Below is a list of the top 10 “staples” that I think belong in every teacher’s wardrobe. One thing I’ve learned over the past 3 years is that these “staple” items are the ones you should splurge on. While many items can be bought at a bargain price, these staple items are things that you will wear multiple times throughout your career, so you really should buy for quality and not price. However, that doesn’t mean that you still can’t find good quality items for a bargain price… you just have to know when/where to find them! Here we go…
1. A good fitting pair of black dress slacks.
You can choose to buy boot leg trousers or straight leg. Both look good… I have 3 pairs of boot cut slacks, just because I have about 3 pairs of black skinnies as well (which look great with suit shirts by the way). Generally these types of pants are stocked year-round, but you might be able to find a sale on them during the Christmas season as spring merchandise is starting to come out.
2. A good pair of khakis-
these will come in handy on days where you want to dress down but may not necessarily be allowed to wear jeans based on your school policy (I am not allowed to wear jeans, so khakis are very important for me!)
3. A pair of denim colored dress slacks-
they’re not technically jeans so you can’t really get in trouble for them, but they look great with some shirts that may not look great with any of your normal dress slacks.
4. A nice pencil skirt-
not a lot of teachers in my school wear pencil skirts. Come to think of it, I’ve probably seen 3 other female teachers in pencil skirts between the 3 schools I’ve taught at. The reason this item is on my list is because I feel like pencil skirts are timeless, classic wardrobe pieces that make you look and feel like a real professional. These are great for interviews and for the first day of school when you want to show your kids who’s boss.
5. A white short sleeve or sleeveless blouse-
You can wear white with anything. I have at least 10 different white shirts in my closet, ranging from button down dress shirts to blouses to basic tank tops (which work great under cardigans).
6. At least 1 of each: black, white, and colored cardigans-
I probably wear my black cardigans the most, just because they match with anything and can be worn anytime during the year. White cardigans are great for wearing with dresses/skirts in the spring and summer time. Navy or brown cardigans would be a great choice for the colored cardigans, but any color just to add a little pop to your wardrobe would work great! Cardigans are my go-to item in my closet when I’m having a “fat day” because I still feel stylish but am also nicely covered in the stomach area.
7. A pair of really comfortable black dress shoes with heels-
a lot of teachers wonder how I make it through the day in my heels. Truth is, my mom bought me a really great pair of department store black lace-up pumps with extra padding and I’ve worn them almost every day for 3 years now. They are sadly starting to fall apart little by little, but they will make it another year or 2 (that’s good quality for you!). Keep in mind though… These are not black shoes you’d want to wear with skirts! I really like the soft shoe black pumps that rack room shoes sells for that. They’re not heels you’d go out in, but they look nice with pencil skirts.
8. A pair of black flats-
these look great with skinny pants and work with short boot leg slacks (my slacks tend to shrink in the wash sometimes, so I can no longer wear them with my black heels). Plus, if you just can’t walk in heels all day these are still comfortable but way more fashionable than tennis shoes.
9. Knee- high stockings-
these work great under your dress pants when you wear flats or dress shoes. This way you don’t have to worry about that horrible sock line showing when you sit down and a small part of your leg becomes exposed… For some reason that’s so embarrassing for me!
10. Basic accessories-
a nice pair of cubic zirconium studs and/or pearl studs work great with just about any outfit. I also love wearing my pearl necklace from my grandma with black slacks and a white blouse or a longer necklace with simple sweaters. Accessories really end up making an outfit in the end, so don’t skip out on that part!