Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Wardrobe Staples [Part 1]

This morning, my friend Nicole (girlfriend is gorgeous inside and out!) messaged me about must haves for her teacher closet. Our conversation got me thinking that it might be a good idea for me to write a series of  posts because women have asked me this question multiple times.

This series will comprise at least three posts:
Part 1: The Stores (today's post)
Part 2: The Basics
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 like many of the teacher bloggers in blogland. I do not know if the needs of an elementary school teacher vary from someone in my leopard-print shoes.

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. I link to plenty of outfits on this blog that show you the types of pieces you can buy from certain stores. Know that some of these outfits I did not wear to school, but the pieces could still work for the classroom.

5. I do not like to spend a lot of money on any one item because I usually never like anything enough (or long enough) for that to make sense.

6. There are a lot of great stores (LuLu's, SheInside, Ruche, and etc.) to shop at online, but I prefer trying items on in the store, so you'll see more of that sort of thing around here.


Places I shop with success:

(The bulleted lists include what I typically buy at these places.)

The Limited (in store, they offer a teacher discount--bring your ID!)
ranges from $-$$$$ (with coupons, most items are under $100)

  • Everything from pants to blazers 
  • I am especially drawn to their pants and skirts.
  • Some outfits that include pieces from The Limited: this cobalt blue skirt (and the lace top), my favorite skirt (A-line and khaki), and this tweed skirt (needs tights to be appropriate).
  • Note: unless their entire store is offering a 40% off promotion, you can use your teacher discount on top of clearance items!
(pants are typically in the $50-100 range)
They've seemingly moved away from more work-appropriate gear, but I still love

  • their Editor pant
  • their blazers (my favorite cobalt blazer is from here)
  • Some outfits that include Express: this striped shirt 
  • I don't shop here as often. However, most of my "wear me forever" pants are from Express. 
LOFT (duh! They offer a teacher discount. Order the sticker from their website and slap it on your credit card.)
(most items are under $80)
New York & Company (they offer a teacher discount; just bring your teacher ID--I probably shop here the most because it's one of the only real stores in the "mall" near me, and I'm a lady of convenience.)
(most items are under $80, and they're great about having sales. I typically never have to spend more than $50 on anything here.)

Target (DOUBLE DUH!)
(I think you're well aware of how affordable the clothes here are.)
  • The pieces here do not last forever, but I've scored some good things at the ol' Tar-jay.
  • I am most drawn to their dresses, longer cardigans, and shirts. (If you want to try out skinny jeans on the cheap, Target is your place.)
  • I love their dresses. I have three of the same type (seen here and here), in fact. I always check the clearance rack for something with a cute print that I could mix with my other clothes. 
  • Note: if you shop in the juniors section, be sure to size up unless you want things to fit too snugly, which is not a good idea if you're a teacher.  
Old Navy (they have a teacher appreciation day, which I can never remember)
(Pretty great quality, and most of the pieces are less than $50.)
  • Old Navy has it all for the right price, and the outlets near me have even better prices. 
  • I am especially drawn to Old Navy dresses, skirts, tops (button downs, specifically), and blazers/outerwear. They always have cute coats for a great price.  
  • Some outfits from Old Navy include: this red blazer (dress must be worn with tights to remain appropriate), this gingham shirtthis jean blazerthis striped dress, and this striped dress.
  • You'll probably show up to school wearing the same thing as one of your students, but that's okay. 
(If your mom poops coupons here like my mom does, then this place is perhaps more affordable than Target.)

GAP (does NOT offer a teacher's discount)
(Their sales seem to be better online and in the outlets.)
  • I really only go to GAP when I hit the outlets because it's not very close. However, I am drawn to their jeans (casual days, anyone?)
  • Some outfits that include GAP pieces: these neon jeans (which I can wear to school) and these green jeans.
Other Stores (not many pictures around these parts of the post):

Marshall's/TJ Maxx (mainly Marshall's because that's what lives near me)
  • I get a lot of my shoes here, especially Franco Sarto who happens to be my favorite shoe designer. 
  • My favorite brand that shows up here is probably Kenar. Great durability, and they actually carry XS. 
White House Black Market 
  • Everything lasts forever, and my favorite white jeans are from here and so is my sequin skirt. It's too expensive for my piggy bank, so I shop here only periodically and always check the sales!
  • Never the dresses or skirts because my booty makes everything 3 inches shorter than their already-too-short length. Some people have great luck with the length. I never do.
  • Cute blazers for great prices! 
  • I have a few tops from here, too.
Banana Republic
  • Especially the outlet
  • Great pants and dresses!
  • Unless it's on sale, I typically won't get it. Again, their prices are a little too high for my tastes. 
J.Crew (offers a teacher discount)
I would love to order something from J.Crew Factory, but it just hasn't happened. 
  • Their stuff is gorgeous, but I just won't pay the prices. I have one item from J.Crew, and I bought it at the thrift shop. 
  • They offer a teacher discount, which is great.
  • Maybe my goal will be to buy one thing from there before the year ends. 
  • I think their skirts are especially great for teachers. 
  • Nine West (usually at Marshall's)
  • Naturalizer (especially the outlet)
  • Target (for some flats)
  • DSW 
  • Aerosoles 
  • ModCloth
  • Found a really comfortable (and cute) pair from Easy Spirit. Go figure!  
  • I really want to try  heels from Chromatic Gallerie because you can specify the heel height and there are SO MANY color options. 
  • NOTE: I avoid any heel over 3" because it's impractical for me (don't want to break my face), but some women can rock it.

Favorite Places for Scarves?
  • Francesca's always has the cutest prints.
  • Target
  • Old Navy
  • Boscov's
Join me tomorrow for 
Part 2: The Basics.

On Wednesday, my birthday, I'll give you 
Part 3: The Outfits.

For now, I'll provide you with two collages of *what I hope is* inspiration.

If you're a teacher and you have some other stores to include, write them in the comments! 
(If you have tips for your gotta-have-'em basics, save them for the comments section of tomorrow's post.) I tried to cover a lot here, but I'm sure I forgot a few things. I'll need your help to fill in the holes of my Swiss cheese brain.

If you want me to include a photo of one of your favorite teacher outfits (from your blog--you don't have to be a teacher; it can just be a teacher-worthy outfit), e-mail the picture and post link to me! If enough people send me pictures, I'll create a post solely for inspiration from fellow teachers. 
E-mail me at:

I hope this post was at least mildly useful.
Let me know if there is anything else you'd like to read in the series.
After all, I AM a teacher, which means I like to help :)


  1. Great series! I am just realizing that I'm going to start donning my teacher wardrobe very, very shortly. I definitely shop at pretty much all these stores. I can sometimes find good stuff at department stores like bonton, boscovs, and JCP.

  2. This is an awesome post, Danielle! I am not a teacher, but I'm going to school for school counseling, so I'll be working as a professional in an educational setting. This post gave me a great idea of what places might be helpful as I continue to fine tune my professional wardrobe. I already shop at many of these places, but many of them, I haven't been to in forever! Thanks for the reminder to expand my horizons a little bit :)


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