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New job dress code 'Modestly dressed' - help

(29 Posts)
Ratley Wed 17-Aug-16 13:25:41

Hi,
I start my new job as a cover supervisor in a secondary school in September, I emailed asking for dress code and was told "staff must be modestly dressed" I have no idea what that means outside of knees and cleavage covered, are shoulders allowed.
Also I have always worked outdoors so don't even have basics like black trousers. I went to the interview in my 'funeral suit' I am very aware of not wanting to look like a teacher (so wouldn't rock up in a business suit) as I don't want to break some unwritten hierarchy rules but equally I don't want to be underdressed.
PS this is a Catholic school in the North East.
Any thoughts?

Ratley Wed 17-Aug-16 13:29:44

Probably should have said, I am mid thirties, 5'5, size 12-14 and 30H (28K according to bra intervention but that never feels right).

PurpleDaisies Wed 17-Aug-16 13:31:57

Why don't you want to look like a teacher? That's basically what you'll be. If you look like you are a teacher it's easier to control the kids. The teachers won't think you're trying to break the hierarchy.

I wouldn't wear sleeveless tops as a teacher, so no shoulders. Short sleeve top would be fine though. Cleavage is a tricky one-make sure no one can see down your top when you're bending over to read work. Beware pants peeping over the top of trousers/skirts when you're squatting down to talk to pupils. No bra straps on show.

Apart for that, just dress smartly and you'll be fine. 🙂

itshappenedagain Wed 17-Aug-16 13:32:59

Cover supervisors are teachers, so the same dress code will apply to you as other teaching staff.
Trouser suits, dresses and blouses etc.
however you may find once you work there you can find the ' lay of the land' a little better and may find that the staff don't wear a full suit and just trousers and a top will be ok.
Good luck in the new job.

MrsGsnow18 Wed 17-Aug-16 13:33:31

When you're asking about shoulders do you mean like sleeveless tops? Sleeveless is fine! Especially when it's warm.

I'd get yourself some chinos in navy and maybe beige ( H&M or next do fairly reasonable ones) and a selection of blouses/ nice tops. Few cardigans for cooler days.
I'm not a huge fan of 'black trousers' that's why I think chino type trousers would be better. I think they fit into what people like to call 'smart casual'

Diddlydokey Wed 17-Aug-16 13:38:12

Yes, sleeveless is fine. I'd expect a kind of uniform of trousers, flats and a work top. Short sleeves or sleeveless with a cardi covers the constant temperature issues.

No bra straps, no cleavage and nothing too far above the knee. No bloody maxi dresses!!

PaperdollCartoon Wed 17-Aug-16 13:42:59

I know lots of teachers, and my mum is one. No jeans, no thin strappy tops is standard. Others have said strapless is fine but it would need to be very thick shoulder strap bits. No short skirts, no plunging necklines. Some nice 3/4 sleeve wrap dresses would be great with your figure as long as not too low in the neck.

Good luck with your new job!

Ratley Wed 17-Aug-16 13:44:50

Thanks for your replies, i am really nervous about getting above myself ( hangover from childhood) hence not wanting to dress like the teachers if i shouldn't. Thanks for reassuring me that isn't an issue.
I was meaning sleeveless tops when asking about shoulders I know that strappy is not appropriate.
I am hoping to get a few things to see me through the first week or so then seeing what other staff wear.

Ratley Mon 22-Aug-16 20:11:00

Arrggh been shopping for trousers and it has all gone horribly wrong. I have the wrong shape legs, probably gained from working outdoors.
I tried on a smart looking pair, slim fitting as I like to wear skinny jeans. I looked ridiculous, they were skin tight around my thighs,baggy round my knees and skin tight around my calves. I tried on a wide leg pair and felt like I was wearing out in pajamas. I really don't want boot cut but think it might be my only choice unless anybody else has any thoughts?

therootoftheroot Mon 22-Aug-16 20:14:38

boot vut is good
we are not allowed sleeveless so i would approach that with caution

i do trousers and longer tops
nothing low cut
flat shoes

Judydreamsofhorses Mon 22-Aug-16 20:42:03

Would you wear dresses, OP? I'm a lecturer and my work outfits are mainly dresses - usually just above the knee - with opaque tights and either brogues or flat Chelsea boots. In winter I wear a lot of a-line skirts with crew-neck jumpers. I'd never go sleeveless unless with a cardi, but that's mainly because I don't love my arms, and rather than bare legs with a dress in summer I wear nude tights.

I do wear black skinny jeans with boots and a smart blouse, but I teach a "creative subject" and possibly get away with a bit more because of that!

PrincessHairyMclary Mon 22-Aug-16 20:54:13

I'm in Science a bit more relaxed due to the chemicals etc much like creative subjects and generally wear tunic tops, leggings and boots (Sainsburys are good for good quality but cheap clothes whilst you get the lay of the land). Teachers in my department often wear black jeans.

When I first started I wore black trousers and shirts (suit jacket in winter as it's cold) but felt overdressed or mistaken for a teacher (I'm a TA). Also avoid white shirts and black trousers / black jackets as you merge with the students.

Cover supervisors wear a range of clothes if you are a general cover supervisor don't forget a sports kit and waterproof jacket of youre sent outside to cover PE

rollonthesummer Mon 22-Aug-16 20:57:42

Avoid the three 't's. Don't show your tits, toes or tummy!

Make sure flesh isn't exposed when you reach up or bend over and don't wear very tight tops or skirts.

MrsWooster Mon 22-Aug-16 21:11:54

You should look like a teacher! All good advice so far; get a 'uniform' of 5 shirts/tops/blouses, couple of pairs of boring trousers and COMFORTABLE shoes, so you never have to think about what to wear or if bits of you are showing. The kids will pick up on anything out of the ordinary and, gods knows, they don't need any more excuses to be distracted!

WhatTheActualFugg Mon 22-Aug-16 21:15:46

I don't think sleeveless is very professional, and certainly not 'modest' when that's whats been explicitly asked for.

Can you find some skirts to wear? Or dresses as pp mentioned.

As long as you're not doing a Kate Middleton every time it gets windy, or when you're bending over then that's more than acceptable.

LouisTherouxsGlasses Mon 22-Aug-16 21:26:55

As long as you aren't going full 'hot secretary' you should be fine. I'd avoid jeans if possible. What about looking on the school website to see how other teachers dress there? Warm tights and a long-sleeved wrap dress is a pretty safe combo.

StealthPolarBear Mon 22-Aug-16 21:33:05

Why no maxi dresses?

BrillianaHarvey Mon 22-Aug-16 23:25:50

Does anyone else find their feminist hackles rising at the expression 'modestly dressed'? The implication that, by not concealing her body, a woman is somehow vaunting or asserting herself (ie being not-modest) is one I hoped our culture has left behind.
(I do however entirely see the wisdom of not letting fifteen year old boys look down your top.)

WhatTheActualFugg Mon 22-Aug-16 23:48:07

Harvey That's a pretty wild and sexist assumption you've made.

What makes you think it's only the female staff who are asked to be modestly dressed?

Modest Dress Code for Men

No arse-crack on show
No too-tight packet showing trousers
No baggy packet showing shorts
No see-through nipple showing tops
No huge stomach over hang on show
No sandals...

I could probably go on.

Paulat2112 Mon 22-Aug-16 23:58:37

Everyone's standards of modesty are different, for some people/work places bare shoulders in a sleeveless top would be a no no and others would be fine as long as bra straps are not on show. I would be careful that when you bend over or sit down that nothing is on show, also I personally wouldn't wear skin tight trousers without a longer length top. Some people also consider open toe shoes immodest. 😱 I would go with no boobs, bum, tum, bra straps, too short, and see what others wear regarding sleeveless. There are lots of modesty blogs and stuff on Pinterest that could give you some ideas. Good luck in your new job

CakeNinja Tue 23-Aug-16 00:37:46

I've just got a new job as a primary TA.
Dress code is also 'modest'. Upon further investigation, this for me means - nothing low cut, no strappy tops, nothing revealing midriff, nothing revealing the bum when bending over. No jeans or trainers.

I usually live in old baggy dresses and leggings/tights.

I will be ordering a whole new work wardrobe next week. And not a clue what any of it will be hmm

I wore a smart dress to the interview but not an appropriate style for work. Not the kind of thing I could get away with.

BrillianaHarvey Tue 23-Aug-16 07:25:18

I think 'professional' would translate into similar patterns of dress without the sexualised overtones.

notanotherusername123 Tue 23-Aug-16 07:26:50

Hi I'm in the same boat, start as a secondary TA next week. I live in jeans and vest tops and my previous job had a uniform so I'm having to find a whole new wardrobe.
Thought I'd go with black bootcuts and a variety of Boden Bretons, white stuff Florence tees or joules harbour tops. Would they be acceptable? Or too casual?

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Aug-16 07:29:08

Dress Code for Men: Modest clothing.

Said no job description ever.

PrincessHairyMclary Tue 23-Aug-16 07:32:42

Not They would be fine at my school but each one is different. As a TA you could be working in English and maths where you could get away with smart clothes, or you may be supporting in PE or Drama which needs something you can move in.

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