I realize that this post will be mostly geared to teachers, but I believe my little pieces of advice could be applied to any professional who has to dress for a specific meeting or special event with the higher-ups.
It's just the higher-ups in teaching are...the parents.
Today's Outfit for me:
What I Wore:
Skirt: C/O LOFT
Bow tie blouse: Old Navy - $6
Cardigan: NY&Co - $20
Shoes: JC Penney - Giveaway score (~$30)
Earrings: American Eagle - $15
Today's Outfit for Brad:
So...were the pictures of Brad worth the wait or what? You might remember Brad from this post, but his camera broke and he wasn't able to toss in some gratuitous pictures...but I sent him a text last night informing him that I planned to photograph him today.
I absolutely love Brad's style--he's a pro at pattern mixing without being over-the-top.
And he's basically just adorable. That, too.
I mean, come on. He wears jackets with elbow patches...!
What Brad Wore:
Shirt: Polo by Ralph Lauren
Vest: Polo by Ralph Lauren
Jacket: Polo by Ralph Lauren
(I'm sensing a trend here...)
Belt: Crocodile leather from a boutique in Florence
Shoes: Brass Boot
Sunglasses: (he asked me to include this) Persol 649 - Tortoise Brown
Boy wears a lot of clothes.
Tips for Teachers at Conference Time:
Dressing for parent-teacher conferences as a young teacher is a little nerve-wracking, I'll be honest. I have to walk that fine line between dressing too young and possibly not taken seriously, or too professional and risking coming across as pretentious or unemotional--with no connection to their children.
I could possibly be over-thinking. I mean, it's not like I don't do that in every other area of my life.
However, I have a few small tips to keep in mind. A basic Do and Don't list:
- Do...be yourself. I don't see a point in putting on airs just for the parents. Dress your usual style--just make sure you are especially aware of your details.
- Don't...over-accessorize. I have worn outfits that don't require me to wear a lot of jewelry. The bowtie blouse adds a certain maturity as it is, but it also limits the amount I'm adding to the outfit (which is helpful because I tend to absent-mindedly play with my jewelry).
- Do...wear color! I wouldn't shy away from wearing color, but I would be careful not to wear too many patterns or distracting prints.
- Don't...be afraid to wear pink. I have worn pink to both of my conferences this year--the first, a light pink cardigan with pants and the second (above) with a skirt.
- Do...dress your age! I do not try to dress older...I try to dress more maturely. However, dressing your age is not a license to wear revealing clothes. It might distract the fathers, but I have a feeling the mothers wouldn't like it so much (aside from the fact that revealing clothing isn't professional). Brad does an excellent job of taking the traditional view of a male teacher and making it more modern. I love his styling of a sweater vest--and the slight hints of multiple patterns.
- Don't...worry about wearing pants or skirts. I had a friend tell me that women should always wear pants in meeting settings in order to be taken more seriously. He also told me to balance it with pink. I say...it doesn't matter. I'm not very good at dressing pants, I'll be honest. I reach for them on my lazy days...which is definitely not a mindset I want to begin with on conference day.
- Do...dress to be comfortable! You're going to be sitting all day--talking, reading, listening...you don't want to be distracted by a stiff shirt or itchy pants.
- Don't stress about it. The parents are probably not going to care what you wear unless you're too under-dressed or too distracting. Obviously, how you dress is not the most important reason you're meeting with the parents--but merely a projection of how you view yourself, how you present yourself to others, the respect you command, and ultimately how you run your classroom.
Can you think of any other tips?