to curtail the freedom of women and girls to do and wear whatever they want.

singersgirl Mon 30-May-11 08:43:17

What an extraordinary idea. We are making little girls into sexual objects by trying to hide their pants. There is no 'modesty' issue; they are little girls and so what if their pants are occasionally visble when they're on the carpet? They don't sit on the carpet by the time they're in Y6.

I realise that the argument "We did it" is no argument against progress, but I really don't think hiding our daughters' bodies is progress; it seems to be a regressive and repressive step. It's the start of the argument that takes us to full body coverage (because, you know, girls shouldn't show their legs or their arms....)

A separate issue is whether they should also be allowed to wear shorts and a polo shirt in the summer rather than a dress, which is sensible, particularly if they prefer to wear trousers in the colder weather.

singersgirl Mon 30-May-11 08:43:50

Posted at the same time as Seeker with the same observation.

LawrieMarlow Mon 30-May-11 08:55:16

Looking at the thread more, it seems to be an issue with potentially gaping pants.

So buy better fitting pants. DD's pants never gape.

BunnyWunny Mon 30-May-11 08:56:03

My 5 year old dd takes great delight in showing the other kids her knickers!

They have knicker comparison sessions to see who has the best motifs- princesses and hello ittys win at the moment.

Why on earth does she need to protect her modesty? From who or what?

LynetteScavo Mon 30-May-11 09:02:20

At one school DS1 attended, a letter came home saying girls should wear shorts under summer dresses, so their knickers didn't show when they did handstands/cartwheels.

Personally I think it should be at the parents discretion. Personally I'm quite happy for my DD to flash her well fitting, large area covering pants.

Ephiny Mon 30-May-11 09:04:30

It seems a bit weird to wear both shorts and a skirt or dress at the same time. If you're not happy with her wearing a dress, can't she just wear school uniform shorts like the little boys do, with a shirt/blouse? Or is that not allowed? Otherwise dress and properly-fitting knickers should be sufficiently 'modest' hmm

duchesse Mon 30-May-11 09:11:54

It drives me fricking nuts that schools insist on skirts for girls in the first place. But they have no business specifying what people wear as underwear! Nothing inherently wrong with knickers but if the embarrassment of showing them would prevent from leading a normal child's life then it's a good second option.

mrz Mon 30-May-11 09:18:22

But are normal 5 year olds embarrassed by their knickers or are they more often like Bunny Wunny's daughter and eager to show off their Hello Kitty pants?

State primary schools can't insist children wear dresses or skirts but I think parents should think carefully about their reasoning for putting a child in a dress and shorts ...

seeker Mon 30-May-11 09:22:40

Particularly if you call them "modesty shorts".

FlorenceMattell Mon 30-May-11 11:25:02

says more about parents than child imo. Normal big knickers should suffice.
Children are loosing their childhood.

SoupDragon Mon 30-May-11 11:48:55

If your child's knickers are gaping, buy some that fit properly.
If they are wee stained and skiddy, teach them to use the toilet and wipe properly.
If the girl is older and decides on her own she wants "modesty shorts" fine.
Failing that, send them in wearing just shorts to start with!

SoupDragon Mon 30-May-11 11:49:25

I thought we'd moved away from having to wear bloomers to protect our modesty hmm

silverfrog Mon 30-May-11 11:56:43

If I tried to put dd2 in "modesty shorts" she would have a meltdown - after all, no one would be able to see her carefully chosen and coordinating pants if I did that grin

people really worry about a 5 year olds "modesty"? wtf?

I can understand an older girl wanting to not flash her knickers - talking about Yr5/6, where boys may well be making a fuss baout having seen a girls pants etc - sill yplayground stuff, but understandable.

but ot put shorts on under a dress, so that at circle time a little girls' pants are not visible is madness, surely?

totally agree with - if the pants gape, buy some that don't. dd2 is a tiny skinny little hting, but her pants fit just fine

fairydoll Mon 30-May-11 13:38:28


Selks Mon 30-May-11 14:05:16

OP, if your daughter wants to wear shorts under her dress then I would challenge the school on this......but I'm concerned about you 'teaching her how to sit to preserve her dignity' etc.....she is a child for heaven's sake, she should be are teaching her to be very self conscious and almost ashamed of her body and I would be concerned about the effect of this on her psyche and self identity as she grows to be honest if it were my child.

lexcat Tue 31-May-11 10:37:10

What is coming to the world, really 5 years having to worry about showing her knickers is ridiculous. Thing are getting silly dd was told by another girl (11) in a girls changing room she must cover herself to get dressed. As my dd says (age 10) about people seeing her knickers "it's no worst them people seeing me in my swim suit" she's an avid swimmer. I'm pleased she sees no need to wear shorts under her skirt instead she wears plain white knickers. Yes, teach children some modesty but I think you really can go to far.

The thing that makes me mad is schools who have made it compulsory for girl to wear shorts under skirts/dresses. Why don't they just get girls to wear shorts.

seeker Tue 31-May-11 11:28:45

They only start worrying if their mother keeps saying stuff like "Oh, come here and get your modesty shorts on - if you can't sit in a ladylike fashion we have to encase you in lycra to preserve your dignity."

AbigailS Tue 31-May-11 11:36:02

I'm not saying they HAVE to wear shorts, but if a child is getting upset because boys are commenting I don't see why they should be left feeling bad. It does seem to be older children, not 5 and 6 year olds, and some of them really are developing, so boys notice. We can work on the issue in PSHE session, etc, but we struggle to prevent comments / looks happening altogether. But I really feel for the child that, for what ever reason, has been made self concious about her body and avoids doing things they find fun because of it.
I am lucky though, my DDs school and the schools I've work in have a uniform, but are not at all gender specific about trousers and shorts. Maybe you could approach a governor to raise it at a governor's meeting?

seeker Tue 31-May-11 11:42:02

Absolutely, if an older girl wants to wear shorts then of course that's fine. In my experience they've mostly stopped wearing summer dresses byt then anyway. I've had my rants in the past about year 5 and 6 children changing together too.

But this thread is about a 5 year old being taught to "sit in a lady-like way" "preserve her dignity" and wear "modesty shorts"

Not the same thing at all, IMHO!

FranSanDisco Tue 31-May-11 11:46:36

My dd has often complained of dinner ladies (sorry, midday assistants) telling her to put her pe shorts on for hand stands etc. I have told her it is obligatory to flash one's pants at primary school. Why can't children have a childhood and not be in training for adulthood from 5 yo?

montmartre Tue 31-May-11 11:47:11

hmmYes- of course, we should have them in ankle length skirts so that boys aren't tempted to look at their legs.

She is 5- get a grip- who cares if anyone sees her knickers, just make sure they cover her bum properly.

AC67 Tue 31-May-11 11:56:35

I am not sure I understand the problem - what is wrong if their knickers are seen from time to time? There is nothing wrong with knickers! Sounds like we are regressing a bit to put little girls back in big bloomers - I may be misunderstanding but it seems like the messaging implies something shameful about girls showing a bit more of themselves than usual when they move about in their summer uniforms - surely the boys and those adults who take issue with this are the ones who need to modify their attitude//comments etc?

lljkk Tue 31-May-11 17:09:10

"What is wrong if their knickers are seen..." But what is wrong with a pair of white or black cycle shorts? Truth is my some boys try to have a gander (and always have tried to, since time immemorial), and the girls aren't stupid, they soon talk among themselves and know what the boys are up to. School is being U making an issue of it.

mrz Tue 31-May-11 17:12:58

Does it matter is five year old boys see five year old girls knickers? Do you know what happens when they get changed for PE ? It isn't unusual to have naked children in reception blush
In fact does it matter how old the knicker wearer is as long as they are wearing knickers.

seeker Tue 31-May-11 17:23:48

""What is wrong if their knickers are seen..." But what is wrong with a pair of white or black cycle shorts? Truth is my some boys try to have a gander (and always have tried to, since time immemorial), and the girls aren't stupid, they soon talk among themselves and know what the boys are up to. School is being U making an issue of it."

We're talking 5 year olds here! That is one of the most profoundly depressing posts I have read for a long time.

fairydoll Tue 31-May-11 17:33:51

But some 5 yo are uncomfortable about showing their knickers-mine for one.That hasn't come from me! Why should she curtail her gymnastics etc if a pair of little shorts makes her feel more comfortable.

mrz Tue 31-May-11 17:35:56

Would she be happy doing gymnastics in a leotard?

BelleDameSansMerci Tue 31-May-11 17:45:48

I am the first to have a good rant about anything that seems to inhibit a girl's right to freedom etc but, in this case, I think the shorts encourage the freedom. If it's necessary that a girl has to wear a dress (and, really, why is that?) and having shorts means that she can run, climb, do gymnastics or whatever more comfortably then I'm all for it.

There was a post early in the thread that said that perhaps young girls should be taught not to show their knickers ie not leap around, do cartwheels, etc. I find that idea much more concerning than the idea of wearing shorts under a dress.

Having said that, trying to get my DD (only 3.9) into a pair of shorts is impossible. It's a dress and knickers all the way so my thoughts on this will probably fall on stoney ground once they're even relevant.

SoupDragon Tue 31-May-11 17:49:46

Fairydoll, I thought you said that you think it better for her to wear shorts so her skiddy/wee stained pants weren't on show?

Ephiny Tue 31-May-11 17:59:19

I remember in infant school we used to have to do PE in our vests and knickers! It was just normal, not embarassing or sexual or anything - how things have changed if 5 year old girls now have to worry about 'modesty' and being 'ladylike' and 'suggestive' comments from the boys...

mrz Tue 31-May-11 18:04:24

Things haven't changed most 5 year olds don't worry about modesty in the slightest.

fairydoll Tue 31-May-11 18:04:53

well I guess I wouldn't want her skidders on show if they were less than clean as they sometimes are.thinking about it this may be why she doesn't want to show them either an wears shorts under a dress of school trousers.
Stangely she has no qualms at all about leotards even with male coaches, or with swimming costumes.

SycamoretreeIsVile Tue 31-May-11 18:09:02

I am tempted to say get over it. My DD is 5 nearly 6 and neither she nor any of her mates seem to care less about flashing their pants whilst swinging from the monkey bars.

SycamoretreeIsVile Tue 31-May-11 18:09:52

And the boys couldn't be less interested in what the girls are up to.

sunnyday123 Tue 31-May-11 20:48:56

ive not read all the thread but kind of agree with the school - i have seen a couple of kids from other schools wearing shorts under their dresses and they look rather scruffy. I think if the dress is the right length she should be able to manage - RIGHT length being the key word as i see so many girls with dresses above the knee and it seams inappropriate.

silverfrog Tue 31-May-11 20:52:24

oh dear god. now a 5 year old wearing a dress above the knee is inappropriate

words fail me...

<better not let my 4 year old out of the house until she gets new clothes then - she has just had a growth spurt, and a lot of her dresses are well above the knee atm>

sunnyday123 Tue 31-May-11 21:12:34

obviously im not talking about dresses just above the knee but i honestly think very short dresses for school look awful - clearly too small. My DD is 5 and i buy her age 6-7 dresses as the age 5 ones just about cover her bum, its not a good look regardless of their innocence. Why anyone would want their child going out with a dress just skimming her knickers is beyond me but still apparently common.

mrz Tue 31-May-11 21:29:17
silverfrog Tue 31-May-11 21:32:53



(mind you, that is what dd2 will look like if I put her in her sister's outgrown dresses now - dd1 is taaaalllll, and dd2 is tiny. <sigh> more shopping it is grin)

MummyDoIt Tue 31-May-11 21:43:28

Blimey, if they're in tight lycra cycling shorts all day, everyday, over a hot summer, they'll all have outbreaks of thrush.

Mind you, I've very impressed at the need to preserve modesty while doing cartwheels and handstands - our primary school banned those ages ago (on health and safety grounds, not modesty).

MayDayChild Tue 31-May-11 21:52:14

Have come to this thread a bit late and confess to skim reading
those of you saying get better fitting knickers please tell me where you buy them from because I'm despairing this issue with my DD who is so skinny and has tiny thin legs. I have yet to find these knickers you seem to have. I can't afford the Boden ones. But have tried
John Lewis
What am I missing. Her mini is always gaping out.
And groan she is tall so think I may have this short summer dress prob too. You know it's not fashion but money saving using less material. Bane of my (tall) life!

TheFeministsWife Tue 31-May-11 21:54:38

I wouldn't care if the school says girls aren't allowed shorts/trousers. Firstly because primary schools can't enforce school uniform and secondly because it's gender discrimination to not allow girls to wear shorts/trousers. My dd1 is a complete tomboy and has refused point blank to wear a dress or skirt since she was 3! She wears trousers to school and in the summer she wears shorts. I've found Next has some gorgeous school shorts for girls and she loves them because they've got pockets. School have never said anything about it.

DD2 starts school in September and she refuses to wear trousers or dresses/skirts unless they've got leggings underneath. So looks like I'm going to have let her wear leggings under her school skirt as she'll refuse to wear school trousers she says they're uncomfortable. She'll probably wear shorts in the summer though.

I personally think girls look much better in trousers or shorts for school. Almost like they look more equal to the boys than if they wear dresses or skirts.

mrz Tue 31-May-11 22:03:17

Funnily enough I've just been reading a post on another forum that claims it is discriminatory that girls can wear skirts or trousers for schools and if boys had equality they could do the same hmm

Do you not have skorts in the UK? (shorts with a skirt on the outside).

I buy them for the DTDs and they work very well at covering up.

mrz boys should be able to wear skirts, although I am guessing a kilt would be less liable to teasing. Skirts or shorts are more comfortable in the Summer than long trousers.

MayDayChild Tue 31-May-11 22:13:16

Madam death skorts have only just arrived on sports scene (Netball etc) so hopefully someone will do them in school uniform soon.

mrz Tue 31-May-11 22:17:13

Children should be able to wear dresses skirts shorts trousers but the idea of wearing "modesty" shorts under a dress is somehow perverse in a five year old.

mrz every school system in the US is perverse then. It could be that children don't get changed for PE in elemetary and middle school, they wear their day clothes, so girls doing handstands and cartwheels are going to be flashing their undies at all and sundry if wearing skirts or dresses.

MayDayChild we have nice skorts here. DTD1 has some nice pleated gauze ones with flower patterns on them with white undershorts. I can't find those particular ones but here are some others.

SpringHeeledJack Tue 31-May-11 22:34:05


'modesty shorts'? 'sitting in a ladylike manner'?

preserving the 'dignity' of a 5 yo?


mrz Tue 31-May-11 22:39:01

I'll ask again what is so wrong with seeing someone's undies (especially a 5 year old somebody) is it different to the the beach or dance/gymnastics leotard?

LilRedWG Tue 31-May-11 22:39:20

Buy the girl properly fitting knickers and then she won't need her, "modesty shorts".

LilRedWG Tue 31-May-11 22:39:47

Forgot my shock

mrz Tue 31-May-11 22:42:55

I recall one of my reception girls sitting down in a most unladylike manner (legs wide apart) in the front row in assembly at which point I realised she wasn't wearing any pants shock

mrz Tue 31-May-11 22:43:47

I don't think modesty shorts would have helped as it turned out she'd taken her pants off to go to the toilet and left them there.

mrz covering up underwear during normal child activity seems reasonable to me. The children aren't allowed to wear spaghetti strap tops or shorts or skirts more than 1" above the knee either.

Based on what I saw coming out of our local High School in California I'm quite pleased with the dress code in our current school system tbh. Poor DTD2 got sent home once in voluminous black shorts that were like engineer pants as they came up to her armpits. I'd misjudged her skirt length that day and it was noticed.

mrz Tue 31-May-11 22:53:50

But we aren't talking high school we are talking very young children ashamed to show their knickers.

mrz Tue 31-May-11 22:55:00

It's stealing a child's innocence!

SGertie Tue 31-May-11 23:11:58

I've often wondered what the answer would be to girls flashing their knickers whilst playing at school. I don't think it looks nice and wouldn't want anybody walking past the playground to see dd's knickers, although I'm not fussed about the boys in her class seeing them.
She starts school next year and will be getting White cotton shorts to wear under her summer dress.
I really don't see why a school should make a fuss unless they are longer than the skirt and I really don't understand why so many of you are aghast at the idea.

space2010 Tue 31-May-11 23:19:24

AbigalS that comment is so funny "they look quite pretty as they are edged with lace" ??????

duchesse Wed 01-Jun-11 08:46:43

Mini- try Petit Bateau! Only well-fitting underwear I found for my skinny daughters. Available in most French supermarkets (prices in the UK can be a bit shock) so next time you're on holiday, or if you know someone going. Plus they come in very nice patterns and colours and last for ever. Or I think you might be able to get a few patterns in the la Redoute catalogue.

slug Wed 01-Jun-11 10:02:47

If the boys are starting to make rude comments about the girls knickers, Iwould be having stern words with the school about teaching the boys appropriate behaviour. Why is the school allowing what is essentially sexual harassment to embed so early?

silverfrog Wed 01-Jun-11 10:23:14

I know they are the bane of many a prent's life BUT - I have found the Disney store pants ot be well fitting and hard-wearing.

BUT they do also add to the need to be nicker-flashing in the first place grin - dd2 is forever comparing hr Minnie Mouse pants with her friend's Hello Kitty, or similar! but then, they are 4. so what?

ImeldaM Wed 01-Jun-11 11:07:11

Well, when I was in primary school, I always wore shorts under my skirt so I could play 'like the boys' on the climbing frame, in the playground without the 'I can see your pants' comment. I think it makes boys & girls more equal, why should one be have to wear something that shows their underwear & the other not? Boys can do what they like physically & their underwear is just that, underwear.

If it is coming from the girls & they will feel more comfortable wearing shorts then don't see why its a problem

mrz Wed 01-Jun-11 11:16:51

Then just wear shorts ! why under a dress ? and why call them modesty shorts?

Selks Wed 01-Jun-11 11:26:07

Nothing wrong with wearing shorts under a dress if that is what the CHILD wants but its all this 'modesty' and 'preserving dignity' and 'teaching how to site modestly' that is totally wrong! Shorts are fine but let girl children remain unselfconscious and unashamed for heaven's sake.

HugoFirst Wed 01-Jun-11 11:26:33

we used to do this in Fife in 1976
so the boys couldnt see our pants

ImeldaM Wed 01-Jun-11 11:29:05

When I was at school we had to wear skirts & probably not the case now but, if all the other girls are wearing the dresses then they all want to be the same, not all girls want to climb/do cartwheels, not all girls are bothered by the comments. Some are, and should be free to do so without showing their underwear.

silverfrog Wed 01-Jun-11 11:35:15

Hugo - at 5 you were bothered about the boys seeing your pants? why?

I can rememebr the first time I was otld "the boys can see your pants" <snigger> - I must have been about 8, I suppose, and it bemused me then, as it does now - so what? (I spent half my life in a leotard at that point - ballet dancer - where's the difference, in my opinion, both then and now)

the same friends who were sniggering and bothered were not bothered during swimming lessons - why not?

it is ridiculuos to be talking ot a 5 year old about modesty shorts.

said 5 year old is already covering her bottom. tha tis all that is needed.

yes, lessons along the way about sitting nicely, not overtly flashing your pants (as they get a bit older) etc - but a 5 year old wrggling on the carpet and being told she neds ot "preserve her dignity" - that's bonkers.

I tell my dds not to flash their pants, occasionally - if they are walking thorugh the shoping centre, and have hitched up their dress ("but it's hot, mummy, my tummy needs cooling down" hmm grin) - but it's more along the lines of "the other shoppers don't want ot see your pants" than "put your bits away and have some dignity"

cleverything Wed 01-Jun-11 11:45:42

I see slug has beaten me to it, but if the boys are making rude comments, it's the boys' behaviour which needs to be addressed, not the girls' dress.

HugoFirst Wed 01-Jun-11 11:46:33

because silver the boys would say " hugos got pink pants on " over and over as i tried and FAILED to do a cart wheel.

was more like 8

ZZZenAgain Wed 01-Jun-11 11:47:30

They should be able to wear shorts and not have to wear a skirt/dress at all IMO.

silverfrog Wed 01-Jun-11 11:48:40

I can see, by 8+ that it would start to be an issue (agree with other posters though - boys shoudl be picked up on for htis type of thing)

but at 5? madness.

most 4/5 year olds are desperate to flash their pants - new pictures, new style etc.

piellabakewell Wed 01-Jun-11 23:35:43

My DD is in yr 6 and is past the summer dresses stage but always wears black cycling shorts under her school skirts (which are black or grey). It is common amongst girls in her junior school.

As an infant teacher, I have seen lots of children in their underwear, and my muslim girls always wear shorts or leggings under a skirt or dress. However, I do not like to see rows of cross-legged, knicker-flashing girls seated on the carpet as I don't think it's appropriate that I should be able to see their crotches when all they are doing is sitting down. Changing for PE is different.

skybluepearl Thu 02-Jun-11 17:26:55

loads of the kids wear leggings or shorts on their own or under skirts instead of tights. i think its also part fashion and part the kids becoming more aware of thier bodies.

LIZS Thu 02-Jun-11 17:45:33

this is mad. Find pants that don't gape, there is plenty of choice out there. I have a particularly skinny dd and this really isn't issue, even for her. She still wears age 6 ish ! She has noticed some of the older girls (she's yr5) wearing short style knickers though - I assume similar to these - but they'd be way to wide on the leg for her. The thought of leggings or cycling shorts in hot weather is horrid.

lateforpickup Thu 02-Jun-11 22:23:17

I can completely see why you would put your daughter in shorts - buying decent/modest school knickers for girls is a nightmare - boxer styles gape around the legs when they sit cross legged on the floor and even the brief style pants are almost always too big around the legs and gape, added to which the material is nearly always very thin (yes next and M&S, I am talking about you). Gap used to do great pants for under 5s (thick cotton, sturdy around the legs) but even their pants for 5+ are thin and skimpy.

manicinsomniac Fri 03-Jun-11 00:15:07

I work in a prep school where the girls have to wear the gingham summer dresses up to age 13.

Many choose to wear their sports cycling shorts under their dresses from about year 5. As long as they're blue and not lycra nobody cares, they can do whatever makes them comfortable.

My oldest is only year 3 and I've never seen her or any of her year group wanting to wear shorts.

jo164 Fri 03-Jun-11 08:51:40

I also work in a prep school where they wear gingham dresses. The girls tend to put on their shorts under their dress at lunchtime so they can play without feeling exposed! We have climbing frames which they seem to like hanging upside down from so personally I think its a good idea. I only have little ones, but even at 2 and 4 I don't like them displaying their knickers in public. No harm in maintaining a little modesty!!

seeker Fri 03-Jun-11 13:27:39

Why does the word "modest" make me cringe?

LIZS Fri 03-Jun-11 13:42:23

Agree Seeker. I do find this somewhat at odds with the "let girls be girls" philosophy, taking it towards extremes which are just as discomforting.

eandemum Fri 03-Jun-11 13:59:20

(As original poster) Have been reading through all the posts (been away)
and it seems;

a) need to do the OBVIOUS and got decent fitting pants/trunk types, check fitting regularly (and once the elastic goes they get CHUCKED OUT not left at the bottom of the wardrobe as happens now!)

b) I am not bothered that pants can be on show (cartwheels etc) but the fact that sometimes, as others have pointed out, sitting at carpet time etc MORE can be on show - was in school recently and saw this.

In 10 years time I am going to look back at this thread fondly after having an argument re: 15 year old DD over her school skirt being too short!!

c) p.s agree over the word 'modesty' but couldn't think of another way to describe them

d) also agree with 'heat' issue ie cycling shorts would be too hot.

May be it was because we have been told NOT to use them that this has become an "issue"??
But agree, as said before, don't want to overthink this!!

Actually I originally wanted to post a Q re: reading levels but I know how that goes down!! wink

LawrieMarlow Fri 03-Jun-11 22:13:53

Go on, ask about reading levels as well - you know you want to really wink

Dorje Fri 03-Jun-11 22:27:17

For my DD we put her in her uniform and then under that she chooses to wear shorts/ cycling shorts / cropped leggings.

She's out a lot in public parks with her school for break times, with gymnastics / circletime. It seems to be the norm to wear cropped leggings or shorts. I wouldn't want her to not be able to be active, because some would see her knickers and make comments.

Don't see an issue with it. Some muslim girls in her school are totally covered leg / arm wise, and when they are 9 they will wear veils as well..

If leggings under her uniform let my girl be a girl without attracting the nasty comments / attention of others over whom I have no control, then I'm all in favour of her wearing what she feels most comfortable in.

bearwithspecs Fri 27-Jun-14 18:31:21

My dd hates wearing her dresses as the boys laugh at seeing the girls knickers. She is 4. I have some white cycling shorts which I offered her but she refused. She wears girls grey school shorts instead and culottes or trousers in winter

hellymelly Fri 27-Jun-14 18:47:33

Haven't read the whole thread, but I don't like this American "modesty" trend. They are little girls! We did handstands, climbed trees, forward rolled down hills etc in Summer dresses in the late 60s through to mid 70s when I was at Primary school. I don't recall anyone worrying about gaping pants. Small boys would occasionally say "I can see your knickers" in a ne ne ne ne ne sort of way, but this was the era of us singing "Oooh ah I lost my bra, I left my knickers in my boyfriend's car" while skipping. My dds still strip naked to change on the beach, they are 7 and 9. The smaller one runs around in her pants everywhere we go in the Summer, as she likes to strip off. They are small children. They don't need thick all covering pants. (We were forced to wear them in secondary school though, and there would be a knicker check. We had stopped random handstands by then!)

Navy cycling shorts, 2 pack in asda from £2.50.

Dd1 decided she needed because her friend was wearing her sisters old outgrown ones. She's yr 3.

Dd2 is copying her sister! She's not the only one, as she also has friends copying big sisters. She's yr1.

Makes sense for dd1, who spends s lot of time upside down! Given the state of dd2's pants some days it may be a positive yet. While I'm not going to push them, I can remember being the only one in a group of friends that didn't yet have xyz while they had had for some time. Not a nice feeling, and I don't want dd1 to experience it.

OwlCapone Fri 27-Jun-14 18:50:21

This is a zombie thread bumped by a spammer.

hellskitty Sat 28-Jun-14 00:02:42

At My DD's school they have a climbing frame with bars as they call them that they all hang upside down by their knees from as well as the usual cartwheels and handstands so we are not talking about glimpses of pants...Knickers are not shameful but neither are they supposed to be on display.AS far as I know all the girls wear little cotton cycling-style shorts under their dress because they want to..Unless the school has an underwear policy, I don't see what business it is of theirs.

Sarahplane Sat 28-Jun-14 00:21:47

I don't see why it's necessary or what the point is just get your dd pants that fit. On the other hand I can't see what businesses it is of the schools. Haven't they got more important things to worry about than what girls wear under their dresses?

zingally Sat 28-Jun-14 16:35:48

My Year 1 girls are ALWAYS flashing their knickers this time of year, and I've also thought that the dresses seem particularly short this year.

With this age group, I can jokingly say "stop showing me your knickers!" but I wouldn't do that with a KS2 class.

I think short leggings under summer dresses are very sensible. My current school wouldn't bat an eye at that. A lot of the muslim girls in school do that already.

catkind Sat 28-Jun-14 18:27:07

OK, if we're un-zombie-ing this thread, here's my take:
1) If they're not visible under the dress then they're underwear, none of the school's business.
2) If they scramble around like at our school I think they'd be more comfy with shorts not just pants. They're climbing things, scooting around the floor on their bums, going down slides. I wouldn't want to do that lot in just a dress. And I certainly wouldn't want 5 yr olds restricted in what they can do because of their clothing.
3) I assume school is trying to establish itself as a formal setting with all this uniform malarkey. So yes I don't think showing pants is appropriate. Just like it wouldn't be appropriate to meet the bank managed in your bikini, even though a bikini is in no way improper or offensive. If school don't care about formality and are happy to let 5 yr olds be 5 yr olds then ditch the daft dresses and let them wear comfy shorts and t-shirts.

babasheep Sun 29-Jun-14 19:04:43

My dd wear boxer type underpants.

Lesshastemorespeed Sun 29-Jun-14 23:19:08

Dd wears cycling shorts to school under her school dress for handstand/cartwheel purposes. She is 10, and the boys get all giggly if they see knickers. I am quite angry at the school for not letting the girls wear proper shorts in the summer but luckily they don't object to this.

Ericaequites Mon 30-Jun-14 03:20:03

Bring back knickers for under dresses. Forbid thongs for school wear. I've seen girls wear these in senior school, at it's very unattractive.

Given that girls already have the option to wear shorts, culottes and trousers as well as dresses and skirts, it seems peculiar to choose to put them in dress+shorts. It actually seems to be drawing attention to the whole "modesty" and "oh no someone might see my knickers" thing. If your DD likes doing cartwheels or sitting legs akimbo, then just put her in shorts or trousers.

RiversideMum Mon 30-Jun-14 07:48:41

I had a child put in "modesty shorts" last year. She could never get them down properly to go to the loo and was always wetting herself.

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