Friday, 11 January 2013

What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs

Not school-run suitable
Through a website that I quite like having a browse for shopping tip-offs; Avenue57, I came across Easy Living magazine's 'School Runway' - where mums can upload photos of themselves in outfits that they wear for the school run in order to look like they sail through motherhood without a hair out of place - and I was amazed.  Whilst a few of the women were wearing normal clothes, most of the women were wearing proper 'outfits', complete with statement handbags, improbable heels and designer cloaks, jumpsuits, and corsets.  I am willing to bet that they had dressed up especially and made their nannies hide out of shot because I'm not buying that these are 'normal' pictures.  Mild irritation aside that these ladies looked impossibly glamourous at 8am, and that I have a far more limited budget than them, my argument is this:

When you do the school run, unless you are driving, or even better - you have a chauffeur, it is simply not possible to do it in the kind of clothes that you wear in your imagination.  I would love to spend my days wearing beautifully tailored trousers, gossamer-fine knitwear and chic shoes.  In the summer this would be swapped for flirty tea dresses, strappy sandals and some Jackie-O sunglasses, and if I really wanted to go to town perhaps I would wear a dramatic gown and stunning heels and tip up sipping a cocktail.  But no, this would not work because what you actually need is the following:

  • A hood.  Because it will in all likelihood rain whilst you are walking to / from school and it is not possible to carry an umbrella and try to stay in control of two six-year-olds who would like you to carry their PE kits, lunch boxes and book bags while they pretend to be horses.
  • Flat shoes.  If at some point you need to run away from the rain / after a child / to school because you're late (again), you will fare better in flats.  As a lifelong lover of heels I have compromised with cowboy boots but it still feels like a betrayal.
  • Massive pockets or a bag that it's ok to get trashed.  Even if you don't carry much in the way of 'stuff', your child will be guaranteed to give you at least one thing to take care of as soon as they reach you on the school playground.  It will probably be wet, or sticky, or chewed, or all three.  Chuck it in your handbag and pray it doesn't stick to your phone...  And if you are going to the park on the way home then you must be prepared to leave your bag on wet grass or some unspecified goo that you didn't see when putting it down to push your child on the swing.  Pray that it is Diet Coke and not cat 'musk'.
Yee-ha: Yes.  Wow-wee: No
There are some mums who carry the above off really well, teaming a retro parka with skinny jeans and biker boots or who are still young enough to look indie with a tour t-shirt, a pair of black drainpipes and battered Converse.  For me though, there are times when I get back after dropping my daughter off and think "what the hell have I just left the house in?!"  As it is often a combination of skinny combat/cargo trousers, aforementioned cowboy boots, an ancient hoody, and a quilted jacket (with a hood - let's not forget the hood) because it's too cold for anything else and it might rain, I feel like my clothes are shouting 'tally-ho!', 'yee-ha!', 'respec' and 'run for cover!' all at the same time.  I am wearing what I need in order to be practical, not what I want.

That said, there are times when I manage to park the car back home and walk to collect my daughter after a day in the office where I have worn clothes that I enjoy and that don't making me look like I've run through a fancy dress shop.   This fixes the 'look' issue but walking half a mile in heels takes much longer than in flats and when it's combined with wearing your favourite Hobbs number and living in a village it does make you feel slightly conspicuous as you trip-trap your way down a street on which there are no offices.  It does also offer many opportunities to go over on your ankle which takes you back to being 14 and practising to walk in high-heels.  

Now this is a bit more like it!
So as I am about to embark on going back to work properly, and this may become a more regular occurrence, and I'm not about to start wear trainers with tights, I've decided there's only one thing for it. I'm getting a chauffeur.  Bring on the gown!


  1. Love this! I won via Easy Living's school runway challenge last year (think it was September) and I can promise you I was not 'totally made up' - I wore skinny combats, tan knee high boots and put on a blazer to show off!!

    I do drive to school (can't walk .. country lanes) and then go on to work so I might look a little more polished than the SAHM who is going to the gym!

    Thank you for the reference to


    1. Thanks Fiona, really enjoy your blog - it's where I go for a virtual shop before hitting the shops - and love the fact your ladies trial an outfit in every size. I didn't realise you'd won, I am now reassured that it's not made up!