I'm on vacation this week and won't be responding to email or posts, so please show these ladies some Simply Sarah love!
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Hello Simply Sarah readers! I’m Whitney and I write about my journey dressing up as a teacher at Along the Lines of Style. I absolutely love my job—teaching is the most rewarding and fulfilling career I could have chosen for myself. I teach Middle School Social Studies, specifically seventh grade Global Studies and World Geography, and I am the Middle School cheer coach.
My schedule pretty demanding, but also determining what to wear on a daily basis is a challenging task. I have a pretty strict dress code (men are required to wear ties and dress shirts—it’s fairly formal) and I also have to consider dressing comfortably for walking around and talking all day alongside hours after school at cheer practice and sport events where I sit (and talk some more...just a bit louder this time). I am also in graduate school for a dual M.A. in Secondary Education and History, so I am often out of place in a classroom full of denim, sweatshirts, tank tops, and flip flops. I have to find a balance between comfortable, professional, and functional…and I can’t spend a lot to do it (in case you didn’t know, teachers aren’t exactly raking the money in). I have a few tips about how I manage balancing comfort and professional on a limited budget:
1. I wear a lot of skirts.
If you already read my blog, you probably think this is an understatement. Skirts are incredibly versatile and I wear them in every season. Pencil skirts are the embodiment of professional, but can also be dressed down. A-Line skirts are flattering to any shape—and they are comfortable enough to walk around in all day and then sit for hours at a basketball tournament or sit in a college classroom. In cooler weather, add some tights and a long-sleeve cardigan—or in warmer months, I toss on a t-shirt and some sandals.
2. I wear bold accessories.
My style is pretty simple and basic. I don’t wear a lot of patterns, but I like to play with solid colors and color combinations. One thing on which I’ve started to depend are more are bold accessories and statement necklaces. Bold accessories make any basic outfit look chic and put together—especially my two J.Crew(ish) necklaces I bought on eBay. I love them and I wear them often.
3. I keep a “wish list” to help me stay in my budget.
I have very little self-control when it comes to impulse shopping. Before I started my blog, I really struggled with tossing anything under $10 in my shopping cart just because it was cheap. This resulted in a closet that did not flow together—I had outfits, but I did not have style. After sorting through a closet full of clothes with price tags still on them, I decided it was time to make a concrete “wish list.” I base this list on items I already have in my closet, and I only include items that would maximize the use of another item.
You can read more about my budget and my wish list here.
4. I try to find similar items to higher price pieces or I play chicken with clothing pieces I like.
I see clothes that I like all the time—but I always try to hold off on making a purchase until it’s on sale. Often, those items are sold out pretty quickly—so if I decide I can’t live without it, I scour the internet and other style blogs to find similar items. For example, I am in love with some gingham Miu Miu shoes. After a few days of searching, I came across a similar pair for $13.99. For those of you who like to do math, that’s about 3% the cost of the MiuMius. That’s some serious savings, if I do say so myself.
5. I paint my nails
This may seem trivial to include, but it’s less about having pretty pink digits and more about presenting yourself as someone who takes care of themselves. A well-painted manicure (done by yourself or professionally) tells people that you care about your appearance. Trust me; people (and students) notice! Teachers are constantly pointing at boards, books, students…and waving their hands around as they speak (or is that just me?). I have probably gotten more compliments on my nails than I have my outfits or any single item in my closet.
Those are just a few ways that I try to maximize my budget! Thanks to Sarah for including me in this feature! I am a big fan of Sarah—and I recently featured Sarah in my Women Who Work Feature I have every Wednesday! I hope you’ll stop by Along the Lines of Style and say hi!