Teacher’s Capsule Wardrobe for Women
Mornings can be difficult. Monday mornings, especially so. Here’s a way to help your morning be just a little more manageable: a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of carefully selected pieces of clothing meant to be totally interchangeable to create a variety of outfits while simplifying the selection process. More and more people – especially professionals – are moving to simple wardrobes meant to take you through almost every situation. Though fully capable, a capsule wardrobe serves a specific function and may need a piece or two rotated in or out as seasons change, or need some special pieces for a particular hobby.
Leading research shows that any reduction in the need for decision making can help you make better decisions later in the day, so the capsule wardrobe can make you a more effective teacher just by helping you streamline your day.
Below is an example wardrobe for you to browse and use as a jump-off point to start your own!
(For male teachers, click here)
Perhaps more than any other piece in a woman’s wardrobe, the little black dress is the absolute essential. A woman’s wardrobe is not complete without the perfect black dress. This is even more true when one has a capsule wardrobe. The black dress is a staple piece that works as a foundation for an entire ensemble. The simplicity of color and design allows one to wear it as a stand alone piece, or accessorize it to make a bold statement. For a teacher, a black dress will come in handy when chaperoning the prom, or convey a professional appearance at Parent Teacher Night. When picking a black dress for your wardrobe, find one that creates an elegant silhouette. A sleek designed dress will allow you to recreate many different looks very effectively.
We suggest the Pintuck Crepe Dress, by Adrianna Papell. It is a perfectly tailored, split neck, sleeveless, sheath dress. This classy dress is perfect for everyday teaching, as well as special events the school has planned. This dress is so versatile, you can even wear it out for a date night. It will serve well as a basis for your simplified wardrobe, and give you a style foundation from which to build out the rest.
A bold print dress immediately spices up an ensemble. Just because you have a capsule wardrobe does not mean you should shy away from unique pieces. As a teacher, you have a unique job. It requires professionalism among colleagues, yet you are also responsible for the entertainment of your students. Don’t be shy to
have a wardrobe that makes you stand out. Incorporate vibrant colors and edgy patterns to give your wardrobe a pop. These head turning dresses will be perfect for fun looks, or to tone down with muting cardigans and accessories.
We chose Floral Faille Fit & Flare Dress, by Eliza J to show a great example of a bold print dress. Although it’s different and colorful, it is also multifunctional. WIth the right accessories, this dress can absolutely transform into several looks. This dress can also be used for several seasons. For warmer months, jewelry and fashion scarves with be perfect to jazz this piece up. For colder months, a nice pair of tights, scarves, and sweaters, will be just the trick to create new looks. It’s a great piece to add a splash of personality to your lineup.
Any well-edited wardrobe includes a neutral color pair of pants. Ideally, this should include a black, navy, brown, gray, or khaki. This pair of pants will fit seamlessly into any style or with any vibrant colored accessories that they are paired with. Neutral colors are great with other neutrals, jewel tones, and vibrant colors. If you already have electric pops of color throughout your capsule wardrobe, it is best go with a no fuss color for bottoms such as black or grey. Dark colored bottoms also work well to shield against any accidents or stains that might happen on the job.
We went with the Audra Straight Leg Trouser Pants. They come in either Charcoal Heather or Navy, with the gray hue being preferable for a capsule wardrobe. They are touted as being very fashionable as well as comfortable, which is extremely important on the job. They are the perfect versatile, no-nonsense pant. They’ll blend into any top or color combination you incorporate into your wardrobe.
Cardigans are great way to keep you warm on a breezy day, to dress down an outfit, or just to change it up a bit. They are comfortable yet professional, conveying a business look for meetings and working. They really pull an outfit together. A simple cardigan can tame a bold print dress, or give a burst of color to a neutral outfit. Another practical use it to pull a cardigan over a soiled shirt or dress. However you decide to use them, it’s always a good idea for a teaching professional to always have one handy.
We like the Women’s Core Cardigans sold at Target. They are lightweight, inexpensive, and well made. These cardigans can easily be dressed up or dressed down. You should go with one vibrant color for days where you would like to make strong color statements, and a neutral color, for days where you want your accessories to speak for themselves. The best part is that they will help keep you comfortable on cool days before maintenance has turned the heat on in the school!
A blouse can be worn in a way that really changes the entire feel of an outfit. You can wear it over a dress, layered under a cardigan, as a stand alone piece worn with pants, or simply paired with a skirt. When choosing blouses, you should choose color that pull together the colors in your wardrobe, without losing the fun of funky colors. Pick two different blouses, or pick the same blouse in different colors to rotate throughout your ensemble.
We like the Pintucked Shell blouses, sold by The Limited. The blouses come in playful colors like coral and mint. Bright colored shirts like this help everyone, including your students, have fun with their day. We also really like the way these blouses are cut – simple and flattering. They are roomy enough to allow free movement, which is extremely important when writing on a smartboard or teaching a kindergartener how to tie their shoes.
Who doesn’t love that perfect fitting pair of jeans? A nice pair of jeans can really be a great compliment to a person’s wardrobe. They can be dressed up with a beautiful top, or dressed down with a t shirt. While educators don’t generally wear jeans, there are always weekends and dress down days. Casual Fridays? Yes, please!
We really love the Lucky Brand’s Olivia Skinny Jean. These jeans would look awesome with a cute pair of heels for a nice night out, or with a comfy pair of flats. Any way you wear them, you can’t go wrong. The best part is, they come in a wide variety of sizes, to accommodate many different body shapes.
A white skirt can go with just about anything. It is a way to give your outfit an easy breezy feel to it, without any effort. Finding a white skirt will be an essential piece to creating a classic look. You will want something that is universally chic, flattering to your figure, and something that just feels nice to wear. The best part of having a white skirt is the versatility. It can be paired with tops, cardigans, and scarves to create brand new looks with just a few changes.
We suggest the Style & Co. Petite Handkerchief-Hem Skirt sold at Macy’s. This skirt can go from boho chic when paired with funky colors and scarves, to a business look when paired with the right blouse and accessories. It is also nicely constructed.The light and comfortable fabric creates a beautiful and clean look.
Scarves are the quintessential fashion accessory. The reason for this is that scarves offer something that most fashion accessories don’t – adaptability. You can change one outfit into several different looks, depending on the way you drape a scarf. There are scarves that are purely for fashion in the warmer months, and equally beautiful scarves that keep you snug in the cooler months. The versatile pieces allow for so much
We recommend buying one solid colored scarf to increase wearability. A neutral color will allow the wearer to pair the scarf with any outfit. The scar we like the most is the Cosabella Women’s Suave Tube. This scarf is so multifunctional, it can actually be wrapped into a shawl, a shirt, and even a dress. Of course it can also be used just as a scarf. But what fun is that?
A fun print scarf is always a welcome fashion staple. You can use it as a belt, head covering, and a myriad of other ways. We like the Floral Safari Scarf sold by Charming Charlie. The colors in this scarf would pull many outfits together in this capsule wardrobe. There is also a really handy video on the seller’s website showing you how to wrap a variety of scarf patterns.
Every woman needs jewelry to express her sense of style. If you want to stand out, pick a pair of jewelry that has a little bit of a pop, but can also blend well with most of the pieces in your wardrobe. You can rotate between a few statement pieces, or just stick with one set. Perhaps you might even have a different set for every season. Jewelry is meant to give that little extra sparkle to your outfit, and possibly even your day. A well-designed jewelry set is the first thing that catches people’s eye. When you are choosing, be sure to find something that really speaks to you.
We really like this Opal jewelry set sold on Etsy. It is a classic style with a lot of personality. It has an upscale feel, but with closer examination, it has a lot of personality. There are intricate details on this piece, including the use of evil eyes. Evil eyes are used in several countries, such as Greece and Turkey, to ward of evil intentions. So this jewelry set can also serve as a good luck charm!
These super comfy and practical pieces of clothing are great to switch up the look of a wardrobe and add functionality. Tights are great when you need some warmth, perhaps on a cold night, or when you just need a little extra coverage. Wearing tights can keep your super cute dresses and skirts in rotation when the temps are a little too chilly to keep bear legs. Tights can also make it easier to gracefully bend over and sit on the ground with your students.
We really like this pair sold on amazon. You can pick colors from black to neon green and everything in between. These tights offer coverage and comfort to your wardrobe, without losing pizzazz. You should definitely buy a few pairs to round out your ensemble.
Every woman should have a pair of dress flats in her wardrobe. They can be worn with jeans or dresses, and still give the outfit a little panache. In a capsule wardrobe, you should look for a shoe that is well made, neutral colored, and comfortable. Go with a pair of flats that is high quality. You don’t want to buy a super cheap pair of shoes that fall apart or hurt your feet.
We really like the Style&co. Angelynn Flats sold at Macy’s. They are a round, closed-toes pair of flats that are covered with rhinestones. Nothing says you can’t add a little bling to your day. You can buy them in black, pewter, cork tan, and gold. Whatever color you choose they are neutral enough to go with just about anything. While these shoes are super cute, they are not meant for extremely shy people, as they will certainly be talking points of the school.
Your wardrobe is not complete without a super cute pair of heels. Just remember, you don’t have to be in excruciating pain to have a chic pair of shoes. Ditch the sky high spikes, for a more practical and cozy fit. As a teacher, you need a pair of heels that will allow you to stand all day. There are several occasions where heels will come in handy: conferences, meetings with parents, and lunch dates. You have to find a shoe that balances comfort and beauty.
We highly recommend the Michael Antonio Finnea Low-Heel Patent Pumps. They are a really nice and professional looking pair of heels, yet also comfy enough to wear all day. They even come in wide sizes! They are a simple and elegant pair of heels that would be perfect for work, yet pretty enough for a night on the town.
Why do we love boots? Because they are an absolute essential. They can transform your summer dress into a fall ensemble with a quick step into the right pair of boots. Boots can make your outfit a little edgier, country, or polished depending on how you wear them. You will certainly add that much more versatility to your wardrobe with a fabulous pair of boots. With that said, you have to find a pair of boots that fit your unique personality, and especially your unique feet the best.
We really love the Aerosoles Wise N Shine Boot. It will be the perfect compliment to give your outfits a classy look. These boots will seamlessly fit with every article of clothing on this list, and so much more. They are available in four neutral color choices, and an extremely wide variety of sizes.
Some days you just want to wear your sneakers. Maybe even everyday. Sneakers are supposed to be worn for maximum comfort and usefulness. With that, nothing says your sneakers can’t be a fashion statement as well. Find sneakers that feel great, but also compliment your sense of style.
If you like your style to be a little quirky, we recommend Vibrams. Vibrams are considered to be a minimalist, or barefoot style shoe. They are believed (by some) to strengthen feet because they are almost like walking with no shoes. We just like the way they look. They are guaranteed to be a conversation starter, for sure. There are many different styles and colors of these nifty shoes. We even recommend wearing these shoes with a dress for a cooky boho look. However you decide to wear them, you will certainly have cozy feet.
The purse is the window into a woman’s soul. Well, maybe not quite, but it is important. The perfect purse has to function as both useful and beautiful simultaneously. It should be big enough to fit your things, but not so big that it pulls you over. The purse should also have a few pockets so that you can keep important documents safe. You will also have to determine what material you would prefer your purse to be made of, and how much you would like to spend. Some women like their bags to serve as a status symbol, others just want a purse to get the job done, while there are some women who fall somewhere in between.
We really love this hemp cotton tote found on Etsy. Because the material is made from a hemp blend, the purse is very durable. It is also extremely cute. There are ten color options to choose from, which gives everyone a chance to pick their favorite color. There is also a choice between a zipper or a magnetic clasp to keep items secure.
There are some Fall, Spring, and even Summer days where a light jacket wouldn’t be unwelcome. You should find a coat that will serve to keep you warm for multiple seasons. Depending on where you live, it might even serve as a winter coat. However, if you live in places where the snow goes past your eyeballs in the winter, you will definitely be needing a winter coat as well.
We really liked this Lauren Ralph Lauren Skirted Trench Coat. It’s chic and functional, which is really what you need in a jacket. It comes in black, navy, pink, and khaki, so you can pick whichever color suits you best. This flattering and feminine outerwear pick also piqued our interest because it comes in a wide variety of sizes. While it isn’t a cheap coat, it isn’t very expensive for what you get either. It is the type of jacket that will serve you well for many seasons to come.