Pretty AND Professional: Fall Clothes for Teachers



Prior to having Greenlea, I taught high school – world history and English.  So this time of year was always really exciting – from getting my classroom ready and working on lesson plans…to buying new school supplies and teacher clothes.  I still love “back to school” time.

As a teacher, it was hard to find appropriate outfits.  I wanted to look stylish, but be comfortable.  My classroom was often freezing in the morning but stiflingly hot in the afternoon.  I was always bending over desks (and elementary school teachers are often crawling on the floor) to help kids. As teachers, we want to look professional but be able to move around and interact with our students.  No low-cut shirts, no spaghetti straps, no short skirts or dresses and definitely no uncomfortable shoes (I learned that one the hard way).  So . . . when Modcloth asked us to look at their fall lineup, my first thought was that they were PERFECT for teachers. 


Wrangler Wide-Leg Jeans: (TTS – wearing a size 6) Also in a shorter length, these are the kinds of jeans I felt comfortable wearing.  They’re cut like trousers but have the comfort of jeans . . . but if you can’t wear jeans to work, these wide-leg pants are a great option!

Sleeveless Top: This is short enough to tuck in but long enough that belly won’t be showing if you don’t tuck.  High enough so your chest won’t show even when bending over and the arm holes aren’t big enough to show your bra.  Perfect for layering in hot and cold classrooms! (Wearing size small).

Cardigan: Ok, I don’t care who you are, if you’re a teacher you NEED a cardigan.  I had cardigans in every color when I was teaching and this one is thin enough to layer over and under other tops and dresses.  Also in a cropped length if you want a shorter one.  (Wearing size small).

Denim Jacket: Another great option for layering, this jacket is roomy enough to throw on over a sweater but still tailored enough to look nice instead of sloppy.  A great alternative to blazers. (Wearing a small).

Earrings (similar): Simple, everyday earrings.  Love these.

Bag (similar): Perfect for teaching or the office as well as space for baby things!  (Plus it converts to a backpack!)

Lipstick: MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Slipper Orchid.  LOVE this color!  Plus it stays on forever.


More Pretty And Professional Clothes for Teachers



P.S. G starts school this fall!  I’m so excited for her to go to preschool (even though it’s only like two afternoons a week).  I hope she loves school as much as her mama . . . any advice to help my three-year-old adjust?

Thank you to Modcloth for sponsoring this post and to our readers for their continued support.  It is so very much appreciated!


  1. I’m sorry, but I’m a stylish 50 year old elementary teacher and I think those Wrangler jeans are way off the mark. Maybe your site is trying to add them as a sponsor? I have always LOVED your site, but believe you can do way better for teachers about style and back to school fashions.

    • I love the jeans! It’s so nice to see something in jeans that’s not either skinny or something super trendy like those horrendous “step” hem jeans, which I refer to as mullet jeans.

  2. I love this post! Yes- there are many rules to follow when dressing for the classroom. I am so glad you highlighted items that “cover all the bases.” Thanks!

  3. Please do more posts like this! I agree with all your “rules.” Good luck to Greenlea, my kids loved preschool, we went to open house before, and watched Daniel Tiger’s first day of school episode. I think it helped.

  4. My daughter had a lot of separation anxiety when she started a Mother’s Day out with a similar schedule. The thing that helped her the most was a book we made. We kept the text simple and took pictures of getting ready for school, her teachers, and drop off. The teachers sent me pictures of her doing activities she liked and playing with friends. The end of the book was lots of pictures of me and her at pickup time and the text was “Mommy always comes back!” We would read it in the morning, and then Alex could take it with her to school. Hope G does well! And I love your outfit ideas. I used to teach K-2, and yes! there is crawling on the floor involved!

  5. Thanks for this post! I’d really appreciate more posts about what to wear to work. Shorts and T’s are great, but I bet there are A LOT of moms who read this blog who work outside the home. We have to deal with school drops offs, pick ups, and come-home-and-cook-and-play (with no time to change) AND some kind of a professional environment. We don’t need to know how to style a suit for a play date (impossible…) but what do we wear on the many, many, MANY days when we have to transition across many roles with no opportunity to change outfits? What can I put on at 7 am, do drop off, scoot to work, work all day, dash home, make dinner, put the kids to bed, and then drink wine? Other than a Wonder Woman cape, I mean 🙂

    • ^^^^ Yes, more work posts. Sick of sticking to a mom-iform of A-line dresses or a black pants/shell/cardigan combo. Would love more work ideas!

    • Another vote for more realistic working-mom-posts – and hey, I would totally do a reader-style-challenge, just saying! I love that this one covered ALL the bases too – I work at a college, and while the young musicians are pretty cavalier with showing skin, I like to keep it professional while still looking cool (for example, all those cold/one/no shoulder tops, not ok!).

  6. I would love to see contributors in more than one outfit per post, especially on a post like this which is SO NEEDED and helpful! I love seeing Scotti in this outfit, but I would have loved to see the fit on at least 1-2 more outfits, rather than 10 photos of one (albeit super cute) outfit.

    More work outfits please!

    • Yes, I agree. More than one outfit per post. But I like that it was styled several different ways.
      Mod cloth has a lot of great options but I never seem to actually buy anything. I don’t know why.

  7. thanks for this! I run a preschool and need to look professional but be able to jump and sit on the floor at any given moment 🙂
    My sister teaches in a public school and cannot wear jeans but the variety of wide leg pants on ModCloth can replace these easily I think. I agree, would have loved to see a few other looks on you!
    For adjustment, definitely visit the school several times in the two weeks before she starts, even to just play on the playground. Read books about school, watch her favorite cartoons that have school episodes and make it exciting! Be on the lookout for more difficult drop offs once the honeymoon period ends come October 🙂

  8. Gorgeous! And love the focus on exploring wardrobe options that are appropriate for any smart-casual work (and out of work) place. Thank you!

  9. I agree, more work outfits! This is one that I would wear more frequently since I, too, am a teacher. Shorts, no matter how cute, aren’t part of my closet from Monday to Friday.

    Additionally, what brand is your actual bag? (It looks a little bigger than the Modcloth, and I’m in the market currently XD )

  10. Scotti-

    Thanks so much for this post. Being a kindergarten teacher, it’s hard to dress “school appropriate” when I want to be comfy in distressed jeans and cool tops. Thanks also for introducing me to Modcloth- their fabrics/pieces are perfect for teachers- without being too cheesy. One look I’m wearing a lot of lately is dresses over pants. It was my go to during pregnancy and now I’m loving it because it looks dressy but is extremely comfy. Keep the teacher looks coming!


  11. Love the outfit Scotti is wearing. I’d like to see a post about shoes, boots for teachers, who really do spend much of their days on their feet. The best low heels to wear under those flairs? The best shoes for a dress? Thank you!

  12. Yes! Love! As a librarian, I share similar struggles. Would love a post on affordable, interesting tops to wear with jeans or casual but professional pants.

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