Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teacher Wardrobe Staples [Part 2]

Okay, in case you missed it yesterday, I started this Teacher Wardrobe series with the places I shop and what I typically buy there. (That post included some inspiration in the form of collages. You're welcome.) 

This series will comprise at least three posts:

Part 1: The Stores (yesterday's post)

Part 2: The Basics (today's post)

Part 3: The Outfits

Part 4: The Inspiration  (depends on you, the readers)

Part 4 is where YOU come in! E-mail me a picture of you wearing your favorite teacher outfit. If you're a blogger and the picture comes from a post on your blog, provide me with the link to the original content, please! If you're not a blogger, tell me how you'd prefer I credit you :) 

I like to give credit where credit is due. If enough ladies e-mail me, I'll compile Part 4. If not, you might be stuck with pictures of just me for inspiration.

During your stay, keep a few things in mind:

1. I teach High School English, not elementary school. Determine how this series best suits your needs.

2. I tried to create a list that should work for a stricter dress code policy, but know that my school's dress code is quite lax compared to other schools'.

3. If you're a new teacher or one looking to spruce up her wardrobe, you might find that you already have many of the items I'll be listing in this series. Hooray!

4. If you put all of these collages together, they create a nice wardrobe. (I'll show you some outfits with these pieces tomorrow.)

5. This list is not comprehensive! It is merely a start. Remember: it's called "The BASICS." It gives you plenty of options to add items as you see fit. (haha...pun not intended.)  

6. When you add items to your collection, don't forget to try them on with other items you own. (Rule of three works nicely: try it on with three outfits to determine whether or not it's a good "fit" for your closet.)

7. Underneath each collage, you will find links to the clothing items. In the list below the collage, the bold text makes up the "list" of items in that category of basics. 


* You should have a blend of neutrals, prints, and solid colors (ex: red).
* I try to find tops with sleeves so that I don't have to wear a cardigan/blazer because sometimes my classroom is too hot for all of those layers! 
* Make sure all tops can be worn tucked or untucked so their potential is maximized
* Button-ups are especially awesome because you can tie them in a knot, tuck them, or leave them loose. 
* In the dressing room, lift your arms up, lean over, and squat. If none of your unmentionables peek out, you're gravy, baby. 
* In this collage, I do not have a solid, "fun" color represented because I couldn't find something I really liked. And my collage ran out of room.

1. Old Navy Gingham Shirt -- $24.94 -- buy here
2. Old Navy Blue Oxford -- $24.50 -- buy here
3. LOFT Striped T-shirt -- $34.50 with 50% off -- buy here
4. LOFT Polka Dot Blouse -- $59.50 -- buy here
5. NY & Co Printed Blouse -- $39.95 -- buy here
6. Merona Printed Blouse via Target -- $19.99 -- buy here

* I have a combination of more structured blazers and more jersey-like blazers. 
* If you don't care for blazers (umm...you are crazy, right?), then substitute blazers for cardigans! Simple solution :) Pretty much wherever a blazer works so does a cardigan. 
* My favorite places to buy blazers are Marshall's, Target, and NY & Co. Of course, I have blazers from everywhere. I can't wear the J.Crew blazers because they're all made of wool. Wool and I are not simpatico. 
* When you try on blazers, cross your arms in front of you. If it pulls and feels uncomfortable, just say no. Regardless of how cute it is. (I had to remind myself of this one the other day.)

1. Mossimo Ponte Boyfriend Blazer in Bold Color -- $29.99 -- buy here
2. Blazer with Some Flair (White Peplum Jacket via Target) -- $31.48 -- buy here
3. Colored Blazer via The Limited -- $98 -- buy here
4. Black, Neutral Blazer via LOFT -- $128 -- buy here
5. Gray, Neutral Blazer via Jcrew Factory -- $128 -- buy here
(Switch up some of these blazer choices with cardigans. 
Choose neutrals that best suit your closet.)

* I recommend some colored bottoms (fun with printed tops), printed bottoms, and neutral bottoms. I have a mixture of cuts for skirts and pants.
* If they do not fit well, invest in tailoring. (I hunt for bottoms until they fit because I don't want to pay a tailor, haha. Read: I'm too lazy to find a tailor and then pick up said items from a tailor. I can't even handle drycleaning.)
* Match them up with your tops and be sure you can mix and match multiple ways!
* In the dressing room, bend down/over to make sure you don't suffer from a case of plumber's crack.

1. Khaki Pants for heels or flats via Express -- $69.90 -- buy here
2. Bold Skirt via NY & Co -- $36.95 -- buy here
3. Printed Skirt via LOFT -- $49.50 -- buy here
4. Colored Slacks via The Limited -- $64.90-- buy here
5. Colored Slacks via The Limited -- $69.90 -- buy here
6. Neutral boot cut slacks via The Limited -- $69.90 -- buy here
7. Black Skirt via LOFT -- $69.50 -- buy here
(Swap out some of these skirts for pants and vice versa. 
This collage simply serves as a pallet for you.)

* I like a little neutral (black & red for me), some stripes (DUH), a fun print, and a little feminine (cue lace).
* I avoid spaghetti straps just in case it gets too hot, and I have to take off a blazer/cardigan. 
* All of these dresses work well with flats or heels, tights or no tights, blazer or no blazer, belts or no belts.
* Find the cut of dress that fits you best and find a bit of everything: neutral, nautical, fun, and feminine.  

1.Banana Republic Neutral Dress -- $98 -- buy here
2.Striped Dress via LOFT -- $69.50 -- buy here
3.Fun print dress via The Limited -- $89.90 -- buy here
4.Feminine dress (lace shown here) -- $24 -- buy here

Shoes (note: I nearly quit before this point because making these collages is not 
as easy as I had anticipated, but I like you folks.)

* I cannot wear anything higher than 3" (and those 3" must be in the form of a wedge) 
because I don't particularly enjoy falling on my face.
* This list does not include boots because I could go on for-ev-er about those.

1. Steve Madden Leopard flats (any printed flat will do) -- $79.95 -- buy here
2.  Less expensive Target leopard flats -- $11.24 -- buy here
3. Colorful heels at Chromatic Gallerie (many color options here) – $88 -- buy here
4. Nude flats at J.Crew Factory -- $88 -- buy here
5. Flats with some sparkle from Mod Cloth -- $34.99 -- buy here
6. Black wedge via J.Crew Factory -- $88 -- buy here

  • When you buy each item, take it home and try creating three different outfits with it. Try on the outfits. Sometimes, they sound great in your mind and look awful in real life. If you can't create three outfits you love, return it for something that really fits with the rest of your wardrobe. 
  • If you love the outfits that you create with each item, TAKE PICTURES. You think you'll remember those cute outfits, but the brain is an evasive turdmonger who likes to rob us of good ideas. 
  • Tops: fun print, neutral, and solid color. 
    • Make sure what you choose goes with the rest of your closet. 
    • Pair these tops with the bottoms that you buy!
    • Do the bend, lean, squat test to make sure it doesn't flash your goodies to the world.
    • Try tucking, untucking, and tying the top. If it can do 2/3, give yourself a pat on the back.
  • Blazers/Cardigans: fun color that goes with your printed top/neutral/printed bottoms (I love my cobalt blue one), neutral (if you like black bottoms, maybe choose a gray blazer), and a print if you wish (I have four striped ones alone...yikes!)
    • Cross your arms in the front to make sure your shoulder blades don't get choke held by the back of your blazer. 
    • Be sure you're comfortable with the length of the sleeves. I hate it when they're a tad too short.
  • Skirts: same as before (print, neutral, solid color that's more "fun" than a neutral)
    • Choose the fit that looks best on you. (I only like pencil skirts when I wear heels with them. A-line skirts, on the other hand, make me happy regardless of my footwear.)
    • Make sure you can tuck a shirt into it or wear a different shirt loosely with it. 
    • Try it on with belts. They often add just the right amount of polish. Don't be discouraged if the first five belts look terrible; the sixth one might look perfect. 
    • Do the bend and snap. Take inventory of your goodies. Be sure they're not hanging out.
  • Pants: color, neutral, print (if you feel so inclined)
    • Try having more than one style on hand (I like wide leg with wedges, pencil cut with heels/flats, and boot cut with heels/wedges.) 
    • Bend and snap and check yo' crack.  
  • Dresses:
    • For this one, I like to have one of each: feminine, neutral, stripes, and fun print.
  • Shoes
    • For these, I like a variety of sparkle, animal print, bold colors, and neutral colors.
    • When I was trying to pick the bold color of my heels, I considered which bold flats I wore the most (cobalt) and chose that color for my heels! 
    • Try doing the laundry in your shoes. If your feet hurt after that, they'll definitely hurt after a day of teaching. Take 'em back. 
**NOTE: I did not include accessories such as necklaces and scarves because they could take up a post of their own! I will try to incorporate them in Part 3 with the outfits.**

Check back tomorrow for 
Part 3: The Outfits

Don't forget to e-mail me a picture of you wearing your favorite teacher outfit. 

(You do NOT have to be a teacher; it can be a teacher-inspired ensemble.)

(You do NOT have to be a blogger either!)

If you ARE a blogger and the picture comes from a post on your blog, provide me with the link to the original content, please! If you're not a blogger, tell me how you'd prefer I credit you :) 

E-mail me at


P.S. I made all of those collages using PowerPoint, and it was so much easier than iPiccy or Photoshop. That program never ceases to be awesome
Aaaaand that's such a teacher thing to say.

P.P.S. In the comments section, leave what you find to be your wardrobe basics as a teacher (or similar professional)! We could all use every bit of inspiration that we can get. 
Style Elixir


  1. Another great post, and I agree 100% with your basics. I actually do have a hard time finding blazers that fit me correctly and comfortably, so I wear cardigans a lot. And I also prefer flats or lower heels.

  2. I agree with you on almost all accounts! I would add the hug yourself test to shirts. I've had a couple almost purchases until I felt like I was about to pull an Incredible Hulk and rip my shirt from doing so. Also, when purchasing blazers, I like to lift my arms up. I write on the white/chalkboard every session, and I hate the awkward feeling that your blazer moves with you rather than staying put. I hope that makes sense? Also, before buying a skirt, I will sit down in it (dressing rooms often have chairs/benches) to see how much it rides up or if it does something I don't like. I finally recommend to check tags of shirts prior to purchasing. I will avoid dry-clean only tops for the same reason you do (laziness).

  3. Hahaha! I loved "the brain is an evasive turdmonger"! I agree with Kate--definitely sit down to see if the dress/skirt is suddenly inappropriate when you go to sit at your desk (or in a very important meeting with parents!). Nope, that never happened to me at all. Uh-uh. I also think having one suit set is a good thing for anyone to have. You can wear the suit as a whole for really, really important meetings, presentations, or at an interview and you can wear them separate for any regular outfit.

  4. I'm not a teacher but I love this post! It's great for any casual business-like wardrobe that could easily be worn on weekends too!

    Exploring My Style

  5. I completely agree! Great finds, love.

    Thanks for linking up with Style Sessions.

    Lauren xx


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