"smart business suit" for sixth form - bit tacky or a good idea? Mixed 6th(201 Posts)
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.
We had a dress in your own clothes policy in 6th Form. Basically 95% of us dressed in jeans and a t-shirt/ polo type top.
Suits aren't that practical are they for rain/ drizzle and heat in summer. Much easier to wash/ iron a jumper than a suit jacket. Its all that carrying around from class to class that would bother me. A jumper ties around your waist or gets put in a bag, a jacket wouldn't stand much of that.
My parents gave me an allowance for clothes and shoes. I learnt quite quickly because the fancy boots I'd brought didn't last long on the 4 mile each way walk/ bike ride.
Is there a bag policy that you're trying to get your DD to adhere too? Isn't the school bag the thing of self expression in a uniformed environment?
Actually the school doesn't have a bag policy - certainly not for y10 and over - and the girls do not adopt common sense at all - eg the "large handbag" in question is not large enough for ordinary A4 ringbinders, which have to be carried separately under her arm (sigh). She is exceptionally hard working and gets great results though, so I keep quiet, in the hope that one day she will see sense. The "business suit" is the uniform of a competing sixth form we are looking at for next year. It is supposed to reflect their "getting down to business" ethos.
My DCs school sixth form has a "business wear" uniform. My DDs quite liked it especially DD2 who won the "best dressed" award at the leaving dinner. Now that DD2 is applying for work placements as part of her university course at least she has interview stuff to wear.
I don't really care what they wear as I don't think it makes that much difference but I don't think it looks "tacky" its just a more flexible version of school uniform.
Not sure what's tacky about it.
Dcs school have a business wear. At the moment ds has 3 suits a a few pairs of business type trousers. He isn't wearing a suit jacket at the moment, just a smart winter coat shirt and tie.
Think it's going to be cheaper to outfit dd, but more problematic as she is a very jeans and tshirt girl who doesn't do smart.
I really hate it, tbh. If you can't make really daft ill-judged fashion choices when you're 16 or 17, then really when can you? Surely that's what the 6th form is for, getting it out of your system. I also don't like the implication that the world of work always involves a polyester suit, cos for lots of people it really doesn't. And they're hardly going to wear suits at university regardless of what kind of career they end up going into, so what is the point, really.
Having said that if I really liked a school in every other way, I wouldn't let it put me off. I suppose.
I can identify with your DD, after years in a jeans and T-shirt job I'm now having to break out the office wear, but can she at least get away with smart trouser suits?
The school guidelines may say 'business suit' but is it actually followed? Have you been to the school and seen the current sixth form in their natural plumage ? Ours had 'office wear' in the guidelines, but in fact everyone lived in jeans.
DD's school have this policy, she isn't in the 6th form yet but we both laugh at how 'business attire' has been interpreted by most of the students. If they wear a jacket then more or less anything goes with the exception of jeans. So leggings, short skirts etc are all seen daily. I wouldn't worry about it.
What if you don't want to go 'into business' later though? What if you want to be an artist? Or work in theatre? Do they only study business?
I'm quite shocked by this, tbh! What if you go to sixth form and University and have no intention of ever working in a corporate environment? And as someone else said, at University or College they can wear whatever on earth they like anyway. I really sincerely hope that my dc sixth form college (when they eventually go) won't force them all to dress like teenage business men/women.
I am 50 and am proud to have never worn a suit in my life .
They want to introduce this at my dc's school...I am FURIOUS, they don't all want to be little soldiers of empire or corporate drones. Am fighting.
Schools around here all seem to have a uniform in the 6th form (so if the school blazer is green or red, the 6th formers wear the same but in black. They still have to wear smart trousers or skirts and a shirt or blouse too).
As a parent, it will save me a lot of arguments and probably a lot of money but, I must admit, I'd have hated to wear suits or blazers when I was a 6th former myself. We all lived in jeans and relished being able to choose to our own clothes and hair and bags.
or be a doctor? Or an academic? Or work in IT? Or the forces!?
My dd's school has "business smart" for 6th form - I think it is idiotic & incredibly tacky. The boys have to wear suits & they achieve a level of smartness between estate agent & mobile phone salesman. The girls aren't quite so bad. The high achieving schools locally have very relaxed dress codes & yet somehow the students still manage to do exceptionally well
My son's school insists on suits for sixth formers and also for teachers. They look like a bunch of estate agents or, when they all walk into a room together, like Reservoir Dogs. The school is very business oriented: the dress code does express this accurately, so is basically a good thing. It would be confusing talking to someone who looks like a teacher or an academic when they are essentially a salesperson.
They have this at my ds school , he left last year . I don't like it especially , not keen on jeans either but surely there is a middle way . What used to amuse dh and I who do have 'corporate jobs ' is how dated the schools idea of 'office wear is'
I think the aim at dd's school (girls, but some boys in 6th form) is that by saying business attire, it stops them wearing jeans, Converse, short/strappy tops etc. I think in the long run it saves money as it's like a uniform, you wear the same clothes every week. If there was no uniform, I think dd would want/need more new clothes....
Gosh, it sounds awful. Why on earth not let them wear what they like? There's plenty of time later for wearing suits and all that crap if they get a job where they have to.
[thinks back wistfully to her own days of bright pink hair, skirts with the bottoms chopped off and DMs]
my dsis' school (private, selective, v. academic all girls) has this dress code - no body con dresses, no short shorts unless opaque tights underneath, no crop tops/visible tummy buttons & no bras or bra straps to be showing. That amused me quite a lot - it is pretty much a uniform of skinnies & converse - & it their reward for having suffered years of a uniform that looks very much like a supermarket's & included green sheer tights <shudder>
They get to wear their own clothes at the weekend or after school. I dont get this pathetic need to show that your are "different" through clothes. They all end up wearing some sort of uniform anyway to conform to their peers even if they are a bit more extreme ie goths
It's not about showing you're "different," it's about being a human being and choosing how to dress yourself. Fair enough to say no tits out/bare midriffs etc, but not to make them dress like bank clerks.
bruffin, why the pathetic need to make them all the same?
I think teenage girls are able to make anything look tacky if they want to. We were allowed to wear whatever we wanted in the 6th form and I remember an assembly announcement, "It's cold, you might like to wear more clothes". But cheap, shiny suits with incredibly short skirts would look tacky and are an unnecessary expense. Business style shoes can be painful and damaging to feet if you aren't careful.
"it's about being a human being and choosing how to dress yourself"
You can be a human being and dress suitably for the occasion. Even the boys have a multitude of different colours and styles that count as business wear. Its sad that you feel clothes make your personality.
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
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.
"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 I'm firmly in the pathetic brigade.
Our sixthformers where school uniform.i don't see why they don't at all schools?
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.
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" .
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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. on so many levels!
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.
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.
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.
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 wetsuit
She certainly couldnt go to her old school 6th form in those.
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.
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.
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.
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?
But how is it different to school uniform? Trousers and matching blazer v suit.... not seeing the difference TBH.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I'm in the 'bit tacky' camp. I also dont get the 'it saves arguments' idea. They are 16/17/18, surely they dress themselves?
DD is in 6th form now - a very respected school and 6th form is 'outstanding' in all aspects according to Ofsted. Their rules are simple - no offensive slogans, no bare midriffs, no underwear showing.
That is all.
As others have said, after about a week of rebellion they all gravitate towards dressing for comfort and practicality. Those doing 'messy' courses dress appropriately to their activities.
When I was in the 6th form all 6th forms attaches to schools asked for a grey suit for them.
Grey suits were out of fashion at the time and it was really hard to get one in the local town
grr to everyone else who got there first and pinched the nice ones
Have to say this entire thing is a new one on me, not having been a 6th-former for hrrrmph years and with my son and all his friends still being very young. It sounds just ghastly though.
Suits are compulsory in my dc sixth form.
Having been in and out of DS's 6th form a few times this week I think hoodies must be compulsory there.
Oh, and straggly moustaches. Mostly on the boys.
Exactly the same as me, Wallison. I hope it doesn't become the new norm. I would actively discourage my children from going to a be-suited Sixth Form.
Me too. If you're going to play at being a grown-up, there are much more fun ways to do it.
I think it's ridiculous. Sixth-form isn't supposed to be a feeder prep for an office - sixth-formers should (hopefully) go into all sorts of careers, and many of those will not require business suits.
There are 5 state schools with sixth forms in my town and one independant. Out of the six schools 2 wear uniforms and the other 4 wear suits. You could go to "college" in the next town and wear your own clothes but given the academic difference wearing a suit is a small price to pay for decent results.
Maybe; but the suits do not cause the results to differ.
I think its a ghastly practice, I really do. I'm quite sad about it actually. I loved my Sixth Form College ... it was like a practice run for University.
Yes well, in the one I am looking at, it is quite prescriptive and dare I say it possibly written by a man - e.g. pencil and straight skirts are allowed, but pleated skirts are not. And "pencil" seems to be the order of the day judging by the prospectus photos. You certainly wouldn't want to commute dressed like that.
I'm sure the suits don't make any difference to results but my DCs don't actually mind the dress code and so they wouldn't choose to go to somewhere with much worse results just to wear a hoodie in the daytime.
I'm talking about a "dress code" Sparrows12 which is actually quite flexible. DD2 had a multitude of different types of skirts, pinafores and dresses.
Am with you Webwiz - plenty of free time for all the hoodie/disigner labels etc. And of course, less pressure on us and them to be in school in the latest gear.
It's appalling. How dare they ask them to dress half smartly. I'm going to write to the papers in green ink about them all being turned into robots. It will destroy their personalities and turn them into unthinking zombies. What are they thinking? It's insane.
Our sixth form have business suits or smart jacket and trousers/skirt or a smart dress.
The male sixth formers always look smart but frankly the female sixth formers do everything possible to break the rules and have had to be pulled up severely on their attire by the Deputy Head (a woman).
I am a stickler for school uniform and that includes sixth form. Young men and women need to learn to dress appropriately because if they don't they will not be taken seriously in the world of work.
All the girls at my schoolwear leggings/jeans.shorts over leggings. The boys wear hoodies and jeans. Every OFSTED places the 6th form as outstanding..........as are the results
I think businesswear for 6th form is stupid. When I was in 6th form I had bright pink hair and studded belts If you can't do it then when can you? Do that many people wear suits to work these days? Isn't work more smart casual now?
All but one school around here allow sixth formers to wear what they want with a few restrictions (no: flip flops, sandels, shorts, vests, pants or bras on show). The one exception is a boys private school which has suit and tie. The very highly achieving girls private schools have no such restrictions.
They all tend to look somewhat like University students.
World of working at what, though, Beta? I've never worked anywhere that needed a suit. Nor has DH.
Nice sarcasm, brycie . But whole swathes of young people across Europe manage to be prepared for the world of work perfectly well without having 'benefited' from being prepared by school uniform/6th form corporate dress code.
So either British young people are less capable and mature than say, the Danish, the Dutch and the Germans, or... we're wasting our time on a stupid uniform fetish.
Personally I think the insistence on this kind of uniform is infantilising our 16/17/18-year olds. What's so wrong with letting them learn the hard way? Let them turn up for an interview in jeans and a string vest, not get the job and be told in no uncertain terms what's expected. Far better than being spoonfed. My generation had the intellectual ability to realise that hey, an interview is important, better check out the dress code and adapt. I really don't think the current generation is that thick - and if they are, they need to learn the lesson out in the real world.
Excellent post pointythings.
I agree with young people learning to dress appropriately. A uniform (and insisting on a suit is only a uniform by any other name) is teaching young people to dress without thinking.
School and sixth form is nothing like an office environment - carrying around books and files, inside and out from one room to another. Students doing 'messy' subjects which can include sciences, art and technology need to dress appropriately. Suits, blazers, ties are not appropriate wear for this.
Two years spent wearing a cheap nylon suit between the age 16 & 18 are not going to turn A level students into captains of industry.
I cant see why parents are so frightened of their sixth form age offspring going to school or college in jeans & t-shirt. What is the fear? That they look just like all the other kids?
I thought it was the other way round NamingOfParts - that some parents are "frightened" of their kids wearing a suit and would encourage them to actively avoid sixth forms that have a dress code.
I wouldn't be frightened, webwiz and if I thought the school was the best place for my DC I would grudgingly accept it.
I'd just feel the school was wasting an opportunity to teach valuable life lessons about personal responsibility.
DH does work in an office environment, they wear jeans. In fact the only time he's had to wear trousers, tie etc. was in the crappiest call centre job he had.
There are plenty of subjects where wearing a tie would be a significant health and safety issue.
Do they really expect every student to work in an office environment? What a lack of imagination.
At my DCs school the dress code is about being seen as smart role models for the rest of the school and nothing to do with working in offices. I can't get worked up about it really - its just another version of school uniform and DS wants to stay on there so we'll go with it.
I dont think that a school with a relaxed dress code would prevent a student from wearing a suit if they wanted to.
If its the right school the fine but really I cant see why insisting on uniform or a suit into the sixth form would make a school more appealing.
The British do seem to have a weird obsession with wanting to be told what to wear. By extension this then becomes an obsession with telling other people what to wear and pointing out when they have got it wrong.
There are lots of differences between being at school and being at work. I don't think that the mere act of wearing a suit would even remotely help someone to understand an employer/employee relationship and what is expected of them in the workplace as opposed to what is expected of them in school, to be honest.
It's just a load of old bollocks.
Haven't a number of posters said that it makes a school less appealing rather than more?
I like the sixth form despite its weird insistence on suits but they are less strict than other schools I know of locally so it didn't cause a problem for either of my DD's. DS is the sort of boy who always has the required 7 stripes of his tie showing (that's a whole other thread ) so he hasn't got any desire to rebel against wearing a suit.
It certainly makes it less appealing because it's such a hatstand notion that you wonder what other skewed priorities are in play there.
I feel that role modelling really should not be about what you look like, not at all. I think it should be about excellent behaviour, taking on mentoring roles for younger children and demonstrating high academic achievement. Anyone can put on a suit. The same does not apply to real, worthwhile actions.
DD2 is in primary - Yr5. She has been asked to mentor the YrR children - not because she looks so smart in her cardie and poloshirt uniform, but because she is a well-behaved, high-achieving and caring student. That's how it should be in 6th form too.
To my mind an obsession with uniform suggests that appearances are being used to cover up at best a lack of ideas for further improvement for a school, and at worst a culture of complacency.
Oh well its just been rated outstanding so we'll go with the lack of ideas and complacency. They do all the mentoring, achieving and excellent behaviour but obviously that doesn't count because they look quite smart as well.
They've had the dress code for years - DD1 started in year 7 in 2002 and they had it then so I'm just used to the idea.
I'm sure you're very happy with your choice of school and I'm sure it's a very good school. I'm still trying to get my head around this as it's the first time I've heard of it and it just sounds bonkers to me. If my son was in a school like that I'd be working very hard to change their minds about it as I can't see any benefit to it at all.
I would hate to see the sixth formers I teach in suits. I love the way they really develop their sense of style in year 12 and 13; the crazy hairstyles, the odd outfits - it's brilliant. I don't wear a suit to work, so I'd feel decidedly strange teaching students wearing them (and I would hate to work at the kind of school that dictated suits for teachers).
^ If my son was in a school like that I'd be working very hard to change their minds about it as I can't see any benefit to it at all. ^
You'd probably be better off not sending your child to a school where you disagree with their dress code.
SoupDragon, outside of major urban areas there is often little choice in education.
Our choices are - the local consortium college (which serves 4 towns) and a sixth form outside of the county which is a long bus ride away.
Thankfully neither have what in my opinion would be a ridiculous dress code. However if they did then I would certainly be working to have it changed.
In general I am anti school uniform as I think that it is a distraction for school management.
DD had this in 6th form but they didn't specify suits (argh!) so we had the " this cardigan can't be worn with this skirt as it's not the exact same shade of grey " etc.
DS will have uniform- brilliant!
Just looked round a bunch of secondaries and I didn't fancy the one which had suits in the sixth form tbh. The boys looked ok (private school=> good suits) but the girls did not look great, they looked pretty impractical for a start. I work in a suit environment but heels are worn only to travel over the carpet twenty yards from computer to kettle with an occasional diversion one floor up in the lift to the boardroom. Wearing them to trog around a large school campus all day is not what they're intended for.
I thought that the uniformed or casual clothed girls looked much better (though to be fair most of the latter were at all girls' schools which does tend to produce a more comfortable and eclectic dress code).
We have a huge choice of 6th forms and several colleges.
The best 6th forms that kids are fighting to get into all have suits for 6th form. It doesnt put them off and I would be very annoyed if either of my dcs chose their school on their dress code.
Dcs school is renowned for its pasteral care has smart suit code. As i said above,they all have their personal spin on it and look far less clone like than the big groups of european we often have staying locally all in identical jeans and hoodies
It reminds me of the Inbetweeners when turns up to sixth form with a briefcase and is known as 'briefcase' forever more
One school I worked at had a uniform code (for the whole school, not just sixth form) of trousers or skirt of any colour (skirt had to be no shorter than a couple of inches above the knee), shirt, jumper if required, jacket, tie for boys. They didn't have to be in suits but they did look really smart-and they could be creative and individual if they liked. We had quite a few pink shirts and tweed jackets which I rather liked! That's the best of both worlds I think. The kids could shop in shops they liked and could be fashionable if they wanted to, they didn't all look the same and everyone was smart.
Can we at least not pretend that there is any correlation between appearance and results?
Oh, and at my current (all girls) school they're allowed to wear whatever they like in sixth form, except blue jeans and very short skirts. They never break those rules, I think because they have so much freedom, and they look lovely.
I used to wear short black skirt, striped tights, DM's, a 'Factory' T shirt and a holey jumper. My best friend dyed her hair flamingo-pink and used to wear tea-dresses with ripped fishnets and DMs. Another friend had a blue Mohican.
We all went to RG universities.
"they look lovely"
You see, if my mum had said that I would have stomped back upstairs and put my Factory T shirt on again
Doesn't it cost a fortune? I'm a 35 year old manager and a new suit is a considerable outlay for me. Even from a supermarket!
My DS (currently yr 11) has red oil paint all over his blazer (from art gcse). I refuse to buy another one so it can happen again. How smart it looks.
Speaking of briefcases, our school has briefcases as compulsory from the get go. No backpacks allowed.
16-18 year olds are being denied useful experience in determining their own look by being required to wear cheap suits and carry cheap briefcases. It is unutterably depressing and small-minded of schools to ask them to do this.
They have to be leather briefcases. And there is guidance on where to purchase the suits too!
I always think of it as the young conservative look. It's beyond awful.
16-18 year olds are being denied useful experience in determining their own look by being required to wear cheap suits and carry cheap briefcases.
You would think they dont have a life outside of school the way some of you go on!
Really? Cheap suits and cheap briefcases on 16-18 year olds reflect the tedious Guardian-reading lower middle class aspirations of small-minded headteachers IMO.
Schools only do it because parents like it
State schools are not accountable to parents!!!
I think it's the small but vocal minority of parents that like it.
Well, I can see arguments on both sides really. Our school has always had a formal dress code with uniform until 6th form then suits. Always leather briefcases. ~We are happy with the school, so just go along with it, and have no problem.
Boys these days don't look as ridiculous as they may have done a few years ago. They are bigger and look more mature than the little weedy 16 year olds of say 20 years ago.
I think you're probably right jins.
I find all the 'don't send you child to a school with a uniform policy you don't agree with' arguments somewhat disingenuous. School choice is almost totally illusory in England. Most people are very limited in the schools they can choose from (and an awful lot of people find that they have only one possible 'choice' locally or even none at all). In which case, they're stuck with a school whether they like the uniform policy/homework policy/annoying subject specialism/etc.
The idea of an 11-year-old hauling around a leather briefcase for, let's face it, no justifiable educational reason makes me want to lie down on the floor and cry. Schools don't half come up with some crap ideas. But then at my school a sizable proportion of the teachers would happily abolish uniform altogether.
State schools are accountable to parents. Patents choose a sixth form college for their young adult. Many parents like the idea of waving off progeny in smart business attire, it provides validation.
It will be a suit for DD.
She is planning it now. It will include fuck off heels.
She won't be able to walk, but I imagine she can crawl between classes.
So the parents that like it, what did you/they wear in the sixth form?
We were all dressed madly. Still all got our A levels and went to university.
Yes, Hully, Art GCSE is death to school uniform. I similarly refused to buy DS a new school jumper for the final term of yr 11, so he had to keep wearing his 'grey with creative splodges' one.
He's in 6th form now. This week alone he's got involved with oily stuff in physics, mud in Environment Studies, ink in Design, and rock surveys in Geography. I think a decent set of camouflage fatigues might be the way to go. Or one of those toddler all-in-ones.
"So the parents that like it, what did you/they wear in the sixth form?"
It wasnt that long ago that very few went to 6th form. most people went straight from school into the work place at 16 (DH being an august baby was 15 when he started work.
They didnt have the two years of 6th form to dress madly and very very few went to university.
That hasn't answered the question
How can you answer the question if you didnt go to 6th form, in my day very few stayed on to 6th form. I'm not either in favor or against suits in 6th form. I really dont see that it is anything to get your knickers in a twist about.
I also said that you end up with clones whatever the dress code is.
The school just wants smarter clones than messy clones.
As said above DS wears a suit to school, he is very happy in 6th form and thriving. He goes to a school that is very good at treating the kids as individuals.
So you didn't stay on. Did you have friends that did? What did they wear?
I think the point is my parents would have loved it if I had been 'smart' for college but I had the freedom to reject that and become part of a peer group.
Perhaps this is the rebellion of youth - the early adoption of corporate culture, certainly teens have a tougher deal today than I had in the 1990's.
DD had this in 6th form but they didn't specify suits (argh!) so we had the " this cardigan can't be worn with this skirt as it's not the exact same shade of grey " etc.
I was like that, at that age - until the time I was due to go out with a friend. "I can't go out - the socks that go with my trousers aren't dry." My friend told me to stop being so stupid and get over it rather than let a pair of socks make us both late and spoil the day for us both.
I would suggest the same might work in this case. If something can't be worn with something else and they make themselves late then they take the consequences.
It's much better to be so silly at 16/17 when people will make some allowances because they know that teenagers are like that, than to be still behaving like that at 22/23 when it's just likely to cause annoyance.
No very few of my friends stayed on as I said most people didnt at the time. We went to work and trained in the work place. I have no idea what the ones that stayed on wore, cant remember.
A point of information for the parents of boys here. My dd joined a boys school with girls in the 6th this year. They can wear anything they like but have to have formal wear for things like going to away matches, formal assemblies and so on. And my dd and her friends are finding the boys distractingly attractive when they are wearing suits! So if you have a ds you might want to pass that on.......
While on this, I really loathe seeing tiny kids effectively in business suits - shirt tie, jacket, trousers. Really?
"Perhaps this is the rebellion of youth - the early adoption of corporate culture, certainly teens have a tougher deal today than I had in the 1990's."
As i pointed out teens were in the work place a lot earlier than they are now. At 16 I was commuting to the City every day working for a corporate. Most of my friends were working for banks again expected to wear smart clothes.
I've noticed that it's usually (not always) people who didn't go to sixth form themselves that are the most prescriptive about it, in a kind of huh, it never did me any harm kind of way. The parents at my dc's school who want suits are the ones who went straight out to work and never got to enjoy that time.
I stayed on for sixth form Hully.
I wore footless tights, grandad shirts, big lacy shawls and doc martens. I had a mullet that you could lose a badger in. (Early 80's)
The majority of my friends stayed on and wore much the same as I did although coloured chinos were popular. A small number of my friends went to apprenticeships and wore whatever they had to wear and some went to sixth form college and wore the same as me but their hair was dyed brighter colours
Cheesecloth. That's what I wore in sixth form. Quite a lot of it
Yes many of my friends who didn't do A Levels went to work in insurance and banking in the City. Fair enough.
But those ALevel years were some if the best of my life.
I wore fishnet tights and stillettos and big hair and make up thick enough to drown in and got stopped by lorry drivers at nine in the morning offering me lifts. The OUTRAGE and HORROR.
Still somehow managed to stagger off to uni, even have two further degrees.
Cheesecloth was a bit lower down the school for me. The joys of trying to get away with a white cheesecloth shirt instead of the regulation white shirt.
and whoever it was said briefcases- wtf? Apart from anything else, how do you carry everything you need in a briefcase without damaging your shoulders and spine? Unless your chauffeur carries it in for you, of course.....
My parents made me take a briefcase. My dad's old monster. I had a twenty minute walk, a bus ride and then a 15 min walk. I was a real shortarse and I got mercilessly teased in and out of school with it until the day I killed it with a compass and freed myself.
Thanks for that, parents.
I had BIG hair - took aaaaages and used a whole eye liner almost everyday!
There will be no photos.
But yes managed to stagger off
The only people I've met at work with briefcases are young men on their first day Obviously bought by their parents so they look right. Only contents are a sandwich box and an apple.
Don't actually remember any school bag though
"he parents at my dc's school who want suits are the ones who went straight out to work and never got to enjoy that time."
Again why do you think we didnt have time to enjoy ourselves and dressing how I wanted to. I probably had a better time because I was earning money and could afford to spend it on the clothes i wanted and going out. I had £200 a month. My DS is having a wonderful time as a teenager. The wearing the suit to school has very little impact on his style. His gf wanting him to have his hair cut (he has lovely shiney brown floppy hair) for her bday party has more impact on his style than school does.
DS has cyberdog record bag for school
In my day it was shopping bags as well.
I meant "enjoy" at school which is very different to working.
Perhaps it's just different personalities.
DS is loving school, wearing a suit doesnt stop him enjoying it, why should it. Theres far more to being given indepence than just clothes
And I suspect his friend has far bigger hair than you ever had Hully, all worn with a suit
I've been reminiscing about shoe fashions now
Year 1 was some sort of hideous Clarks sensible shoe because Mum was in charge. these were the coveted home shoe though
Year 2 was the year of the ankle strap and most were banned but we got away with these
Year 3 they must have thought their luck was in. No shoe related detentions for the moccasin. Slightly gathered front, leather lace up shoe with low heel made from a light coloured rubbery substance. No pictures on google
Year 4 was the granny shoe. Like this but with brogue detailing on the front
Final year of uniform involved trying to get away with your green flashes instead of shoes
Summer wear throughout??? This (with socks)
Sorry for the highjack
We had a sixth form uniform! I, rather sadly, liked it: nicer colours than main school, v distinctive and with VI on the tie.
I don't know any schools of any kind now where there's a sixth form uniform. Except the one in Inbetweeners.
<admires Jins attention to detail and dedication to teh shoe>
Oh indeedy. Shoes are important.
<well they were when I was at school>
We were all about the kickers in the sixth form...
God yes. Kickers or suede desert boots (weren't they also called chukka boots or something similar)
Then pixie boots a la New Romantic. I have a picture somewhere of me in lower sixth with a pair of white trousers tucked into a pair of pixie boots topped with a combat jacket and lace shawl. It needs destroying
In my day it started off with trevira trousers usually very very wide legs and a bit of bay city roller check. Then went on to cheese cloth and gypsy skirts and by the time I left school it was hacking jackets and cords. Hair syles were purdy bobs, charlies angels, long and flicked back and then birds nest.
We could wear any style skirt to school as long as it was black. There was the trevira A line with huge pockets, then sun ray pleats and french pencil skirts with long slits up the side.
Adam Ant had a lot to answer for!!
I have granny shoes like that! I wore them to work the other day and my year 8 girls swooned over them.
The hair for us was all about the Pam Ewing
After purdey bobs and just before the backcombed mullet
I had the Pam Ewing but that was when I was older.
The shoes were platforms and then hessian wedges.
I've got the Pam Ewing now Whatever I do it ends up as a Pam Ewing
My works clothes involved Tea Dresses then went onto Lady Diana collars
I never did the Princess Di look.
I was NOT a fan
I went to sixthform in Knickerbockers and a pirate shirt a la Adam Ant. Pink hair backcombed into a nest.
I got sent home. A bad example to the lower school, and not to return until my hair was a normal colour. So I bleached it white and went back..........still in knickerbockers and said shirt
I looked like this
boys used to snatch the beret as some sort of chat up technique.
My nephews' school had a dress code but no specific uniform. It went: blazer/jacket, collared shirt, tie, slacks. But you could choose any kind, so the boys would wear daft combos like blue blazer, Hawaian shirt, clashing striped tie. In summer they were allowed Bermuda shorts instead of trousers.
It worked. They looked smart-ish, but still got to be individual or even a bit rebellious. That's also more what the world of work is like these days, so it is a better preparation for life than an old-fashioned suits only rule. Suit-y jobs are on the decline these days as more and more sectors ditch the requirement to wear them, and what kids need to know is not 'how to wear a suit' but 'how to navigate a looser dress code without getting it horribly wrong'.
The irony of beret's!
They'd been compulsory uniform in living memory in my school
why has my phone put an apostrophe there? Must think beret is a name
Charterhouse has a sixth form Uniform in case anyone wants to know The grey jackets are the younger boys, the black is sixth form.
I can see that might appeal to some people but doesnt it all date back to the days when boys aged 14 and over dressed exactly like their dad?
I was in the Dutch equivalent of 6th form in the mid 80s... Mullets, oh yes! And I had a Phil Oakey style too (when he was all asymmetrical). Big shoulders and satin shirts, enormously oversized shirts hitched up with even bigger belts, well dodgy makeup. And I had a girl in my class who was full on punk with the ripped black clothes, corpse-white makeup, insane spiked hair - the lot.
We all did well, went to university and turned into normal, well-adapted, hardworking people. Strange, that.
DS has worn a school suit since Yr7, but in 6th form they can wear "any dark suit" so 95% wear black. Costs £59 from M&S or £79 Next for a machine washable suit - so cheaper than his Yr 7-11 gear.
He is very comfortable in a suit now, and for job & Uni interviews he just wears a different shirt. No worries about "what shall I wear today", and they all look smart.
I like it. When DD was in 6th form some of them looked like they were going for a day on the beach! (Tiny shorts, croip tops etc.) I was amazed they were never told to smarten up.
I don't see why 6th form can't just wear school uniform like the rest of the school.
A school in my town has a suit/man bag "uniform" in the 6th form, and you can spot the boys a mile off. Skinny youths in cheap suits....
I don't thin sixth formers should be compelled to wear any kind of uniform at all because they have opted to be there. They are beyond the age of compulsory education.
They aren't compelled, because they have opted to be there. Choose the course, choose the school, choose its way of working.
But doesn't that change quite soon?
I'm not anti uniform. DS is in Army Cadets and hopes to join the Army. They have a real uniform (uniform isnt uniform unless it's uniform). It is workwear, it is standard.
I can see the point in military uniforms. The whole point is standardisation, thinking as a unit, acting as a unit. If even a button is lost by one person it can be replaced from another.
School uniforms and dress codes arent this. They are about conformity but only for the purpose of conformity - who fits in and who doesnt. They are about finding a quick and easy way of identifying (and then excluding one way or another) students and parents who dont fit in.
We had this at my school around the time clueless was released so we loved it, all the girls were herded into the common room in the spring of year 12 though and told "we were there to learn, not to seduce"! Boys did look like estate agents admittedly and I don't really see the point, just 'smart' or 'business dress' would be better than specifying a suit surely?
Yes it does (big mistake!) so then they can be compelled anyway!
Schools know feck all about actually what it's like to work in business or offices. This kind of thing is play acting by people who have very little concept of it. It's the same (daft) reasoning as why stereotypes exist of teachers.
A plain black skirt and jacket doesn't equal business attire but does look smart. If smart is what she wants fine, but please do not pretend this is business wears and therefore explains the world of work. It would equally suit u for working as a receptionist or funeral director. It wouldn't give u understanding of either of those either.
You make a good point about army uniform, NoP. They don't just have one outfit - they have clothing appropriate to the task in hand, so don't wear the same outfit when out in the field on active service as at a regimental dinner.
In my opinion, insisting on 'smart business clothes' is just schools being a bit
stupid unthinking, after all they don't insist that pupils wear 'smart business clothes' when taking part in sport. They accept that this isn't the correct attire for that.
Isn't part of growing up learning how to dress appropriately for the job?
Isn't part of growing up learning how to dress appropriately for the job?
I think this is precisely the point.
How can it be precisely the point when business attire is not appropriate clothing for many (if not the majority of) jobs?
I think it is right the way most places have it: own clothes, nothing manifestly inappropriate or too much flesh. After all, the next stage for many will be university, where they can wear what they like!
Mintyy, I agree with you.
I was replying to LaVolcan's point - the point being that appropriate doesnt automatically mean business wear. Dressing appropriately means exactly that. My DD is doing two 'messy' sciences at A level (biology & chemistry). She hopes to work in chemistry as a career - somehow I doubt that a business suit will be the right lab wear day to day.
Oh, I see, get you. Well of course we are both totally in the right .
my ds cannot wait to get into 6th form so that he can get a suit with a really lairy lining! ATM he is swaying between shocking pink and mandarin orange.
DS's typical sixth form day:
Product design -- involving glue, lathes, polyfilla and god knows what else.
Geography -- currently involving bashing rocks to bits AFAIK
Chemistry -- ditto
Environmental science -- including pond digging
Appropriate wear would probably be army camouflage.
My dh had to do this for his sixth form - over 20 years ago now, so they must have been pioneers. Having seen some of the photos, they all looked bloody ridiculous.
He worked in the building industry during/after uni.
Thankfully we're not in catchment for that particular school
with delusions of grandeur as the housing is mega expensive, but the local secondary is just as good, if not better and a lot more 'normal'.
Was with MIL the other day (she likes this school's town) and commented on how strange it was that all the girls were wearing buttock skimming minis
whatever their shape and size then realised it was their take on business attire
All I know is DD1 is very fed up with time wasted on uniform checks at the beginning of each lesson.
She is strongly favouring going to the local collage and being treated like a grown up.
I also have a DD who is fed up with uniform checks for sixth formers. She would dearly love to be treated like a grown up by the school.
Fence sitting here.
DS has school uniform- blazer, school trousers, white shirt, tie. Done. No messing, low cost etc , it's also pretty bomb proof.
DDs school have " business dress" . One suit isn't OK of course if you are a girl you have to have multiple choices - all of which are individually more expensive than DS uniform (even M+S basics washable suits!). THen the shirts- again 3 shirts aren't enough you need " choice" . THen several pairs of appropriate low heeled court shoes (no the aren't appropriate to walk to the bus etc really ) . The cost and potential for teasing about clothing that school uniform has blocked out for 5yrs are back straight away.
Grr! I can see why not " home clothes" because of the number of restrictions they place on what comes on non uniform days ( no strappy tops, no bare midrifs, no shorts (even over opaque tights) no stocking tights etc erc . I'm sure that some kids see it as an appropriate place to wear clubbing clothes, but I'd rather that they had uniform tbh
If DS ever gets a job which requires him to wear a high street suit I will consider myself to be a failure as a parent.
All our sixth forms have no dress code and the students just look like university students.
The lack of idiotic uniform codes doesn't seem to prevent dozens of them getting into Oxbridge every year.
"If DS ever gets a job which requires him to wear a high street suit I will consider myself to be a failure as a parent".
Well I hope for you sake you DS gets a job where he has to wear a non-high st suit. For the majority of kids though this is the reality, and most are thankful they have a job. There's prob actually even more who don't need any type of suit as they're signing on or stacking shelves.
I certainly wouldn't consider myself a failure as a parent over something like this.
No suits here. They are allowed to dress however they like with however many piercings and whatever hair style/colour they like.
The college encourages it - it's a way to express themselves
Edwina - do you mean any suit, or just high street suits?
I'm confused by your post
Edwinamerckx - I wear a suit for work as I work in an office. Not my dream job but it's a damned sight better than some of the other options around here. TBH I feel lucky to have a job, there is a lot of unemployment around here, DH not worked in years & struggling to find anything.
I hope your kids don't feel too much of a disappointment to you if they aren't able land a dream job, way to put the pressure on!
Viva - any job that requires a chap to wear a suit, but doesn't pay him enough to wear bespoke, is not a job worth having
It makes as much sense to say the school wants to have an intellectual ethos and therefore all the students have to dress like university lecturers.
Edwina - tbh, that comment/opinion alone means you already are a failure as a parent.
arf @ edwina. Does that rule also apply to the chapesses?
Well my DH earns way more than the national average wage and we're more than comfortable finance wise. He either wears jeans or when he does wear a suit its a Debenhams one.
Oddly enough I think his job is more than worth having. It pays for our nice house, cars, holidays, etc.
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