Sometimes I like to shop. This doesn’t occur very often so I need to grab it when it happens and try to update my working wardrobe. I say ‘try’ because I am easily distracted by unsuitable-for-work shoes and anything in brown, which Barry insists is not professional.
So, having seen some other blogs giving advice on what to wear, I thought I’d offer my view…
First of all, the rules (there are always rules). On non-pupil days you can skip through the school in your pants for all I care, but when school is in session I have rules.
- Denim is for the weekend. I don’t want to see school staff in denim and those black denim jeans are going to have to be very fresh out of the shop to pass under my ‘scruffy’ radar.
- Men should wear a collar (sorry if that is sexist – but there it is). I can take or leave a tie but if you are going to wear one, it needs to be properly done up.
- Skirts – if I can see your pants, it is too short, if you trip on the stairs, it is too long.
- In my view, the demise of the ‘modesty panel’ is a sad loss, I don’t think the cleavage is an appropriate accessory in school workwear.
Now that is out of the way…what to wear? I do think men have it pretty easy anyway. They can go for the perfectly acceptable “smart casual” (see rule 2), or the suit. Women have it a little more tricky so read on.
The Suit – I like a suit. I feel in control, professional and smart, ready for anything the day might throw at me. I’ll wear a suit if I know I’ve got a sticky meeting. I quite like mis-matched (but complimentary) pieces and I like a proper shirt underneath. I don’t think you can go far wrong with M&S especially if you can throw it in the wash and then wave the iron over it for a return to good-as-new, all the better.
The Dress – I am a bit of a sucker for the fitted dress. I have a few beautiful ones in my wardrobe, with a jacket or a cardigan you can feel smart and fabulous. I love Hobbs, which I know are a little more pricey but worth saving my pennies for I think. This one is gorgeous but I’m not sure I like the shoes, even if they are brown.
The Separates – OK, so most of my wardrobe is a mishmash of smart skirts and trousers, shirts and blouses, heels and flats, cardigans and jackets. This lets me ring the changes constantly depending on my mood and what I’ve got planned for the day. One find I’ve been pleased with recently is the shirtbody. I may be late to the party but all those female TV FBI agents must be keeping their shirts tucked in somehow, I thought. So I googled it and bought two. They have changed my life. (advice – go 2 sizes bigger than you normally would) (Link to shirt)
Finally, I have two more experiences to share on the working wardrobe;
- Clothes last much longer if you don’t wash them too often, you can either try not to break into a sweat at work if you can help it, or you can buy decent wicking underwear, which brings me to…
- In my experience of working in a school, you are going to need a vest. Yes, all year.
P.S. I’m just brazenly copying pictures of the clothing I like from websites, I have no links to anyone and I’m not getting anything in return. I’m practising for future funding linkage as, yes, I still need to work on earning that MUGA!