Is it really appropriate to wear black velvet to escort your child to and from pre-school? I have bowed to the pressure and usually wear a skirt, nylons and heels to take Mina to school, but the black velvet pencil skirt I saw one mother wearing the other day had me raising an eyebrow. I miss my jeans like a woman on a diet misses chocolate. At least I know I am not the only one who is uncomfortable adhering to the unwritten dress code that prevails among the mothers at Mina’s school. One mother made a whispered confession that she had to buy stockings for the purpose of coming to the school because she did not have any in her possession previously. This same mother and I have tilted our heads together to discuss the wardrobe of a certain senpai mother who has worn jeans once or twice, albeit dressed up with heels, a blazer and her usual gaggle of trendy accessories. That means it is okay, right? I mean, they are not going to kick us out of the school if we show up in pants, are they? Is the man who stands in front of the school gate there for security reasons or is he the fashion police? My co-conspirator and I have each once tested the waters and sported jeans on the way to school. One rainy day, I noticed the six inches of denim left uncovered above her rain boots and below the hem of her coat. On the day of the school field trip, I took a chance, since the girls were not wearing their uniforms, and wore my favorite jeans with a crisp button down shirt and loafers. Sadly, we both caved and were back in our skirts for pick up time. It is not just jeans that are a problem either, there is also a certain spectrum of colors which the majority of mothers seem to always wear. Once I met the mother from Singapore at the station in the morning and she was wearing a beautiful linen dress in a deep red with a cream floral pattern. She looked fabulous, but she leaned into me on the train and admitted that the dress had been in her closet for two years and that this was the first time she had dared to wear it. I have told my mom before that I often feel like I stand out like a canary in a flock of pigeons. Is it my fault I happen to look best in pastels? This is one of those times when being a foreigner comes in handy. I am not expected to tow the line. I am given more leeway. I can get away with things that the other mothers cannot. Still, you have to find a balance between being yourself and alienating yourself. So, skirts and stockings it is for me, even if the skirt is my new favorite which is mostly brown, but has stripes like a Mexican sarape!