For Female Teachers...Dressing Professional!
Projecting our image...
After twenty years of teaching, I have finally figured my professional wardrobe out. I love style, and I love comfort, and I have dressed every which way for work. I see new teachers coming in and making the same mistakes as I did, and so I thought I would put together a list of tips for anyone who is interested in reading them.
- Give in to the fact that you do need two wardrobes. One that is professional, for school, and one that is your cool girlfriend going out wardrobe.
- Ladies, beware the bra and cleavage issues! It is unprofessional to show bra straps, bra color, or cleavage. It is just not okay in the teaching business.
- Along similar lines, be careful about the sheerness of clothes. Lined clothes are usually more expensive, but we don't want to be the talk of the school!
- Skirts are simple...not too short. We need to move around, bend over, squat, move things. We need coverage.
- Casual/professional is usually a mix. If jeans are allowed, pair dress jeans with a blouse or jacket. A more casual shirt with slacks is another good balance.
- Comfort is key. We work long hours and not usually in spectacular circumstances. If your shirt is itchy or your pants are tight it may just ruin your day.
- Shoes are important. They can't hurt! They can be cute and practical. The day that I wore my worst shoes was invariably the day I had unexpected ground to cover. No more.
- Good breath is important. Remember being a student? A teacher's bad breath can really interfere with the learning process. Enough said.
- Deodorant and scent are also important, and along the same lines. Don't let smells interfere with learning. Overpowering perfumes and colognes are equally as distracting.
- Double check...buttons buttoned? Fly zipped? Underarms shaved? Anything out of place? We are scrutinized from every angle, and gossiped about mercilessly.
- Where I live, a good spritz of hairspray goes a long way. I go car to wind to office to wind to classroom, etc. etc., and my hair now looks almost exactly the same when I get home.
- Teachers don't have to be fuddy duddies. I love fashion, and even though it's not high or cutting edge fashion, it's not giving the message that I've given up completely.
- Make-up polishes a professional look. Not overly heavy make-up, but make up that shows pride and that you consider yourself a professional.
- A watch completes the outfit. Although phones have replaced watches to a great extent, there are still situations where a phone should be away and the teacher is the timekeeper.
skirt too short or tight
attractive skirt with room to move
shoes too high or too tight
cute but practical
clothes that are sheer or fussy
camisols, slips, or lined items
outfits too warm or too summery
layers that allow for a range of temps
bare-faced or too-heavy makeup
appears rumpled, rushed, or slovenly
well put-together clean, wrinkle-free outfits
breath or body odor
Have you ever had an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in the classroom?
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