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Is the School Run the New Catwalk?

A recent study by Google found that “what mums should wear back to school” searches have increased by 40 percent this year. It seems that a dirty tracksuit, with unwashed tied back hair and whatever shoes are closest to hand, isn’t a good enough wardrobe anymore. Moms now have to *gasp* CARE about what they look like as well as remember lunch boxes and gym kits and tombola donations, etc.

The UK press fills its gossip pages with pictures of yummy celeb mummies dropping off and collecting their offspring, with photos usually featuring supermodel Elle Macpherson, designer Stella McCartney, actress Liz Hurley, and model Claudia Schiffer, whose kids all have gone to the same school. Known as “the Strip,” this street in West London is home to two of the capital’s most exclusive and expensive private schools. Even Princes William and Harry went there!

Have these images caused regular moms to think they need to up the style stakes in order to compete? What has caused women to put this added pressure upon themselves? Isn’t it enough that our kids are snot free with combed hair and shoelaces done up? That they have their homework in on time and have practiced all their singing/dance moves for the school play? Surely the last thing we need worry about is how great WE are looking. Won’t a pair of jeans and a black top do? I don’t even bust out a pair of leather trousers when I hit the town, let alone when I hit the school run!

Thankfully at my son’s school, women turn up in all different attires: some ready for a day at the office, others in gym gear (lucky ducks!), and others like me in a pair of dirty Converse, with a bit of bronzer on our cheeks and our hair still wet from the shower. It is the SCHOOL GATES, not a fashion show. We, thankfully, do not have photographers wanting to snap our every move.

But the Jennifer Garners and Kate Winslets of this world do — and they still turn up make-up free, looking as busy and as tired as the rest of us. They prove that you don’t have to be a catwalk queen on the school run; you just have to be happy in your own skin.

  • Elizabeth Hurley 1 of 10
    Liz Hurley plays the part of glamourous working mother to a tee

    Liz looks amazing in a two piece suit ... that is also CREAM! If I wore that suit for a total of 5 seconds, it would be covered in jam, chocolate, coffee, and/or some form of dirt. Plus, baring my legs takes a whole world of fake tanning and shaving. But Liz looks like this is her daily school mum attire. Way to go Liz!

  • Kate Winslet 2 of 10
    Kate Winslet tries her best to hide her son Joe from photographers as she picks him up after school

    I feel like Kate is one of us. Makeup free, hair scraped back (possibly not had time to wash it?), wearing flats and a comfy coat — Liz could easily blend in at my school gates. Most of us don't rock Prada bags, but still, we would if we could.

  • Elle Macpherson 3 of 10
    Supermodel Elle MacPherson turns heads wearing some skin tight red leather trousers for the school run in London

    How does Elle do it? Wearing skin tight leather jeans, stilettos, with perfectly blown out hair, obligatory shades, and nails done too? Famous here in the UK for her school run attire, every day is a catwalk for this hot mom of two. I feel a wee bit sorry for the other moms on Elle's school run. Imagine standing there, still in your PJs with unwashed hair and an old cardi, next to this.

  • Claudia Schiffer 4 of 10
    Yummy mummy Claudia Schiffer looking lovely in lemon as she does the school run in North London

    Did I say I felt sorry for the other moms on Elle's school run? Well, scrap that. Also dropping her kids off at the same school is none other than supermodel Claudia Schiffer. The mom of three looks amazing as she rocks a '70s vibe. The paparazzi here in the UK used to stake out the school, since so many celebs' kids went there. Claudia managed to wear different looks every day — not just the jeans and baggy jumper combo for her!

  • Rachel Weisz 5 of 10
    Actress Rachel Weisz and son Henry Chance take a stroll in NYC

    Oscar winner Rachel looks casually chic in her "summer in NY" ensemble. Sensible flats with a soft black shift — the perfect way to keep cool.  She looks like she hasn't spent hours getting ready, but still manages to look amazing in an "I just threw this together" way. If only my life was like that...

  • Jennifer Garner 6 of 10
    Jennifer Garner picking up her daughter Violet from school at Santa Monica in Los Angeles

    Fresh faced, in flat shoes and wearing comfy jeans, Jennifer is a mom on the run! Her shirt doesn't look ironed to perfection, and I think I can see ink spots on her jeans. Praise be, she is one of us! A very stunning wife of an Oscar-winning director/actor, but one of us none the less! This hands on mom isn't concerned with treating the school run like the red carpet. Good for Jen!

  • Stella McCartney 7 of 10
    Stella McCartney keeps the style stakes high as she does the school run in London

    Another mom on the Elle/Claudia/Liz Hurley school run is none other than A-list designer Stella McCartney. Stella manages to look elegant, but in a casual way, with her huge scarf and wedge sandals. I wonder if Stella showcases her own designs on the school run. Well, if you designed the clothes, you would, wouldn't you?

  • Katie Holmes 8 of 10
    Actress Katie Holmes seen in high spirits, make up free and carrying a large coffee while sharing a joke with daughter Suri on the way to school in New York

    Katie leads Suri off to school in New York, looking like any normal mom: coffee in hand, hair in ponytail, and shades in place. Makeup-free and looking cozy, Katie isn't competing in any fashion stakes here — she is simply getting her kid to school on time. Which, let's face it, is just the same as the rest of us, eh? 

  • Sarah Jessica Parker 9 of 10
    Sarah Jessica Parker takes her twin daughters Marion and Loretta for shopping at Citarella, accompanied by their nanny in the West Village, New York City

    Those comfy looking track suit-style trousers show me that queen of style, SJP, isn't that concerned with flaunting fashion on the school run. Frankly, it is a relief. Imagine if she strolled out in full hair and makeup, wearing 10 inch Louboutins and some fabulous frock that is held together with a few gems. We would all feel AWFUL. Most moms I know barely hit the shower before the school run! Here SJP is in flats and a casual shirt — she even looks like she hasn't quite brushed her hair yet. Bravo!

  • Marcia Cross 10 of 10
    Marcia Cross treats her twin daughters, Eden and Savannah, to frozen yogurt after picking them up from school in Los Angeles

    Marcia doesn't look like a desperate housewife here! In well worn boots and a warm winter coat, she looks like a typical mom on the school run. A mom with an Alexander McQueen scarf, but still. If there is one thing I have learned from celebs on the school run, it is this: a nice scarf and some shades go a LONG way. 

All photo credits: Pacific Coast News

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