How many teachers out there plan and display their outfits the night before a work day? Anyone? Anyone? Well, let it be known that I, Karley, plan and display my outfits every…single…night.  I confess, I do this mostly to save time (I’m not a big morning person); however, I also really love my wardrobe and I like looking presentable at school.  Additionally, I find that “day before outfit planning” eases my mind before I fall asleep at night.

*Some of my colleagues reading this might be laughing by this point because at least twice a week I’m dressed head to toe in my dance teacher attire (lululemon gear), comme ça:

Head to toe lululemon!
Head to toe lululemon, entirely low maintenance outfit planning.

The topic idea for this post was inspired by our lovely middle school librarian, who just celebrated a milestone birthday.  Our librarian’s birthday request was for staff to wear their fancy clothes to work for a day…so we did!  The Fancy Clothes Day was lots of fun and man, did we look sharp!  I think the most enjoyable part of Fancy Clothes Day was the students’ reaction (they had no idea what was going on).  Numerous whispered comments such as, “Why do all the teachers look so good today?” and “What is going on?!” could be heard while walking through the halls on Fancy Clothes Day.  The students’ reaction alone made me think a little deeper about what I wear to work.

Mirror notch outfit, poor quality photo.
Mirror Selfie…top notch outfit, poor quality photo.

This topic can be pretty personal.  Personal style in our Western culture tends to be a canvas on which we project our emotions, thoughts and personalities.  We show who we are to the world through the clothing choices we make every single day, whether we like it or not.  I remember beginning my second practicum experience two years ago…a time in my life where I just finished working at lululemon and had a well stuffed closet of tights and Cool Racer Backs…no, I am not paid to advertise for them! I remember thinking, “WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR TO SCHOOL!?” This was actually my biggest concern.  Call me crazy, but I was feeling fairly confident with my lesson plans and extremely less confident with my wardrobe.  I remember my first “Teacher Clothes Shopping Spree”…it was expensive.  It was also uncomfortable (coming from a girl who lives in lulu anything would be uncomfortable).  I could not wait for the school days to end so I could go home and change out of those darn dress pants as soon as possible.  Nothing has changed in the past two years; I still think dress pants are ridiculously uncomfortable, but I am starting to find my fashion groove when it comes to “Real Teacher Clothes”.

My Teacher Clothes purchases for the 2012/2013 school year.  I sent this photo to a teacher friend.  Her reply: " look weird in real clothes."
My Teacher Clothes purchases for the 2012/2013 school year. I sent this photo to a teacher friend. Her reply: “Wow…you look weird in real clothes.”

I’ve found a few essential pieces of clothing have come in extremely useful for this teaching year: a long, black sweater, two pairs of dress pants with a bit of stretch in them (for those days when you’re constantly on the floor with students), three white/beige neutral flowy blouses, and two pairs of boots.  I loved my boots this year, they carried me through our mild West Coast winter.  This small Teacher Wardrobe covered me for my TOC days (only two days per week this year) and my dance teacher attire covered me for the other three days.  I’ve found the dress pants-lululemon combo to be a nice compromise.  I’ve found that my role as a teacher feels more professional when I am dressed professionally.  This might seem like a no-brainer, but I didn’t really understand the role of Teacher Clothing until I became a real teacher myself.  Now I get it and I am very excited to update my professional wardrobe this summer – you better believe there will be some more lulu added to it as well 🙂

Thanks to some teacher friends, here’s a short list of stores that offer seasonal teacher discounts:

Club Monaco
J Crew
RW &Co.
lululemon (only if you have the R&D discount, which sadly, I do not…yet).

This type of teacher clothing is 100% acceptable...on Hallowe'en, or any other time you feel like channeling your inner pirate.
This type of teacher clothing is 100% acceptable…on Hallowe’en, or any other time you feel like channeling your inner pirate.