Controversial/Appropriate for school or Nah?

I know there are plenty of teachers (people) out there who might look at my classroom fashion choices, and think “that’s not appropriate for a teacher to wear in front of kids/teenagers”.  I have heard that I shouldn’t wear skinny jeans to work because they’re not professional. I have also heard that I shouldn’t show my shoulders at work because it’s too much skin. Frankly, I don’t really care what other people think is appropriate or not because I have already set my own boundaries in terms of what not to wear to school. I won’t wear anything short (one or two inches above the knee is where I draw the line), I won’t wear spaghetti strap tops, and I won’t wear leggings on a teaching day (non-student contact days though, I might). There are very vague guidelines for a dress code of sorts in our district.  I can’t even find anything that states an official dress code other than “Attire must not disrupt the school’s learning environment.” 

I find that the later in the school year it is, the more lax I get with my attire. In September, I’ll wear a lot of dresses, and nicer clothes. In May, I’m in jeans almost everyday and the arms come out. This past week I wore what many other teachers might consider too “risky” or inappropriate. There were holes in my jeans. My top was sleeveless, though I wouldn’t personally call it a tank top. The top has an open back where a tiny bit of skin peeks out. I think if I worked in a private school, this outfit would have been a no-go. If I worked in a more conservative district/area/state, my outfit on this day maybe would have been outright scandalous. But thankfully I work where I do and no one says a thing to me about what I’m wearing other than, “miss, you look cute today!” Also,  I think these jeans make my butt look good. I bought them last weekend at Banana Republic and they are so very comfortable. I’ve worn them 4 times this past week and I have them on today (Saturday) too. Highly recommend you check them out! They are a bit mom jeans-ish and many sizes are sold out online. They are cheaper in store anyway, so I’d recommend you try and find them in person.

So here is a question for everyone reading: do you think these items are appropriate for a teacher or not?

  • jeans
  • skinny jeans
  • white jeans
  • jeans with holes/distressed denim
  • bare arms
  • tops with open backs
  • tattoos
  • shorts
  • skirts/dresses that are above the knee

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top: j.crew – jeans: banana republic – shoes: sven clogs

10 thoughts on “Controversial/Appropriate or Nah

  1. I think it heavily depends where you work! Some places, jeans are okay but shorts are not. I go by what I personally feel okay wearing that fits within the boundaries. This means jeans and t-shirts occasionally (usually with a cardigan to dress them up, no skirts above the knee, and I’m not a fan of sleeveless tops because I’m not a fan of my arms, but they’re okay where I’m volunteering. Tattoos I’m okay with, as long as they are nsfw of course! My cooperating teacher has a few, and they’re hardly distractions, no more than my statement necklaces are a distraction!
    Personally, I don’t think your outfit is inappropriate! It’s casual, yeah, but it’s also coming up on summer! Plus those jeans definitely do make your butt look good. Professional doesnt mean matronly!

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  2. It does not bother me that you wear what you wear to school. I think you know what works and what is appropriate for the students you are teaching. Over time, dress has changed greatly and it is a good idea to keep up with the times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The slit in the back probably would’ve turned some heads in my district, but everything else I love! In my district there is really no set dress code either so we kind of all just do our own thing. Jeans are fine (skinny or not), dresses an inch or too above the knee are fine as long as they’re not too skin tight, arms out is all good as long as it’s not strapless or spaghetti, open toe shoes are generally frowned upon but most of us will wear them every now and again. I love your blog for your different kind of style as I need inspiration more often then not. Also, those jeans do make your butt look nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My definition of appropriate has definitely changed based on what I’m teaching, what else I’m doing during that day and who I’m teaching

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      1. Same thing at my school, although it’s usually part of a fundraiser – the students wear a uniform and pay to different charities on casual days.

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  5. I like your outfit! My district makes us pay to wear jeans as well (usually as a fundraiser). Or sometimes our admin will just give us a “treat” and tell us to get excited, it’s gonna be a jeans day! I guess I feel like, is the dress code important, or not? Because if it is okay to wear jeans some days, we should just be able to wear them all the time. And asking teachers to shell out money to wear them… yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I work in LAUSD and we have no dress code. I always feel uncomfortable wearing distressed or ripped jeans, but I treat myself to distressed jeans the day before Winter Break and the last day of school haha. Other than that, I wear both skinny jeans and non-skinny, sleeveless tops (especially on those 115 degree days), slightly open back shirts, and skirts that are shorter. It’s all about the teaching, not what I’m wearing.

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  7. I have been teaching in a Canadian Catholic independent school (uniforms for students, dress code for teachers) for 21 years! Here’s where I stand on your controversial items:

    jeans – not allowed for me except for student dress down days, but I think they look great. I have always been partial to dark denim, any cut, and “cheat” by wearing black jeans all winter
    skinny jeans – definitely! So cute with ballet flats and clog sandals, and the only way to wear tall boots…
    white jeans – not for me – I am too spilly
    jeans with holes/distressed jeans – never – not my personal aesthetic
    bare arms – always
    tops with open backs – never
    tattoos – no judgement, like jewelry
    shorts – athletic ones only for coaching, knee length “dress” shorts absolutely
    skirts/dresses that are above the knee – lower hemlines as I have aged, still okay with knees exposed (particularly with tights or Capri leggings under blousy dresses)

    Side notes: I found your blog years ago because of a Swedish has been post. Ditto the clog love. I would wear them always but I live in vancouver and it rains a lot. Also, ditto the uniqlo love! I discovered them last summer in Paris, and now we have them in Vancouver too. Clean lines, simple cuts, breezy silhouettes, good fabrics, quality construction and pockets! So much love.

    Lastly: SanFrancisco is my second hometown – my dad was born and raised there. Now he lives in Santa Rosa but I love going back every time.

    Happy teaching… Have a great last two weeks!

    Liked by 1 person

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