Don’t you love when you pull every article of clothing out of your closet only to realize you have nothing on your hangers that will work for the occasion? No, nobody does. It’s the worst. Well, that’s how I felt when I got my interview for student teaching two years ago and had never taught a day in my life. All I owned was t-shirts, casual sweaters, sweatshirts, sorority tees, and a few formal dresses. In high school and the first couple years of college, I dressed extremely casually, often times wearing leggings and a sweater or jeans and a tee and calling it good. I didn’t own ANYTHING, I’m not exaggerating, that would work for an interview. Teaching is the type of profession where you don’t want to roll up in jeans and a T shirt for an interview but you also don’t want to wear the business suit you bought 6 years ago when you had that “one day when I have a professional interview and need to look like I know what I’m doing” kind of thought. The same thing goes for teaching day to day. Teachers should be dressed professionally enough that the students take them seriously. That looks different, however, than if I were to work in an office, or if I was to work at a gym. No I can’t wear athletic leggings every day to work but I also don’t want to be crawling on the floor and wiping up a spilled snack in my slacks, blouse, and heels. So what is a teacher to wear?
For me, I opt for leggings, comfortable boots, booties, or sandals (if the school permits) and a cute dress over the top. The beauty of this type of outfit is that it’s COMFY (the most important part) yet looks professional as a teacher. I often times will dress it up with a scarf, belt, or simple jewelry such as a long necklace.
Over the past two years of teaching, I have bought about 15 dresses but only spent 200ish dollars on them. I cycle them through constantly while changing it up with sweaters, jean jackets, a cute slouchy sweater, denim shirt opened over the top, tall boot socks and riding boots over my leggings, belts, tights and booties, jewelry, etc. I went from having nothing to wear except jeans and a blouse on my interview day to owning enough dresses (that I like but don’t care enough about if a kid spills grape juice on) to cycle for about 3 weeks worth of teaching.
Where did I find my dresses you might ask?
Old navy has FANTASTIC sales on dresses quite often. In fact, right now they are having a 30% off everything sale so check it out before the sale ends. They have the best dresses for teaching because they are cute, simple, a nice breathable fabric, and not too dressy. The dresses come in solid colors as well as fun and lively prints; I love wearing both! I’ve gotten blousy type dresses from old navy as well as cotton t-shirt dresses (I have about 6 or 7 of those). They work great and can be worn with or without leggings depending on the weather. The one thing I will say is that depending on the fabric sometimes Old Navy dresses do shrink, but then I just always wear leggings with the dresses that have shrunk and it’s no biggie. I’ve found that the t-shirt shift dress don’t shrink, the blouse dresses also don’t shrink, but the cotton button down dresses do.
Target also has some cute casual dresses that can be worn for teaching. Depending on your budget, you can either purchase them for around 30$ or wait for a sale, which Target always has some type of sale rack to dig through.
ThredUp is #1 in my book. It is an online consignment store that has all name brand clothing, even designer brands for wayyyy cheaper than you’d buy full price. Of course, these clothes are used but the website tells you the condition of the piece and often times is described as “you might mistake for brand new”. I bought about 3 of my Old Navy dresses from ThredUp for about 7 dollars a piece and bought some other brands of dresses as well that I wear often. If dresses aren’t your thing, you’re in luck. I also bought a pair of designer jeans for about 20 dollars, two pairs of casual dress pants ankle length for 10 bucks each, designer leather boots for 40$ (originally 350$) and a plethora of blouses/dressy (ish) tops for days I’m not feeling wearing a dress and want to dress up a nice pair of jeans or my ankle length casual dress pants with a blouse and flats or booties. Seriously, if you haven’t heard of ThredUp and consignment store shopping is your thing, you will LOVE this online store.
Forever21 is probably my least shopped store for teacher clothes but I do have a couple of dresses from them that fit into my 3 week cycle of outfits. The dresses tend to run a little shorter so I’d definitely pair them with leggings and call it good. When us teacher’s bend over a student’s desk to help them… well I’ll just stop there. Better safe than sorry 😉 Forever21 has a nice variety of shift dresses that you can purchase for about 10 dollars a piece for the very basic dresses. They are great for a teacher’s closet because you can buy fun bright and bold prints, or stick with the solid dark colors and dress them up however you’d like.
Those are my top stores I purchase clothes for my teaching wardrobe from, but of course there are many more stores to shop from depending on your budget and style. Also, check out my teacher outfits Pinterest board which is 100% dedicated to cute teacher outfit inspiration. I have a lot of ideas pinned on my board so use it to help you in your wardrobe quest. HAPPY SHOPPING! 🙂