AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol.IV, No. Twenty-Eight

Belle,

Could you help me find some blazers to wear as separates this summer?  I work in a courthouse (i.e. very conservative) and wear suits about half the week, but need to improve my blazer rotation for the other days.  My suit blazers look like they’re intended to be part of a suit, so they don’t really work as separates, and are uniformly dark – so I’d like something with a little more personality.  I’d prefer to spend under $100, but can go up if it’ll be a year-round staple.

-Lydia

While wearing your suit jackets with other separates is a good option, you don’t want to wear out their blazers before their time.  Here are a few pieces that you can wear with other separates.

rsz_screen_shot_2014-06-22_at_63541_pm

Trouve Notched Blazer ($59) // Calvin Klein Zip Jacket ($90) // Ark & Co. Bright Blazer ($89) // Joe Fresh Tweed Jacket ($51)

I love an inverted notch blazer.  It has a such a great, modern look to it.  It pairs perfectly with jeans, skinny trousers or wide-leg trousers.  This Trouve blazer is a great choice.  I also like this white Anthro blazer and this Club Monaco Amalia blazer.

A collarless ivory jacket is a year-round staple for me.  I prefer ivory tweed, but this jacket is a good choice for the price.  You can wear it with every neutral imaginable from camel to navy to charcoal.

Bright jackets are a breath of fresh air for neutral pieces.  I love this fuchsia number.  I also found this bright orange jacket and this mint blazer.   Obviously, these colors aren’t for court or for big meetings, but they can be a fun way to bring personality to your outfit on days when you don’t have to wear basics.

Lastly, I wear tweed in every season.  This navy jacket from Joe Fresh would look great over a white sleeveless sheath or a pale pink dress.  In the winter, I would wear it with dark navy separates and charcoal ones–maybe even black if you feel like making a bold statement.

Plus-size?  Try this ivory inverted notch blazer, it’s lovely.  I also like this bold pink jacket.  Petite?  Check out this Ann Taylor tweed jacket or this Levine papaya-colored jacket.

Dear Belle,

Can you help me find a pair of open toe flats for work?  It’s summer and I want a black pair and a nude pair but I can’t find them in my price range.  I want to spend $125 or less on each pair.  Please help, it’s too hot to wear real shoes.

Thank you so much! JC

These Nine West Aloha flats are a good place to start.  They come in black and gold.  This black suede pair from Carlos Santana has a perforated front; they’re kind of fun.  I also like these peep-toe flats from H&M that have a knotted front.

For the flesh-toned flats, I found these inexpensive Dorothy Perkins peep-toes with a hint of metallic.  These Lucky flats are also a good choice.

Hi Belle,

I was recently hired to work as a Pre-K and kindergarten teacher next year. Last year I held a position where the dress code was very casual. I visited my new school and noticed nobody wore jeans, but it still seemed a step below business casual. Can you suggest any brands or pieces that fall in this in-between category? I am on a teacher’s budget.

Thank you! I love reading your blog! Kara

First, let me suggest some other blogs for you to read that specialize in “teacher style.”  I looked through a few and liked The Teacher Diva and Classroom Couture.

Now, where to shop.  Since jeans seem to be off the table, try chinos and skinny trousers.  I like Ann Taylor and Gap for these.  Banana Republic also has some good options for dress and casual pants.  I would also try Halogen for skirts and dresses.  H&M is my current go-to store for inexpensive blouses like this long sleeve white top, and Zara has great pieces like this frilly sleeve blouse.

Limited is also a good store for mid-price items that sway from casual to professional.  Piperlime is also a great place to look, I would suggest their Tinley Road brand.

LEAVE A COMMENT

    14 comments

  1. Katie says:

    Former public school teacher here: hit up Ann Taylor LOFT. They even have a teacher discount (I think 15%).

    June 23, 2014/Reply
  2. V says:

    Jcrew and crew factory also give teacher discounts- in store only. There are other stores that do too, so I always ask when Im checking out! You new know… I am a big fan of maxi dresses for schools/teachers. You are covered, and can add a cardigan and/or scarf if your classroom is freezing or for the fall months yet still be cool when outside for recess, etc. They are also great when and if you need to sit on the ground with kids

    June 23, 2014/Reply
  3. Barchbo says:

    A teacher here and I have to add: for PreK/K you need prepare for your clothes to get stained with snot/finger paint/food/markers. You will spend a fortune on dry cleaning if you don’t stick to a mostly cotton wardrobe that you can treat with OxyClean and throw in the washer. Teaching wee ones is tougher on the wardrobe than working with older kids!

    With some trial and error, I found some stretch twill pants and rotated cotton tees/cardigans/blouses.
    Gap, Loft, J. Crew/Factory, Banana, Old Navy ( all on sale) always have great basics marked down. I agree with V above about the maxi dresses if that works for you. And YES on keeping a cardigan at school.

    Good luck!

    June 23, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Good tip, thanks. I forget that little kids are contagious stain magnets.

      June 23, 2014/Reply
  4. Sarah says:

    I am a teacher who comes HERE for style suggestions, so keep coming here! The two blogs Belle recommended I cannot myself recommend. The first one has posts, upon posts that are not school-appropriate outfits, and the second one (classroom couture” is run by someone who has left the education field.

    June 23, 2014/Reply
    • T says:

      Loft or NY and Company are great stores because they offer teacher discounts!

      June 24, 2014/Reply
    • Jenny says:

      Those teacher style blogs are absolutely awful. I wasn’t aware it was appropriate to wear three-inch shorts in the classroom, geez.

      June 24, 2014/Reply
      • Sarah says:

        Jenny,EXACTLY! I’m literally disgusted!

        June 24, 2014/Reply
    • B says:

      I should clarify: Classroom Couture is awful for a teacher-stying blog… some of her outfits are cute, just not what I would consider classroom appropriate!

      June 24, 2014/Reply
  5. Early Ashley says:

    Blazers: Talbots. Seriously. They have some cute ones (that hold up) and are very affordable.

    June 23, 2014/Reply
    • TT says:

      Yup!! And they always have a bunch on sale too.

      June 23, 2014/Reply
  6. teachertoo says:

    as a fellow teacher who works in a similar styled school….

    a. black skinny jeans. i have 2 pairs from paige denim (1 with a zipper 1 without a zipper on the bottom). they are dark but casual and I wear them with silky button up tops and sweaters/ cardigans

    b. white jeans in the summer. similarly styles.

    and then professionally colored looking jeans. never blue jeans and always styled with oxfords or silky tops that add to the professionalism

    June 23, 2014/Reply
  7. Tiffany says:

    The Teacher Diva blog isn’t a “teacher styling” blog. Yes she is a teacher, but her goal isn’t to try and put together outfits for teachers…she just posts her personal looks. She explained that last year in one of her posts. Who cares if you can’t wear them to school, this is where she comes to share her creativity and fashion ideas. She’s actually one of the more modest bloggers I’ve seen.

    June 24, 2014/Reply
  8. Trista says:

    I can attest that Limited Suiting is a great place to start if you need professional basics. I bought two suits from them when I got my first managerial job, and they held up for four years of abuse working in a hotel doing anything from front desk to cleaning rooms to serving food. Even though the blazers say dry clean only, I found a weekly washing on the cold cycle and hanging to dry to be sufficient. The pants are 100% polyester in the basic black, and they machine wash very well. The fit isn’t always the best if you’re a curvier shape (like I am), but for the price it can’t be beat. Good luck!

    June 25, 2014/Reply