Calling All Teachers! Your Input Is Needed For A Teacher Capsule Wardrobe


Are you a teacher? Do you teach elementary school or high school? I have had several requests to create a teacher capsule wardrobe. The Essential season series in my Capsule Wardrobe eBook Store would work well for a teacher if you are needing a mix of casual and dressy outfits. The Stay At Home Mom season series would be great for a preschool teacher who needs an all-casual wardrobe since you do activities with small children. I’ll be publishing the Fall 2019 Capsule Wardrobe eBooks starting August 6, with The Essential Fall 2019 Collection, then the other season eBooks will follow during the month of August.

I want to help you all out by creating one, but need a little bit of input from you all to create a capsule wardrobe that you will love to wear! After doing some research on Pinterest searching for “teacher outfits”, I understand that teachers want to look very stylish, while being comfortable at the same time. I found these points are important when dressing for your job:

  • If you are an elementary school teacher, your clothes need to be comfortable since you are active all day with the students.
  • You need comfortable shoes since you stand a lot while you teach all day.

To create a capsule wardrobe just for teachers, I have a couple of questions and I need your input! Please provide your input using the comment section below. Your help is much appreciated!

1. Which of these pieces do you like to wear while you are teaching?

solid tee (black, gray, white, colors like olive, mustard, etc) or striped tee
button up shirt
chambray shirt
blouse (solid or patterned)

ankle pants (black, gray and other colors like olive, mustard, etc)
skinny jeans (medium wash, dark wash, black, gray, colors like olive, burgundy)
wide leg pants (black, gray and other colors like olive, mustard, etc)
midi skirts (solid colors or patterns)
jersey pencil skirts
ponte leggings (black or gray)

cardigans (beige, gray, colors like burgundy, mustard, olive, etc)
denim jackets
utility jackets

straight t-shirt style
midi length with tie belt

wedge espadrilles
sandal heels
tall boots

2. Do you have a dress code at your school? Can you wear Jeans? Can you wear Leggings?

Here are a few teacher-inspired outfits I found while searching Pinterest. Let me know which ones you like!

Outfit #1:

Pieces in the outfit: striped tee, olive color jeans, denim jacket, leopard loafers

Outfit #2:

Pieces in the outfit: chambray shirt, cardigan, black skinny jeans, black loafers

Outfit #3:

Pieces in the outfit: tunic top/sweater, burgundy jeans, leopard flats

Outfit #4:

Pieces in the outfit: white shirt, cardigan, black pants, black flats

More Outfits:

Pieces in the Outfits: graphic tee, white top, midi skirt, wide leg pants, chambray shirt, kimono, jeans, denim jacket

All these outfits except the shorts outfit image source

Thank you in advance to all the teachers who provide input on this post!

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  1. I teach middle school. I’ve combined pieces from many of your capsule books to make mine. Lots of jeans in many colors, tees, chambray, booties, Rothy’s, Tieks, mules – all of your staple items. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

  2. I teach preschool special education. My wardrobe consists of colored skinny jeans and ankle pants, cardigans and denim jackets and a variety of T-shirt’s and sweaters. Shoes are exclusively flats as I have to be able to literally run after a child at any time – rothys and Tieks mainly with some low heeled boots or booties on occasion. Our school dress code includes jeans on Fridays only, colored skinny jeans are acceptable any day. Leggings only if your top/dress is mid thigh or longer. Button up shirts are too fussy and dressy for me so I avoid them, but otherwise I love all the outfit suggestions pictured!

  3. Finally!!
    Thankfully we have no dress code. As long as your not showing everything.
    For me personnaly leggings are a no go.
    I want to look professional and casual. But leggings are for me too casual.

  4. Hi! I am a K-12 teacher, so I live in all three teaching worlds.

    Each school does have a dress code- very few are as conservative as the corporate world but they do exist. Outfit #4 most closely fits with our dress code. We can wear jeans on Fridays with spirit wear (school colors or clothing items. I.e a homecoming shirt etc.) My administrators wear suits almost everyday. So, I dress a little more on the business side of business casual. Leggings are frowned upon. Ponte pants can be okay depending upon their thickness.

    I wear solid tees (long & short) and striped tees, blouses (short sleeved), cardigans, blazers, denim jacket, sweaters. I wear boot cut black, navy, and gray dress pants, and ankle pants in fun colors, pencil skirts, and a-line skirts, my dresses for work are all sheath dresses with easily covered arms, my shoe choices are flat sandals, ankle boots, riding boots, and a low kitten heel or wedge.

    The biggest thing for teacher wardrobes are durability and washability. If it cant go in the washing machine it doesn’t go in my closet.

    I hope you find this helpful.

  5. I am a PK-12 school counselor. This is what I like:
    Tops: solid tee, blouse (solid), sweater
    Bottoms: wide leg pants (boot cut cords are my favorite!)
    Layers: cardigans solid
    Shoes:Birkenstocks or Danskos

    We do have a dress code but can wear non-blue jeans. I love outfit #1 & 2!
    Thanks for doing this!!

  6. I used the fall essential wardrobe and it worked great. I subbed out the skirts and wore pants in the place of them. I rarely need anything dressy. At my school we can only wear jeans on Friday, colored jeans are sort of a gray area, but I think if they look dressy enough they’re OK, and I wore them all the time because they looked professional enough with the top options. My personal temperature level fluctuates all day, somewhat due to inconsistent classroom temps, some due to my changing activity level through the day, (some probably just due to my age). Because of that, I love the cardigan and light jacket options because it’s easy to adjust for different temps.
    I was really happy with the fall ‘18 ECW, and have turned a few friends on to you books. Thanks for thinking of us.
    6th grade teacher

  7. Middle school and high school Substitute, so I could be assigned almost anything (gym, art, special ed/life skills, cooking, woodshop, or any of the standard classrooms) which means I need to be comfortably prepared for it all.

    Jeans with a school tee shirt are allowed on Fridays. Fitted leggings under dresses are okay, but not allowed as pants so tops need to be at be least hip length. dressy joggers are okay, but not sweatpants.

    Ponte knit trousers with pockets are preferred. (Nice to keep my cellphone on me).

    Cardigans or jackets are fabulous for the various temps in the buildings. Solid layers preferred

    As a plus size apple shape, I always look for swing/trapeze style tops. Prefer tops with prints. V or scoop neck but nothing that would accentuate cleavage.

    Comfy shoes!!!! Love slip on loafers or ballet flats.

    Decent bag for school supplies, lunch or snacks, and a great reusable mug/water bottle.

    Single biggest thing with a teacher wardrobe is affordability!!! I want to look nice, but not be broke.

  8. High school English teacher.
    Dress code: no t-shirts, jeans, nor leggings.
    I like to wear blouses (flow-y) sweaters, ankle pants, jersey pencil skirts, a-line knit skirts, cardigans, denim jackets, blazers, knit sheath dresses or swing dresses (pockets are an AWESOME bonus), wedges, sandal heels, booties, tall boots.
    Of the outfits you showed, I would only wear number 4, but I would swap the button up for a flow-y top, maybe in lace or eyelet.

    If you included a weekend/dress down day mini-capsule you would put me in Teacher nirvana.

    As to colors, navy/grey/brown are more interesting neutrals than black. A lot of colleagues like to wear fun colors-not just olive and burgundy. My struggle with those warm colors (including the mustard) is that I have to then search for cool color replacements. That process undermines the convenience of buying your books with the shopping links.

  9. First of all….THANK YOU for thinking of this!

    1. I am a music therapist and I work in special education k-8. Must be machine washable.

    solid tee (black, gray, white, colors like olive, mustard, etc) or striped tee
    blouse (solid or patterned)

    cardigans (beige, gray, colors like burgundy, mustard, olive, etc)
    denim jackets
    utility jackets

    straight t-shirt style
    midi length with tie belt

    ankle pants (black, gray and other colors like olive, mustard, etc)
    skinny jeans (medium wash, dark wash, black, gray, colors like olive, burgundy)
    wide leg pants (black, gray and other colors like olive, mustard, etc)
    midi skirts (solid colors or patterns)
    Leggings are OK, but must have a longer top to cover it up.

    flat sandals (NOT mules)
    cute printed sneakers
    Closed toe shoes are best

    2. All of the images you posted would be appropriate for work and I love the looks. Leggings are OK, but must have a longer top to cover it up.

  10. I teach elementary school. Our dress code doesn’t allow jeans (except Fridays with the school t-shirt) and no leggings.

    I use your Seasonal Essential Wardrobes with modifications. For example, this spring/ summer ( last day of school is mid-June) I used your Summer 2018 Essential Capsule: chambray ankle pants in place of jeans & jean shorts. I subbed skirts instead of shorts. I wore navy pants and chambray patterned pants. I also layered a lot of cardigans, navy, white, and red, due to the air conditioning.

    For shoes, flats and sandals for spring. Fall, flats, it’s too hot for boots. Winter, ankle boots and tall boots. Something comfortable!!!

  11. I am so excited!! This is just totally over the top! I normally use your essential and switch navy ankle pants for jeans. Our criteria are the same as the above comments (Middle/Science). Shoes are always a challenge, must be close-toed. Thank you!!!! Outfit #2 is definitely my favorite if I could wear the same thing every day that would be it.

  12. I am a PreK-12 behavioral consultant who taught PreK-5 special education for 14 years. Though I am technically a central office employee now I still dress like I did when I was a teacher because I work directly with teachers and students every day.

    I wear: ankle pants, skinny jeans, leggings, jersey pencil skirts, and soft waisted a-line skirts; solid and striped t-shirts, sweaters, blouses, chambray shirts, and button downs; lots and lots of cardigans; t-shirt dresses, knee-length belted dresses, and a-line dresses; flats (Rothy’s), booties, tall boots, and sandals (Vionics, Teva flip-flops, Birkenstocks).

    My school system does not have a dress code but each individual principal sets dress expectations for their teachers. Typically the dress is pretty relaxed – as long as clothing looks “professional” (appropriate length and fit, no holes, not too casual) it is generally okay, though most schools only allow jeans on Fridays. Most schools don’t have restrictions on shoes though some principals do not allow sneakers.

    I love all of the outfits you posted!❤️

  13. I love the capsule books! I teach high school, can only wear jeans on Fridays with school “spirit” shirts (school logo or colors). I do not wear a lot dresses or skirts, so I have replaced or omitted those items from the capsules. My favorites are essential & French minimalist. I wear cardigans a lot! Would like more blazers incorporated into my outfits, but I also don’t want to be too bulky with a sweater under a blazer/jacket…teacher has to move! 🙂 I have also started wearing vests due to capsuling. Love colored jeans as they are dressy for school, wide legs trousers too. Ankle and capri length are great the first month or so or teaching. Shoes..flats, ankle booties, taller boots (riding)…no heels will not sacrifice comfort! Since following capsuling, my mornings have been great & less stress! And I feel put together while standing in front of teenagers.

  14. Great Idea to do this – and yes most schools have a dress code- our dress code says:
    shoes must have a strap on the back, no bras showing, no spaghetti straps

    My suggestions:
    -no heels (you need to be able to run)
    – shoes need to be able to worn outside in all kinds of weather ( yard duty)
    -darker jeans, no rips
    -multiple layers ( school heating/cooling is variable in different areas of the school)
    -washable & stretchable (may end up sitting on the floor or outside with students)
    -watch the neckline ( should be able to lean over and not see down your shirt)
    -leggings only if covered by a longer top
    -no shorts, longer skirts

  15. Thank you for thinking of us! I teach middle school and I prefer clothes that allow me to be ready for anything. Midi skirts and dresses, dress pants (no leggings and jeans only on Friday), shoes and boots on the lower- heeled side, tops that aren’t low cut, and layers for fluctuating temps are all necessities for me. Navy and gray are good neutrals and I enjoy mixing in prints.

  16. I teach middle school and I am most comfortable in

    Tops: nice tees, button up shirts including chambray, blouses or tops I can move in, sweaters

    Bottoms: I rarely wear skirts and if I do they are maxi skirts. Colored denim or chinos, bootcut or strait pants

    Layers: cardigans and a variety of jackets, blazers, etc

    Dresses: generally don’t unless I wear as a tunic with leggings

    Shoes: I wear heels and flats and boots

    Dress code: we don’t have a specific dress code BUT students do and I think we should model the best of that which is no ripped jeans, leggings as pants (top needs to cover your tush), straps on tops need to be as wide as a credit card or covered (I don’t do sleeveless but will wear shells, tanks or camis under other tops)

    Your sample outfits are right on target! Personally I look ill in any shade of yellow, orange or brown. I do wear tan or olive most often as bottoms but sometimes as layers. I can’t wait to see your capsule results! Definitely purchasing this one.

  17. There is no dress code per se, except to look neat and comfortable. So, yes, jeans and leggings are permitted. So, all of the outfits you posted would be permitted at my school. That said, I personally dress up more to a greater degree than my colleagues do. I wear pencil skirts, wide-leg trousers, cardigan sweaters, pullover sweaters, blazers, blouses, tall boots and moderate heel closed-toe shoes. I do wear jeans, but they are the dark wash dress trouser jeans, and boot leg jeans. Dresses are not part of my school week wardrobe currently, but, if I could find one or two to include as part of my wardrobe, that would be a nice addition. Thank you so much for your willingness to put together a teacher wardrobe capsule.

  18. Hi there,

    I’m so excited you’re working on a teacher capsule! I teach 4th grade at an elementary school in Texas.

    1) While I’m teaching, comfort is key while also being able to move around, squat down to help a child, or even sit on the floor when I gather my kids together around the class rug for reading/writing discussions. Because of this, and because of our dress code (no jeans except on Fridays with a spirit shirt, which is pretty standard for elementary schools in most districts in North Texas) I typically prefer to wear form-fitting ankle pants. On top, I typically wear both solid and striped tees with a cardigan, a chambray shirt with a cardigan, or a simple white blouse with a cardigan (cardigans are key… Classrooms get cold, sometimes, especially on testing days when administrators want to make sure students stay awake during exams!). My shoes are typically flats or booties. In spite of having to squat down and be on the floor sometimes, I do love to wear dresses (I live in hot Texas!). I prefer the dresses to be cute but comfortable, so a t-shirt dress is perfect.

    2) All 4 looks are very cute, and they’re appropriate if you sub out the jeans for slim pants that look/fit similar to the ones in the pictures. Again, I don’t know too many schools in my area that allow jeans unless it’s a Friday with a spirit shirt, or sometimes even a Monday with a college/themed shirt. In other words, there’s never a day I can wear jeans with a “normal” top.

    Thank you so much for asking for our input, and I can’t wait to see what the teacher capsule looks like!

  19. Tops – solid tee and sweater
    Bottoms – ankle pants and skinny jeans, occasional midi skirt – please no leggings, ponte or not…
    Flat shoes

    I teach everything from preschool – college. I use the core closet with an occasional Stay at Home mom outfit and have never felt like I needed anything else!

  20. Leanne,
    Thank you for all your work! I use many of your ideas, especially from the French capsule wardrobes.
    I teach high school. We have no formal dress code. I have several “uniforms” that work for me: a dress a couple times a week; black/gray pants and a cardigan/blazer a couple times a week; and dark jeans with a blazer once a week.
    I like to look polished in a simple way. Students need to know that I care enough about this work to look presentable. I always wear flats, never wear leggings, and try to avoid clothing that requires dry cleaning. Hope this helps.

  21. Hi!

    I work at a private school with 7th-12th grade with a modest dress code.
    – shirts should have a higher neckline
    – skirts below the knee
    -closed toe/closed heel shoes
    – no pants, jeans, or leggings

    I would think this capsule would contain pants of some kind, so maybe if you can find skirts that could be switched out for pants and still go with the outfit would be super helpful. Finding skirts that are right below the knee or longer can get difficult at times.

    Thank you for thinking about us!

  22. Obviously many of us educators have been following you for a while! Here is the thing: for any teacher comfort, movement, and spontaneity are key. You just never know what you might have to do that day. I teach 7th grade and I am moving all day long. Button up blouses always seem like a good idea but can pull and ride up so I stick to pullover tops and lots and lots of jackets. Our school is FREEZING all the time so I always have an outer piece. Also anything even remotely low riding or cleavage HINTING, or short in the basement, I just can’t do it. It doesn’t feel comfy when I am pulling up or pulling down all day. I like to rock trendy while being more casual. Capsules help because if you get your colors down, everything can work together! I always wear flats, no matter what. Sneakers are my fave!
    It’s a tall order, but I am sooo excited to see what you come up with!
    Thank you for thinking of educators❤️

  23. I teach kindergarten which means the ease of getting up and down from the floor all day without flashing anyone! Lol!
    I usually float back and forth between more SAHM and some Essential’s capsule outfits right now- minus clothes that are not work appropriate.
    We also often have school T-shirt days so some cute outfits ideas to pair with a “man’s t-shirt” and accessories world be great to see.

    1.From your list I wear these to work:
    (* I also added a few things)

    *School T-Shirt/polo shirt
    solid tee (dressier kind unless under layer)
    blouse (solid or patterned, Lucky blouses or “The Perfect Blouse” from Maurices seem to best match comfort and style for working and moving a lot)

    ankle pants
    *Jeans (dark or colored, blue jeans only on Fridays)
    ponte leggings (*only with tunics/long cardigans)

    blazer (*only stretch knit blazers)
    denim jackets
    utility jackets

    straight t-shirt style
    *Denim dress
    midi length with tie belt (occasionally)
    *Maxi length is best

    sandal (no more than 1/2” heels)
    tall boots
    *teachers love Tieks, Vionics & Clarks
    Clothes need to be easily washable for messy days in elementary school.

    2. Our dress code is not very strict. Jeans can be worn without rips in them. Leggings should have your rear end covered. No flip-flops. All four outfits you posted would work at my school site! I love all off them.

  24. Thank you so much for doing this! My school does have a dress code and I would love a capsule wardrobe for a more formal school setting! My choices for inclusion would be jersey pencil skirts, straight t-shirt style dresses, midi length dresses with tie belt, sweaters, blouses, nice t-shirts with casual jackets (like Nordstrom Caslon style, or Bobeau).

  25. Thanks for thinking about a capsule wardrobe geared toward teachers!

    I’m a middle (computer science) and high school (Science – biology and earth science) teacher.

    1. I like to wear:
    – tops: blouses, chambray
    shirt or sweaters.
    – bottoms: ankle pants
    – layers: cardigans & denim
    – dresses: (rarely) midi length
    with tie belt
    – shoes: flats, loafers, booties

    2. We have a dress code: no jeans, no tshirts (except for spirit day or under layers), no tennis shoes, or soft soles on casual shoes, no leggings.

    I’d wear (dress code appropriate) outfits 2,3 and 4 to school

  26. Thank you for thinking of us! I teach middle school, and our dress code is loose, and we can wear jeans everyday. I’ve been using your essential wardrobe and have received many compliments on my outfits. I personally would prefer a mix of clothes that would fall between essentials and your work wear capsules.
    For me, clothes need to be affordable, machine-washable, and multi-use. I love wearing colored jeans with a blouse and cardigan. I love the look of white, but I actually stay away from it at work because so many white tops are see-through. Also, many of us have to wear a lanyard that holds our ID badge, and classroom keys, so I prefer that tops not be too busy or bulky/ruffly near the neckline. I personally don’t care for button ups, and prefer my tops to be long enough to cover me when I inevitably need to bend over to help kids with writing. Flats, booties and slip on shoes are what I typically wear. Since using your ebooks, I’ve fallen in love with olive, gray and burgundy pants/jeans and I now incorporate navy more than black.
    Thank you so much for thinking of us! I am very excited to see what you come up with!

  27. I teach music for grades 1-8 which means I’m sitting on the floor and moving around a lot. I really like the longer tunic tops and looser fitting tops with more slender pants because when writing on the board I have my arms up a lot (not to mention conducting). I also hate ironing (who has the time) so I like all the knitwear you’ve chosen. My biggest struggle is with shoes because they have to be comfy to stand in all day, but the leopard loafers would be perfect. Hope this helps!

  28. Thank you so much for asking : ) I am a huge fan of the French minimalist wardrobe but rarely purchase the dress or heels. I teach elementary and need the comfort of flats. Your wardrobes have made my dressing for school significantly easier!! I appreciate the three price points and noting when items are on sale. I would wear the style of numbers one through four but am not personally a fan of mustard as a pant or skirt. Thank you again!!

  29. I am an occupational therapist working in a high school with 14-21 years old students with significant special needs. I have tried the Essential, Stay at Home Mom and French Minimalist. I like parts of all three. I need comfortable clothes I can bend and squat in. I prefer Ponte pants over leggings as they tend to be thicker and more professional looking. I rarely wear dresses except in summer. We work year-round so for the summer capsule I tend to sub out shorts for linen pants or capris.
    We treat in many different areas of the school and the temperature varies greatly so having layers is helpful.

    To answer your questions…
    1. Tops: I like solid or pattered t-shirts, button-up shirt or chambray shirt, light sweater as I tend to get too hot working in sweaters.
    I am not a big fan of striped shirts, olive or mustard as they are not good colors for me. Blouses are too formal.

    Bottoms: Pants with stretch are a must due to the amount of bending and squatting I do throughout the day. Any of the pants you list are fine, again prefer thicker ponte pants with pockets over typical leggings.

    Layers: I wear a lot of cardigans, denim jacket or utility jackets. Don’t own any blazers but would like to find one in knit so is more casual and comfortable with stretch.

    Dresses: Don’t wear often especially in Fall in Winter. Maybe a tunic dress with ponte pants and boots could work.

    Shoes: Must be comfortable and closed-toe. We are not allowed to wear open-toe shoes.

    2. We do have a dress code:
    No open-toed shoes.
    No heels
    Leggings only with a long top covering bottom
    Jeans ok as long as in good condition, no ripped jeans

    All four outfits you included in the post look good.
    In the recipe picture the first pair of jeans would not work, nor would the shoes.

    Thank you for all you do.

  30. I am a school counselor and I have a bit more contact with parents and admin since my office in near the main office so I tend to level up my outfits. I also sit in more meetings because of my role so while I can wear jeans any day I typically only wear them on Fridays. I love colored skinny jeans but I’m trying to embrace new silhouettes. Any of the outfits you posted are spot on and I would also love (and greatly appreciate!) links to ethically or sustainably made clothes as well. Layers are necessary all throughout the year due to hot/cold temps in the building.

  31. I teach in a Birth to age 5 setting so I am on the floor a LOT! No dresses or skirts for me, but they can easily be subbed out. I love how white looks, but I’m around paint every day and I feel like it’s asking for trouble! All 4 outfits you posted are awesome and I would wear them all. I love flats and booties. I can wear jeans but I love colored skinny pants. This is very exciting!

  32. We can only wear blue jeans on Friday’s but colored jeans are fine for other days. Our shoes have to have a back to them and no heels. I’m Pre-K and we may need to run after a child. We cannot wear long necklaces either due to a lanyard badge with ID and key cards.

  33. We are allowed to wear jeans only on Fridays with school spirit wear. I have used your casual wardrobe to create my school wardrobe. I substitute navy, black and gray dressier pants for the jeans. The tops and layers work just as well with these. Ido like some skirts (denim skirts are ok any day) and casual dresses.

  34. Teach middle school and high school. Do have a dress code, no jeans, sleeveless tops or blouses, no jegging or V neck top, and close toe shoes(no Sandals or flip flops). The first and third outfit will be a no at my campus. I substitute the jeans in the Essential with slacks. I focus on blouses more than t-shirts.

  35. I love that you’re thinking about doing this! I’m an elementary teacher (first grade) and I love to look put together while still being able to function.

    I do not have a dress code really except that we should dress appropriately. No crop tops, no booty shorts, etc.

    I wear lots of tees, tunics, long cardigans, jeans (mostly skinny but some girlfriend cut), girlfriend cut chinos in various colors, maxi skirts and dresses.

    I will buy some less expensive pieces that are on trend but most of my pieces are good basics. I tend to wear lots of black, white, chambray/denim with a little mustard or blush. My signature look usually includes camo!

    Everything is wash and wear. I rarely dry clean or iron.

    I’ll buy less expensive clothing but I rarely skimp on my shoes. I wear lots of flats, booties and in the winter – y’all boots.

    Also – I teach in Oregon so I need to be warm and waterproof much of the school year. So again – warm and waterproof. We try to go outside multiple times a day so I have to be prepared!

    Finally I rarely change my handbag but I’m always on the lookout for a good ‘teacher’ bag. A big tote with long handles that’s cute. My current bag is by a brand called Big Buddha and it’s looks like dark lizard or snake skin.

  36. We are only allowed to wear blue jeans on Friday and we can wear leggings as long as it’s under a dress or tunic. I would actually be really interested in any graphic tees that “educational” that you could find!

  37. Layers are a must! Classroom temperatures are not always consistent especially in older school buildings.

    I like to wear dark wash and colored denim, and boyfriend trousers. Striped tees, tees with lace details, chambray, flannel and cardigans. My shoes are mostly flats, loafers and low heeled boots

  38. I’m so excited. I’ve just recently stumbled onto your website and started using your capsules. I love them. Yes,my school does have a dress code. We can wear jeans only on Fridays and nothing too revealing. I love to wear pointe leggings, jersey pencil skirts, chambray shirts, cardigans, denim jackets, boots and booties(especially during Fall and Winter). I teach Fifth grade, so I need to be comfortable and able to move about and at the same time look professional with a zip of personality and class. I can’t wait to see your fall teacher capsule!

  39. Here are some guidelines for my school (elementary)

    No leggings, no sneakers, no flip flops of any kind, no tank tops, halter tops, or spaghetti straps, no jean jackets or denim skirts, no t-shirts, nothing with political or smoking/alcohol related images

    In elementary school, pants are preferred to skirts for everyday wear, but we all have at least a pencil skirt or a couple of midi-dresses we wear to important meetings. Also, most of us have at least 1 dark-colored blazer we throw over less formal things to elevate the look.

    Colored jeans and chinos are OK–blue jeans are allowed on Friday, but they have to be dark wash and cannot be paired with sneakers.

    Heels are allowed, but most teachers wear flats, riding boots, and low-heel booties

    Open-toe shoes are OK, but most teachers do not find them very practical. However, low block heels, peep-toe wedges, and the random slingback shoe start making an appearance as summer approaches…

    Necklaces are usually discreet and on the shorter side. Most of us have to carry a lanyard with ID, whistle, keys, class lists, etc. around our neck, so long necklaces can be uncomfortable.

    The cost of creating a professional wardrobe is a concern for many teachers, especially those starting their careers. I’ve noticed the young ones buy a lot from places like Old Navy, Target, H&M, and Gap. Also, some stores, like New York and Company, offer teacher discounts (in-store) and many colleagues of mine get their basics (navy ankle pants, printed tops, cardigans) there or at retailers that offer lots of “sales” and coupons, like Macy’s, Kohls, JCPenney, and the like.

    Finally, fabric and materials need to be sturdy (no delicate lace), not too prone to wrinkles (no linen), and washable (dry cleaning is not in the budget). We deal with paint, soil, chemicals, ink, and sticky substances–often of unknown origins–almost every day.

  40. I would love this in plus size. Definitely comfortable shoes, I walk around all day on tile and concrete. I layer a lot, cardigans over a shell are my favorites because I can mix and match. Close toe shoes, modest neckline and longer length shirts. Long skirts and comfy pants….on a budget wardrobe would be great to! Teachers are always looking for deals.
    #4 is my favorite

  41. Hi! I am a first grade teacher who loves fashion! Above all, my clothes need to be comfortable…but I still like to be fashionable!

    Comfy shoes are a must! Tieks, JCREW loafers, and low heeled booties or block heeled boots are in regular rotation for me. I recently discovered Everlane’s Day Glove flat and love it! It feels like I’m wearing slippers but looks chic. They are by far my favorite shoes to teach in.

    We can wear jeans on Fridays as long as they are professional. (No distressing!)

    I wear leggings as long as they are thick and I pair them with a pretty tunic length sweater.

    Plain and graphic tees paired with a cardigan are in regular rotation with ankle or wide leg pants. A denim jacket is a must! Comfy dresses are perfect for days when I want an easy outfit that looks professional.

    I LOVE your blog and that you are doing this! Thanks a bunch!

  42. This is awesome!!! I’ve used many of your seasonal Essential capsules too & just modified. My favorite teacher “uniform” is a jean jacket, black top, olive cargo pants and leopard flats. Very similar to #1 but not quite that casual of a top or that fitted style of pants.

    I like to wear casual (washable) skirts with pockets. We do have a dress code at the high school wear I teach. We can only wear jeans (with no distressing) on Fridays. We can’t wear leggings. I never wear dresses even for back to school or parent conferences.

    Flat shoes are my biggest issue. I have to wear a flat shoe to be comfortable standing all day but I get tired of flats and a lot of flat shoes seem frumpy to me.

    Thanks for asking Leanne! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  43. Awesome! When you publish a teacher capsule, I will be all over it! The sample pics you posted are all great (though I’d probably skip the statement jewelry).

    I teach high school physics. No skirts for me, because I’m up and down – standing on tables, sitting on the floor, and everything in between! One teacher-specific requirement (for me, anyway) is that I need to be able to roll/push up sleeves. I hate when sleeves drag on the whiteboard. Plus, I’m hot more often than not!

    No dress code for us at public school in the PNW. I try to keep it classy, but I could probably wear cut-off shorts and crocs and nobody would bat an eye (smh).

  44. I teach high school English and theater. We are not allowed to wear jeans (even colored ones are frowned upon) unless it’s a spirit day, as I saw someone else had mentioned. In English class, my movement is pretty limited, so I could get away with skirts, but in theater, we have to do all sorts of movement exercises and it really precludes me wearing anything other than pants. We also aren’t supposed to wear leggings. Tee shirts are a no-no as well.

    I, like a lot of others, need really comfortable shoes. I am in a huge building and have to run up and downstairs to get to the different locations of my classes. (I’ve even gotten stress fractures from doing this.) I end up wearing FitFlops, Vionics, Birkenstocks, and Clarks. Super-flat flats with no support just don’t cut it for me.

    Outfits 2 & 4 would work as long as I had black pants and not jeans. I’d have to have another color besides mustard, though. It makes my skin look horrible and I don’t want to have to keep reassuring my students that I’m not sick.

    Thanks for doing a teacher capsule and thanks for including petite sizes!

  45. I’m with early yrs. (5-7 yrs). We are not allowed to wear jeans except on Fridays. In the past year, I used outfit looks from French Minimalist and Workwear. It worked out well for me – if Workwear was not practical (no pencil skirts for floor sitting ????), FM had a great idea for the day! I like sample #4 above. Thanks for helping this lady out!! LOVE your work….

  46. This is so exciting! I teacher grades 1-12 (French) and have used a combination of the French, Essential and Stay-at-Home capsule wardrobes. It gets confusing and more complicated than I’d like to juggle the three. I teach mostly middle school French, so comfort (clothes and shoes), style and professionalism are key. I will not wear leggings or skinny jeans to school (I’m 55), and prefer bootcut or wide-leg pants, and knee-length skirts. Layers are a must since the temperatures in classrooms varies so widely. While black or navy are good base colors, I need more color to brighten up my days ☺️ Can’t wait!

  47. I know I am out of the demographic here, but I can see alot of usefulness of the teacher wardrobe. I am a college professor, but still have some of the challenges of “teacher dressing”. I need comfortable but good looking shoes since I have to trek alot in the campus and buildings. Although I don’t usually wear jeans, I think trouser jeans are great (but hard to find). Comfort is key too, since I use the whiteboard alot and need to be able to move around alot. More than one person mentioned layers in the classroom since you can never count on the temperature. Also, a great tote is needed for carrying books, etc. Dresses are great but it’s difficult to find ones that aren’t corporate looking. Looking forward to the capsule.

  48. Thank you for doing this, Leanne! I’m a high school teacher at a school without a strict dress code. I feel like a teacher capsule needs to be more casual than the workwear capsule, but a little dressier than the essentials capsule. Leggings and skinny jeans only work for me if the top is long enough to cover my “assets.” It won’t suffice to have the cardigan be long but not the top underneath, since I may need to take the cardigan off during the day. Booties and boots are fine, but I always swap out the heels for flats. I’ve been modifying the essentials and simplified style capsules to meet my needs so far, but the hardest one to modify is summer, since we can’t wear shorts to school.

    Thanks again for doing this! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  49. I teach religion to 5th-8th graders at a Catholic school. Our students wear uniforms to school and our teachers have an unwritten dress code. Jeans are a no-no – only for outdoor field trips. I have always had the attitude that if teachers are going to be treated as professionals we must dress the part. I am small in stature and have found that students tend to be more respectful when I dress up. It is not uncommon for me to wear a dress and heels to school. (I always pack a pair of flats for tired feet!) However, outfit #4 is one I would wear to school in the fall/winter – the necklace dresses it up! I will wear skinny pants or leggings with healed booties, but my bum must be covered. I am a religion teacher after all and stress modesty with my students!

  50. So excited for the upcoming Teacher wardrobe. I am a PK – 5 administrator. Our school district is fairly casual. Jeans ok with a collared shirt but no leggings. I wear a dress about once a week. I don’t wear pumps but I rarely can find flats I like. I love all your ebooks but since I always run hot and live in the south, I can’t wear most your outfits due to the layers and scarfs. Love your site. Keep up the good ideas!

  51. I am a substitute teacher for elementary school. One thing that is important to me is that the necklines are modest (consider that a teacher often leans over a desk as she talks to students). Also, clothing needs to be affordable and washable. I want to look put together but not have to fuss much with my clothing.

    For tops- I prefer longer lengths (or a cardigan over in cooler months). I want t-shirts to be dressier looking. I like blouses in knits, I usually wear print, but enjoy solids too.

    For pants- I love the ankle pants look, and prefer there to be a bit of stretch in the pants… also although it is a sleeker look with a side zip…. I want a front zip pant. I also love pointe knit leggings, but feel that tops must cover my bum.

    For layers- I love them all, but want stretch in them. (I love knit blazers that look dressed up, but are comfortable.)

    Yes on dresses….but seriously I only wear them a couple of times a year.

    Shoes- I spend my money on shoes that have great arch support and are comfortable. I also prefer shoes that will stay on my feet as I have needed to run more than once and have no time for shoes that fall off easily. So although I love the look of flats I usually save those for conferences or days I know I won’t have playground duty.

    Also- Our school begins in August and the first 4-7 weeks and the last 4 weeks and summer school are too hot for layers and pants (this is when I really love my ankle pants and I wear capris- below knee) so my tops need to look professional, but breathable for the sweltering heat.


  52. This is a fantastic idea! Can’t wait! I teach SK.
    The following are my go tos:

    solid tee (black, gray, white) or striped tee

    ankle pants
    skinny jeans (medium wash, dark wash, black, gray, colors like olive, burgundy)
    wide-leg pants (black, gray and other colors like olive, mustard, etc)

    cardigans (beige, gray, colors like burgundy, mustard, olive, etc)
    denim jackets
    utility jackets

    sandal heels
    tall boots

    Bags: large!!! but stylish so I can also fit my lunch bag, and any school supplies etc. I am taking back and forth from home and school.

    I don’t like to wear sweaters as there is always a variety of activities throughout the day so I end up getting too hot at times. I find cardigans and even large scarves/shawls work well to keep me at a comfortable temperature.

    There is no dress code at my school (with common sense limits).

  53. I have worn your Essential capsule wardrobes for the last year. I work K-12 as a coach so this is the most versatile for me. My district doesn’t have a dress code but I have to look a little more pulled together because I am a PD provider. On my day to day I do colored jeans and loft girlfriend chinos. Less ironing and easy cleaning care is important to me.

  54. I’m in Special Ed too
    Tops:“Dressy” tees, blouses, sweaters (solid or patterned), occasionally a buttonup
    Bottoms:Coloured tidy skinny jeans. Solid colors or patterns ankle pants, wide leg pants, midi skirts(not too long or you stand on the hem when you get up of the floor!)skorts
    Layers: blazers only on formal occasions, usually cardis or jackets with stretch and ideally pockets.
    Dresses:(mainly in Summer) see skirts re length
    Pockets whenever possible,

    Dress code: can’t see up it, down it or through it. Must be able to run if necessary, all footwear must have a back. No blue denim, or dangly jewellery. Legging=tights

  55. 5th grade teacher here: there are a few things that are a must for me when teaching: comfort, the ability to move around/sit on the floor/crouch by a desk, dressing “modestly”, and layers (many classrooms don’t have the best heating/AC units and can vary a lot from morning to afternoon or day to day).
    1.For tops, I mostly wear “dressy” tees (mostly striped) and somewhat-casual blouses (short sleeved or sleeveless). In winter, I wear a lot of sweaters. For bottoms, ankle pants and colored skinny jeans are preferred (black, olive, gray, and red are my favorites), along with an occasional skirt (think a knee-length jean skirt or black simple skirt). I wear LOTS of cardigans/sweaters for layers. I wear dresses maybe once a week/every two weeks- I prefer patterned or solid swing or fit-and-flare dresses that hit right above the knee and that are made of a knit fabric. For shoes, I wear some modern loafer flats, flat sandals (my school is pretty casual, so a pair of black Merrell walking sandals are perfect!), and tall boots in the winter (flat or minimal heel).
    2. Blue jeans are allowed on Fridays (and my school isn’t very strict the rest of the time): no holes, rips, excessive distressing. Leggings are okay with longer tops or under dresses (basically, your butt needs to be covered).
    3. Outfits 1, 2, and 3 are typical at my school. #4 is a little fancier than typical, but is normal at some schools. For the “more outfits” picture- the ripped jeans are definitely not appropriate at most schools.
    One last thing: EVERYTHING must be machine washable and affordable- we work with kids and art supplies/markers every single day and work way more hours than most people realize- so no time/money for dry cleaning or hand washing.

  56. 1. Which of these pieces do you like to wear while you are teaching?
    Tops: I like to wear all that you listed
    Bottoms: I like to wear ankle pants, skinny jeans, wide leg pants (no skirts or leggings)
    Layers: I like to wear all that you listed
    Dresses: I prefer midi length with tie belt only.
    Shoes: Shoe choices are based on style and comfort.
    2. My school does not really have a dress code, but I do not wear leggings to school. Regarding the outfits you selected, I like them all.
    I teach high school Special Ed and last spring I purchased and used your Essential Capsule Wardrobe and selected different shoes that met my needs. Thank you so much for doing this for us!

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