As a teenager, I spent many years working in a shop. Once I graduated, I spent some time in a bank. Both of these positions required me to wear uniforms. Starchy, ill-fitting and generally uncomfortable, I longed for the day I would be in a position to pick my own clothes to wear to work. Little things, I know.
I love fashion, and I enjoy browsing the internet for trends about to hit the high street. I am also sort of known for being pretty bold and quirky in the way I dress. I have been known to crack out the occasional bow tie, and am regularly seen sporting some wide legged culottes. Teaching is a wonderful profession in this regard as it allows you a certain freedom of expression, and I like to grab that bull by both horns.
However, dressing as a teacher can also be a daunting prospect. Especially for younger, female teachers, you are greeted by 150 critical eyes every day, and one wrong move can spell corridor gossip suicide. It can really say a lot about you as a person and a professional, so it is an aspect of the job which requires some consideration. I am an advocate for dressing more formally. My school requires it, and I feel more professional when I do. As well as that, I am in my mid twenties and can slip into sixth form territory if I start to dress down, which is not good for someone trying to assert authority over students only a few years younger. Dressing professionally, however, does not mean same old white shirt and black trousers every day. I refuse to slip back into having a work uniform.
So, without further ado, here are my top 5 picks to have in your wardrobe as a teacher. Hopefully this will inspire you or give you some staple items to start with. I also have a teaching fashion instagram account over at @pixiepoppinslookbook so you can see how I style things every day and hopefully get some ideas there too!
1. Cigarette trousers
I love a good cigarette trouser. I have a bunch in different colours and with different patterns. They are formal enough to look like suit trousers but are as comfy as jogging bottoms. I pair mine with a plain t shirt and either a cardigan or a blazer and I’m good to go.
I have stupid feet, so brogues are the best shoes for me in terms of staying on. As well as that, they are effortlessly on trend and heeled version as super comfortable to walk around in all day. I have a black and a brown pair and I rarely wear anything else. Winner.
As the. And of my blog suggests, I have a pixie cut. I like to dress in slightly more girly pieces to take the edge off it, especially when it’s freshly cut. I also like something with a pattern so drywipe marker stains and humous drips are not so obvious. Florals are a great option because they are not so bold as to be unwearable more than once in a week, but offer something extra feminine and colourful to an outfit.
4. Blazers and Cardigans
Blazers add a touch of structure and formality to any outfit. I have a load of different colours and styles, but my favourites are ones with some jersey stretch that allow me to reach up to the top of my whiteboard without bursting a seam. I like to shop in the sales for mine and I often go for bold block colours rather than black and grey. Of course, I do have black and grey, they just never really seem to make it out of the wardrobe. A cardigan, conversely, can dress down an outfit slightly, making it a little less starchy and over formal. I often wear cardigans with office and pencil dresses I have, to soften the silhouette.
A dress and a trusty pair of black opaque tights has never done me wrong. I prefer a more fitted pencil dress but I do own a couple of flared skirt dresses too. As mentioned above, I pair these with a cardigan and change it up for a jacket if I am attending a parents evening or an open evening. A couple of things to bear I mind though – midi length is always best and, though I love to shop from Boohoo.com, I always pick thicker pointe or scuba material rather than the thinner jersey material. I don’t want a VPL to be attached to my reputation for evermore, and it’s that bit more formal and appropriate.
Honourable Mention: Scarves
Scarves are my go to accessory and I have just enough to be a little ashamed. In the colder months they can provide a much needed barrier against chills and student sniffles. In the spring and summer, they can provide a feminine floaty extra to an otherwise business like attire. You can also get away with , in desperate times, wearing a dress or a top two days in a row by throwing a scarf on top and thereby changing the whole look. Hooray for scarves!
And so this concludes my fashion essentials. As mentioned above, I am self indulgent enough to have a teacher fashion instagram, so if you want to see any outfits in action head to @pixiepoppinslookbook. I always look out for bargains, so most of my clothes are from Tesco, Asda, Boohoo, Matalan or Primark. I occasionally splash out on a more expensive item but I think as long as you feel good in the clothes you wear, you will always look like you are dressed well.
‘What is you staple item for the classroom? What are your teacher fashion essentials? Let me know, and thanks for stopping by!