The Struggle of Teacher Clothes

Something I never thought about before beginning my teaching degree: the clothes. It can be difficult to find clothes that look cute, are flattering, age-appropriate, and SCHOOL-appropriate. I didn’t think about it at all until my first observations, where I realized I would need more than 1 pair of nice pants. So I bought a second pair and called it good. But then student teaching came along, and with it, I had to dress nicely all day, every day. The school I was at didn’t even have casual Fridays! So I went shopping…

…and was so frustrated. Most cute clothes are spaghetti straps, short, low-cut, or see through. And my job required the opposite of that. So I eventually found a lot of cute tshirts and blouses at places like Kohls, Macys, and Old Navy. H&M and Charlotte Russe have a lot of good options too! And let me tell you, Old Navy has Pixie Pants, which if you don’t own and are a teacher, GET SOME. They fit like comfy jeans, but look professional (with inseam pockets). They come full length and cropped, and in a bajillion different colors. I own at least 6 pairs now, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop wearing them. They’re adorable and fun and comfy and easy to make an outfit look “young.” I’m not 60, I’m 22. I want to look cute for my own sake. Sell me more clothes that fit that need!!

But it wasn’t until I accepted my first job that I even thought about band camp as the teacher. Throughout high school and college, I’d worn gym shorts and tank tops to camp, with little regard to fashion or dress code. It was hot and I wasn’t about to swelter for 9 hours a day. But as the teacher, and a young woman, should I try to dress more conservatively? Were tank tops allowed? Were my shorts too short? These questions bothered me, and caused me to reach out to other women band directors I know.

This is the conclusion I drew: Tank tops are okay, as long as they aren’t too tight, low-cut, or revealing. So no spaghetti straps, and keep it flowy. Shorts were obviously okay, but try to keep them close to fingertip length. With this information, I looked at my wardrobe of gym clothes. I have a large collection, but like I said, most of mine were college kid appropriate, not teacher appropriate. I found that the Nike Tempo shorts were a great length and comfortable to wear outside all day, so I went and bought a few more of those. I also found a lot of gym shorts at TJ Maxx for a great price that were just generic brands but super comfy! I got a couple moisture-wicking tshirts from there, too. I found lots of flowy workout tanks at Old Navy, as well as more gym shorts. Theirs tend to have the ties around the waist though, which can be uncomfortable if you don’t like that. I don’t mind though, so I stocked up.

I guess the moral of the story is that teacher clothes should be a category at stores. We need cuter teacher clothes! Skirts of a good length, dresses too. Shirts that cover our shoulders and aren’t deep V necks. Make more tank tops into sleeved blouses. More fun cardigans. And every teacher should own at least one pair of Old Navy’s Pixie Pants. They need to sell those everywhere in every color. But now you know where I stand on teacher clothes, and where to find some good ones, and how to maneuver around the band camp outfit situation. New teachers: think about this before the first day of camp!!

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