My Starter Teacher Wardrobe: 10 items that mix and match for new teachers and professors

I get this question about once a year from someone who is either about to start teaching as a new professor or a graduate school teaching assistant–what should be on my list of clothing for starting out as a teacher, especially if I’m starting from scratch on professional clothes? I know many of us are not in a spot to spend on clothing right now, but I so love thinking of mix and match outfits and business clothing capsule wardrobes–and chances are you already own some of these items. So, here are my 10 items I would suggest for starting out as a new teacher, linked for those on a budget and those interested in investing in some ethical clothing!

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30 piece capsule wardrobe: My May 30×30 picks

The bigger my closet gets, the less outfit ideas I seem to have. So I’m excited to be joining an instagram challenge this month to create a 30 piece capsule wardrobe and wear it for the whole month of May. This capsule would be perfect as a minimalist summer wardrobe or even a summer packing list for an extended trip to anywhere with hot weather (Vegas is already over 90 degrees!). I included mostly casual items but also some work appropriate dresses and pants for office wear. Here are my picks for the month of May!

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My Spring Work Conference Packing List

I’m back on that academic conference grind this month. This time, the conference is in Florida. Humid locations always make me wonder how to dress professionally. Here’s my conference packing list and outfit ideas for spring conferences. This is a 3 day conference, too, so I’m trying to pack it all in a carry on!

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What I wore to my winter work conference

I love a good work conference packing list, and it seems like you guys do, too, so here are all of my conference outfits from my recent trip! Academic conference dress codes can be hard to decode so I like to hang out at the sweet spot of comfortable and polished. The power of good clothes is important for me when I’m dealing with conference jitters (especially because at academic conferences you are often presenting, eek!). So, here’s what I wore, plus a list of extras that I always make sure to pack in my bag.

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What to wear to a winter conference

I’m off to an academic conference this week and it’s slated to be very chilly (ok just regular chilly if you live on the east coast)–here’s my work conference packing list for when it’s cold out:

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Every job interview outfit I wore/a life announcement

I’m so excited to finally be able to tell you: I have a job! A professor job! I am so excited. But also a little emotionally exhausted. Before I got the job, I was 95% worry every waking hour (and most of the night…). After, I just have to keep reminding myself that the search is over. But the challenges of trying to graduate are not. I will be moving to Las Vegas and starting as an assistant professor in the fall.

I wouldn’t let myself hope for the best–the academic job market is tough (understatement)–so I hadn’t processed any of the exciting parts of having a professor job. And finally getting to talk with you all about the academic job hunting process is one of those things! So, let’s start today with the easy stuff: every outfit I wore to an academic interview.

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Surviving academic conferences

My yearly national conference is coming up this week and it has me Amazon prime-ing myself so many items that I need to keep it together at academic conferences. Germs, lack of food, nerves…academic conferences are a nightmare on my body. But, keeping a few items in my bag goes a long way. Here’s what I’ve needed in the past.

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What I wore: Fall conference edition

I’m sitting in Newark (drinking rosé, eating fries!) after a successful 3 days of conferencing. It turns out that being on the job market DOES suck some of the fun out of conferences because it amps up all nerves I’ve been harboring as-is. This conference was specifically for doctoral candidates on the job market to be seen by established professors in the same field, so as you might imagine, the pressure felt real.

Anyway. On to clothes. This was a fall conference, which is the best time to dress for because business casual is no longer too warm! Here’s what I wore…

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What do I wear to grad orientation?

Grad orientation may be the most stressful outfit choice you make all year–because you’ve never met your department before, so you have no idea what the norms are (unless you can rack your brain about visit weekend). Also, it’s realllly hot out right now, which led to me choosing shorts for day 1 of my MA orientation. And then we took a department picture. And I was front and center on the website. And my mom has never let me forget it.

There’s nothing wrong with shorts, I was just the only person in them. So here are some other outfit combos that can keep you cool while being a step above that, just to make sure the first day goes smoothly:

1) Semi-businessy dresses

Basically the only thing I want to wear right now are dresses that are ambiguous enough to go anywhere. Here are a few good ones.

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J. Crew Factory is making some really pretty printed wrap dresses right now. I just bought this one in this color.

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