I did not really know her and cannot remember her name. She was in a different class than mine when I attended the Worcester Grammar School for Girls. I was glad to be there having endured a harrowing year at a rather rough secondary school, I gladly observed all rules and kept my head down. She was different, she radiated trouble and was best avoided.
We had a very strict dress code which the school became very paranoid about during the culture changes of the early 1960’s. Short skirts became a real issue. Our school uniform consisted of a navy blue blazer, white shirt and tie, and a slim tailored navy skirt with two box pleats at the front and back. The skirt had to be at least two inches below the knee. Tights were banned, not that you could find them easily, and we wore light beige stockings with white suspender belts. Straw boaters perched on top of the head straightened the back and stuck the nose firmly in the air. The uniform was frumpy but well tailored and good wool fabrics.
The girl was sullen and she slouched. The teachers hated her. They picked on her, prodding and pushing, straightening her posture as she walked through the corridors and reprimanding her for not tying her hair back. As soon as school was dismissed for the day her metamorphosis began.
I watched her as she worked on her skirt rolling the waistband over and over until the skirt was at least six inches above the knee. Then she would comb her fringe down until it completely covered her eyes and rested on the bridge of her nose. A furtive dash of white lipstick was followed by placing her boater on the back of her head, an admirable feat of balance, and she would slouch off to the buses. The teachers would often be waiting, it really was a battle of wills. They would pounce again, pulling her hands out of her blazer pockets prodding and poking until she had undone all her mischief. It was all to no avail however, she could always be seen later walking around town flashing her stocking tops for the boys.
I thought about her when I was drawing the naughty schoolgirl for the Biba mens’ colouring book. I also added a generous dose of the fabulous cheeky schoolgirls from the 1950’s St Trinians films.