"smart business suit" for sixth form - bit tacky or a good idea? Mixed 6th

(201 Posts)
Sparrows12 Wed 28-Nov-12 08:33:15

I'm in the "bit tacky" camp myself. Don't want daughter going to school everyday dressed like a candidate from the Apprentice. There are plenty of years to get used to dressing for the world of work, so why start at 16, especially as these children will be back in jeans etc for university. A sixth form uniform would be my strong preference. And i can foresee all sorts of disagreements in Next, Top Shop etc over what is "smart". I already find myself fighting to keep quiet about unsuitable (frankly "large handbag-style") bags being taken to school - aargh, and school shoes from unsuitable places like top shop that last one term before falling apart.

Jins Wed 28-Nov-12 11:12:41

DSs sixth form has a long list of clothes that are unsuitable including combat gear and 'offensive anagrams' but clean, smart denim is on the approved list and I'm pretty happy with the guidelines overall.

I have noticed that the girls who wore pretty outrageous stuff in Year 11 started off in lower sixth in outfits they'd go clubbing in and within weeks had settled into chinos and hoodies smile

It seems to me that nothing has changed from my sixth form days. If you create a barrier it will be pushed. If you set a reasonable standard of appearance it seems to be respected.

phlebas Wed 28-Nov-12 11:21:24

"I dont get this pathetic need to show that your are "different" through clothes"

Maybe they just want to wear clothes they like? You know, like most people do. And if they aren't completely unsuitable (offensive, outrageous, dangerous) I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to wear clothes they like. I hate school uniforms & have never seen one that isn't vile (particularly secondary schools) & would happily do away with the lot of them smile I'm firmly in the pathetic brigade.

realcoalfire Wed 28-Nov-12 11:30:06

Our sixthformers where school uniform.i don't see why they don't at all schools?

mumblechum1 Wed 28-Nov-12 11:35:44

Our sixth form wear business suits, either black or charcoal for the boys, black for the girls. Boys have to wear the school tie.

tbh it wasn't a big deal, as DS just went from school blazer and black trousers to a slightly differently tailored grey suit (he has 3). I think he quite likes the fact that he doesn't have to think about what to wear and likes wearing very well made shirts with double cuffs and cufflinks.

Outside school he just wears very simple, no-logo hoodies, t shirts and his Army uniform.

I suspect it is different for girls.

Jins Wed 28-Nov-12 11:37:53

I think it's because sixth form is a great interim step between compulsory education and univeristy or the workplace. Sixth form is only one of the options open to school leavers, sixth form colleges don't have uniform requirements and neither to HE colleges. Sixth formers are not children any more and the difference between them and the lower school needs to be recognised in some way. Shoving young lads into shiny suits or girls into pencil skirts doesn't allow them to learn the boundaries of appropriate dress.

DS's school (all boys 11-16, co-ed 6th form) have this policy. The girls most certainly do not get away with leggings, short skirts etc - they all dress like travel agents circa 1990, poor wee things, and the boys do indeed "achieve a level of smartness between estate agent & mobile phone salesman" grin.

I bought a couple of decent quality 2nd-hand suits from eBay for DS back in the summer (I can't BEAR cheap shiny men's suit) and bugger me, he's outgrown them already hmm - is now 6'2" and needs a 35" inside leg.

35 years ago us (girls-only) 6th-formers all wore manky flared jeans and over-size fisheman's jumpers with holes in, or collarless grandad shirts bought from jumble-sales. Dressing-down was the order of the day. Conspicious consumption of any description was so un-cool it was off the scale. There was lots of henna-ed hair and kohl eyeliner around, but not much else went on in the way of 'grooming'. Perhaps the hippy ethos was still pervasive in the mid-late 70's.

Pyrrah Wed 28-Nov-12 12:11:42

We had a 'smart casual' 6th form dress-code.

Basically clean, decent, no jeans.

I had so much fun within that code and the local church jumble-sales were our Mecca. Even scored a pair of Ferragamo knee-high boots for 20p!

Business dress seems overly restrictive, you may as well have uniform.

radicalsubstitution Wed 28-Nov-12 15:05:01

Our sixth form wear a uniform and they look a mess.

They go with the Hollyoaks style rebellion - ties half-way down their chests, shirts untucked, hoodie on underneath blazer - seen lower down in the school. If they had to wear their own 'smart' or even 'business casual' clothes, they would probably look far better and (hopefull) set a better example to the 'little ones'.

Whilst we can deal with uniform issues in lessons/school, it is really hard when they are out in the town or on the way to/from school.

DH works in an 'office job' in a 'corporate' environment for a very large company. They have a totally casual dress policy - visitors to site are warned of this in advance and invited to dress down when visiting.

Bue Wed 28-Nov-12 16:36:44

I hate this kind of thing, myself. The boys' grammar school in town has this policy and they do look slightly tacky - yy to a bunch of little estate agents! Plus if it's meant to be an introduction to the world of work, it's a bit off base. What is the point of making children dress more formally than 97% of business environments today?

ImperialStateKnickers Wed 28-Nov-12 16:42:32

I've been trying to think who I know who routinely wears a suit every working day.

The only person I can come up with is BIL.

He's a deputy head. grin

mumblechum1 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:48:02

I agree. Our head and deputies also wear gowns over their suits (grammar). Their reasoning for insisiting on business suits in 6th form is apparently that if they were working in John Lewis they'd be wearing suits. hmm on so many levels!

GraduallyGoingInsane Wed 28-Nov-12 18:50:25

I'm relieved that the DDs school sixth form uniform involves...a different coloured jumper with the same main school uniform! Suits would be a right pain - lots of money for something they wear for 2 years, before returning to jeans at uni. Seems silly to me.

almapudden Wed 28-Nov-12 19:03:39

My sixth form had this policy. I hated having to spend money on clothes I didn't want to wear and, tbh, I looked worse in a cheap approximation of business dress than I would have in a pair of jeans.

pointythings Wed 28-Nov-12 19:21:39

Our local 6th form recommends smart business dress but it's not compulsory. I hope this doesn't change, I hate the corporate drone look.

I have never worn a suit to work, neither has DH, we are both capable and successful in our fields of work. My mother was a teacher before she retired (in Holland) and wore all kinds of stuff to work - never had a problem enforcing discipline because she was capable and scary no matter what she wore. My Dad was a senior lecturer and head of department at his faculty and always went to work in cords, shirt and tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, the 'mad professor' look. He was a world leader in his specialist field and thought ties were for weddings, PhD ceremonies and funerals.

We really, really need to get away from the style over substance culture.

Ineedalife Wed 28-Nov-12 22:05:15

I am relieved Dd2 opted for vocational college, she gets to choose what she wears except on practical days when she has to wear correct clothing for the activity. That could be walking boots or a wetsuitsmile

She certainly couldnt go to her old school 6th form in thosegrin.

LaVolcan Thu 29-Nov-12 09:11:40

Also in the 'bit tacky' camp myself. A local school introduced this rule recently. When I first saw a group of young people all dressed in black suits I wondered whose funeral they had gone to. Only later did I realise that it was so called smart business dress.

SoupDragon Thu 29-Nov-12 09:14:16

The uniform code for the 6th form at DSs school, and mine when I was in 6th form, basically means the 6th formers have to dress to the same level as the teachers.

SoupDragon Thu 29-Nov-12 09:17:43

I'm a bit confused at the "tacky" comments and references to black suits. The 6th formers at DSs school all look smart, very few are in black and most have a brightly coloured tie. I doubt the suit is any more expensive than buying them school uniform either.

sue52 Thu 29-Nov-12 09:19:16

I hate this. There is something wrong with a load of 16-18 year olds looking like shiny suited estate agents. Let them look like teenagers. Is there any evidence that dressing in business attire increases their chances of sucess at A level?

SoupDragon Thu 29-Nov-12 09:21:36

But how is it different to school uniform? Trousers and matching blazer v suit.... not seeing the difference TBH.

wonkylegs Thu 29-Nov-12 09:26:06

I had to wear 'business dress' for sixth form and tbh I can't see what all the outrage & fuss is about. It doesn't make you into a 'corporate drone' or force you to have a lack of individualism. It's a compromise of letting them make choices but also ensuring there is a level of smartness to present their image to the world as representatives of the school.
It won't hurt or stifle their ability to function as individuals just give them guidelines in which to work. Which tbh most of life has. Creative kids will find a way to work within those guidelines if they really want to (they did at my school anyway)
I can wear what I like to work these days but starting off smart at school was a good practice for dressing for interviews (university & jobs) where the expectation is generally smart business dress. It also meant that when I went to those interviews I was comfortable in what I was wearing and that took one level of pressure off on what is already a stressful day.

badguider Thu 29-Nov-12 09:27:41

I think it's really odd.. cheap suits always look cheap. And are still more expensive than school uniform and don't wear nearly as well as jeans and a hoodie (machine washable suits always look awful).

I say either keep the school uniform to the end of sixth form, or go casual.

I've never worn a suit to work normally, I have one for interviews and launches/openings.

coldcupoftea Thu 29-Nov-12 09:32:42

We had this at the school I went to- I hated it and would rather have had a 6th form uniform tbh. Boys had to wear a suit while girls had to wear a skirt/dress and a blazer/smart jacket.

It led to some ridiculous interpretations of the dress code tbh- I would wear long hippy tie-dye skirts with doc martens, with a smart blazer on top! While other girls would wear miniscule skirts from Kookai and sky high heels- not exactly practical. It was supppsed to be business dress but bore little resemblance to what I actually wore when I finally worked in an office!

Aboutlastnight Thu 29-Nov-12 09:32:47

Aren't you supposed to be dying your hair red and snogging your unsuitable boyfriend rated than wearing a 'business suit,' to sixth form?

Crikey, she had the rest of her life to wallow in corporate shit and, as you say, she will be in jeans and t shirts at university.

Startail Thu 29-Nov-12 09:38:52

Totally daft.

Our sixth have to wear a more relaxed version of school uniform.

The boys look fine, shirts, ties, plain black v necks.

The girls look awful, tatty cardigans, skin tight fitted blouses and stretch very short skirts.

Suits would just mean they replace the cardigans, with very cheap plastic jackets, they'd still be too tight.

These are intelligent young women, why they think smart equals one size too I do not know, but it looks tartty and awful.

Please let them wear their own clothes. Then they all revert to hoodies and jeans.

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