Teacher Looks

This post originally appeared on Dawn Stanyon’s professional fashion and personal branding blog Professionality. Her images, content and advice will be cross-posted here occasionally, enjoy!

Whoever said teachers don’t look smart?

I had a request from a terrific teacher: “Now that back to school shopping is in full swing can you post some ideas for business casual for teachers/school employees? Nobody at my school wears jackets/blazers yet I need a third piece due to temperature extremes. I wear a lot of cardigans but don’t want to limit myself. I like dresses and skirts but structured sheath dresses and/or pencil skirts are a bit too formal. Thanks so much!”

Teachers can be good-lookin’ too! Let’s not tap the oversized drop-waisted dresses and khakis with ribbed sweaters. There’s so much more. Thus, the above looks: each is covered up but cute. 1) A spring/summer dress crosses over into the fall with jeans underneath and a draped cardi over top; 2) a more traditional look with wide-waist banded black pants, a sweater and a scarf for coziness; 3) An Elizabeth & James tunic dress with tights; and 4) a version of the standard jean dress but with a SoWest-flavored sweater, and clogs.

I appreciate teachers. Thank you for teaching our children.



    Good day!
    Honestly? I do not like the costumes for teachers at the top. I believe that a teacher should dress in business suits of the dark colors. More confidence. ( It a was translated with Google translator).

  2. Jody

    I would think what constitutes a “good” look for a teacher would depend on the level and subject the person is teaching. For older kids and high school, a teacher could dress a bit nicer on the theory that he/she isn’t running around or sitting on the floor playing with them. I’d expect Physical Education and Science teachers (where the coursework might be a bit more messy) to dress a bit more casually. Similarly, I’d expect those who teach small children to dress a bit more casually as they’re probably doing more running around and activities with their pupils.

    • Vanna Keiler

      I completely agree with Jody. Depending on the grade you are teaching and the subject you are teaching, teachers dress accordingly in North America, based on the attire being practical and functional.

      Wearing a “suit” would be suitable for an administrator, such as a principal or assistant principal, or anyone who is not teaching where physical movements would be a regular part of the work day. This also translates to other industries, such as people who work in warehouses would wear more rugged clothing such as hard shoes or boots and jeans.

      Many teachers do indeed wear suits on a regular basis, mostly those teaching high school and particular subjects. This does help provide students of a visual cue for what would be expected of them in the work environment. Secondly, yes, as Yelena pointed out, dressing professionally reinforces to the students that the teacher is their supervisor.

      Having said all this, I believe teaching is the one profession where a person has the most latitude in how they choose to dress. The focus is, and should always be, on the learning process, and not on more trivial matters as dress, so long as it falls into the school’s policies and culture.

  3. In my opinion a teacher should dress more conservative as they are not in front of the class room to attract attention to their outfits but instead stimulate the students minds! School is not about looking hip or cool. In that regard, a lot of foreign countries do wise for using uniforms; less distraction and more focus on the academic level and value!

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