Building a Teacher's Wardrobe

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Preservice@USC, Jun 7, 2007.

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  1. Preservice@USC

    Preservice@USC Rookie

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    I seriously need to build my professional wardrobe. Since I have begun my practica, I have found myself struggling to get dressed on the mornings that I have to attend a school. I have some dress pants and shirts, but I always feel overdressed. On the other hand, I cannot even consider wearing my jeans and Rainbow flip flops, but that is mostly what I have (I am a college student). I want to look nice and I want the teachers that I work with to respect me and think highly of me. How do I find that inbetween? How do teachers expect/want their student teachers and practicum students to dress? What are some good basics for an Elementary Education major who is in the process of building a professional wardrobe?
     
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  3. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    I would suggest seperates. Skirts (around knee length) and blouses usually work well.
     
  4. annafish

    annafish Companion

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    You want to look your age while still looking professional. Ann Taylor Loft has some nice pieces you can mix. They also have awesome sales if you go at the right time!
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Kohls also has a lot of stuff in a variety of styles. Their website is great, and shipping is frequently $5, no matter what you buy. Sign up and they'll send you notices about sales.
     
  6. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    I like New York and Company for nice pants, and they have some nice basic tops, too. You can typically find coupons in magazines like Cosmo, and they have frequent sales, too.
     
  7. Murphy1966

    Murphy1966 Rookie

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    If you have a tight budget - try consignment shops. I've found excellent things there. Be prepared to find nothing, also. It just depends on your size and what's in the store at the time you shop.

    I think anything tasteful is fine. Be comfortable, however, because you never know what you are going to be doing. I had one class where I was asked to sit in the floor with students and help with a project. Khaki's and a cotton top are no-fail teacher-duds. :)
     
  8. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Whatever it looks like... you want something WASHABLE with POCKETS. Trust me.

    Unfortunately, I haven't found much that fits both. I have some nice washable skirts and tops, but mostly no pockets and I wish I had more.
     
  9. TXTeacher4

    TXTeacher4 Companion

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    It depends on the dress code and atmosphere at the school. Look around at the teachers. Do they wear professional dress? My first school was very casual. Jeans and flip flops were allowed (no t-shirts). The school I am at now has a younger staff that tries to push the envelope, so the dress code is more strict. Check out the attire of the teachers around you, and try to stay with that. Khaki pants and black pants are always good to have. You can wear them with anything, just switch out the tops. Ross and TJ Max have good deals.
     
  10. Sagette

    Sagette Companion

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    When I was doing my practicas, we were always told that it was better to overdress than underdress. However, I remember that I wanted to dress the way that the other teaching staff did so that I didn't stick out anymore than I already felt I did! I was fortunate to find a ton of clothes during student teaching at Old Navy, but that was in the Fall. I have since had no luck there because they think everyone can wear those long shorts to work :rolleyes: I did find some nice pieces at Target, JC Penney, J.Jill(a bit on the pricer side), and Kohls. Good Luck!
     
  11. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I have black and khaki pants from Kohl's that I interchange with button up shirts, sweaters, and blazers. I invested in some nice black and khaki loafters as well as 2 pairs of Dansko clogs ( a must for anyone on their feet everyday-worth the money). Then, you can accessorize. Boring, but it's professional and when you're on a budget, it works.
     
  12. Preservice@USC

    Preservice@USC Rookie

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    Wow, everyone has been really helpful. So khakis, and knee-length skirts, and cotton tops or blouses. And Danskos - I have been saving up for those, actually! Thank you for mentioning shoes, by the way, Mable, because I had been wondering about that, too. Thank you all for helping me out, your time and thought is greatly appreciated.
     
  13. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    When I did my practicums and student teaching experiences, my school asked us to dress "professionally." Even if teachers were allowed to wear polos, we were to wear . . . well, as a male, shirt and ties. Women would wear their respective "professional" attire (as most have commented on).

    I did dress down for dress days (jeans and button-down or polo, so still nice). As an aspiring educator, look professional as often as possible--to send the message to your cooperating teacher, your students, the administrators at the school you're observing/teaching at, and your School of Education that you are serious about the profession.

    Once you student teach and get a feel for the school, you may play around a bit, I suppose if your cooperating teachers don't mind/care, but otherwise, stay professional/conservative.

    (*shudders at the fact I mentioned being conservative...*)
     
  14. MelissainGA

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    One more type of shoe that you might want to consider putting on your list to take a look at. I bought a pair of Nurture short wedge heel shoes at Dillard's in black and they felt SOOOO good on that I went back and got another pair just like them in medium brown. It was even better when I got to the register and they were 40% off.
    As far as the clothing is concerned you can usually find sales at almost all stores that are really good. I got lucky at Macy's and got a 60 dollar silk blouse for 10 bucks, so just look around and you can usually find a very good professional wardrobe for a very small amount of money.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Also, keep an eye on the sales. The odds are good that you'll want at least one "interview suit" sometime in the near future.
     
  16. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    My staples include: Button-down shirts in long-sleeve, 3/4-sleeve, and short-sleeve styles, and short-sleeve sweaters. I also have a pair of nice pants in black, brown, gray, and pin-stripe. I also have dressy capris in tan and black. I also wear a lot of A-line skirts that fall just below the knee.
     
  17. SpaceAngel

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    My mom always told me you can't go far wrong with nice black slacks. A wardrobe staple!
     
  18. Preservice@USC

    Preservice@USC Rookie

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    Thank you all so much for all the help! I really want to know what teachers want to see when they have a practicum student!

    One thing I have noticed, though, is that I dont think anyone has mentioned dresses. Are dresses not a good idea?
     
  19. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Dresses are fine. The only problem is that they are not as interchangable. For example, with black pants you could wear them twice a week (or more) with different shirts and no one would really notice. With a dress, it is memorable and can't be changed up as easily. On another shoe note, Dr. Sholls gel inserts can really help some shoes work for school :)
     
  20. Research_Parent

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    That's funny, you just described most of my professional wardrobe. The rest are sleeveless shells, sundresses, and suit jackets.

    I also have some funky jeans for "jeans/denim day" and "school logo polos" for when I have to go into the office on a weekend and if anyone spots me, I am casual enough to do grunge work, but look professional enough for a casual denim day at school.
     
  21. Research_Parent

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    The other thing with dresses is if you have to get on the floor, and they need to be long to cover any peeping or inquiring young minds.
     
  22. HawaiianPenguin

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    I agree with snickydog, New York and company have fashionable teacher clothes at AWESOME prices. They have nice dress pants and a variety of tops that are appropriate and look nice. The sales are incredible at New York and Company. Plus they are generally in style and fun!
     
  23. corps2005

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    I don't know if you have a "Target" where you live, but they carry some nice business casual dress clothing. Often times, they are also easy to mix and match to other items. They rarely go over $30. When shopping, think about the item you are going to buy. Make sure you can match it to more than one piece at home. That way, you can mix it up without the cost. Banana Republic sometimes has pants sales.
     
  24. DaveF

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    Comfortable shoes...Money should not factor in to the price of Comfortable shoes.. I spent my time as student teacher walking around the classroom all day. It was a big room and I was moving non stop. My university advisor even commented on how much I moved throughout the room. She was very happy to see that.
     
  25. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I've gotten all of my teacher clothes from Target, Gap, and Old Navy. These places have great items that look nice, can mix and match, for great prices.
     
  26. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    I think dresses just generally are not as practical, but they certainly look nice enough if you want to wear them. Personally, I don't have any dresses, but lots and lots of skirts. That way, I can wear the same tops with the skirts (in warmer weather) and the pants (in colder weather)
     
  27. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Silk!! In a classroom??? :eek: I would be terrified to wear a silk shirt in an elementary classroom, but that's just me. :D
     
  28. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    I just had to say that I really admire you for posting this question, kudos to you! I am a frequent mentor of student teachers and new teachers and I can only dream that one day one of them will be as wise as you and post a question like this! You can't even imagine some of the things I have seen, belly shirts and micro minis among some of the tamest. You have received excellent advice so far. As for dresses, it depends on your grade level. If you're in the younger grades, PK-1st or 2nd I would say "probably not" as you're on the go more often, but older than 2nd and you may be fine. I have recess duty every day so I walk through wood chips and gravel and the wind blows etc so practical shoes and skirts that don't blow up are a must for me ;)
     
  29. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Hey Pwhatley,

    I wouldn't even consider silk in the classroom either on a normal condition. However, this was a "washable silk" shirt in such pretty colors that I thought I would give it a try. It has turned out to be one of my favorite shirts. You never know :rolleyes:
     
  30. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Wow, cool! I never have that kind of luck, lol. I also try never to wear white, because I know for a fact that it won't stay that way long! (I look good in every thing I eat/do!)
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My sister and I were talking about teacher wardrobes yesterday. (She's an accountant and VP of her company.)

    She said she is appalled at the way her kids' teachers dress. She drops her kids off at school each day on the way to work and sees the teachers on a regular basis. Here they are, wanting to be treated as professionals, she says, and they certainly aren't dressing that way.

    Just a point of view from the OTHER side of the desk.
     
  32. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Check ebay - I found Nuture shoes there. Also Danskos for a good price.
     
  33. natjoejag

    natjoejag Companion

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    My biggest problem is finding shoes that don't kill me by the end of the day. I am always buying cute, funky shoes and then I am completely miserable by the end. I am 25 and going into my 4th year of teaching, I just wish I could look 25 and still be comfy.
     
  34. dillpickle

    dillpickle Rookie

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    New York and Co and AnnTaylorLoft are two of my favorite stores. Get some cute tops to go with capris, skirts, and pants. Tshirts would work...not logo tshirts...I mean the nice tshirts that are a solid color....sleeveless, buttondown shirts...or chinos. I love chinos. I even wear mine with my Rainbows!
     
  35. dillpickle

    dillpickle Rookie

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    I have some casual cotton dresses from NewYork and Co as well. I love them because they are so comfortable during the day. I don't wear dresses or skirts at all in the winter though.
     
  36. Ponypal

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    I wear dresses, jumpers, or skirts almost everday. Pants never seem to fit me well. If you have black, denim, khaki, and navy then you can interchange them with all kinds of tops as you would with pants. They come in different lenghts for different occasions. It gets warm in the classroom, think about layering. I never wear blazers or jackets in class anymore because I found that I was always taking them off. I have two favorite cardigan sweaters;one white, one black. Also, consider the thought that you will want fabrics that are easy to wash and get stains out of. You never know when that purple paint is going to end up on your new outfit.
     
  37. Jill6

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    I'm all about New York and Company! They always send out coupons like $25 off $75 or more. Their stuff is appropriate...but still young and modern. Good luck! This will be my 4th year of teaching and I'm still trying to build up a professional wardroble! :)
     
  38. dillpickle

    dillpickle Rookie

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    By the way, go to NY and Co's website and sign up for their emailed newletter for BIG savings that you only get from that newsletter. I just got an email from them saying that if I spent 75$ I could get 30$ off my purchase. All I had to do was print off the coupon they emailed and take it to the store.
     
  39. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I don't know what size you are, but Lane Bryant, Catherine's, and Dillards all run great sales around here.
     
  40. ladybuglady

    ladybuglady Rookie

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    Does anyone wear Quacker Factory? I have purchased a couple of outfits and they are comfortable. They also have some themed tops such as Christmas, Easter, etc. that go well with basic khakis and black pants.
     
  41. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    I can't help but think about the SNL skits whenever I hear Quacker Factory mentioned :D
     
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