Lyndsey here, posting for my Mom today and talking about clothes! Mainly because I'm drooling over the idea of new fall clothes--because is there anything better than fall layers when it comes to clothes? One of the great things about teaching young children is that there is a lot of room to express yourself and create your own personal style in how you dress for work. It's fun to see how everyone interprets "professional dress" in their own classroom. If you are just getting started teaching, here are some general guidelines to help you get started in putting your wardrobe together:
- When you're shopping, look for sales and teacher discounts, most stores offer them.
- Buy stuff off season. I fill my online shopping cart and then bide my time until the end of the season when everything is on sale.
- Lately I've been trying an online thrift store called Thred Up to find inexpensive clothing. They'll send you a bag that you can fill with the clothes you don't wear anymore and send them in for store credit. Then you can search the online store for used clothing at a huge discount (my last order was 86% off retail). I've been happy with this store so far, the only downside was it took a loooong time for them to apply the store credit after I sent my bag in. If you want to try Thred Up, you can use this referral link for $10 off.
- Invest in the stuff that matters to you. I've found that my slacks are usually the part of my wardrobe that ends up with tempura paint and glue on it, but my tops stay fairly untouched. So I usually buy cheap pants that I know will probably fall apart at the end of the year, and spend my money on blouses or dresses that I can use from year to year.
- When you try things on bend down, kneel, and lean over. Try to think of all the odd positions you'll be in while teaching and try them out. Make sure you're still comfortable in those positions.
- Think about your shoes. Some of my friends have taught in heels with a cushion insert and been just fine, but that would kill my feet since teachers don't tend to sit down a lot. You should also take into consideration that many schools require closed toed shoes.
- Try to be professional, whatever your personal definition of that is. Dressing professionally presents you as such to those around you.
You can always go the Ms. Frizzle route.
This is totally my style. These dresses are all from ModCloth, which is my favorite store at the moment. This January, I taught in a dress covered in snowflakes, white tights, and boots, that I purchased from them, because you can totally wear your theme without looking like a bed sheet! I would love to enter the classroom at the beginning of each thematic unit with a Ms. Frizzle style clue on my clothing! The following fun pictures are affiliate links.
Teaching about the skeletal system?
Maybe you have a fun fall unit planned?
Maybe you'll be learning about the solar system.
Or maybe you would like to discuss the ocean?
Perhaps you'll be teaching about the distant past.
You might be thinking that skirts/dresses in an early childhood classroom aren't a good idea--and I've had coworkers that definitely agree with you and steer clear. However, I've found that skirts/dresses can be extremely comfortable as a teacher and if you're worried about modesty and mobility around little ones you can always throw on some leggings, tights, or an extender slip underneath. Of course, the Miss Frizzle look might not be your style, in that case, maybe you'd like to try something else...
Maybe You'd Like To Show Off Your Bookwormish Nature?
If you teach elementary school then you love picture books. We teachers may be a diverse group, but a love of children's literature is an undeniable constant. So why not proclaim your love of literature to the world? Out of Print Clothing sells T shirts with classic book covers on the front. They sent me a few of my favorite children's books to try and I LOVE them! Side note, if you decide to get a tee, order up! I'm wearing a women's Large.
"But I can't wear a T shirt to work and still look professional!" you say. Ah hah! I wouldn't suggest wearing a T shirt with an old pair of jeans, but what about a nice looking literacy tee accompanied by the awesome power of a cardigan, blazer, skirt, and/or slacks? Tah dah! Professional (and fun) T shirt!
I'd love to know how you express yourself in your clothing choices and if you have any great secrets for putting together your wardrobe (I've heard that Old Navy has the perfect teaching pants, but I haven't figured out which ones they are yet). If you have any great suggestions, please share on Facebook!