Lots of wardrobe questions!! Need help!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by socaligirl, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. socaligirl

    socaligirl Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2009

    I am a student, still working on pre-req's, but will be starting observations and student teaching before the year is up. Since I paid for my entire education, my parents want to give me money to purchase some "teacher" clothing. I have absolutely NO clothes appropriate for teaching, as my current job requires a uniform and the rest of my wardrobe consists of flip-flops, jeans, and t-shirts. I need a lot of help!! :help: So my questions are:

    1: If I'm starting from scratch, how many pairs of pants, shirts, cardigans (I always wear a shirt and a layer on top), shoes, etc. do you think I need to get me through my year?

    2: Where do you shop? Since these clothes are going to just be for teaching, I don't know that I want to spend too much, when I will just be wearing different clothes right after work and on weekends.

    3: Is there a roundabout figure that you can predict I will need to invest in this new wardrobe? My parents are already harping me for a number even though they just put this offer on the table last week! :rolleyes: Which is just adding to the stress of trying to figure out all of this in the first place.

    If anyone can give me ANY advice I will be eternally grateful.

    Thank you!!! :)

    Oh! And I will be in grades 1-5 if that helps at all.
     
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  3. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I love New York and Co. for teacher clothes. They're really cheap if you buy off the sale racks, and their clothing looks really nice. A lot of times they will have pants, suit jackets, shirts, and skirts on sale for around $7 each! I also buy a lot of things at J.C. Penneys.

    When I started student teaching, my mom bought me a lot of clothes at New York and Co. I think she spent about $350 on me-but I think I bought all or almost all full price items. I don't remember how many things I got.
     
  4. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I LOVE clothes & shopping! This is the person who has enough clothes to never have to wear the same thing for months & I have 25+ pairs of shoes & about 10+ bags. :D

    I personally don't shop at cheap stores (Target, Sears, etc.). I get good quality stuff like from Nordstrom, etc., but on SALE.

    The main question is, how much in dollars are your parents going to spend on a work wardrobe?

    Get some basics that will go w/ everything: Nice black pants & skirts & a few in other neutral colors: Gray, tan/beige, white, & maybe a nice pinstripe.

    You'll need more tops/blouses than bottoms because as we know, you can wear the same bottoms, but you change the tops you wear on a daily basis.

    Spend more money on these basics because you'll wear them more often & need them to be of good quality.

    A nice pair of jeans or two would be good to start & 2-3 pairs of nice shoes in black (low heel shoe to wear w/ pants & a dressier sandal to wear w/ skirts & dresses.

    If you have less money to spend, good stores are:

    New York & Company
    Stein Mart
    Nice things ON SALE at any of the dept stores
    Certain things at Forever 21
    Old Navy
    Gap
    Ross
    TJMaxx
    Mervyn's
    Kohl's
    Marshalls

    If you have more money to spend, good stores are:

    Banana Republic
    Ann Taylor
    Nordstrom
    Bloomingdale's
    Anthropologie
    White House Black Market
    Cache
    Certain things at Arden B & Bebe
    Victoria's Secret has some nice blouses & slacks

    I think $500 is a pretty good amt to have a nice starter wardrobe. Well, actually if each piece is about $50, that's only 10 items, so since you have no kind of professional clothing to add in, $1000 would be better. Don't forget a nice handbag in probably black. Start off w/ nice jewelry & build as you go later on that.
     
  5. socaligirl

    socaligirl Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Oh yeah, I guess it would be good if I posted a range here. My mom gave me the impression that I could spend up to $2,000 if that's what it takes.

    I think her exact words were, "Well...what can it cost...a thousand? Two thousand? Just let me know before we spend the money going to Tahoe instead." :rolleyes: :lol:

    If I have that much money...how should I plan it out? I'm willing to spend it all on nice stuff if that's totally feasible.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    $2000 is great! Obviously your mom is aware that clothing these days is high & money goes fast, so $2000 - $3000 is a nice start.

    Remember, you'll want to spend more on shoes, a nice bag/purse, & bottoms because you'll wear them more often than tops.

    Go to the nice upscale shopping malls & look for good sales. I'm in southern CA too, so if you're near the Glendale Galleria shopping mall, it's a big mall, so there's lots of variety there. If you're in that area, you might as well go to The Americana at Brand, a new upscale outdoor shopping area.

    The Beverly Center, The Grove in Beverly Hills & Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood is on the higher side, but you should be able to buy something, even if it's just one thing.

    If you're near the 3rd Street Promenade & Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, look there.

    I think the Brea Mall is the nicest mall in San Bernardino county. The Montclair Mall is good.

    In San Diego, I like the Fashion Valley Mall.
    In Newport Beach area, Fashion Island is really, really nice, but pricier.

    The Del Amo Mall in Torrance is huge, but I haven't been there in so long. The last time I went there, it wasn't as good as when I was a child.

    Do I know my shopping or what! ;)

    Oh, also you can't forget The Limited and Express & maybe Charlotte Russe.

    I don't think it really matters what you buy 1st. As you go along, if you like it & the price is right, get it!
     
  7. socaligirl

    socaligirl Rookie

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    I'm not super close to any mall, but the Brea Mall is one I frequent quite often! I'll have to start surfing the sale racks.

    One more question...does walking around a classroom keep you warmer than if you were sitting in a classroom? I was thinking about how I walk around during my whole shift at work and would die of heat if I had to put on a sweater, but if I were just sitting down at my workplace, I would definitely need a second layer.

    I'm just thinking that maybe I shouldn't spend so much on layering sweaters when I may be completely comfortable in pants and a blouse?
     
  8. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Brea is considered Orange county, so Fashion Island in Newport Beach is considered the OC as well as the South Coast Plaza.

    Hopefully, YOU will have control over the classroom's thermostat system. I would say that more walking/moving around would make you hotter than just sitting & not moving much.

    I don't know how your body is normally, but I don't get cold quickly AT ALL. I can usually freeze everybody out, so I don't really wear sweaters unless it's raining or the weather's in the 60s.

    At first, dress in layers, such as a nice short sleeved top or shirt w/ a button down sweater that you can easily remove if you need to. The spring season just started & it's about in the 70s usually. After getting used to the classroom & seeing how you feel when you walk around & sit, you'll soon know what kinds of things to wear.

    Maybe you'll want to split up your shopping. Buy 1/2 now & 1/2 later. But if I personally was handed all the money at once, I'd be excited to spend it all (at various stores).
     
  9. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oh, another important thing to think about. Look at the care labels of the clothing you plan to get. Are you going to have the money to be taking clothes to the cleaners all the time OR do you want things you can mostly wash yourself?

    Cleaners these days are $4 - $7 APIECE! :eek: I try to go to the cleaners as little as possible & I can do that since I have so many clothes as it is, but I fortunately have a pretty good cleaners that's $1.75 for each piece. When I do go, I can easily spend about $50 on dry cleaning.

    The clothes I do wash, I only wash w/ Woolite in cold water. I dry on medium or even low heat on the de-wrinkle cycle. As soon as I take them out of the dryer, I hang them up quickly & fortunately, I haven't had to iron in 15+ yrs! I'm so glad because I HATE ironing. (Anything else would go to the cleaners).

    ALSO, if you're planning to go to a mall you're not familiar w/, go to its website so you have an ides of the stores that are there.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    One more thing to add to the mix: an interview suit.

    Many people here debate the merits of wearing a suit to an interview. In this part of the country, it's pretty much a given. But if your wardrobe is a gift from mom and dad, I would include a suit. You can find a pretty basic suit at JC Penneys for the $100 range, then add your own personal touch with the blouse and whatever.

    Also, what grade will you be teaching? If it's the older kids, you might want to include a few blazers. They add an air of authority that a sweater somehow doesn't. Even if you'll have the little kids, you might want that blazer for parent nights; it will make you feel more adult.

    I'll stick the real recommendations to the younger teachers here. Best wishes!
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    If I were you I wouldn't buy everything at once. Buy a few things to start off with and then when you're actually AT the school you can get some ideas from what other people are wearing. Also, you can catch better sales if you're not in rush to buy everything on one shopping trip. Good luck!
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I would for sure not buy everything at once, unless the money's going to go away. If you know or can narrow down the schools at which you're likely to be, could you stop by and see what everyone seems to be wearing?

    If all else fails, see if either the program or your school's branch of SCTA can put you in touch with a current student or very recent grad who can fill you in.

    Oh, I almost forgot: SHOES! Start looking for shoes that you can stand all day in, if you don't already own them, and it makes sense to own more than one pair (if you don't wear the same pair every day, they'll last a lot longer).
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I have two jobs...one at an inner city middle school and one at a community college. The expected dress at both places is quite different, so I had to figure out how to wear the same thing and make it work for each. I've found that the more casual dress pants and the nicer dress shirts, paired with either a nice cotton top or button down shirt and then layerd with a blazer works really well. I can take off the blazer during the day and still look a little more casual, then put it on in the evening and look more professional. I'm a shoe freak, and don't mind heels, so I'm not the person to ask about shoes.
     
  14. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    We've had long a long thread on here in the past on shoes - you can search for that.

    I'm in SoCal too, north of you. I favor cute Keds or Sketchers in the cooler weather and Clarks sandals when it warms up. I have terrible, flat feet and must have comfy shoes!
     
  15. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    In California (maybe the conservative areas are different?) you don't need an interview suit. We're much more casual here. Rule of thumb: dress one level higher than you are interviewing for. My principal is stylish but never, ever wears a suit.
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    (I mentioned it earlier in this thread, but) I'm in southern CA too & although I haven't been to a job fair in a LONG time, there's always people who are dressed inappropriately. The only time I wouldn't wear a full suit is if the interview's in the hot summertime (& it's 90+ degrees). Once one summer, I've worn a nice skirt & blouse w/ heels before. That's the most casual I've been on an interview.
     
  17. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Hmm... well, I stand corrected. I think regions might play a part. Where I am, suits are just not part of the scene. Even nylons are so rare, I notice them when someone has them on.
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    And you can get a nice 3/4 sleeve jacket for summer interviews.
     
  19. Cranmans

    Cranmans Rookie

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    Ross (Dress for less)
     
  20. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Forgot to add the stores I shop at:

    Gap
    Old Navy
    JC Penney
    Cato's (found a cute outfit there that I'm going to buy)
     
  21. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I think in SoCal you might wear a cute blazer or a jacket with a skirt or dressy pants, but in my area (which is pretty conservative) you'd look overdressed in a two-piece suit.
     
  22. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Check your area and get a feel for the schools' dress codes. Some have a collared shirt rule, so you might want to pick up a couple of those.

    And have FUN! I am so jealous of you right now it's not funny
     
  23. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Find a pair of pants you like and get them in every neutral color. I pretty much wear the same pants form Lane Bryant every day - in brown, black, navy, beige, gray, and burgundy.
     
  24. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Me too! :p
     
  25. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    I would definitely start out with just a few basics and wait until you get in to really get shopping. Get a few pairs of pants- I would say 2 black, a tan, and a grey. And maybe 10 shirts so you can go 2 weeks without repeating. After you are there and get a feel for what others wear, you can add.

    Personally, I don't spend a lot of money on clothes. I shop on sale, I love the clearance rack at New York and Company. And as for shoes, honestly, every pair I teach in has come from Target, Payless, or Kohls. I am hard on my shoes and love cute heels adn these always work great for me. You don;t have to spend a lot of money to get decent shoes!

    Enjoy!
     
  26. boogaboo214

    boogaboo214 Companion

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    i just went through this

    i am almost finished student teaching and i had to do the same thing. i bought 5 pair of black dress pants and 2 pair of brown dress pants, about 10 dress shirt and about 7 cami's bc i always wear a cami under all of my clothes just so im not feeling like i am showing my stuff if you know what i mean. i also got 2 pair of dress shoes, 1 in brown and one black and 2 pair of cute little flats and i did it all for less than 500 dollars. i caught stuff on sale at jc penny and sears and stuff i got a lot of stuff just a few weeks ago when goodys went out of business but i also got some good deals at tj max and ross. i spent no more than 20 on any piece and no more than 30 on a pair of shoes and payless shoes always has cute dress shoes. i got 2 pair of american eagle flats that go with all of my wardrobe and are super comfy for 14 each. i personally have 2 kids and my husband has worked over 60 hours a week for the last 4 yrs so that i can go to college so i do not buy expensive clothes bc i can find stuff that is super cute for super cheap and since teaching is not a get rich job i never will spend a lot on clothes im just not a big shopper that has to have new stuff all the time im like you my casual wardrobe is tshirts and jeans. don't forget to get you a pair or two of neutral sandals that will look cute with anything and a pair of capris if you like those.
    some jewlery is nice to jazz things up i personally have a butterfly necklace that i never take off bc it was given to me by a very special friend as a reminder that i should always spread my wings and fly. hope this helps.
     
  27. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I have worked in several different school districts in the same city, and find the dress code to be different in both.
     
  28. socaligirl

    socaligirl Rookie

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    I went shopping yesterday and found some cute stuff. However, they were mostly all cute skirts that go really well with the few pairs of super comfy wedges that I already have.

    Does anyone else wear skirts a lot? I tried on so many pants and just felt totally unattractive in them. I feel like the only pants that make me feel cute are jeans. But I'm loving the way all these skirts fit...nice and flowy and easy to move around in.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I love skirts. And you're right-- long and flowy is comfortable.
     
  30. midwestteacher

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    I have several pairs of slacks in neutral colors - black, charcoal, greys, etc. I then supplemented them with colorful blouses that I bought on sale. I have really good luck at Kohls and always hit the clearance racks. I have really nice shirts that I paid $5-$8 for there. I have warmth issues - I am always cold. I keep a fleece jacket at school that I just throw on when I get chilled. The most important item to find is comfortable shoes. If you find one you love, get a couple of pairs. I am just heartbroken when I finally wear out a favorite pair just to find out they don't make them anymore. Be sure to shop for shoes at the end of the day when your feet are swollen.
     
  31. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Ann Taylor loft has a few styles of pants that are jean cut, but still work appropriate. I am not a huge fan of pants myself, but I love the ones I got. I'm not a good one for bargain hunting advice since I usually focus on fewer pieces that are excellent quality. I have long sleeve jersey tees from AT that I have worn and washed hundreds of times and they look like new. They often have great markdowns too, but a lot of the plainer basics sell out before they get to the sale rack.
     
  32. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    SoCaligirl; how old are you??
    I think skirts are soo cute! I wear skirts at least twice a week...with slacks on the other two days and jeans on Friday; yay! Dress nice, but comfortable.
    I don't know why...but I'm thinking of Meg Ryan in YOU GOT MAIL...with her long, cute flowing skirts...is that your style?
     
  33. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    I get my dress pants at express - I love them. I stick to skirts in the summer and late spring.
    I wear jeans on Friday with nice sneakers/boots and a nice top
     

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