Monday, 27 December 2010

Dress to impress at school and UBS

The Swiss Bank, UBS, hit the headlines recently when their dress code was leaked. Running to over 40 pages it lays down a comprehensive list of rules to which their employees are expected to adhere and this made me think about our uniform policy at school. Sixth Form students wear a blue suit which they can choose themselves as long as it falls within reasonable parameters of shade, cut and, in the case of the girls, skirt length. It seems to pass the common sense test and looks smart although there will always be those who seek to stretch the boundaries. Our uniform policy is based on what would be acceptable in a professional business environment and I was interested to read a number of articles agreeing that projecting the right image is a key to confidence and success.

There is much in the UBS document that will be familiar from school uniform lists but the areas which have caused most discussion and derision seem to be where the bank has been highly prescriptive such as the most appropriate length of toenails or not putting bulky wallets into the pockets of suit jackets. Certainly it's good for students to realise that looking the part is important but you have to wonder if UBS will need to draw on the expertise of schools in mediating between their desire for conformity and the natural human zest for individuality. Working out how to fit in while retaining a sense of yourself is a great thing to learn in life and it looks as though getting the dress code right remains another part of the 'hidden curriculum' in school.