Question: What to Wear as a Teacher


Hey Carly, what is the appropriate dresscode for a teacher? Do you have some stylish ideas that won’t make me look boring? Thanks a million.

Hmm.  I think the dress code for a teacher can vary depending on whether you teach at public or private school (and the dress code therein), what subject you teach (art teachers and guidance counselors can get away with a lot more!), what you’re doing in class on a given day (field trip to a farm?), and what age group your students are.  However, my philosophy is that when in doubt, always overdress – you don’t want to be mistaken for one of your students, and you want to convey an air of authority and “togetherness.”  (Right?)  So here are some ideas for some stylish “teacher” wear (certainly translatable to any work wardrobe!):

Though this outfit is a bit 60’s-inspired and a bit pinup-ish, a high-waisted pencil skirt, plain pumps, and ruffled sleeveless top work well for the warmer months (though if you do a lot of arm-raising to write on a whiteboard or pull out projector screens, there is nothing more distracting than a lovely woman in a sleeveless top showing off her armpit to the class.  [Eeek!]  Probably wear a top with sleeves, or a jacket over the ensemble.)

My Picks: 

Glasses: Geek Chic! Rectangular Lenses in Black, $9.99,
Top: DIY here, or you could get the Converse One Star Women’s Sleeveless Top, $21.99,
Belt: Linea Pelle Skinny Belt, $24,
Skirt: Gabardine Pencil Skirt, $69.99,

It goes without saying that a sheath dress is also a great option if you need to look “done up” on a certain day. (Chaps Geometric Dress, $47.99,

Or a pleated/full skirt (perhaps a print for Summer?) under a fitted cardigan, belted over the top, delicate necklace, and a pair of flats is feminine and appropriate for any teacher.

My Picks:

Necklace: Trending Topic Necklace, $9.99,
Cardigan: Love 21 Crepe Chiffon Trim Cardigan, $22.80,
(And Love 21 tends to fit full-fledged women better than Forever 21-brand clothing, which is cut ridiculously small and for a tiny teenager.)
Belt: Twist Front Box Chain Belt, $39,
Skirt: Polka Dot Skirt, $32.90,
Shoes: Lucy Pastel Ballerina Pumpsicon, $30,
Mirror: Apple of my Eye Mirror, $14.99,


You honestly can’t go wrong with a blazer – and short-sleeved ones look really on-trend and chic. Victoria’s Secret, for instance, is really trying to push the deconstructed suit (with a short-sleeved blazer, sleeveless vest, or fold-over waist skirt) look right now – which might not look as “in” five years down the road, but appears very fashionable for 2010.


For summer: cropped pants, lightweight cardigans, white blouses (some lace/embroidery is ok), crisp dresses, flats, peep-toe shoes (depending on the school).

For winter: long pants (try a wide leg for a fluid, slim silhouette!), pretty brooches near your face or on a ribbon belt, knee-high boots, and A-line skirts with dark stockings.

Inappropriate for a Teacher

Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Stuff to leave at home?  Leggings (unless you’re expecting), statement jewelry (unless you’re an art teacher, bib chunky bauble necklaces are probably best left in the jewelry box), flip-flops, t-shirts, anything that shows lots of skin, anything tight all over, baggy or skinny denim, super-high (4″ +) heels, chandelier earrings, ripped anything, anything with a prominent logo or slogan, bright tights or stockings with a sheen, tons of jewelry, all black, combat boots, super-strappy heels, clogs, Crocs, bright-colored makeup, studded items (*sigh*).

Does anyone else have some other great ideas for this reader?

Thanks for your question – hope that helps a bit!

top img from http://jnyintheclassroom.or

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Carly’s Chic Steals and Fashion Deals of the Week: The Office Goes Sexy Chic

by Carly J. Cais, Fashion Designer & ChicSteals Blog

As a designer – my line is RIVETED Clothing & Accessories – I’ve developed an eye for style over the years, and an appreciation for the fact that sometimes, designer pricetags can be downright scary. While life necessitates a splurge once in a while on that can’t-live-without-it fabulous item, much of the fun of fashion is mixing high with low to create outfits that are creative, and also budget-friendly.
Each week, I showcase five hot designer-style steals (each for $100 or, in most cases, for much, much less)…along with one must-splurge item. This week, stay cool and collected at the office in sophisticated monotone – but not monotony! – with chic separates sassed up with a few well-placed splashes of gold. Here are five fabulous picks that will keep you looking polished and professional, but priced at under $50 each, they keep your hard-earned cash right where it belongs: in your wallet.

  • CROPPED JACKET A cropped jacket is the perfect way to look retro, yet very 2008. The 3/4 sleeve and lightweight fabric help keep a working girl cool during the sweltering summer months, while the darts lend a sweetly feminine vibe. And since black goes with everything from jeans to a cocktail frock, this one is an absolute steal at just over $20! Laura Clement Retro Cropped Blazer on sale for $22 at

  • A SHAPELY SKIRT Do the typical knee-length black pencil one better with a slight tulip shape…gently pleated to enhance your curves. Pair with a trendy shrunken vest for some Oliver Twist gamine, or sex it up for a date under a breezy, lacy blouson. Pleated Front Skirt $20 at

  • CHUNKY CHAIN NECKLACE Who knew 36 little inches could yield such style dividends? Wear it long & opera-length, or wrap it twice around the neck for collarbone-grazing gleam. Feeling daring? Try it as a belt or even to bring an otherwise boring old LBD to life. Plus, it’s from which means it arrives in that too-cute zebra print bag which begs to be repurposed as vase for faux flowers in a kitschy ode to Betsey Johnson. Gucci-licious Chain $40 from

  • SEXY PUMP Take a walk on the wild side in gold zebra-print suede, or rock some 80s punk appeal in black patent. Either way, they’re only $40, and are guaranteed to put in the overtime when you slip out of your work trousers and into a pair of weekend leggings or bold graphic tunic. Low cut pump on sale for $39 at

  • TRENDPROOF TOTE To avoid falling prey to fashion victimhood, balance off the sexiness of the stilettos, bling necklace, and shape-silhouetting skirt with a more buttoned-up bag. Not only will this well-made bronze satchel with the pickpocket-proof zipper hold your Blackberry, appointment book, water bottle, iPod, makeup case and other life gadgets (though leave the legal briefs at your desk), but it epitomizes work chic, allowing your to show off your Almighty Good Fashion Sense (TM). Mossimo Four-Poster Bag $23 at

  • SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: A CHIC BUTTON-DOWN From gaposis to droopiness in all the wrong places, most “fitted” blouses are anything but. Rebecca & Drew have cleverly solved this problem with a line of buttondowns and dresses that are sized according to bra size, guaranteeing a perfect fit. Though pricey, they’re soft, long-wearing, easy to launder, and most important: keep you gap- and droop-free on those long work days. A fab investment in your work wardrobe that will climb the corporate ladder right along with with you year after year, promotion after promotion. TrioFit Slimfit Shirt $137 at

If there are any high-priced pieces you’d like me to find similar, less costly versions of, please email me at carlyjcais AT fashiontribes DOT com. ‘Til next week, fellow bargain-hunters!
– Carly J. Cais

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