The 8 pieces you need to start teaching

Hi friends! This post is all about what I bought to get started teaching as a grad student. This was my big question after I accepted my offer to start my MA (yeah I know, I should have been looking for apartments and registering for classes). I think with 8 pieces or so, you have a good start that can make lots of outfits, whether you are TA-ing once a week or teaching your own class several times a week.

I suggest a nice work bag, 2 work shirts, a dress, a blazer, a pencil skirt, dress pants, and one pair of extremely comfortable work shoes. Sources here.

To extend these pieces, I mix my casual wear in with a couple of dressier pieces. I think t shirts and jeans can look classy, especially with a blazer.

I also tend to add in my more casual shoes, like sandals and boots. Though if you’re in the market for several pairs of teaching shoes, I think oxfords are so geeky and perfect for grad school.

If you’re getting ready to make the move to start teaching, I hope this list helps you start to make a workable wardrobe ❤

Sometimes actually getting dressed on the weekend helps me get things done. Things this outfit & I achieved yesterday:
-car wash
-brunch
-delivered a stack of books to my office
-bought snacks for the Super Bowl
-wood conditioned the house cutting boards
-dyed my hair
-stained the couch with hair dye 😭
-cleaned the bathroom
-made stir fry for lunches this week

But I forgot to grad school…oops.

Teacher style: fancy cut, casual fabric.

One way to make your wardrobe work for teaching and the rest of your grad school life is to find crossover pieces. This dress has a semi-fancy cut (waist definition, pockets!) but is a nice comfy cotton, so I wear it to teach or dress it down with my jean jacket to go to class. Fun fact: I bought this dress in Norway from this woman who worked in a clothing store because I wanted her to give me some contacts for my research. She did not pick up what I was laying down, and thought I bought the dress because I was trying to ask her out. #hazardsofresearch 

Dress: Like I said, Norwegian. Some similar options from Old Navy: 1, 2, 3

Shirt: Madewell

Shoes: Pikolinos, Nordstrom Rack score (similar)

Backpack: Herschel (backpack round up coming soon!)

Choosing a bag for grad school:

 A messenger bag or tote is a nice option in grad school, especially if wearing a backpack means you get mistaken for an undergrad. Messenger bags can look a bit more professional. Here are some bag I’ve been eyeing recently:

1- Madewell

2- Herschel

3- Pendleton

4- Fossil (sooo expensive but I’ve wanted it for forever…perhaps a graduation gift to myself)

Grad school OOTD: Nerd alert.

Rebecca says: Hi internet. This is a go-to class outfit for me. Denim + black skinnies + comfy sneakers. I’m a second year PhD student and at this point in the semester it has to be stuff that is comfy and comes together quickly! I just bought clear glasses and someone told me “You look like a bigger nerd than you already are.” Oh well 🙂

Emma says: What’s good, internet? The outfit above is actually inspired this blog. Rebecca and I had class together early one Tuesday morning. She complemented my outfit and here we are. I’m a second year Masters student and teaching assistant. One of my students once described me as “small and well-dressed” and that was a great day.