Fashion on the Frontline: Clothing in Social Work

Fashion and social work are two things you don’t normally see talked about in the same
sentence. Nonetheless, when looking deeper you can see that of the various caring
professions, social work is one of the few without a set dress code. So, on the frontline of
social work what does fashion and appearance actually look like?

When working in a profession that is so focused around developing strong, trusting
relationships with all types of people, it is essential to consider how you portray yourself. In many cases, a social worker may be required to turn up to court in order to represent
someone that they care for, so it is important to look smart and sophisticated by wearing
formal attire. In contrast, when going on a home visit to meet with a ‘child in need’ a more casual look may help to break down initial barriers. It can be daunting for a child when someone new is entering their home, so by removing any additional formality and adopting a more relaxed style, it can help encourage a relationship where the child feels more comfortable opening up.

This leads to one of the most rewarding parts of the social work profession – the fact that
you are giving ‘children in need’ an opportunity to feel safe and confide in someone they
trust. Though in general people use fashion as a way to express themselves, fashion choices that give off impressions of confidence or authority can sometimes be intimidating to those who are vulnerable. Being conscious of your appearance, and even choosing a more neutral outfit when appropriate, can be a small but crucial step in creating an environment where others feel comfortable expressing themselves.

Currently, over 700,000 children in England rely on the support of social workers each year, and the social work charity Frontline works to help transform their lives for the better. They are currently recruiting for their 2020 graduate scheme to find final year university students who have the potential to be the social workers of the future. If you are interested in social work or would like to learn more then check out this website.

-Harry Levy

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