Dress for (Kindergarten Mum) Success
Here's me (and my two beautiful friends and partners in crime) all dolled up this morning. I had to use a pile of concealer for the bags under my eyes since I had to wake up really early to clean the house before my mother-in-law arrived.
My tips for mothers in Japan - get the black formal suit so you are prepared for funerals, new entrance ceremonies, graduations and even weddings in a pinch. I've been to two of these occasions in the past month, in the same suit.
For the graduation actually most of the mums had suits in separates with a frilly blouse underneath. Pant suits are OK, as are boots. Still I didn't look out of place at all (always a relief).
Buy assorted corsages when they are on sale. The cheapest ones I found were at least 1000 yen and not very nice. All the ones I liked were about 4000 yen. I have always thought that corsages are so old fashioned (very mother-of-the-bride) but here in Japan they seem to be required. I bought mine from Etsy of course, from Lana de Flor. I also got some little clips for my hair, that's why it's up. Debora was so helpful, sending my parcel speedy post so it arrived in plenty of time.
Next on the list of purchases would be some pearls. I wasn't sure if pearls were too funeral-esque so I left mine at home. But it seems for events like this you can't go wrong with the classic, pearls and tons of them is fine. One of the teachers had several strands of pearls, all different. Fake is the norm too!
As long as you are shopping, make sure you have shoes, a nice clutch or small handbag, a pretty hanky and also stock up on pantyhose. I wore black but I think for this a skin color may have been better. We have always needed to bring slippers as well for inside the school so I carried those in a Mee a Bee drawstring pouch.
A lot of the mums were complaining that since they had kids none of their old suits fit them. It was hardly in evidence but I guess I believe them. Once you have kids in kindergarten or school it pays to keep your wardrobe in order as there are a lot of events that require a little dressing up - teacher's visit, 7-5-3 ceremony, and if it's Catholic like ours there are several religious events throughout the year too.
You might also find you need a yukata summer kimono and of course the kimono is worn for new entrance and graduation (about half the mothers will wear a kimono my friends said).
My last observation is about mothers who are pregnant or have just given birth. This is not an excuse to arrive in fleece, yoga pants or trackpants. They all still manage to look amazing. Twins? Four children under the age of six? I've seen it all. I think the key is the hair, thick luxurious tresses go a long way to helping you look great.
If you're at all like me then you care deeply about what other people think and want to fit in. :)