What To Wear To School Pick Up

What to wear to school pick up | A Stylist shares her tips for dressing for the school gates

Now I must admit, I haven’t been in a school for years.

I don’t have children and I like to keep a safe distance from un-hemmed pants, scuffed black shoes and the overwhelming scent of body spray, but when living in Sydney, it’s easy to pass the schools and see the general dress code that’s going on between mothers.

So, you might be thinking ‘How could Alarna possibly know what I should wear to pick up my children?”. I get you, I only have a fur-baby, no hard feelings. Her name is Meryl Streep, she’s cuter than your fur baby, really, no hard feelings. We’re fine. But the reason I can help you in this area is because I dress a plethora of mums, new and not so new for this particular reason and also for their everyday lives and the school pick up has a bigger impact on some of us than we give it credit.

School pick up is an image conscious activity, it causes a little stress, makes us double check our appearance and can make us feel like all eyes are on us. Sometimes when you’ve got bigger fish to fry of a morning like packing lunches, making sure everyone has their homework and their shoes tied, as well as getting yourself ready for work or what the rest of your day entails – school pick up can be the last thing on your mind but when it rolls around at 3pm, you’re thinking shit, where did that time go?

What To Wear To School Pickup - Style Advice

When my mother used to pick me up from school back in the day, there were mums coming straight from work, others who were stay-at-home mums who used the pick up time as a social outlet. Some liked to gossip, others were subtly hinting that they hadn’t seen us at church in a while, and then those who made their fabulous entry, flicked their hair, picked up their genetically, academically and athletically gifted child and left effortlessly in her nice car and had you thinking – why can’t we all look as good as that?

Now, I can’t give your child the ability to throw a ball straight as I can’t even do that myself, but what I can do, is help you with dressing appropriately for school pickup, without making you the subject of other mum’s conversations, and get you in and out looking effortless, but not over the top.

But in order to know what style you’re going for, you first need to recognise the Mum Style Archetypes.

What To Wear To School Pickup - Style Advice


Her hair is perfect, her outfits are flawless, you wonder if she’s a hired glamorous stunt double and the real mum is hiding in the shrubbery near by. She’s the cool mum who you’ve never seen in flats and the one who didn’t have half of the struggles with bouncing back after a baby as 99% of the rest of the female population. She’s a little over dressed, totally glamorous and her child has a celebrity name like Blanket or Floor Rug.


Yes, that’s Fitness and Inspirational mixed together. This is the woman who wears workout gear to pick up the kids and pretty much every time you see her she’s in her Lorna Jane’s or Lulu Lemons. It’s not a bad thing to always be wearing your exercise gear, personally, I’d hate to feel the pressure of clothing that gives me no excuse not to exercise – but each to their own. This mum has athletic children, loves a circuit session and is the first to sign up for chaperoning the sports carnival.


Her skin is yet to sag, you don’t know how old she is but she makes you want to reach for the tub of Olay and slather it on like there’s no tomorrow. She’s so sweet, new to the game and sometimes pushes the ‘what’s appropriate’ line when picking up the kids, but she’s certainly got it going on.


I have to hand it to this one, working full time, running a house hold and she manages to make it to just about every school function. She’s come straight from work to pick up her children, she’s always in a hurry and sometimes at the end of the day she looks a little buggered – but she makes it, creases, coffee spills and all.


She’s got on jeans and whatever shirt whispered ‘this will do’ and she’s going to pick up the kids and drop them off to sport, tutoring or whatever after school activity that permits. She’s friendly, stays out of the gossip but has a chat every now and then with the other mums.

What To Wear To School Pickup - Style Advice

What do all these mums have in common though? Apart from the fact that they all seem to fit into a certain category without even really knowing it? Their mornings have been just as chaotic as yours, whether they admit it or not, and they feel the pressure too. What we seem to forget when dressing to meet up with a range of other people is that we’re not meant to be perfect, our outfits don’t need to look too put together, we can have effortless style without looking like we’re competing with one another and we can do it rather quickly without playing into any of the archetypes above and we can all create a new one;

The Effortlessly Stylish Mum On A Mission:

Make it easier for yourself, throw on some ankle boots or some flats. Wear those pants you know how to pull off and mix in a basic t-shirt, a cute jacket and don’t forget that watch so you can keep track of when you need to be where next. The every day mum’s style does not need to be a competition, it needs to be practical and nice enough to make you feel good, because when you feel good about yourself – it’s hard to have a bad day and women who constantly have great days don’t play into the gossip or the cliques. It’s all about being effortless, putting your best foot forward and leading by example when dressing to pick up the kids. And by doing so, you’ll make your child who can’t throw to save their lives look like they’re going places because their mum dresses like a total effortlessly stylish mum on a mission.

Consider adding a few school pick up items to your casual core wardrobe so that getting ready to pop out is easy. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t head out to the shops right now, jump on over to this post where I teach you how to dress well on a next-to-nothing budget! If you’re planning ahead for your next shopping session, check out my capsule wardrobe ideas below!

Casual Parisian Casual Capsule Wardrobe

Casual Edgy Capsule Wardrobe

Classic Feminine Capsule Wardrobe

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