Teaching is challenging, but buying teacher clothes doesn’t have to be. Find out where to buy teacher clothes, what items you need the most, and tips for building a cute and affordable teacher wardrobe.
Maybe you’re a new teacher and need some help figuring out what to wear. Or maybe you’ve been in the game a while but are just looking for tips to spruce up your teacher clothes. Either way, you’re in the right place. I took all the guess work out of creating a teacher wardrobe and boiled it down to three suggestions.
Full disclosure, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains links from which I earn a (very) small commission at no cost to you. That said, all opinions are my own and I only recommend items that I truly love.
What Do Teachers Wear?
Teachers tend to follow the “business casual” dress code, which can be a muddy term to interpret. Typically, educators wear clothes that are casual but still professional. Relaxed but not sloppy. Comfortable but work- appropriate.
Of course, be sure to check your district’s dress code policy. Some schools allow teachers to wear jeans on Fridays while others can wear jeans every day. Other schools have more strict rules and do not permit jeans at all. If you’re unsure, dress up until you have a good idea of what is expected at your school. Better to be overly- dressed than under- dressed at work.
Must- Have Teacher Clothing Items
- Large tote bag: You’ll be lugging all your books and teacher stuff back and forth every day. Will you actually get around to writing those lesson plans over the weekend? Maybe not. But you’ll need a big tote bag to lug your stuff around just in case.
- Comfy shoes: Teachers stand for hours on end every day. Some do it in heels, but don’t ask me how. I suggest getting a few cute pairs of flats so you can focus on your class and not your achy feet.
- Casual blazer: It’s nice to have a cute fitted blazer for days when you have a big meeting, an observation, or just want to look a little more professional.
- ID lanyard: Sure, you can use the regular rope lanyard that your principal gave everyone. But did you know there are classy ones that actually look like chic necklaces? No need for jewelry when you have a cute ID lanyard.
- Cardigan: Yes, I know. Cardigans aren’t really “cool” anymore. Nor is the word “cool.” But I’m just warning you now that when your classroom is freezing cold, you’ll be glad to have one hanging on your chair.
- Holiday jewelry: Go ahead and laugh. But that day when you walk into school and everyone’s wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll wish you had a stash of holiday earrings in your closet. Speaking from experience here. Next time you’re at the dollar store, grab whatever holiday earrings they have at that time. Do that every time you go and you’ll end up with a collection of goofy jewelry that’ll save you on those days you forgot to dress up. It’s not glamorous but it’ll save you in a pinch.
3 Tips for Buying Teacher Clothes
Dressing for work doesn’t mean you need to wear fussy skirts and uncomfortable high heels. You don’t need to be wear uptight clothing in order to be taken seriously as a teacher (You’ll need effective behavior management for that. Click here a few tips on managing diverse learners). In fact, teacher clothes aren’t complicated at all. Read on for three easy steps to building a teacher wardrobe.
1. Keep it comfy.
Teachers find themselves in all sorts of situations and can’t be restricted by their clothing. Wearing a skirt while reading on the rug with students is certainly possible but a little trickier than doing so wearing pants. Think about what you’ll be doing throughout the day and make sure to choose an outfit that won’t limit those actions.
Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. If you’re comfortable walking around in heels all day, I admire you. If not, I suggest investing in a good pair of flats that are both comfy and professional looking. Then buy them in every color available.
Note that “comfortable” does not mean “sloppy.” You can wear clothes that’ll keep you comfy all day without looking unprofessional. Dress up a casual top with some trendy jewelry or even a classy ID lanyard. Find a pair of cute slacks with a little stretch for a comfortable work outfit. Throw on your comfy flats and you’re ready to go.
2. Keep it affordable.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to look professional. Unfortunately, teaching isn’t a highly paid profession, so we need affordable options. It’s hard to build a teacher wardrobe when you’re first starting out with a small budget.
I cringe looking at my awful teaching outfits from my first year, but I had no money for clothes. I wish I knew then what I know now.
Have you tried thredUP before? It’s a website where you can buy or sell gently used clothes. They have jeans, dresses, shoes, coats, everything for dirt cheap. I bought a few really cute items from there and you would never know they weren’t brand new.
If buying second hand doesn’t float your boat, there are a ton of places to find affordable teacher clothes. Old Navy, Target, and Amazon are my go- to spots for trendy but inexpensive clothes. Outlet stores are a good place to find luxury brands at a discounted price.
Almost every store has a clearance section so make sure to check there. You may find some out- of- season items, but grab those discounted clothes and save them for next year! When shopping online, be sure to check for promo codes on RetailMeNot to find any ongoing deals or coupons.
3. Keep it low- maintenance.
Teachers are busy and don’t need to be spending their free time tending to clothing pieces (If you’re feeling teacher burnout, read these Tips for Teacher Survival). When shopping for teacher clothes, look for materials that won’t wrinkle easily. Cashmere, polyester, knit fabrics, denim, nylon, rayon, and cotton blends with a wrinkle- resistant treatment won’t need to be ironed. Wrinkle- free is for me.
“Dry clean only” can be roughly translated into “high maintenance/ don’t buy this.” Avoid anything that can’t get tossed in the washer and dryer. Teachers need easy and low- maintenance clothes, not another fussy thing to worry about.
I personally loath shopping so I’m thrilled at the increasing popularity of clothing subscription services. Amazon Wardrobe allows you try on clothes at home, buy what you want to keep, and easily return what you don’t want.
Stitch Fix makes it even easier. You send them your size and preferences and they pick out a bunch of really cute clothes tailored to your needs. Buy what you like and return the rest. No thinking necessary. How’s that for low- maintenance?
Most of my suggestions are geared towards women’s clothing because, well, that’s what I wear. But I have a few men’s items in the Teacher Fashion section of my Amazon store (CLICK HERE to see). You’ll find all of my favorite teacher goodies in my Amazon store from classroom essentials to children’s books, to educational toys, and more. And of course, you’ll find all of my favorite teacher fashion items there too. CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY AMAZON STORE.
What do you think of my list of teacher wardrobe must- haves? What would you add? Let me know in the comments or connect with me on social media. I’d love to chat with you!
Other posts from Exceptional Thinkers that you may like:
- Everything You Need to Teach Online
- How to Differentiate Instruction
- How Many Skills Can You Teach in 5 Minutes a Day?
- Master Small Group Instruction (with Free Differentiation Tools)
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Keep teaching. Keep learning.
~Christy from Exceptional Thinkers
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Have you visited my TPT shop yet? You can find teacher resources, classroom décor, file folder games, and more. CLICK HERE TO SEE. You’ll find tons of freebies too.