Teaching jobs are already being posted for the new year. Full-time teachers are ready to be done with the school year, but new graduates are thinking about what they need to get ready for the classroom in the fall. It’s an exciting time and a great time to talk about where to buy teacher clothes!
When I first started teaching there were a lot of things to think about. Most of them came in the month leading up to the start of school: What kinds of supplies do I need? Will the school provide them or do I need to do some supply shopping? Who do I talk to about what needs to be covered in the course and what the norms are for the other teachers who teach this course? One thing that I thought about a lot (and STILL think about!) was what in the world do I wear and where can I find “teacher clothes” that fit my teacher budget?
Today I’m sharing my top 5 stores to shop for Teacher clothes. When you’re starting to build a professional wardrobe there are some things to think about.
*Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means that clicking on links may result in a commission for More to Mrs. E.*
Pros and Cons of Budget Stores
At first, you may not have a lot of income to invest in professional clothing. That might be where budget stores come in. When I first started teaching, I bought the majority of my teacher clothes from Ross Dress for Less. I could pick a variety of tops for work between $8 and $12. Slacks, if I could find them, and skirts were usually between $10 and $15. This was a good place for me to start because it gave me something to work with to wear other than jeans!
But, I quickly learned that a lot of the clothing I bought from Ross had a limited lifetime (though I was able to get some great designer steals). The fabric shrunk or faded quickly and the stitching came apart. As I started to make more income I realized that it was worth it to spend a little more on certain items – shoes and blazers are a few of these.
After ten years of teaching, there is still a place in my wardrobe for budget stores but my blue blazer from Ross lasted two years and my Ann Taylor blue blazer that I got in the clearance section is still going strong, six years and counting. I’m still on a teacher budget though, so my list of the Top 5 places to buy teacher clothes is really influenced by the lessons above. Where can I find 1) quality clothing – so it lasts longer than a year and 2) prices within reason.
Top 5 Stores for Teacher Clothes
#5 – New York & Company
I have loved this store since I started teaching. One of my favorite collared shirts comes from this store. Fabrics are quality and they seems to always be running sales. You should expect to spend $20 – $40 each, depending on the item. Typically I don’t spend more than $24 per item here. As explained above, I would much rather spend $24 for a collared shirt that will last me 8 years rather than a $14 one that will last two. They have great slacks for work in a few different cuts, collared shirts and colorful blouses as well as professional dresses that are long enough for teaching in a high school classroom. (I can’t speak to elementary!) My absolute favorite from New York & Company is their Madison Stretch shirt (see widget below). It fits so well and comes in so many different patterns and colors.
#4 – JCPenney
I haven’t always been a fan of JCPenney but in the last year, as I have stocked up on more professional work clothes for substitute teaching, I have really come to value JCPenney for quality work pants, collared shirts, blouses and dresses. The Worthington Brand, in particular, is a favorite and A.N.A tunics and tops are great. Again, they have frequent sales and most items you can get on sale between $10 and $30. My Worthington work pants have nice thick fabric, lining and I bought them for under $25!
#3 – T.J.Maxx
I don’t have to convince most of you, I’m sure, of the glories of T.J.Maxx. What I love about this store is that you can get quality, name-brand shoes, tops, pants, and skirts for prices only a little higher than Ross. They don’t have sales but they don’t need to! Most clothing items are going to be less than $20 and shoes a little more. You can get the quality you need for the price of a budget store!
#2 – H&M
H&M is a mix of quality and I will say that this is not my first-choice for most tops for work. That being said, I LOVE these collared shirts and their sweaters. Their blazers are a GREAT value for what you get. I prefer the blazers from J.Crew Factory and Ann Taylor because their quality is impeccable and if you can get them on sale ($50) you pay a little more for a huge jump in quality. But, the Blazers from H&M are great. Most run between $35 and $50 and will last 3-5 years (or more!). We can’t all afford J.Crew all the time and H&M is a great alternative for a comfortable, quality blazer.
I find the fabric of their tops to be thinner and rougher. They also tend to be shorter, which can be a problem for a classroom or other work environment. That being said, there is almost always something I can find in their more professional work section that will be stylish and affordable for the classroom.
And now…for the drumroll…!
#1- J.Crew Factory
I love this place. I could talk on and on about why this is the best place for teacher clothes. Instead, I’ll number what I love about J.Crew Factory and why it’s at the top of my list.
- Everything is great quality, especially their blazers, jewelry, and dresses.
- Their Caryn Cardigan comes in SO MANY COLORS!
- Their blouses and shells are gorgeous and always on-trend
- Though prices are higher, they are almost always having a sale, making their quality items sometimes even cheaper than H&M or New York & Co. ( So get on their email list!)
- They offer a teacher discount (that I can often get ON TOP of other sales and promotions)! In the end, you can get a quality cardigan for $18-$20 and an amazing blazer for $50 if you shop the sales. Oh!
- They have a clearance section in every store and online with EVEN BETTER prices (that ALSO go on sale!) so shop at the end of the season for next year! You could snag super-quality products for the same price you would pay in a budget store!
Ok, that’s it for today. If you found this useful, I have a TON of other recommendations – including what to buy at each store, what you can expect to pay, what to stay away from and my favorite teacher discounts on my free “Best Places to Shop for Teacher’s Clothes.” You can grab it here!
If you are a teacher, or another professional looking for what to wear to work, you may also want to check out these outfit ideas!
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking up this week with: Trendy & Tidy | Glass of Glam | Sincerely Jenna Marie | More Pieces of Me | Style Elixir | Sandy a la Mode | I do deClaire | The Pleated Poppy | Straight A Style | Pumps and Pushups
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