The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Schoolgirls drop skirts for trousers

London, Aug. 12: The school skirt could be going the way of the bustle and the farthingale. For the first time there are more girls wearing trousers in class. Sales of girls’ trousers have outstripped skirts, taking a 52 per cent share of the market, Britain’s two largest suppliers of school uniform said yesterday.

Uniform buyers predicted that school skirts would be consigned to history within a decade if the trend continued. Rhian Jones, schoolwear buyer for Woolworths, said: “Trousers come in more fashionable styles than skirts and in a pair of trousers girls can play more freely, enabling them to do activities such as climbing and cartwheels.

“Trousers are more practical because they are suitable for all types of weather and, at schools with a large mix of cultures, trousers are almost universal dress.”

Asda, the market leader with 12 per cent of school uniform sales, confirmed the trend. A spokesman said: “It’s true that trousers have overtaken skirts this summer. Trousers are definitely in. They are easy to wear and very practical.”

The rise in popularity of trousers comes despite them often being more expensive. Trousers typically sell for about '7 while skirts are more likely to be around '5.

In June last year, Kesgrave High School in Ipswich became one of the first to ban skirts after hemlines rose to inappropriate levels. A year on, Broadstone Middle School in Dorset did the same.

The blame for the skirt’s recent demise may also be laid at the feet of fashion gurus. Alexander McQueen and Prada have taken to dressing models in striped blazers, tomboyish polo shirts and prep-school-style shorts to impart a sense of boyish glamour.

However, for some independent schools, the skirt is still a symbol of femininity which has not yet outlived its usefulness.

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