Posted on July 28 2017
Teacher Appreciation Week may be in May, but in our humble opinion, personal and heartfelt thank-yous to our world-changers should not only be heard every week, but felt immensely during those first few days of classes—exciting, nerve-racking, and hectic as they may be.
Choosing something functional but fashionable before welcoming your new students might be last on your priority list but first on your mind. So for sending us such easy-to-follow fashion tips, we have a Texas-sized thank-you to give to five of Houston's very own world-changers!
Keep scrolling for their real, relatable advice and the outfits we styled based on their recommendations.
Comfortable and professional workwear may seem like an oxymoron, but since teachers are on their feet from the 6 AM alarm to school bell dismissal, comfortability and professionalism cannot—and should not—contradict each other.
For Mary Elisabeth, an 11th and 12th grade teacher, flowy pants and dresses (tunic, swing, and shift) are effortless and can be mix-and-matched with long-sleeve tops, cardigans, and opaque tights for endless combinations.
Her advice? "Wear one bright piece and the rest, neutrals." Whether it's a bold print or a fun-and-funky purse, brightening up your outfit with a pop of color is one way to brighten up your day, too.
This Marie Oliver tunic dress is not only easy to throw on, but also made of 100% silk, an all-climate fabric that will keep you cool for burning carpool lanes and warm for freezing school buildings. An added bonus: it has pockets!
This Three Dots cardigan will drape beautifully against the dress. Don't forget these Spanx tights to keep your workwear modest yet stylish. And of course, comfy-cute shoes like these Marsell booties are a must! Toss an extra #2 pencil in this bright blue Louis Vuitton purse.
This BCBG Max Azria silk button-up can be taken from the classroom to cocktail hour! Loosely tuck it into these silky, slouchy pants by Hunter Bell. Slip into these Passions Footwear gold-accented black flats to sophisticate the look.
Add to the shoes' gold accent with these statement-making gold earrings (now only $20!). For Mary Elisabeth, cardigans are one of the best ways to dress up an outfit. With this Marie Oliver cardi, you're sure to look polished without pretense!
Comfort may be key no matter if you are teaching the littlest of learners or college-bound graduates, but a peek into a Pre-K teacher's closet versus a 12th grade teacher's may reveal slightly different wardrobe essentials.
"Between carpool, playground, and being on the floor for circle time," Pre-K teacher Amber H. explained, "there are lots of factors to consider!" She ticked off a few things to factor in when choosing teacher-friendly pieces: 1) versatility in fickle weather, 2) plenty of room for movement, 3) ability to quickly and easily treat a stain, and 4)—probably the most important factor in a Pre-K classroom—ability to sit criss-cross applesauce with the kiddos!
There was one more item, though, that had nothing to do with school and still made her for-school check-list. "I would frequently go to dinner in the same outfit I wore to school, so I tried to balance both dressing appropriately for my workday but fashionably enough that I didn't look like I just came from teaching preschool!"
For Amber, "flowy," "stretchy," and "breathable" fabrics are the kindest to teachers, so this linen, rust-colored top by Wilt and these linen drawstring pants by Michael Stars are perfect since they'll wick away perspiration and allow your skin to breathe.
Top off the outfit with this military jacket by Burning Torch, made from upcycled material, and this Chan Luu tassel necklace. Because the kiddos love playing with her long necklaces in carpool, Amber wrote she "almost always" wore "a long necklace."
What about when work calls for something a little dressier? "On more formal days, I would wear a maxi dress or a maxi skirt with sandals or flats and sometimes pair that with a blazer." This CCH Collection blazer draped over this Corey Lynn Calter maxi dress is both effortless and flawless. Couple the two-piece combo with this dainty teardrop necklace, and add a little bit of height to your confidence with these Matisse wedges!
Similar to Amber, Pre-K teacher Whitney Z. wrote, "I like being able to sit criss-cross applesauce" with the littles, "so I love maxi skirts." Since preschoolers are often running or rolling, climbing or crashing, Whitney recommended investing in a high-quality pair of shoes to be quick on your feet, even if that means paying a little more. "They need to be comfortable," she continued, "and they need to last."
This Townsen maxi dress is such a stress-free outfit and makes sitting down on that ABC rug with your kiddos so easy. Be kind to your feet with these trendy metallic gold Dr. Scholl's d'Orsay flats that have a memory foam footbed for lasting comfort. Accessorize with some gold hoops and this go-with-everything Kate Spade shoulder bag.
What about for faculty meeting days? For Whitney, layers can take an outfit from the classroom to the boardroom. "I bring a sweater to throw on because the room is freezing."
Take this chic Drew Clothing bomber jacket with you to bear the blasting A/C of the faculty room. Complement the jacket with this pure silk tank top by Hunter Bell, which is simply the best closet staple and base color to build an outfit upon. Pair it with these luxe pants by Ramy Brook with soft and light smocking that creates a textured and pleated look. The rich plum color fits aesthetically into the fall color palette.
To maximize both your style and your organization skills, this Valentino tote bag is perfect for bringing along paper and pen. For all-day wear, try these foldable Yosi Samra ballet flats with a cushioned sole. In Whitney's words, "Good shoes are a must." Finally, dazzle with this naturally beautiful stone ring by Chan Luu.
Though they share a first name, Whitney A., a 3rd grade teacher, and Whitney Z. share different ideas for what wardrobe essentials the littles just love to see! For Whitney Z., keeping a playful—and practical—pair of rain boots with her is necessary "for splashing outside on the playground" with her preschoolers, and "the brighter, the better because the kiddos love them."
Whitney A.'s must-have item, however, is a scarf that can refresh her day-to-day look. "Kids notice," she divulges. Like Mary Elisabeth, Whitney A. prefers to mix-and-match for piecing together an outfit with ease. She swaps between go-with-everything chambray tops and printed blouses to combine with simple bottoms.
This printed Marie Oliver silk blouse and Splendid chambray long-sleeve can be paired with either this Raoul skinny pant or these DL1961 boyfriend jeans. The boyfriend jeans have super soft stretch denim to let your legs move freely throughout the workday.
As Whitney Z. recommended, Tory Burch shoes are worth the extra cash if you wish for comfort in style! Plus, d'Orsays are very "in" right now. Try these Tory Burch flats or these embellished T-strap sandals for a bit of glam!
Lindsey C., a 1st grade teacher, says when she's thumbing through store racks, she's looking for something in which she can move around all day. "I sit on the carpet with the kids sometimes; we dance or are being silly for brain breaks; and I'm walking around from desk to desk regularly."
Besides allowing for free movement, Lindsey also must be "really mindful of length and fit" for when she wears dresses or skirts—both of which are her must-haves for dressing school-appropriate but fashion-forward!
This Hunter Bell silk blouse is lightweight and breathable and couples well with this high-waisted jacquard skirt—fashion à la prep-school! Mix prints with this J. Crew clutch, and keep it simple with these Italian-made leather sandals by Joie.
"My go-to outfit," Lindsey told us, "would be colored jeans, a silk shirt, fun earrings or accessories, and some cute sandals." We think this sleek and chic Hunter Bell silk tank, matched with these coral-colored Trina Turk skinnies and accented by layers of multicolored pendants, fits her description rather nicely! Want to splurge? Shoulder your happiness inside of this monogram Louis Vuitton purse.
What are YOUR go-tos for a comfortable and professional start to the school year? Comment below! We'd love to hear your thoughts and, of course, be each other's (Mulberry) Muses.
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