Teacher outfits matter. Okay, the most important things are focusing on your students, being prepared, and maintaining a positive, encouraging classroom environment. But once you’ve checked those things off (so simple, right? LOL), you’re also going to have to figure out what to wear.
Characteristics of Great Teacher Outfits
Let’s get all teacher-geeky for a minute and break down the characteristics of a good teacher outfit:
- Professional — Although most teachers are not required to go full-on corporate formal, it should be clear that you are a teacher, not a student.
- Comfortable — Let’s face it, teachers have to be able to move. We hustle around the building, up and down flights of stairs, move things around the classroom, and in the case of elementary or primary teachers, need to be able to get up and down from the floor and go out on the playground. And if you’re an arm-talker like me, you have to be able to move your arms around freely to talk. 😀
- Stylish — Some may not agree with me on this, but I personally believe it’s important to dress in a way that shows you are somewhat current with the times and relatable to your audience. Depending on your school rules and environment, you may have a lot of latitude or very little in this area. At a minimum you can add style with simple accessories and shoes.
- Affordable — You know, teacher budget friendly. ‘Nuf said.
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If you’re just starting out, build your teacher wardrobe around classic basics that you can mix and match. The outfits above were featured in a teacher outfit ideas post from last spring, but most would work in fall or even winter, too. Here are some pieces I rotate in again and again all year long:
- T-shirts — Start with solid white, black, and gray tees, and gradually add in a few prints (try stripes or leopard) and graphic tees.
- Black pants — A great pair of black dress pants (try ponte – so comfy!) can be worn again and again, and dressed up or down, with just about anything on top.
- Top layers — Classrooms can get hot and chilly; have a few layering pieces you can put on or take off. Start with a cardigan, a denim jacket, and a blazer.
- Skirts — Skirts are great in fall and spring because it’s almost like you’re wearing shorts. Look for a solid color midi skirt and add in a fun printed skirt, either midi or maxi. Skirts can be dressed up with a nice blouse or made casual with a solid or graphic tee.
- Simple dresses — T-shirt or simple floral dresses are great for layering in spring and fall, and they can also be worn alone. Wear them with tights and cardigans or denim jackets in winter.
- Comfortable shoes — If you can wear sneakers, DO! If not, opt for other comfortable shoes like flats or sandals with good arch support. Stay away from completely flat, uncushioned shoes, especially if your classroom has unforgiving hard floors. Comfy ankle boots are great year-round!
- Jeans — Not all teachers are allowed to wear jeans, but if you are, that’s a huge bonus. Opt for non-distressed jeans, and consider white or colored jeans, too. I do wear distressed jeans on Fridays when we’re allowed to dress more casually.
- Chambray Shirt — These are great for wearing alone with pants, jeans, or skirts. I also love using them as an outerlayer with dresses: buttoned and knotted at the waist, worn as a jacket, or just worn tied around the waist.
- Accessories — It can be fun to jazz up your look with accessories, but make sure they are comfortable. Bracelets shouldn’t get in your way or make too much noise. Earrings shouldn’t pull down heavily on your ears. You get the idea. I have done all of these things wrong in the past, but have finally learned to avoid those issues.
20 Easy Teacher Outfits
Here are some outfits I’ve worn to teach in the past. All of these reflect the characteristics above and mainly involve very affordable pieces that can be mixed and matched year-round. I’ve linked a few key pieces here, but you can shop all of these teacher outfits and more at the SHOP MY INSTAGRAM page. Just click on the outfit you want to shop once there. Half of the looks are dresses or skirts, and the other half are pants/jeans. For outfit category I’ve listed a few other ways to change the look.
Dresses & Skirts
1. Print midi dress + simple heels
2. T-Shirt Dress with Knotted Button Down Shirt + Nude Sandal
3. Graphic Tee + Print Cardigan + Casual Skirt
4. Tie-Waist Flare Midi Skirt + Sleeveless Top
5. Peplum Top with Pencil Skirt
6. T-Shirt Dress with Utility Jacket
7. T-Shirt + Print Maxi Skirt + Denim Jacket
8. T-Shirt Dress + Denim Jacket
9. Graphic Tee + Print Midi Skirt
10. Graphic Tee + Pencil Skirt + Cardigan
Ways to Change Up Your Dresses and Skirts:
- Swap sandals for sneakers, flats, or ankle boots
- Throw on a denim jacket or cardigan
- Wear a tank or cami underneath and loosen the front wrap, or wear a button-down dress as a duster/jacket
- Wear a pullover sweater or sweatshirt over the top
- Wear a knotted button-down shirt over it (see below for example)
- Top with a kimono, utility jacket, or vest
Pants & Jeans
11. Long Cardigan + Tee + Joggers
12. Blazer + Jeans + Tee + Scarf
13. Denim Shirt + White Jeans + Rose Gold
14. Blazer + Graphic Tee + Jeans
15. Kimono + Tee + White Jeans
16. Graphic Tee + Cardigan + Colored Jeans
17. Long Cardigan + Print Mix + Fun Boots
18. Peplum Top + Black Jeans + Leopard
19. Blazer + White Jeans
20. Jumpsuit + Leopard
Ways to Change Up Your Pants & Jumpsuits:
- Shoes, shoes, shoes: a different shoe brings a different look
- Layer, layer, layer
- Add a button-down shirt or pullover to a jumpsuit
- Kimonos and cardigans can be worn open or belted and closed over pants for a different look
- Experiment with graphic tees and top layers
- Try a monochromatic look: white on white, all black, or denim on denim
Mix Things Up
When you’re getting bored of your wardrobe, freshen things up by pairing unexpected color combinations and print mixes. Try wearing a fun tee with dress pants and a neck scarf, or add an eye-catching pair of shoes or boots to ordinary jeans and a button down shirt. If it makes you smile, go with it! Above all, head back to school in clothes that make you feel confident, professional, and comfortable. If your outfit ticks those three boxes, you’re golden, teacher girl. Have a great school year!