Fierce Fashion Tips for Teachers on a Budget


Stereotypically, educators aren't fashion savvy but those of us walking the hallways everyday know a slew of teachers who belong on the style honor roll.

Most of the teachers do not feel it necessary to look good and can face some serious teacher fashion challenges. Full days on your feet encircled with crowded hallways, dry erase markers and dirty students’ hands don’t bode well for high-priced, high-concept style. Nor does a teacher salary or insanely busy schedules. It’s hard to find time to mull perfect outfit.

To help, we've collected the Top 9 Tips just for teacher fashion. Break out of your wardrobe rut this fall and bring practical and affordable style back into the classroom!

School ID Discount

Several stores extend discounts just for being a teacher. For instance, Ann Taylor and J.Crew are two major retailers that offer teacher deals but it is recommended to ask at the register wherever you are shopping.

If a brand wants to celebrate our profession with lower cost clothing options, I say embrace it as a not-so-minor perk of the job!

Build on the Basics

If your wardrobe is bristling with classic pieces that can be worn a multitude of ways, half of your job is done. I know buying a plain dress or white button-up blouse doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but if you think of these staple pieces as canvases that can be styled an infinite number of ways, it opens up a world of opportunity.

Vintage Values

Fashionistas all over the world seems to be salivated upon the mere mention of the word “Vintage”. Lucky for us, vintage is (more or less) a fancy way of saying thrifted finds, so why not head over to your local thrift shop to find your own low-cost treasures!

You will be stunned to see the variety and number of items major fashion houses offer – not to mention, all of the pieces that come from France or Italy. Oooh lala.

Comfortable Shoes Don’t Have To Be Ugly

Comfortable shoes are imperative for teachers not just to make fashion statement but to comfort themselves as well as they are on their feet most of the day. But it does not necessarily qualify you for sporting busted footwear, neither you should try and suffer through the day in high heels – not at all. Instead, I encourage you to think stylishly AND sensibly by turning to flat boots, wedges and ballet flats to compete your outfits.

We Can’t Afford Designer Clothes… or Can We?

Gone are the days when the only people with access to designer clothes are the insanely wealthy and the handful of New Yorkers with the time to visit midday (midweek) sample sales held in designers showrooms.

Online sale sites give ample opportunity to designers to clear out their fancy-fancy merchandise which is basically awesome news for us common folk! Sites such as Rue La La, Gilt Groupe, Hautelook host clearance sales with up to 80% off of apparel and accessories from designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture and Theory.

Be a Fashion Student

Turn to the professionals to track the season’s hottest trends. There are hundreds of free online fashion resources, meaning you can get cutting-edge style advice without shelling out the $6 for your copy of Vogue. You just have to do your research!

Sites such as Intermix, Who What Wear and Shopbop all have well-styled (free) lookbooks for you to pore over.

And my favorite fashion learning aid definitely comes from celebrity stylist, Rachel Zoe. Ms. Zoe just launched The Zoe Report, a daily newsletter with her recommendations on hot products, brands and pieces. Her selections are often under the radar, but are always exquisite.

Lucky for us, every edition of the Zoe Report also features a low-cost alternative to that day’s highlighted trend.

Make a Statement with Accessories!

This fall, jewelry is big, bold and ornate and is designed to bring flair to even the most basic of outfits. Have fun with it! There is no reason to spend a lot of money on pieces that will inevitably go out of style next season, so I say turn to less expensive stores and let your imagination run wild! Forever 21, H&M and Topshop (the chic & cheap British store is now available online) are my go-to places to find maximum impact bling

A warning: the opulent statement necklaces (like these expensive, but to-die-for pieces from Anthropologie) may be hard to pull off at work, but would be a great way to transition some of your basics from day-to-night, if you have after work plans.

Teacher-Appropriate Trends

Once you begin to study the great stylists, certain trends will emerge that inspire and excite you. Go for it! Embrace the trends, but please, please look age-appropriate. We don’t, after all, want to be confused with (gasp!) one of our students!

Everything Looks Better with a Smile

I turn to a showtune for my final fall fashion tip: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”