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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.

DontCallMeCharlotte Fri 15-Mar-19 12:50:30

Oh Christ, I'm going to have to change my whole wardrobe then as I always think of my work look as "teacher chic" and that definitely doesn't include blazers or heels.

I'm not a teacher by the way.

Margot33 Fri 15-Mar-19 12:56:45

I worked in a secondary school supporting disabled students. The agency that paid me told me to wear a suit. Some of the children said they didn't like it when support staff wore suits, it didn't feel friendly and a little intimidating. So I made sure I wore smart trousers and top instead. It's important we connect with the children on a positive level.

SausageMashandOnionGravy Fri 15-Mar-19 12:57:29

Dress like she says for your interview and then return to your usual attire. Unless she’s offering you a rather large pay rise to fund this whole new wardrobe I think she’s taking the piss. It doesn’t sound like there is anything wrong with your current attire, smart but practical.

hellojason Fri 15-Mar-19 12:57:37

Your clothes choices sound fine and the HT really shouldn't be saying anything like that. You just need to look presentable and a decent quality cardi and flat shoes are OK. Not if the cardi is tatty or the shoes are scuffed and bright pink and yellow - it's just common sense.

If you want to pander to her consider wearing a low - mid heel court shoe and a more fitted cardi/top or smart-casual jacket but a blazer FFS?! What exactly does the dress code say?

cantbearsed1 Fri 15-Mar-19 12:57:41

I disagree with what this person said to you. But it is common in many companies that there is an informal dress code for managers. So I don't think it is outrageous.

Millyonthe Fri 15-Mar-19 12:58:00

I wouldn't wear heels for anyone. However, I do think a blazer is smarter than a cardi. You can get wool blazers that are as comfy as cardis like this whistles one:

ginghamtablecloths Fri 15-Mar-19 13:02:20

On the face of it it seems silly but when it comes to 'image' (and sadly it often does these days) it has to be said that a jacket will always look more business-like than a cardigan.
I have known a smartly dressed barely-qualified candidate gain promotion over a better qualified more casually dressed (but still smart) woman. It's unfair but that's the modern world - image counts.

sweeneytoddsrazor Fri 15-Mar-19 13:03:13

I cant get past the head wearing fishnets and leather.

LoopyGremlin Fri 15-Mar-19 13:04:33

My school (secondary) has gone far too casual over the last few years imo. Teachers wear leggings, jeans, trainers, all of which I feel is too casual. Even the management team wear casual clothes. I think there should be some smart dressing at least by the headteacher. As a parent, I would not want to be met by the headteacher wearing a fat face type outfit and trainers. As professionals a shift dress with jacket or a smart pair of trousers and blouse would be far more appropriate.

Queenunikitty Fri 15-Mar-19 13:05:50

There are some great ponte blazers at uniqlo also I don’t think ballet pumps or smart loafers are any less ‘smart’ than heels. You could buy one or two new things for now very much and show willing. I would.

PregnantSea Fri 15-Mar-19 13:07:53

Fishnets and leather tunics? Sounds more like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror than a school teacher...

Foxyloxy1plus1 Fri 15-Mar-19 13:13:14

I think dresses and cardigans can look very smart, especially if they’re fitted. But I’d do what others have suggested, get an inexpensive blazer until you have the job and then please yourself. Could you get a pair of shoes with a small heel - kitten heel or more of a block heel?

Lifeover Fri 15-Mar-19 13:14:18

I hate the thought that people think you should dress a certain way to do your job. The way you dress has nothing at all to do with how well you can do your job (unless its specific job related safety equipment etc) and its very shallow of people to judge people in this way. I am interested in whether my child has a good teacher, whether I have a good doctor, accountant, lawyer etc not what they have in their wardrobe. If people like wearing power clothes good for them, some people feel incredibly uncomfortable.

I work for one of the largest professional firms in the world and we nearly all dress in jeans. We still churn out high quality work.

kaitlinktm Fri 15-Mar-19 13:15:34

The flat shoes thing really annoys me. As pp have said, are men expected to teeter about on heels - I bet the female pupils/students aren't allowed to wear them either. Not saying that staff shouldn't be allowed to wear heels if they want (H&S permitting) but I am sure I have signed a petition about women being required to wear heel at work not too long ago - sex discrimination I think.

I once took advice from my union about similar comments about my workwear. What I wore sounds similar to what you wear but without cardigans as I get too hot. They were willing to take up my case against the head for being unreasonable, but I decided not to take that route. I think she knew she was on a sticky wicket though as she backed off and I never heard another thing about my work wear although some people were told off about inappropriate clothing (boob tubes and beach sandals).

I would get a cheap blazer and make sure your flat shoes are smart and polished/clean. Maybe wear some men's shoes! grin wink

thedisorganisedmum Fri 15-Mar-19 13:18:39

I hate the thought that people think you should dress a certain way to do your job.

I completely disagree, and I have seen many cases when companies had to impose a strict dress code because of some employees who didn't want to comprehend the difference between a night club and an office.
I don't care if my kids teachers are wearing a suit, but I wouldn't appreciate if they hadn't made some kind of effort and didn't turn up in a onesie.

Friedeggsandcustard Fri 15-Mar-19 13:18:45

I had a head like this once, she had a thing against flat shoes. She even wanted the EYFS team in heals because it looked more professional. Her face when my (male) colleague explained, straight faced, in a staff meeting that he found it difficult to find them in his size grin. It’s completely ridiculus OP

DemelzaPoldarksshinerrefiner Fri 15-Mar-19 13:19:15

Ebay / thrift smart blazer, get job, pass probation - organise and participate in one woman cardigan revolution.

SpiritedLondon Fri 15-Mar-19 13:20:48

If this is the direction you want to go then you need to conform to the expectation - even if you don’t agree with it. I’d probably invest in a couple of new things that give the appearance of conforming but are still comfortable. I try and dress appropriately for the office I’m in, but almost never wear traditional suits / shirts that you associate with corporate wear. I have a blazer style jacket in a stretchy jersey fabric for example that is smarter than a cardigan and not restrictive. Jackets can be softly structured or “edge to edge” so they don’t look formal. I wear these with knee length jersey dresses from Jaeger with different ankle boots or shoes.( low block heels). 7/8ths slim trousers etc. Loads of my stuff is pre loved from eBay or Charity shops so hasn’t entailed a big expenditure. Once you have secured the job you can then start integrating your cardigans etc back into your working clothes. I agree with you that it’s not necessary but there is a halfway house that allows both of you to win.

ooItsAoBeautifulDayNow Fri 15-Mar-19 13:22:14

Bloody hell - don't wear flat shoes?!!!!

Get yourself on eBay and buy some thigh high latex boots. Big heels obvs. Ask her if they are a better example for kids than your flat shoes.

Ffs does anyone else despair it's 2019 and this shit is still going on?!

ooItsAoBeautifulDayNow Fri 15-Mar-19 13:25:17

Ps The blazer I wouldn't have a problem with taking on board, as it's not sexualised and isn't a female vs male thing - men may well be asked to wear suit jackets too.

But because of the other request I'd be asking myself if the company culture was the right fit for me as somewhere that requires heels feels outdated and sexist.

Pinkruler Fri 15-Mar-19 13:27:51

Indeed, Akerman, I can't really wear heels due to my knees.

samsamsamsamsamsam Fri 15-Mar-19 13:28:28

She sounds very old fashioned. and completely sexist. I doubt the men have to wear heels.

AdamNichol Fri 15-Mar-19 13:34:24

Dress for the job you want. Utter crap.

My industry has ditched the button down look imposed on it, professionalism and performance are now better than ever as people are placed into roles on merit, not window-dressing.
I'd be very concerned about the priorities of an employer who needed a certain 'look' (beyond uniform / front of house) to consider an applicant credible.
How do the two rank? Shit performance but nice shoes - balance out??

thecatsthecats Fri 15-Mar-19 13:37:21

My friend worked at the top solicitor firm in the country in London and had a more casual dress code than my company.

Likewise, first day in my new management role, they bigged up the need to dress suuuuuuuuper professionally to meet a new corporate partner - I sweltered along in a smart dress and a blazer I had to keep on for the sweat stains. Our opposite numbers were wearing vest tops and sandals. Chic but comfortable.

Since infiltrating the senior leadership, I have switched us to smart-casual dress in summer.

It turns out adults are actually capable of working well whether they wear a cardigan or a blazer. I shall be passing these radical findings to the next committee of pearl clutchers.

(Joking aside, and I may get flamed for this, but I find that the people who worry about this sort of thing tend to be horribly class conscious in many ways - worrying that they won't get on if they don't fit the mould. I was raised to be bloody minded and with middle-class self confidence that who I am is not just enough, but they should feel damn well privileged... I think it makes a big difference.)

dutysuite Fri 15-Mar-19 13:44:41

My sons hand was pierced by the deputy heads ridiculously high heel while he was sitting on the floor during an assembly, I don't think high heels are practical footwear in a school really. I can always tell if our Head Teacher has an important meeting because she will power dress other than that she wears smart casual clothing and flats.

howabout Fri 15-Mar-19 13:48:16

I wish HTs, including the one at my DDs' secondary realised that as a parent I don't see what the teachers wear. I do, however, form my impressions of them based on what the DDs say about them. They are far more likely to make fun of a teacher tottering in high heels and too much make up with an ill fitting cheap blazer than they are to respect her as management material.

SmarmyMrMime Fri 15-Mar-19 13:48:42

I started off wearing blazers around my PGCE/ NQT year... it didn't take long to realise that they are just not me and were only really decorating my chair. People work best when they are comfortable. I started wearing dresses more after having DCs and dropped my usual trousers and shirts. Doing supply in PE and having to teach while in sportswear taught me quite quickly that being comfortable is far more important than a stuffy formal look for the sake of it.

It does sound unfortunately like you may have to temporarily play the game, and your chances are slim if you don't.

I hate the sweeping changes of management with their grandious delusions that don't have any practical benefit.

ADHMeeee Fri 15-Mar-19 13:52:42

I'd be fucked then, I cannot even wear a slight heel, I have to were flat shoes/ trainers.

I guess having the paperwork to explain why, is a positive thing in my case. But I still get people giving me the side eye over it.

It's shoes FFS. And in any role not involving being sat at a desk all day, heels are inappropriate.

carrotflinger Fri 15-Mar-19 13:57:54

Are you primary or secondary? Blazers and heels are inappropriate for primary, especially lower primary. At secondary level they aren't so impractical.

However, are you sure you want to move into middle management in this school (without any financial reward)? The HT sounds like hard work. I've been there (and quit).

If you do want to stay and progress then, unfortunately, you will need to listen to her advice about how she expects you to dress.

MyOtherProfile Fri 15-Mar-19 14:25:51

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
Bet the male teachers look great in high heels and make up!

I do quite a bit of work in a couple if private schools near me. One of them always makes me smile when all the nursery and reception staff are trying to join in with the children while dressed in tight skirts, blazers and heels.

YouWinAgain Fri 15-Mar-19 14:31:39

As a parent whose just chosen a school for their DD and finds out soon where they're going I can tell you the attire of the staff did help me choose.

But it wasn't the school where they all wore suits and heels that I chose. I preferred the schools where leggings and a smart dress where worn, or trousers and a smart top. These kids are at best 9 years old (3 tier system) so the teachers/TAs are going to be bending down and speaking to kids, or taking part in PE or getting covered in glue and paint. My absolutely favourite school which I really want DD to go to the HT covers staff teaching if they're ill, and she wore smart trousers and a long sleeved top. She had a blazer in her office for meetings understandable but otherwise she looked like the rest of the staff but slightly more important.

Coyoacan Fri 15-Mar-19 15:30:46

However, are you sure you want to move into middle management in this school (without any financial reward)? The HT sounds like hard work. I've been there (and quit)

The best teacher my dd had in primary school was an elderly man with his hair in a ponytail. My priorities as a mother are for the school to be compassionate, understanding and ethical first; and good at teaching second. How the teachers are dressed is absolutely the least of my worries.

Graziass Fri 15-Mar-19 15:37:15

What do the male teachers wear?
I often feel there are double standards in schools. The men in shirt and tie and the women in clothing chosen for comfort.

AdamNichol Fri 15-Mar-19 15:43:44

*What do the male teachers wear?
I often feel there are double standards in schools. The men in shirt and tie and the women in clothing chosen for comfort.*

Hmmm....not sure the female equivalent of suited and booted (dress, jkt, heels) is any more comfortable. And there's many a male teacher in cords, jumper, blazer type caboodle.

TiddleTaddleTat Fri 15-Mar-19 15:45:09

Sorry but I just can't get past the idea that a middle management role involves a full teaching timetable and no increase in pay envy

riotlady Fri 15-Mar-19 15:45:46

I’d be tempted to buy a cheap blazer for the interview and then ditch it as soon as I got the job tbh.

SheeshazAZ09 Fri 15-Mar-19 16:10:03

I'd nix the heels idea--recipe for an accident--but agree with some PPs that a jacket is smarter than a cardigan. Depending on the jacket it can look great with dresses and/or skirts, but I generally go for shorter jackets with dresses/skirts than I would wear with trousers. In other words, not a blazer but a short tailored jacket. I used to insist on wool and other natural fibres but these days prefer clothes I can fling in the wash and not have to iron, so am a fan of M&S polyester navy tailored jackets (they look better than they sound, honest).

Re shoes, ankle boots can be smart and flat at the same time. Clarkes and Jones Bootmaker do some nice ones.

Dippypippy1980 Fri 15-Mar-19 16:10:29

I work in a corporate emvironmemt - and like most females were a combination of suits, dresses, blazers and cardigans. Very, very senior women wear cardigans and flats.

Your bosses fashion sense sounds firmly grounded in the 1980s!!!

OneStepSideways Fri 15-Mar-19 16:49:57

Not unusual for a management level position. Cardigans do look frumpy/casual competed to jackets and blazers. I wear cardigans to work but wouldn't wear one if I was inline for a senior promotion or to an interview!

At the end of the day they're just clothes! I have jackets in soft tailored jersey (with stretch), tailored trousers (also in stretch jersey) and shoes with a small heel (just as comfortable as flats thanks to their gel cushioning) but they do look smarter and improve my posture.

They're asking you to look professional/ambitious/driven and smart business dress helps!

I'd also recommend manicured nails, good make up and a smart trendy hairstyle. Google images of business attire for ideas.

MereDintofPandiculation Fri 15-Mar-19 16:54:46

Interesting that she has asked you to start wearing trousers. When I started work, trousers were a no-no for women, then slowly "trouser suits" started to be acceptable in the more easy going places. It seems things have turned around completely if trousers are now the smart option.

Missmarplesknitting Fri 15-Mar-19 17:03:10

Bugger the dress stuff....they want you to take on management role without pay?

Umm, there's your answer. They're taking the piss.

Don't do it.

Dippypippy1980 Fri 15-Mar-19 18:10:57

I disagree that cardigans look frumpy. If I am speaking at a conference I will wear a blazer, but for day to day meetings cardigans (tailored, ironed, smart) are fine as part of the mix.

I think some people watch too much American tv. Men’s ties are also on the way out. It’s all about confidence and being able to do the job. Not manicures. I have never had a manicure on my life, yet manage a large team. No one has ever suggested my hair cut or nails or choice of cardigans has gotten in the way of my career. I would be shocked if teaching had a stricter dress code Han the corporate finance roles I work in.

Hollowvictory Fri 15-Mar-19 18:11:55

Tailored cardigans are OK. Long cardigans look a bit shabby

ForalltheSaints Fri 15-Mar-19 18:19:37

No-one should be forced or required to wear heels, except for stage performances. If I ran the country a law would be passed to outlaw any such obligation.

As for a dress code, in a school perhaps other than no jeans, cover shoulders and no visible underwear, why perhaps does it matter?

Gronky Fri 15-Mar-19 18:23:15

I imagine a quick mention of your 'plantar fasciitis' and maybe a casual question about liability for the injury you suffered due to their new dress code would shut the new head up fairly quickly.

elephantoverthehill Fri 15-Mar-19 18:24:09

Over my 30 odd years of teaching I have up with a theory that the height of the heel of a woman's shoe is in inversely proportional to the amount of teaching they actually do.

avocadochocolate Fri 15-Mar-19 18:31:35

I think your HT is actually breaking the law. I'm sure a woman won a case a about 3 years ago because she was told to wear high heels at work and she didn't want to. It's a known fact that high heels are bad do your feet.

Dippypippy1980 Fri 15-Mar-19 18:46:45

Your head teacher has aced quite foolishly with her comment about flat shoes limiting promotion potential. It’s sexist, and potentially discriminatory if a female team member has a disability which makes heels impossible to wear.

I would ask her to clarify the exact dress code. Again, I have a mental picture of Melanie Griffith’s in working girl!!! The corporate world has thankfully moved on leaps and bounds since then. YOU are not applying to work on the Lancôme counter!!!!!

UnicornRainbowsRain Fri 15-Mar-19 18:56:21

Forallthesaints plenty of excellent teachers wear jeans and even trainers to school. It's a nonsense job for a dress code - working with children, a fairly physical job and on your feet all the time.

UnicornRainbowsRain Fri 15-Mar-19 18:57:35

OP is this a head you really want to work under? Sounds ridiculous!

TheMuminator2 Fri 15-Mar-19 19:02:38


Smilegrumpypants Fri 15-Mar-19 20:09:21

Thanks for all your responses.
I shall probably do the jacket thing (if I can find one that doesn't make me look too rediculous.) I won't be wearing heels, I like running round the playground at break too much.
The head is odd. Some of the men have been asked to wear ties. The suggestion was nixed as we work with children who have diverse behavioural needs.
She has banned tattoos and one guy used to wear linen trousers, they are no more.
We also are not allowed to wear 3/4 length trousers although it hasn't been explained why.
I want the job as I think I would be really good at it. I was going to barter for a higher wage during the interview process. She is standing firm on no tlrs.

Smilegrumpypants Fri 15-Mar-19 20:10:16

Should read: banned tattoos from being visible (I have none.)

sunshineandshowers21 Fri 15-Mar-19 20:16:42

i’m a teacher at a primary school and it’s amazing to see how differently the female teachers dress! i tend to wear dresses, tights, and ankle boots. one of the year six teachers wears tracksuit bottoms with a plain long sleeved tshirt and pumps. one of the newly qualified teachers wears those cropped wide legged trousers and a cami too no matter the weather. the only person i ever see in heels and blazers is the school secretary!

MitziK Fri 15-Mar-19 20:22:03

Try and look on it as an easy way to convince her you can do that job. After all, if it's only clothes, it's not like you've got a boss who ignores fancy suits and focuses upon actual ability and results.

I found people like that are surprisingly easy to keep happy - you provide them with stuff that looks good - attractive displays, colour graphs, spreadsheets with subtle colours for each section, full colour resources and they tend to go 'oh, lovely!' and not actually get around to dissecting the content.

I had loads of grief about Appropriate Clothing from one head. I was told I must wear 'clothing and footwear commensurate and reflective of the professional position you hold within the school'. Cool. I'm a lighting and sound engineering professional when I'm not providing instrumental tuition. I've worn full blacks and steel toecaps rather than skirts and cardigans ever since.

Oh the first day I did this, I was nearly coralled and bollocked for it, but I cut the Head off at the pass by smiling and saying I'd love to stop, but the foldback chain was picking up a 50Hertz buzz from an inevitable ground loop and, although I'd tried using a couple of TR bundles, it wasn't long enough between numbers 2 and 3 on the chain and I therefore had to run a second TR to XLR from Aux 2 on the main board rather than the sub into the multicore snake to come out of number 37 and then XLR it so that there was a balanced signal going into the back of monitor two and then slave that with another shielded bundle because I couldn't use the passives, as they were needed for the main mix stack coming out of the Yamahas with Speakon and the longer Tip and Ring was going into the Stagepas. All before 10.30.

I also make really good posters.

She left me alone.

bookmum08 Fri 15-Mar-19 20:36:49

I find it quite ironic that everyone is saying that teachers should dress how they feel comfy and there is nothing wrong with cardigans etc. Well I actually think that 100% - but the irony is most school children are expected to wear uncomfortable and inpractical expensive crap to school. (although the OP said it's a sen school so her school may be different).
I so wish schools would worry more about education than what people wear.

bookishtartlet Fri 15-Mar-19 21:15:15

I'm in a management role in secondary, and I vary from sparkly doc martens and purple tights to irregular choice heels and black skinny jeans. Some one saying this to me would infuriate me, as how could this possibly apply to a male teacher? I LIVE in cardigans, can you even teach properly without one??

Dippypippy1980 Fri 15-Mar-19 21:20:38

Onestepsdewys I am interested in your views - do you work in a school or corporate setting? Are you manage,net and do you encourage your female employees to follow the dress code set out in your message?

I find the advice in manicures, make up and edgy haircuts quite unusual for this day and age - and even if I agreed with it I would never try to enforce it in my office as I would be slapped with a discrimination complaint (and ridicule from my peers and bosses).

HeronLanyon Fri 15-Mar-19 21:20:47

I’m at the Bar and wear wig and gown and bands so not sure mympersoective is working correctly on this one but I was quite outraged when I read what she had said !
Is it some kind of role where meetings with governors/managers will be regular or similar ? Not going to comment on your
Description of her clothes as that would be hypocritical in this thread.
Good luck. Sorry you are having to deal with that on top of a very stressful job.

Dippypippy1980 Fri 15-Mar-19 21:29:26

I remain amazed that people believe cardigans are not smart enough for work wear.

My colleagues in corporate finance regularly wear cardigans over dresses - and the teachers at my daughters school do too. I have never considered it sloppy!

Mumoftwinsandanother Fri 15-Mar-19 21:33:55

Well I agree with everyone else that its ridiculous that you need to wear a blazer etc to apply for the more senior role when you always dress smartly/professionally. But then I also think its ridiculous that teens and younger children have to wear blazers and ties even in the boiling sun.

I'm a governor at a primary school and a query has been raised by a parent of a child with sn about the shirt/tie rule asking had we considered a polo shirt instead. Its the teachers (SLT) who have vetoed the gvrs even considering it because apparently the uncomfortable but smart uniform (that not even business people really wear these days and you certainly don't think you should have to wear) promotes good behaviour. Gove's influence is alive and kicking in our primary schools.

If you do ever get to the upper echelons of middle mgt or further in your blazers and high heels have a thought for what you might be imposing on your students.

Dippypippy1980 Fri 15-Mar-19 22:02:04

I am obsessed by the cardigan commerts!! One last picture I promise

Smilegrumpypants Fri 15-Mar-19 22:25:58

@mumoftwinsandother relax!
You don't know for "certain" what I think, so please don't assume.
We don't enforce a strict school uniform code for students due to sensory issues. I'm not sure if you misread my original post? No need for me to spare a thought for the children I'm already thinking about.

. Love the card pics!!!

Smilegrumpypants Fri 15-Mar-19 22:26:39


Strictly1 Fri 15-Mar-19 22:34:43

She wouldn't be impressed with me then - I wear trousers, cardigans and flat shoes. I'm the Head! I'm more interested in what you do and your relationships with children and others. Shallow woman 🤦‍♀️

Hameldown Sat 16-Mar-19 00:04:47

Where did the last four decades go? You can't be instructed to wear heels. Can you even imagine the furore if a Male HT told female staff to wear heels? So is it somehow acceptable if a woman makes this rule? It's reasonable not to have double standards when it comes to male and female staff but that means equivalence, not identical dress codes.

JADS Sat 16-Mar-19 00:22:22

Did I miss something or did you say you worked in an SEN school?

High heels and blazers have no place in any school let alone one where the kids have sensory/contience/mess issues. And I say this as a parent of a child with SEN. You should be wearing clothes that can be thrown in the wash at the end of the day. You should be wearing shoes that enable you to chase kids across the playground.

Pay lip service to your head's idiotic ways, get promoted and then work towards changing her ludicrous ideas. I mean ffs, really?

millymae Sat 16-Mar-19 00:44:17

If it was1st April I would have thought that this was an April Fools day post.
What sort of head wears fishnets and leather tunics when there is a strict dress code in place?
That said throughout the whole of my time at secondary school there was a fabulous perfectly coiffed classroom teacher who wore stilettos and a different just above the knee pencil skirted suit everyday of the week. She also drove a sports car with a personalised number plate and we all, even the boys, considered her to be the height of glamour and sophistication

PregnantSea Sat 16-Mar-19 01:00:09

Wholeheartedly agree with PPs about the flat shoes thing - I was pulled up on this in my first professional position after getting my degree. My boss awkwardly mentioned that I should bring heels in to a client meeting (I always wore flat black shoes to work. They were definitely business attire) I laughed and said they hurt my back. His response was that flat shoes were a sign to clients that I wasn't "trying hard enough to make a good impression".

I went out and bought myself a pair of very masculine looking leather brogues. They looked very similar to my boss's shoes. It felt like a triumph at the time. He wasn't pleased and made my life quite difficult after that.

categed Sat 16-Mar-19 01:30:58

I wirk in an additional support needs department in primary, your head would hate me, i am a jumper jeans/trousers and trainers person. I often have to run after runners, support where behviours are involved, deal with bodily fluids, move around the floor, and my movements skills in story telling can only be surpassed by the fact my trousers keep trying to fall down.
I am there to do a job, my job is to work with my kids, build relationships, get down to whatever level they need me on and to support them to achieve and do the best they can. Impressing parents and management are so far down my list that they never surface day to day.
Your head is an arse! So your heals mean you can't move as fast or pivot as well, your center of gravity is off, but hey the poor child you are supporting in their walker doesn't need you to dash and grab, the child on the floor always wanted a hole in their hand from your heel. Also your lovely fitted blazer relly suited the blob of medication or blended food attatched daily.
Op do what ypu need to do but ypur daily attire sounds perfect for your roll.

BlackPrism Sat 16-Mar-19 02:01:30

I think dressing more smartly is a good thing (blazers etc as cardigans can be fuddy -duddy) BUT I would be outraged at being asked to wear heels. Uncomfortable devil contraptions for women.

goldopals Sat 16-Mar-19 03:33:40

Heels should NEVER be required as they can be a health hazard. I've got bad blisters from the admittedly cute heels (irregular choice) I wore on Thursday, and am hoping they heal enough by Monday to put proper shoes on. If you have to play the game, a blazer should be enough.

Marchitectmummy Sat 16-Mar-19 03:39:13

If the head has tipped you off with what they feel is appropriate dress code I would adhere to it.

There are times to rebel and question, when someone has access to what you want then is not the time.

Buy an outfit for the purpose.

Teateaandmoretea Sat 16-Mar-19 07:01:33

I work for a large corporate - stretchy dress, tights and ankle boots for me is dressing up for the informal 'management' dress code. I wore this level of dress for my most recent internal interview.

I would never ever wear heels to work, SPD affected my pelvis forever and I'd be in absolute agony. Blazers well meh they look shit on me tbh but if I had to then okay.

I am really quite baffled though that this HT is expecting you to buy a whole new wardrobe for the priviledge of doing more work for no more money? Is there actually competition for this appealing-sounding 'middle-management' role? Maybe look at different schools who pay TLRs and just get a single blazer for interviews.

Rockmysocks Sat 16-Mar-19 07:32:48

I'm still stuck on fishnets and leather tunics...

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