Teachers know that first impressions matter … big time. The outfit you choose sets the tone for how students and parents see you. No pressure, right? But don’t stress! In this post, we’ll share some simple tips for finding teacher clothes to help you look professional yet stylish and save money, too!
The key is finding clothing that matches your style and needs – comfy enough for non-stop days with your students while still allowing you to look like the respected, put-together educator you are.
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Teacher Clothes: Must-Haves for Your Closet
Here are some staple teacher clothes we recommend having on hand for easy outfit building:
- Knee-length skirts or dresses
- Ponte knit pants in neutral colors
- Dark jeans (if permitted)
- Wrinkle-free, washable tops and blouses
- Cardigans and/or blazers for layered looks
- Flats, low heels, or sneakers
- A versatile sport coat or two
- Dress slacks in neutral colors
- Dark jeans (if permitted)
- Wrinkle-free, washable dress shirts
- A few ties that match your style
- Comfortable dress shoes, boots, or sneakers
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You can find stylish teacher clothes without blowing your next paycheck! Many of your favorite retailers not only have affordable options, but they also offer exclusive teacher discounts.
Why Teacher Clothes Matter
When you dress professionally, students may pay a bit more attention and respect your authority. A 2018 University of Georgia study suggested that a teacher’s attire could have minor impacts on both student behavior and academic performance. Students scored a little higher on math quizzes when teachers dressed professionally, for instance. Student behavior declined a bit when teachers wore casual clothes. These aren’t exactly game-changing revelations, but the research is interesting!
No matter what research says, the right work clothes can give you a daily boost of confidence. How you feel about your appearance can affect how you carry yourself and interact with your students. So your wardrobe definitely impacts your classroom vibe!
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What Kind of Clothing Should a Teacher Wear?
Because clothing matters, you might wonder what kind of clothes a teacher should wear. And this may be especially true if you’re a new teacher who hasn’t learned the teacher attire ropes yet.
Many (read: most) schools have some form of dress code for teachers. But beyond any dress code you’ve been required to follow, it’s always a good idea to avoid dressing in anything too distracting. After all, it’s your classroom management style, not your clothing style, that has the biggest impact on how your students learn. Let your knowledge and skills do the talking rather than your clothing.
With some thought, you can build a wardrobe that allows you to transition seamlessly from professional to casual as needed. Breathable, comfy fabrics can help you stay cool while still looking sharp. The right teacher outfit will give you the confidence to inspire your students.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Be professional even with casual styles. Casual clothing can still look professional. If your school permits jeans, for instance, make sure yours aren’t frayed or showing signs of wear. Dark washes also tend to look a bit more upscale.
- Consider your teaching environment. Think about what your days look like. Are you wrangling tiny humans for a living? You’ll want to make certain your clothing is not only washable, but easy to move around in.
- Have a few dress-to-impress styles on hand. Even if your dress code permits casual clothing, make sure you have some professional outfits in your wardrobe for things like parent-teacher conferences. There are times when you’ll have to make an impression on more than just your students.
- Scale back on accessories. Wearing lots of accessories can feel style-making, but they can be impractical in the classroom. Dangling earrings or bracelets can easily catch on things. And do you really want to wear that expensive wristwatch when you’re working with caustic materials in a science lab?
Remember: The goal isn’t to draw attention to yourself, it’s to command respect and foster a love of learning. Wear clothing that matches both your school’s dress code and your sense of style without making your wardrobe choices the subject of lunch room (or teacher’s lounge) gossip.
The clothes you wear absolutely impact how you’re perceived in the classroom. By being strategic and choosing pieces that are both stylish and functional, teachers can establish authority while feeling comfortable and confident. We hope these tips help you elevate your teacher wardrobe and rock the school year in style!