Hey there! The start of the semester slapped me around a bit, but I'm back. This week is spirit week at school, so instead of showing you my tie-dye day outfit or my teacher attempt at country day, I thought I'd go back and show some of my most teacher-y outfits I missed the last few weeks. Today is installment #1.
Today's outfit is brought to you by my love of layers and my determination to wear cute heels every now and then.
I've been trying to find ways to do a sweater/silk shirt layering thing for a while, but this was my best attempt so far. I bought this short sweater thinking I would wear it with some cute high waist jeans, but that never really worked out, so then I realized it might work with something longer layered underneath.
I'm irrationally committed to pleated shirts of all kinds, so I snatched up this tank top in the summer with high hopes of it pairing with all kinds of things.
The pants in this look are, of course, my favorite Banana Republic pants, and the shoes are my favorite part. I bought these probably 6 years ago, and I only get to wear them maybe 3 times a year because I either forget I own them or they don't work with my outfit.
I have a few other pairs of shoes that suffer a similar fate. I love them, I want to wear them daily, but they just require a rather specific outfit. So any time I'm wearing neutral colors, I kind of go hunting for my long-lost brightly-colored friends. I know it may seem ridiculous to own a pair of shoes you only wear a few times a year, but I have some rationalizing to do on this topic.
Here's how I justify it:
1. I'm at an age when my feet aren't changing, and I have a job that doesn't wear out my shoes, so I can keep shoes forever.
2. If I only buy one fun pair of shoes every three or four years, and I'm buying them from discount shoe stores or when they are on sale, it's really a rather small part of my wardrobe budget that I'm spending.
3. One or two really unique pairs of shoes just make the dreary months of winter or the long days before summer break more fun. And if you can afford it, that fun pair of shoes could just be the whimsy you need on a long day during a long month of school.
So--if you can, spend a little bit of money on an irrational pair of shoes that will brighten your day every now and then.
Here are a few options for recreating this outfit. Loft has a few shirts that are already layered, so there's one less step to getting ready in the morning.
Here's a cute one. And here's another option.
The pants are these, my current favorites.
Here are a few cute shoe options.
I love these mustard yellow ones. And here's a cute red pair. And a fancy pair. And a bright pair.
So, I hope that helps add some fun to your mid-winter outfitting!
Say, "Hello!" to my awesome friend Lindsay! I've had the pleasure of working with her for a while now, and every time she comes down my hallway during the passing periods I always tell her how much I love her outfit. So it only made sense to interview her for this blog. I wanted to talk to her about how she came to find her teacher style and how she puts her outfits together.
The thing I most love about her style is how she layers things...and her shoes...I love her shoes.
Here are a couple of moments from our conversation about teacher fashion and developing a "grown-up" wardrobe:
So how does Lindsay put together her outfits? She starts by thinking about textures. Lindsay said she really likes to mix textures (cotton, woven, leather, etc.) through layering, especially since her classroom tends to be on the colder side of things. Lindsay has avoided the "cardigan every day" trap that I so easily fall into by building up a wardrobe of layers that work together--sweaters, blazers, long sleeve shirts, etc. And whether it's a sweater and mid-length pleated skirt with ankle boots or jeans, lace-up suede shoes and a sweater, she always has a put-together, unique and teacher-friendly style.
She also noted that she uses cute outfits as a way to brace for harder days. When she knows a day might be rough or she might have to deal with a challenging situation, she will face it with a great outfit. The temptation is to hide out in comfy clothes on days like that, but we both agreed that there's something about feeling put together that makes you feel more prepared to face the day.
We also talked about who helped to shape the way we thought about fashion. Lindsay quickly responded that her mom is someone she looks up to. She is "cute, but not in a traditional way. She puts a spin on it. She'll mix vintage pieces with department store pieces." She talked about the way her mom took her shopping to help her build her work wardrobe when she was first getting started. They headed to a local version of TJ Maxx (but better), and she was able to find really great designer clothes at a price that fit her budget. She said she still has items from that shopping trip.
She said her mom taught her to look past trendy items of the day and choose pieces that were comfortable and would work once the trends had changed. As Lindsay talked about her mom, and I thought about some of her outfits that I most admired, I could see the influence.
Okay--I'm off to my next adventure! Thanks again to Lindsay for letting me snap a few pictures and pick her brain!
It's Monday! (You can tell it's a Monday by the sloppy bag sitting on the bench in the background of this picture.) And today was one of the best teacher Mondays because we had a two-hour early release from school. As a teacher, there's something exhilarating about finding out during 2nd period that you just received two free hours! The students cheered when I told them.
But on to other things that make me happy! I knew today was going to be another cold day, and the weather gang is predicting that things are going to warm up this week, so I decided to take advantage of a cold day by wearing some of my favorite layers. My co-workers start to notice a trend around this time of year. I love any sweater with an animal on it. I know, I know. This totally makes me one of those teachers, but I'm okay with that. And today illustrates this love of animals. Lucky for you, if you want to join me in this habit, I have some cute options for you. Gap has several cute options. These are just three. They're all found here.
I'm also wearing my much-loved chambray shirt and a denim skirt that I'm not a huge fan of but wear anyway. I'll be honest and say that having a denim skirt around is really convenient, so I often have one hanging in my closet even if it isn't the perfect fit.
I couldn't find one like mine, but I did find a few options. This one from Old Navy is too short for work, I think, but it might be cute in the summer time. I can't get the picture to load on here, so you'll just have to check it out. And I found a couple of cute options from Nordstrom. I'm betting more will surface as spring comes around, so I'll keep looking and try to find more options. This one is a denim-ish material that I thought might look cute with a button-down shirt or something a bit dressier. As I looked closer at the second option, I realized the slit in the back was a bit ridiculous and they were marketing it as a "sexy" skirt, so I thought I'd share this Amazon find instead.
It wasn't a particularly bad job; I just smell the distinct smell of waffle cones and am instantly transported back to post-high-school Laurel any time I put on a pair of khaki pants. I can't. I just can't. I know it's dumb. Don't try to use logical on me. I just can't do it. Anyway. My survival trick was to have a denim skirt on hand.
They're saying that this week is going to warm up, so this will be my last cozy sweater day for a bit. Okay--I'm heading to bed...maybe partly dreaming of a delayed opening.
Since it's Friday, I thought I would share my outfit and talk about a few of my favorite things--layering and wedges...and tech-free back-up lesson plans.
Today was one of those fun days when the teaching forces smiled on me. I had a lesson planned and the slideshow created on Drive, and then, as I was getting ready, I thought, "Wait! No! I want to do this other thing!" And as I was drying my hair, I planned out something completely different that I thought would do a better job of getting my students thinking about the complex relationships in the book. The good news is that this new lesson plan only required butcher paper, markers and a quick sketch on the board. When I got to school and realized that, because of the delayed opening we would only have about 45 minutes per class and, because of the power outage that had happened that morning we didn't have internet, I was really glad I had reworked my lesson. As a teacher, it seems that at least once a year, a force beyond your control completely screws up your brilliant lesson. Sometimes it's the internet, sometimes it's the copiers, sometimes it's a fire drill. But just know it's going to happen, and that's okay. But also, know that it's okay to go low tech--group work with butcher paper isn't a bad lesson. Giving kids index cards and having them write down things they want to talk about from the book isn't a bad idea. Having kids take time to find a meaningful passage from the reading and having them share/discuss isn't an unproductive day. If anything has been made clear to me through 10+years of teaching, it's that it really helps to have a few structures that you can fall back on even if everything you were planning falls apart...or if you just feel like your students need a day to put their interests in the center of the lesson.
And, as luck would have it, my "Hey! Wait a minute!" lesson went really well, gave me a quick assessment on how well my students are analyzing the characters in the book, and gave me some important insight into what I want to discuss in depth next class period. It doesn't always work out that well, but today it did. So I'm taking the little victory.
Along with my love of a good butcher paper in groups lesson, I also wore two of my favorite style choices today: wedges and layers.
I love, maybe more than I should, a collared shirt under a sweater. I HATE putting on those layers, but once they're on and the shuffling of collars and cuffs and shirt tails is all done, I like how cozy it is, and I like the way it looks. I will say that I'm careful about what I pair those layers with. I typically do skinny jeans and a girly shoe just because I'm still trying to overcome the ghosts of bad fashion past in that I wore WAY TOO many sweatshirts with turtlenecks and baggy jeans when I was a kid, so any time I wear a bulky sweater with a shirt underneath I'm super aware of wanting the rest of my outfit to be as far from my terrible childhood fashion sense as possible.
Today's outfit is brought to you by my attempt to buy a black and white flannel shirt and then realizing instantly that the shirt was navy, and realizing after looking at the shirt in multiple lights and comparing it to multiple other things, that the shirt is also a light cream. This meant I grabbed the first navy sweater I found in my closet that didn't have white in it. And that's how an outfit comes together in my world. This sweater was one that I bought maybe 3 or 4 years ago to go with a specific skirt, and now I have no idea which skirt that is. How sad, I guess. And it actually looks kinda awful on my body type when I wear it by itself, so the collard shirt gives it a less frumpy look.
Either way, here are a few options for sweaters and shirts you might want to layer. Here's the link to the flannel--it comes in lots 'o colors. And here and here are the links to the sweaters.
So, my other favorite thing is to pair the layers with fitted jeans and wedges. Maybe I have weird feet, but, for me, wedges offer me the best chance of having happy feet all day while wearing shoes that make me feel a bit more dressed up. Somehow, in my mind, if I'm wearing heels of any form, I feel more dressed up. These wedges are a few years old, and I feel like a real grown-up every time I wear them, so I wear them pretty often. I couldn't find an exact match, so I'm linking to approximately a million options in the hopes that if you are looking for some comfy winter shoes, you might find a great pair here.
In order of appearance, here is a pair from Lucky.
Then here's an option from TOMS.
Then there's this pair from Franco Sarto.
And here's one from Ralph Lauren.
And here's one from Crown Vintage.
And here's a last option from Carlos.
The jeans are from Lucky, and I'm still deciding how I feel about them. I really like the color and the detail and the way they look, but I'm realizing that I'm not sure Lucky makes jeans for people with my proportions. It seems that their target audience might have thinner legs and a bit less in the backside. But I'm hoping I'm wrong, because I really like their stuff. Either way, I like this pair I got SUPER on sale. I still like the ones from Gap best of all, but I wanted the jeans to be more fitted to balance out the bulk of the layers on top. So there you have it.
Okay--I'm off to bed in the hopes of getting up early and being a responsible gym member.
Today was our first day back with students, and it definitely felt like it. There are two kinds of "back to school" students: the ones that are super excited to be there, and the ones that couldn't fall asleep last night because they kept weird hours over break (and are now not so happy to be there). My classes were about half and half. There was definitely a "Bueller, Bueller" element to my witty banter today, and I'm sure it had nothing to do with my jokes.
I've been thinking that on Wednesdays it might be fun to post some pictures of women whose style I admire. And I'd love for this to be mainly people I know, but today being the first day back, I'm just going with someone that I wish existed. The last few days, I've been watching Madame Secretary. And I want to find my own Henry McCord and be besties with Elizabeth. I love everything about the show, and more than that, I love Tea Leoni's wardrobe. I love a pencil skirt and a button-down shirt. I just think it always looks so office-appropriate while still being rather feminine.
Just look at how awesome she looks. I would steal her wardrobe in a heartbeat. I think watching so many episodes over the last few days, I was inspired to jump back into school with a pencil skirt of my own.
I love the pencil skirts from J. Crew Factory. I'm sharing the link to the wool version, but they are mostly out of stock and the cotton versions are now available. They come out every season (in the appropriate fabric) and in new colors. They fit well and go with anything. I've had fun pairing this green one with different shirts and sweaters, and since today felt like it needed some whimsy, I paired it with a polka dot shirt.
I'm including the picture of the skirt because I like that the model is wearing my favorite combo and is even wearing my favorite jewelry option--multiple bracelets. It's my dream outfit!
I thought about wearing boots since it's so cold, but I ended up putting on some heels instead. These are really comfortable. At the end of the day, I actually stopped and thought, "My feet are pretty happy. How strange!" I'm sad to say that I couldn't find my exact pair because they are a few years old, but here are some cute alternatives:
Here's one option. And here's another.
And finally, here's the link to the shirt. The only downside of the shirt is that it's polyester so it gets a bit static-y this time of year. But I feel like this time of year, static is just part of the game. Which reminds me that I need to pick up some Static Guard! Here's hoping it either warms up or snows. As my students and I agree, there's no point in having cold weather if it's not going to snow! And snow on the weekend is just wrong. The only appropriate snow is week day, snow day snow.
Today was my first day back to work after winter break. Luckily, our school system arranged for today to be a day of professional development. It was a genius move. It's been so nice to ease back into the school year.
Since I wasn't going to see students, and it's CRAZY cold here today, I decided to be as cozy as possible. As a general rule, I say that you should take every advantage you can of a professional development day, and one of those is definitely wearing something super comfortable.
This sweater is something I picked up at Express a few days before Thanksgiving. They had a 50% sale, and I was looking for a few non-school pieces. I think I would still probably wear this on a Friday, but I bought it mainly for Saturday afternoon basketball watching, etc.
Here's the link. It says it's on sale now, and it comes in three colors, so you have lots of affordable options if you are looking for a cozy sweater.
The jeans are my happiest winter break find. My mom had my name in the family gift swap, and I told her that all I really wanted for Christmas was a gift card so I could go hunting for some new jeans. She graciously provided that, and she and my dad even took me shopping so I could try on all the jeans.
I was fully prepared to go to every possible place until I found just the right pair. I was planning to just buy a few different cuts online and then take the unfortunate pairs back, but then I thought it might be better to just go to the store. Since I'd already looked online, I felt like I knew what I was looking for and was able to ask for specific cuts. I wanted to try on as many pairs as possible so I would know, for the future, which cuts worked best for me. My thought was that this investment in an afternoon of jeans shopping would make future purchases much easier. And I think it paid off. This is what I discovered:
1. The Gap has my new favorite jeans.
2. The jeans at The Loft are not a good fit for my body type.
3. I still want a slice of cookie cake any time I'm at a mall-like setting, even though I know, objectively, that it's not that good.
I was really surprised (mostly about the jeans, but partly about the cookie). I figured the jeans at the Gap would fit much like the Banana Republic jeans I hadn't been as happy with, but I was wrong! They are high enough at the waist to make the work day easy. (I hate having to worry about pulling my shirt down to cover my waist or hiking my pants up all the time.) They are also less stretchy, and I think that's a good thing. They seem to hold their shape a bit better because they don't have stretchy material. I also like the cut--it seems that straight leg jeans are becoming a bit more popular, and I wanted a pair to see how they would fit with the things already in my wardrobe.
Here's the exact pair. I was so excited to find these and another pair at the first stop of the day. I still tried on a few more pairs at a few other places just to know how they fit, but these were definitely my winners of the day.
When it comes to jeans, I think it's worth it to go try on a bunch when you have the time to visit several stores. Since jeans are such a commonly worn piece in most wardrobes, it makes sense to take the time to find a cut that works well for you.
And the shoes are new. They have a bit more of a point than it looks like here. I wanted something boot-ish that I could also wear in slightly warmer weather. Today was my first time wearing them, and I really like them. They are comfortable and, I think, cute. Here's the link to this pair, and they come in a few more colors.
I hope this gives you a good option for a cozy outfit for a cold day. Here are my tips for the day:
1. Fully enjoy your days without students. Wear something that will make you more comfortable while you sit in a training.
2. Look online before you go jeans shopping so you know what cuts stores sell. That way you know you are trying on all of the options instead of simply trying to grab what you see as you walk around.
3. Take the time to find jeans you love--even if it means a serious time commitment. In the long run, you'll spend less time doing this once than constantly shopping for new jeans because you bought yet another pair that isn't exactly what you wanted.
Hope this helps! Happy first day back!
I'm a teacher looking to help other teachers feel confident and comfortable in their classrooms.