Monday, September 7, 2009

What some like to call "Professional Dress"

From the Star
So I got the job, but that was only step one. As I began my first week I realized that I didn’t really have clothes that were appropriate for an intermediate classroom. I am used to being in preschool classrooms where you wear Capri's because you go outside every day and everyone knows you can’t wear long pants in Florida - the heat is brutal. I am also used to wearing what you may call "comfy" clothes and flats because you are up and down with the students all day. As I looked in my closet to see what I was going to wear, I was doomed - no clothes and no money to buy clothes. “What am I going to do?” Well like all smart daughters, I called my mom. She was here in a heartbeat. This is when the tough part started because everyone knows that my mother is the NAZI of professional dress. She has lots of rules - NO BUTT CRACK showing, NO CLEAVAGE, and NO JEANS. Now I understand the no butt crack rule, but I am not going to lie - some shirts seem a lot shorter when you bend over than they did when you were standing up straight. However, now I do try to check before buying! Then there’s that no cleavage rule but what the Queen doesn’t understand is that when you’re my age and you have boobs, it is hard not to buy shirts that show some cleavage when you bend over. Let’s just say that the “Teacher” clothes in the ladies department are for ladies and they make ladies my age look about 40. No offense to anyone who is older because I mean 60 is the new 30 but I am trying to look young as long as possible and dressing like an “old” lady does not help - once again, no offense intended. Not only that but I look about 18 in the face. Of course you may be thinking, "So then what’s wrong with the older lady clothes?" Let me put it this way - when I wear them I look like I am 5 again playing dress up in my mother's closet! Oh and the last rule - my favorite - no jeans. WHAT? Is she crazy? I have pairs of jeans that look nicer and more flattering than half of my professional pants. And one more thing, Mom - those jeans with the holes are definitely in style. I thought working with all those young teachers at Chets Creek would keep you up to date with this generation's trends.

Now - about that "unwritten" dress code. That is true. When I started I was unclear about the dress code at my new school, but as I began to talk to some of the teachers I started figuring it out. Rule #1: You can wear your hair up (like in a ponytail), but only once a week. If you forget the rule too often, you will probably get the, "You know your hair looks a lot better down. Why don’t you try that tomorrow?" from the Principal. Frankly I love to wear my hair up and I think it looks nice, so we'll see... Then we come to the shoes. Rule #2: Heels. Let's just say she likes heels. You can wear sandals but wear them more than once or twice a week and you'll probably get the, "Oh, I didn’t know that we were going to the beach today." And yes, I did pick out the 5 inch heels and my mom did give me a hard time (because she thought my feet would hurt by the end of the day) but when you've been short your whole life, you've had lots of experience wearing heels.

My mom really thinks you should look like you're going on an interview every day. She wants teachers to look crisp and sharp and she probably will tell you about it if you get too far away from "professional." And probably the next day you’ll have that more professional look. I guess her point is well taken in that she doesn't think what you wear should interfere with a child's education. While we agree on the point, I guess we'll have to disagree around some of the edges.

Mom and I did buy clothes that we both liked and I have been approved by the principal so far, but who knows? As the year goes by I may slip up and end up on the show "What Not to Wear." Overall I am extremely happy with my new school clothes. They do look great, stylish, and might even be called “professional”. Now, time to teach!


  1. Hi Courtney,
    I am enjoying this blog you are doing with your mom so much. Thanks for taking the time to do it when you must be SO busy teaching three grade levels!

    I have to laugh when your mom rants about professional dress. Fortunately, I am not an offender of one of her no-nos. I probably looked like I was playing dress up my first few years teaching because I bought shapeless professional clothes that didn't help me look a bit older. I think as long as you don't have too much showing (and you can bend), pick what makes you feel confident and professional. And if you can handle the heels...go for it! You are a better woman than me. :)

  2. Hey Courtney, I am so happy for you and your new job! You are getting ready for the best ride of your life...getting to unfold talents, gifts, and skills in each of your students through good, bad, and "what seem to be IMPOSSIBLE" days sometimes. My advice is keep your positive colleagues close by and your negative, critical ones far away....and hopefully you have great genetics and won't get those ugly varicose veins from standing on your feet in 4inch heels each day. :) Looking forward to reading some more!