What a Teacher Really Wears on a Holiday

Some of my most vivid memories of elementary school don't only include learning and hanging with my friends but some of the outfits my teachers wore. It's really true: I've been obsessed with clothes for forever. Obviously as a teacher now myself, I think a lot about what I wear to work, especially around "big" holidays like Christmas or this week's Valentine's day. 

Growing up in the 90's, fashion that was affordable and trendy AND work appropriate was not the norm. My teacher wardrobe mainstay, J.Crew Factory, was nowhere in sight. What I remember my teachers sporting was a lot of really functional pieces like corduroy and tweed pants, sweaters in a variety of colors, and knee-length skirts of varying textures and prints. 

It got really wild, though, when it came to the holidays. It is an unwritten rule of being an elementary school teacher that you MUST recognize the holiday with a matching outfit. For my teachers it usually meant the holiday sweater. What we now call "ugly sweaters" these women wore boldly and proudly to get us kids excited about coming to school on a holiday. Sadly, we were more interested in what kind of treats would be available at the afternoon party. 

Now I'm a teacher and I just can't resist a holiday themed outfit. But I am definitely resisting the ugly holiday sweater, even if it is ironic now. So how do you put together a work appropriate holiday outfit?

What to Wear to Work on Valentine's Day
What to Wear to Work on Valentine's Day
What a Teacher Wears to Work on Valentine's Day

sweater: madewell (similar), pants: target, shoes: kelly & katie

Focus on the colors

Most holidays have a color scheme. For Christmas, it's red and green. On Halloween, it's orange and black. And for Valentine's Day it's the classic red and pink. So rather than buy something that boldly screams holiday, instead put together an outfit that plays on the popular color scheme for the holiday. 

Look for funky accessories and stand-out details

When in doubt, accessorize. Accessories are the single easiest way to add a touch without being too much. Actually, I take that back: it is possible to go overboard on accessories so try to have a light touch. Fun statement earrings work well, again playing with the color scheme or with symbols of the holiday. Necklaces too are an easy way to get in on the holiday. But don't overlook small things like patterned socks or a silk scarf. 

Opt for subtle holiday patterns

Luckily we have way more fashion choices than ever before so if you're looking for something you'll probably be able to find it. That's why you now have a choice between an ugly holiday sweater and a subtle but funky print for the holiday. This year I found tons of "Valentine's Day" prints like lip printed sweatshirts and dressed decked out in little heart patterns. It doesn't have to scream, "I'm celebrating the holidays and I love it!" You can still look good and be holiday ready. 

More outfit ideas for Valentine's Day: