Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Life: teacher STYLE

Teacher fashion.
ha!
Oxymoron? 
Throughout the years, the idea of "fashion" in the world of teachers has often been limited to styles of which we are all very familiar with .... .. ..
Dark colors, tight buns, high collars (early 1900's)
Polyester dress suits (mid 1900's)
"Teacher sweaters" - how I loath remember these. (Late 1900's) 
and the more current "comfortable" direction of Khakis, polos, and solid button up sweaters. 
These days, there are so many fabulous teachers completely breaking the rules on what is considered "teacher wear" and I think it is great! Wearing something fashionable, fun, or a little bit kooky not only shows your kids great personality, it also keeps you going and doesn't allow you to get "stuck" in wearing the same old thing everyday - unless you have a uniform, then I suppose this post does not apply to you! {sad face} 

Meghan over at A Teachanista's 365 Wardrobe inspired me to share a little bit of my own teacher fashion from this past school year. 
I believe four things make for a good teacher wardrobe. Professionalism. Style. Staples {no, not for the stapler ....}. and Spunk. 
Professionalism is important especially in upper elementary and above. These kids are LOOKING to teachers as role models for how to dress. This will impact the way they see you, respect you, and possibly how they will dress in the future for their own professions. If you don't think it makes a difference, change your wardrobe for a week, wear dress pants, a skirt, a nice blouse and set the blue jeans aside - they will notice. Also, keeping the cleavage, tight clothing, and general inappropriateness away keeps you safe both with staff and kids. Kids are strong critics: Students were asked in our district a few years ago to rate student teachers by their appearance for a collage research paper. Here are the things the KIDS picked out as "not professional": Blue jeans, a nose ring, tattoos, t-shirts. I am not saying that if you wear these things you shouldn't or that it makes you "unprofessional, I just want to be clear that kids DO NOTICE and have their own beliefs on what is professional for an adult and what is not. 
Style is personal. I am not one to dress too casual for work. I tend to be more along the lines of  dressy casual .. . once in a while veering more toward one side or the other. But for my own sanity, I try and change things up a bit not only in casual/dressy but also by changing between dresses, skirts, pants, leggings, etc. 
Staples: No matter what style you have, there are always fashioMUST HAVES that go with so many different outfits for work. These are those plain things that create a base for wardrobe creativity! 
 My teacher MUST HAVE's include: 
         black skinny dress pants {preferably more than one pair!} 
         good black dress flats {these get utterly destroyed by the end of the year!} 
         white skinny pants 
         black leggings
         no-show socks
         Jean Jacket 
         Plain colored camis and sweaters
         brown dress boots {no heel - otherwise you are killing your feet!}
 SPUNK! Have something that identifies you. Something that is fun and yours. It doesn't have to be one thing, but make it a fun accessory or style that the kids identify to you. Our school has a dress up day where the teachers are supposed to dress like the kids and the kids like the teachers - it was awesome seeing what they identified us with. My girls all had big flowers in their hair and leggings, my partner teacher's kids wore long maxi type skirts and BIG earrings!
Teacher switch day - my signature items: dresses with leggings, side buns, boots and flats, scarves, and big flowers in my hair.
and YES, that is a boy dressed as me = AWESOME!
 NOTE:  I was  dressed as a mixture of all my kiddos styles both boys and girls. My GIRLS wear those tutu skirts ALL the time, also chunky necklaces. My BOYS wear a lot of jersey's, tall socks/tennis shoes, and those titanium necklaces. 
Spunky ideas: 
     Fun, retro head scarves 
     Head bands
     Great leggings
     Statement jewelry pieces 
     Repeated items 
     Scarves! 
     Exciting tights or leggings
     Cool shoes! 
     Fun socks {I still remember the fun socks my high school math teacher used to wear!}
     Hair accessories - I am a huge fan of big flowers! 
Lastly, be willing to DRESS UP! If dressing up for lessons is not your thing, than at least put a little effort into holidays and school spirit weeks! Nothing kills a kids ability to dress up more than a teacher not being willing to put aside their insecurities and make dress up days something COOL to do! (Particularly in upper elementary! It takes a whole lot of encouragement!)  
 

I would love to hear your teacher wardrobe MUST HAVES and unique SPUNKINESS you bring your teacher style! 
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