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Power dressing in school?

(124 Posts)
Smilegrumpypants Fri 15-Mar-19 11:59:12

I'm a teacher. We've recently had a change in leadership and the head has made a lot of changes including a strict dress code.
I've always dressed smartly in dresses and skirts but teamed with cardigans. My outfits are always pressed and clean and I wear minimal jewellery.
A middle leadership role has recently come up and I am keen to apply for it. After a meeting this week the head asked to speak to me. She said that she would welcome my application but I should consider changing my outfits to include blazers and tailored jackets and trousers. That she felt cardigans and flat shoes (!) aren't appropriate in senior roles and I would be taken more seriously.
She often says odd things (don't get me started, whole other thread) but as this new role doesn't include an increase in pay and still includes a full teaching schedule, I am reluctant to invest in clothes that I won't suit or enjoy wearing. I've never been told I've been dressing inappropriately before.
This is all coming from the head that wears fishnets and leather tunics.
Advice please, thank you!

Weebitawks Fri 15-Mar-19 12:00:59

I think that's ridiculous.

Orangeday Fri 15-Mar-19 12:06:23

I’d wear a blazer and heels until you get the job then do what you’ve always done. But I’m sure there’s a more outraged and litigious response out there somewhere.

HisBetterHalf Fri 15-Mar-19 12:06:24

A blazer doesnt make somebody better at their job. I'm in a professional role and my company is actually looking at introducing a smart casual dress policy rather than suits and ties etc

SmileEachDay Fri 15-Mar-19 12:07:19

Will she be telling the men not to wear flat shoes also?

It’s ridiculous- I spend all day on my feet, kneeling down next to children or doing ridiculous drama things. I’d probably break my ankle in high heels.

Also. Why doesn’t the middle leadership role come with a TLR?

LucyAutumn Fri 15-Mar-19 12:08:24

Hmmmm, sounds like you dress fine and she has her priorities wrong... can't even begin to tell you how ridiculous it is to expect heels over flat shoes hmmconfused

Loanhelp Fri 15-Mar-19 12:09:48

That's insane. My (thankfully past) headteacher dressed like a domanatrix in her day off sometimes, and although I love a blazer, they're always with trousers and flat shoes.
I do wear the same knee high boots for every observed lesson I have (NQT) because they make me feel powerful, but not everyday. If I was dressing up, I'd go for the sort of thing you wear, I wear trousers and blazers fairly casually.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 15-Mar-19 12:09:56

I'd buy a £5 blazer off EBay and strategically wear heels round her

And then after getting the job I'd dress exactly how I pleased

Hollowvictory Fri 15-Mar-19 12:10:40

Cardigans rarely look smart unless they are quite fitted. I agree with the HT

Cheby Fri 15-Mar-19 12:13:56

She can fuck off with the heels. You’re on your feet all day teaching, aren’t you?!

Blazers/jackets age slightly different. I prefer a cardigan too and I dislike jackets, they feel restrictive no matter how well they fit. But I have one in my office all the time for meetings, they are smarter and more formal. If that’s what they want from senior staff then I don’t think that’s massively unreasonable.

But yeah, unless she’s expecting men to wear heels as well, she can bugger off with that one.

HexagonalBattenburg Fri 15-Mar-19 12:20:06

Frigging bollocks - our head is superb... but she doesn't half look blooming daft sometimes balanced on ridiculously high heels crouched down constantly to talk to little children. Think most of the staff wear some variation of a cardigan (well one teacher has a wide range in novelty jumpers going on) and skirts or trousers - considering how the heating in schools is either set on sauna or off I can't blame them for going down the layers route at all!

There's no way you're getting me out of flat shoes and a smart but comfy dress to teach in anything else - but I'm supply so can get away with not playing management silly mind games more than most.

tensmum1964 Fri 15-Mar-19 12:23:11

I detest that type of power dressing especially in a school. I don't want to see my children's, teachers looking like investment bankers. Apart from that as a style its awful and ugly.

Hamsternauts Fri 15-Mar-19 12:23:37

Does she wear a blazer with her fishnets and leather tunics? Women shouldn't have to wear heels

PrincessButtockUp Fri 15-Mar-19 12:29:02

There are a lot of cardigans in my wardrobe too. However, there is a difference between a bulky arran cable knit, a soft hoody type and a fine knit twin set type. I wear the first type to keep me warm at home in the evenings, and the last type at work.

She may well be way off in her comments, but if you're looking for a role at a more senior level, then a useful skill is to be able to self-reflect on any feedback, and consider it even if you don't act on it.

It's daft to say that you should dress a certain way, but if you run the risk of being held back by it, it's probably safe to play it safe for the interview at least.

Best of luck with it.

Applesbananaspears Fri 15-Mar-19 12:32:17

Totally ridiculous, there are barely any jobs now where anyone needs to dress like that. You should just need to be smart and comfortable and a dress / skirts / tailored trousers and a cardigan with flat boots or brogues should be absolutely fine

Birdie6 Fri 15-Mar-19 12:38:10

My DD is a classroom teacher at a private gir's' school and she has to wear heels AND makeup . Ridiculous but that's the code .

IWantChocolates Fri 15-Mar-19 12:38:33

I'm a teacher, I've done the smart stress with heels and also the cardigan and slip-on flats (taught across the primary age range). If I was a non-class based member of SLT then maybe I'd wear a smart dress and heels every day. But for a normal classroom teacher I see nothing wrong with dressing comfortably. And I say that as a middle leader with a TLR on UPS.

Smilegrumpypants Fri 15-Mar-19 12:38:54

@smile they are not offering any tlrs (I think it's historic? A previous head never offered them because it's a small SEN school)
I might buy a cheap one then. Until blazers start marking books and write reports I won't spend too much on one. She can do one with the heels though.

Pinkbells Fri 15-Mar-19 12:41:19

I suppose it depends on the dress code. If I read a dress code as 'smart' then I wouldn't include cardigans and flowery dresses, tbh - probably would go more down the tailored look.
Having said that, I think children will find children far more approachable if they don't look like they are off to work in a bank!

Pinkbells Fri 15-Mar-19 12:41:34

will find teachers more approachable, I mean!

Smilegrumpypants Fri 15-Mar-19 12:43:05

@Princess I do try hard to reflect on feedback and use it to make informed decisions. And the cardigans I wear are usually smart fine knit types.
I get it, sometimes you have to look the part.

Pinkbells Fri 15-Mar-19 12:43:44

And since the message to the girls is not to wear heels, then it is pretty hypocritical to expect all the teachers to be tottering about on them! Teaching is a stressful, on-the-feet job that needs proper footwear. Low heels/flats CAN be smart.

CarpetGate Fri 15-Mar-19 12:44:37

I'd say to just do it if you want the job.

akerman Fri 15-Mar-19 12:45:02

Crikey! I suffer from hypermobility so actually can't wear heels because my knees would dislocate. I can't be the only one with problems like this.

thedisorganisedmum Fri 15-Mar-19 12:47:55

Cardigans don't look smart, so she might have a point.

I got job offers in the city whilst wearing flat shoes grin also got one whilst wearing knee high boots and a mini-dress, but that's wasn't a scheduled interview

I think being smart or power dressing is not about one specific item, it's a general look. If someone is so focused on a blazer, you might as well get a cheap one.

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