My Work Uniform

Yay, I went back to work! Fortunately I have two classes who are on internships right now otherwise I don’t think I would physically be able to do it yet. But so far it’s been good, if a little tiring. It also pushed me to go out and buy a couple of things to wear to work this past weekend in keeping with a “work uniform” I instigated for myself in May.

Do any other working women, or more particularly teachers, have this problem? The clothes I can wear to work are extremely restricted by a couple of things:

  1. I sweat almost immediately in anything I wear in class if it’s even slightly un-breathable or sweater-like. Anything clingy will stink after about thirty minutes of work. (Just being honest here. I also wear extra strength deodorant because of work.)
  2. I can’t wear anything with cleavage. Well, I guess I could, but I prefer to avoid it.

Anything that doesn’t fit these criteria may have made its way to work with me over the past couple of years, but it never lasted.

Otherwise, I generally would prefer for my students not to fixate at all on what I’m wearing or even notice what I wear from week to week. I like to look neutral and professional and stylish, to be comfortable, and here’s the kicker: not have to think about what to wear in the morning.

So now I limit myself to breathable, loose tops in black, white, navy, or gray, dark pants, and a neutral colored cardigan. (I also have a collection of camisoles to allow me to wear all the slightly transparent stuff that’s in.) IT’S MAGICAL. But I needed more of those things so I went out Saturday to stock up a little.

What about everyone else? What are your work clothes like?



8 thoughts on “My Work Uniform

  1. erin says:

    Not a teacher, but I do have a work uniform! like you, I also prefer breathable fabrics, neutral colors and dark pants…
    It is quite a challenge to find breathable tops, the shops are usually filled with synthetic options. Where do you shop for tops?

  2. Susan Colette Daubner says:

    i buy the breathable shirts from Columbia or Eddie Bauer or LL Bean. They are marketed for athletes and hipsters so they are a little casual-looking for teaching but you can dress them up with the cardigan. I also employ your layering strategy.

    • Those brands would probably be great, and we do find Columbia here, but much more sports-oriented clothing… I’ll have to make a trip to Whole Earth Provisions next time we’re in San Antonio.

  3. For a long time I was surprised by how casually teachers in French schools dress. In the UK, at least in secondary schools, it’s common for men to be in shirts and ties and women in smart skirts or trousers. In France, a lot of teachers seem to wear jeans. Particularly in primary, it’s a lot more practical!

    I have the same issue as you with see-through tops and tops which show cleavage. And wearing a cami top underneath makes me hot! Between walking part of the way to work and being on my feet for a lot of the day, I also need comfortable shoes – my staple in winter is boots for outdoors, then I change into ballet flats when I get there. These things, plus the need to get dressed without having to think about it in the morning, mean that my work wardrobe is pretty boring!

    • Yes it does help that secondary schools here allow you to dress casually. I wear jeans all the time (though I try to keep them dark). Too bad about the camisoles! They’ve made things way simpler for me even in terms of cleavage. But I understand the heat problem.
      As for shoes, they’re a whole other headache for me since I can wear about 1% of what’s sold in stores!

  4. L says:

    My wardrobe has changed a bit over the years, and recently around being bike friendly. I only have 2 km to bike to get to work, but pencil skirts or maxi dresses just aren’t possible for me (and changing at work just seems more effort than it’s worth). I try to dress business casual, and I always feel self-conscious in the summer when I wear a spaghetti strap dress because it’s super hot. I’ve never had a comment, and my “students” are mostly 25 years old, but I prefer to keep things more professional. A funny side effect is that I’m always looking for occasions to wear my odd-ball t-shirts since I don’t wear them for work.

    I would second the sports wear option. I found some rather nice looking (and semi-tailored) hiking shirts at Le Vieux Campeur and I even took them traveling since they’re light weight and dry quickly.

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