Confusion with terminology? (from abroad)


Been living in the UK for a couple of month, enrolled daughter in a local school. had to buy uniform (didn't have that back home). For PE, I got her these
but she came home yesterday saying they weren't suitable. The uniform policy stated black shorts?


  • Sorry - as a new user, I can't post links
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Forumite ACK&prevPage=plp

    I looked at your link, and I'd say that what you have bought are really knickers, aka pants, briefs, slips. In other words, you would wear them UNDER a pair of shorts / trousers, next to your skin.

    M&S also do these PE shorts (and PE shorts is what you are after), as you can see they are longer in the leg.

    However, it is possible that what the school are after is something more like this. These are much looser fitting. that is just a quick "where can I find what I'm thinking of link" btw, by no means a recommendation.

    does your DD have any friends whose mothers you could consult? Or do they have a recommended uniform supplier? or phone the school and ask for a better description? Or look at the school website and see if there are any sports photos you can squint at?
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  • Thanks for your response. I realise I sent her in with just underwear to wear for PE now. I can't believe the school let her do the lesson like that! I've got her some proper shorts now!
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Here's hoping your DD isn't too traumatised by it. :rotfl: It's an easy mistake to make: personally I'd never refer to underwear as 'shorts', but I realise that is a style of what I call knickers - boys wore pants, girls wore knickers when I was growing up, and the choice of styles was limited!

    I had boys, and became utterly bemused by the choice of pants, briefs, slips, trunks, y-fronts and more as they grew up!

    If you have any boys, I can also offer a guide to swimwear ... Well, let's have it anyway!

    In the UK, we usually talk about 'swimming trunks', or 'trunks'. This would cover the whole range of styles as far as I'm concerned, although 'swim-shorts' has also crept in.

    As I understand it, in the USA 'trunks' refers to the boots of cars, not anything you'd wear. For swimming, chaps wear shorts, not close-fitting, UNLESS they are racing, in which case they wear 'racing briefs' - these are small and close-fitting.

    In France (at least this was the case a few years ago), wearing anything but 'racing briefs' was not allowed in public pools. So when I was arranging for a group of teenagers from the USA to visit France, specific instructions had to be issued.

    I am not sure how picky schools are about what boys wear in the swimming pool, so do check what they are expecting if that ever becomes relevant ...

    Best of luck in getting to grips with school uniform ...
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