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Teacher needing some shopping advice...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I will be starting my first year of teaching this fall and I am looking to step up my wardrobe as I do have aspirations of working my way into administration in the next 5-10 years. That being said I am on a teacher's budget and so I am having difficulty locating some wardrobe essentials in my price range.

 

Specifically, I need help finding some blazer/sport coats in navy, black and grey respectively in a $100 to $150 (or less) price range for each. I certainly want quality for my money but I understand that I won't be getting top of the line items.

 

I would love some guidance and really look forward to all of your input.

post #2 of 10
Do you know your jacket size and approximate measurements? If so, I would suggest looking at Ebay. You can get some amazing deals if you don't mind buying pre-owned. I bought a very nice Hickey Freeman blazer with Loro Piana fabric off Ebay for $50. The first thing I do is have it dry cleaned then take it to the tailor. Boom. Fully-canvassed, quality blazer for $61 plus tailoring costs.

On a separate note, there are nearly no occasions I can think of that would merit a black sport coat over a navy. If you do, it is merely preference or style. You might forgo the black and spend $100 more on the Grey and Navy.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by math4tito View Post


I need help finding some blazer/sport coats in navy, black and grey respectively in a $100 to $150 (or less) price range for each. I certainly want quality for my money but I understand that I won't be getting top of the line items.

I would love some guidance and really look forward to all of your input.

FIrst, read through this thread: http://www.styleforum.net/t/309783/if-you-do-not-own-the-following-things-you-are-not-well-dressed

Nowhere on that list or in the entire thread will anybody suggest a black sports coat. Grey herringbone yes. Grey suit, of course. However grey odd jackets are not as versatile as you might think.

Next, decide what you will wear to work that is on the list in the first post. My guess is the following will be enough to get you through the first semester or so. You can build from there.

-a blue odd jacket. If you live in a two-season climate, then two, one for warmth and one for the cold
-mid gray flannel pants (1 pair) and/or
-decent, non-chino(non-distressed) khakis(1-2 pair)
-blue BC(button cuff) shirts, at least one BD(button down collar) If you don't plan on wearing a tie, you can add more BD's
-some tasteful brown oxfords (exact configuration up to you) or derbies and/or
-loafers in medium brown calf, suede or shell or else burg shell
-a solid black tie, knit or grenadine or
-a solid navy tie, knit or grenadine
-a plain white linen hanky - Not necessary, but a cheap addition to your wardrobe

I don't know what your entire budget is, but if you had $450 budgeted for three jackets and had most of the other items on the list, I recommend splitting that money between well fitting OCBD's and other solid blue shirts and a tailored blue odd jacket.

Check you PM's. I will send you some more info.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

My size is a 38 short, didn't have too much success when surfing over ebay but I will certainly keep visiting ebay in the future in the hopes of finding a hidden gem.

 

I see your points in regards to the unnecessary nature of the black sport coat/blazer. I guess I am just coming from the flawed logic that "black goes with everything"

 

With that being said I can devote some more funds to a proper navy/gray coat, so any shopping links would be fantastic.

 

Special thanks to Withaque for all of the great information, it is very much appreciated because diving into this world of men's style is a tad bit overwhelming.

 

Hope to hear from more responses soon.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by math4tito View Post

I will be starting my first year of teaching this fall and I am looking to step up my wardrobe as I do have aspirations of working my way into administration in the next 5-10 years. That being said I am on a teacher's budget and so I am having difficulty locating some wardrobe essentials in my price range.

Specifically, I need help finding some blazer/sport coats in navy, black and grey respectively in a $100 to $150 (or less) price range for each. I certainly want quality for my money but I understand that I won't be getting top of the line items.

I would love some guidance and really look forward to all of your input.

I've found that black is never a good idea in the classroom, lighter colours are much better at hiding the chalk dust.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDT View Post

I've found that black is never a good idea in the classroom, lighter colours are much better at hiding the chalk dust.

You haven't taught in the West in a while have you...I don't think anyone uses chalk over here anymore Mike...biggrin.gif.

As far as your wardrobe, if administration is your only reason to dress up, its not going to help. Chances are, the only time your potential employers will see you is on an interview, so a nice interview suit would be the only thing you "need" for that.

Regardless, a navy blazer and a tweed jacket would be much more versatile than the three you suggested. Go with a navy one first, then tweed. The tweed can be found for a song on eBay and there are so many different options. Just search Tweed jacket 38.

Other than that, a few good pair of chinos will also take you a long way. In September last year, I ruined 2 good pair of pants on snags in my room because of the combo of teaching in an old building, and having extremely overcrowded classrooms. I imagine classrooms all over the country are getting crowded with budget cuts, so a few sturdy pairs of khakis will go a long way. I got mine at Epaulet (at $135 they're not cheap, but will last you forever, they're tough as nails - either the 10oz Duck or the 8oz canvas) and the gunmetal and khaki are can't miss match-wise, so it'd be money well spent.

Next, if you have laundry at your place, 5 shirts, 3 blue, one white, and one other of your choice will be fine. I've stopped sending my shirts to the cleaners and wash em here in my apt complex, hang dry them, and press them. One for each day is a good start.

A few odds and ends you'll need are brown and black shoes (black captoe and brown plain toe or brogue) and brown and back belts. The shoes you can get second hand on the bay as well. Be sure to check feedback from who you buy from on eBay, this will tell you if you're getting quality or not. Loafers are nice, but not necessary and the black will be great for parent-teacher nights or interviews. Then, a couple of ties, solid navy is a must and you can pick or choose a few others on your own. These are VERY cheap on eBay if you look.

Lastly, a nice winter overcoat, again, eBay is your friend. I've found great ones for under 100 bucks, especially this time of year when no one's looking for one. Get that suit when you're ready for your interviews for the admin jobs.

Finally, not sartorial advice, but work advice:
Work as much as you can. After school jobs can be plentiful in some places and pay very well especially if you can stay in your school like I do. I only work two extra jobs a week plus a week or so in the summer writing curriculum, and that's enough for me to put it aside and have a nice clothing budget for when I want something new and nice. It also affords me the ability to take the entire summer off and recharge and hang with my family. To me, that's the best perk of the job, and you should take advantage of it while its still around, and you'll especially appreciate it when you have a family.

Good luck.
post #7 of 10

You never told us what level you were teaching.  I taught for twenty-three years in elementary/middle school and firmly believe that when teaching is effective, it's messy.  So if it's cold, an ebay special tweed coat you can wear across campus and then hang on a hook in the classroom is all you will need.  As was mentioned above, the only time you'll need to dress up to start climbing the ladder (something I never wanted to do) is at interviews and that's where a good navy or charcoal suit is a better choice.  Now if you are teaching at the high school level, that's different.  Anything you can do to intimidate the Young Warriors is good.  Sports coats and ties will do that.  But if you are down in elementary grades and try to wear a coat and tie in class, you will spend more in cleaning bills than you will on the garment itself.  Polos and chinos/jeans augmented by turtlenecks when the temperatures drop will take you a long ways.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I will be teaching high school and really I want to improve my overall appearance and develop a sense of style that will last me the rest of my years regardless of what position I happen to find myself in.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewYorkRanger View Post

You haven't taught in the West in a while have you...I don't think anyone uses chalk over here anymore Mike...biggrin.gif.

Don't tell me, every student in the West now has an iPad, and all lessons, texbooks, materials and everything else are delivered electronically? smile.gif

Sometimes here it is, there's the blackboard, there's the chalk, get on with it. Fortunately at my current position there are DLP projectors and screens, however they only work when there's electricity.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDT View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewYorkRanger View Post

You haven't taught in the West in a while have you...I don't think anyone uses chalk over here anymore Mike...biggrin.gif.

Don't tell me, every student in the West now has an iPad, and all lessons, texbooks, materials and everything else are delivered electronically? smile.gif

Sometimes here it is, there's the blackboard, there's the chalk, get on with it. Fortunately at my current position there are DLP projectors and screens, however they only work when there's electricity.

Pretty much.

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