If you read my blog, you know that I have extreme respect for teachers. My mother is an educator, a reading specialist in an inner-city charter school in New Jersey, and I have several other teachers in my family. Growing up with a mother who was a school teacher, I know how tirelessly teachers work, what they give and how little they get back in terms of compensation. Being a teacher is truly one of the noblest professions.
When a member of my Facebook Group (feel free to join us) asked for help with her school teacher style, I figured the least I could do is turn this question into a blog post. Due to the private nature of this group, I am concealing her identity.
Whether you are a teacher or not, I am sure you can relate to this. Everyone falls into a style rut at one point or another. It’s normal to find what works and then beat the look to death within an inch of its life. Being a teacher, I can see how this Facebook group member’s alternative options would feel limited. The way many teachers dress today has gotten so much more casual compared to when I was in school. Remember when teachers wore tailored pieces, blouses and even comfortable heels? It’s unlikely that teachers today won’t reach for polished, casual looks that offer more movement, more comfort and prefer professional knits. So where do teachers find that balance between looking chic and stylish while also feeling appropriate in what they wear to work, all while keeping it within their budgets?
School Teacher Style: Outfits That Work in the Classroom
As usual, the other members of my Facebook group were quick to chime in with some really great ideas for this member and I decided to take it a step further and create some looks that she could consider. Being mindful of budget, all of these pieces are affordable, most under $100. Take a look below.
Reading this request for advice, the first thing I thought was to keep the look that has been working and to use color to create more interest. It’s not the most revolutionary idea, but it is one that can be easily implemented. Color can often make the mundane look exciting.
In the outfit above, I styled these slim navy ankle pants from J. Crew with a yellow novelty t-shirt from Boden and burgundy cardigan from Halogen. I finished the outfit with teal flats from Express and studs from Kate Spade.
In this next outfit, I chose a beefy pair of ponte leggings from Hue over a flimsy leggings. Next, I selected a tunic blouse with a twist front to give the top a bit more novelty over a basic casual tunic. I finished the outfit with red flats from Caslon and drop earrings from Lucky Brand.
Teachers rarely need to wear tailored or overly structured dresses and they certainly don’t need to teeter around in heels. Depending on what grade a teacher teaches, the job can be quite physical. A sweater dress can be a good alternative for when a teacher is looking for a style change. I styled this black cowl neck sweater dress from Halogen with cognac boots from I.N.C., black tights from Target and tortoise hoop earrings from Leith.
It’s important for a teacher to know their audience. The member of this group teaches high school, making an all black an acceptable color. However, if this member taught young elementary school aged children, I’d be more reticent to suggest such a dark, stark color and would suggest friendlier, more approachable shades.
The suggestion of wide leg pants came from another member of the group, and I thought it was an excellent one. Moving into spring, I put together this outfit together using these wide leg cropped pants in tobacco from Madewell and a button front cardigan in black. I envisioned it being worn closed with just a tank underneath it. Finishing the outfit, I added these leopard loafer flats from Steve Madden and tortoise necklace from Talbots.
This last outfit is probably the most professional looking in terms of it looking the most “corporate.” However, if you look at it more closely, there is still a more casual nature to it that can still work in the classroom.
The relaxed boyfriend blazer from Treasure & Bond has much less structure and can easily be worn in lieu of a cardigan. I styled a basic jewel neck blouse from Banana Republic underneath it. This type of look would even look great with a pair of jeans on the weekend. For the classroom, I styled this look with the same slim ankle pants in navy from J. Crew and finished the outfit with comfortable grey suede Cole Haan wedges and silver drop earrings from Lauren Ralph Lauren.
I hope these outfits not only help the original group member who posted it but any teacher out there who has found themselves in a style slump.