I did not own a single teacher outfit when I first began my teaching career, and now I have a closet full of suitable teaching outfits that I love, but didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on. Teachers have a unique wardrobe. They should be dressed professionally enough that the students take them seriously, but not so professional that they can’t crawl on their hands and knees as teachers do daily (especially if you’re an elementary teacher like me).
What is a Teacher to Wear?
All teachers are different and have various preferences for their classroom wardrobe. 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 altogether 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 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 and cute work clothes quite often. Check out their website to see if a sale is happening! They have the best dresses for teaching because they are cute, simple, a nice breathable fabric, and not too fancy. 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 dresses, the cotton t shirt dresses, and the blouse-y chiffon material dresses don’t shrink, but the cotton button down dresses do.
ThredUp is #1 in my book. It is an online consignment store that has all name brand clothing, even designer brands for much 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$) and an abundance of blouses/dressy (ish) tops for days I’m not feeling wearing a dress and want to dress up a nice pair of jeans or my ankle length casual dress pants with a blouse and flats or booties.
Seriously, if you haven’t tried out ThredUp and consignment store shopping is your thing, you will LOVE this online store.
Target also has some cute casual dresses that can be worn for teaching. Depending on your budget, you can either purchase them for around 30$ or wait for a sale, which Target always has some type of sale rack to dig through.
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 and low cut so I’d definitely pair them with an undershirt and leggings if that’s the case. Some are completely modest though so it’s really hit or miss. 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.
And that’s a Wrap!
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! 🙂
Resources That I Love:
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