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Teacher Clothes, and What to Wear

Janelle Cox

It seems that over the years, a teacher’s wardrobe has changed quite a bit. It went from dresses and ties to everyday casual. The choice of clothing a teacher chooses can influence the students, as well as have an impact on the school day. While many teachers would prefer to be comfortable, this luxury is out of the question -- or is it?

In today’s classrooms, many teachers have taken it upon themselves to make every day be dress down day. While you may see lot of “appropriate” causal clothing on the market, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for the classroom. Many teachers may argue that they are on their feet all day, or they have to care for the little ones. While this may ring true, it is still a fact that your choice of teacher clothes reflects the impression that you want to make upon others. There is no denying the fact that what you wear has an impact on whoever sees you; have it be students, parents, or administrators. Like it or not, your outer appearance makes a difference. As a teacher, you want to send the right impression. Here are a few tips for teacher clothes and what you should and shouldn’t wear in the classroom.

1. Teacher Clothes: Wear Comfortable Shoes

A teacher’s day is long, and you are on your feet most of the day. So, you want to choose shoes that are comfortable, as well as fashionable. When choosing shoes, choose sensible flats, kitten heels, small wedges, or closed-toe shoes. Fashion boots may also be an option. Do not choose flip flops, high heels, or sneakers. Sneakers are something that you wear to the gym, not to work.

2. Appropriate Fitting Clothes

Choose clothes that are functional, as well as fashionable. When building your wardrobe, select basics such as a few tops, pants, sweaters, skirts, and jackets in neutral colors so they will be easy to match. For men, choose a few pairs of pants that fit well. Next, choose a few shirts in a variety of colors that compliment your skin tone. Do not dress like you are going to a club, where your clothes are ill fitting and not appropriate for the work environment.  This can be distracting to your students and co-workers.

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3. Soft Makeup

When choosing your makeup, think simple, and fresh-faced. You are not going out for a girl’s night, you are going to teach young, impressionable children. Soft makeup is best; mascara, nude lip gloss, light peachy tone blush, and a warm colored eye shadow is all that you need.

4. Minimal Jewelry

Simple and minimal are the key when choosing your accessories for your outfit. Too much jewelry may result in you losing, snagging, or misplacing your jewels. When choosing your accessories for school think minimal. Choose one bracelet, and a simple pair of studs. Or, one necklace and small hoop earring. As far as wearing religious jewelry to school, make sure you ask your school district first. Most school districts like to promote an atmosphere that is neutral. The last thing that you want do is offend anyone.

5. Age-Appropriate Trends

Avoid dressing like your students. Every year a new trend emerges and young teachers think that they can pull it off, don’t do it. It’s OK to embrace the trends, but as long as they are age appropriate and OK for the work atmosphere. The last that you want to do is be mistaken for one of your students. Try pairing a simple scarf with a pair of ballet flats. This outfit seems to never go out of style.

6. Clean, Pressed, and Tailored Clothes

Make sure that your closed are washed, pressed, and fit well. This may seem obvious to some, but you would be surprised how many teachers just wake up and put on any old thing. It’s best to wash and press your clothes the night before school. This will give you extra time in the morning to get ready. As far as tailoring goes, it’s important that your clothes fit well and are not too small, or too big.

Dressing professionally lends credibility to your colleagues, as well as your students. If you want to be considered a professional as a teacher, than you need to dress appropriately. The above tips will help you.

Do you have any clothing tips for teachers? Please share your expertise with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.

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