Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Dress Down Without Looking Like a Total Slob Kabob

This week is dress down week at my school. Let me be clear... I love to dress down. However, some of my colleagues take dressing down to a whole new level...

I wish that this photo was an exageration, but sadly it's closer to reality than it should be. On Monday, I attended a parent meeting with a colleague that was wearing an oversized hoodie, ratty sneakers, and holey jeans... with her hair in a sloppy pony tail. If I were the parent, I wouldn't have taken a single thing that she said seriously. This woman is highly intelligent, but I was so distracted by her appearance that I wasn't listening to what she was saying. Clearly, this is a problem. So I present to you a few simple rules for dressing down & still maintaining your professionalism...

1. Wear Clothes That Fit

shirt ~ Gap Outlet
jeans ~ Gap
flats ~ Kohl's
belt ~ Target 

Yes, you can wear jeans. But, your clothes should still fit. Jeans don't have to be paired with a baggy sweatshirt. I look at dress down week as an opportunity to pair some of my "work tops" with jeans & creat outfits that I normally wouldn't have an opportunity to wear. For instance, I normally wear the top above with a skirt. Yesterday, I paired it with skinny jeans, a mint belt, and flats. It was a casual, preppy look and I was totally comfy all day long. I spoke with my administrators and met with parents, all without losing respect.

2. You Still Need To Shower...

pulled together pony tail
source via Pinterest

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but dress down week is not an excuse to roll out of bed and skip your shower. (again, I'm pretty sure some people I work with do this...) You should be still take the time to do your hair and make up. If you want to switch up your hairstyle & rock a pony tail - that's fine. I wear pony tails & top knots with my dress clothes all of the time. But it needs to be clear that you made an effort.

3. No Holes

Work is not the place for holey jeans... or holey anything for that matter. COVER UP. I mean it. Especially if you're a teacher. Think of your credibility! Remember that a parent or client can walk into the building at any time. So can your boss or the superintendent. It's dress down week, not work at home week. You need to be presentable.

4. Accessorize

Laura is the Queen of Accessorizing

Adding accessories to your outfit adds polish. Wearing a nice pair of heels or a statement necklace can really dress up an outfit! For instance, here is a photo from Laura's blog yesterday. If you check out the whole post, you'll notice that she's in a basic white shirt with a top knot, but do you see how classy her bling is? It adds so much to the outfit & I don't think anyone would question her style while wearing that.

5. If You Wear It To The Gym, Don't Wear It To Work

Nicole can wear gym clothes all day long... you can't.
source via Pinterest

Sneakers are meant for the gym. Don't wear running shoes to work. You'll be just as comfortable in flats and will look far more pulled together. Same goes for yoga pants. You can find a pair of legging jeans that are just as comfy and maybe a little less obscene. (Side note - I had a coworked twice my age come into work with PINK sprawled across her booty - the children were mortified & talked about it for weeks.)

And in case you still don't understand how to dress down without looking like a slob kabob... here are some Pinterest inspiration photos for acceptable jeans at work looks:

source via Pinterest
source via Pinterest
source via Pinterest

Today I'm Linking Up With... 


  1. I feel like I should re-post this at my school! There must be something innate in some teachers that make them think they can dress like a total slob to work when that would not be acceptable in any other profession. Sometimes I want to say, "Ummm hello, you don't teach PE!" We have so many teachers that wear jeans daily--not just on Fridays-- and they look like they just rolled out of bed! Personally, I feel tired when I don't get ready for school in the morning. Plus I look pretty young, so when I dress up I think my high school students take me a bit more serious! :) Great post, love your blog because I can totally relate!

  2. Thanks so much for linking up with us for Wildcard Wednesday!


  3. You are so sweet! = ) I love your casual look, and I love all the inspiration photos...well except Miss Spears lol. = )

  4. Britney is a total "slob kabob". lol That made me lol. Such cute outfits!

  5. Are you a teacher?

    I wear black&white Nikes every time I sub with black pants and a sweater. I wear BOYS sized shoes. If I wore flats they would be flying across the playground and when I had to be fast. Plus I'm not about to wear my nice stuff to the playground or to school where kids are trying to hug me all the time. A lot of Moms aren't 22 so your idea of "dressing down" doesn't fit the audience you are trying to project to, in my opinion. I don't dress up too much, because I'm 33 and look like a kid, and I don't like to be hit on by HS kids, so I dress very simple and boring. There's no need to wear spiky bracelets or infinity scarfs to teach the 5th grade. That, to me, is casual-business wear. I've never seen teachers look sloppy like the way you described, on Fridays when they can wear jeans, but if someone didn't wear make-up or had some bedhead going on, I certainly wouldn't be judgmental of it. I've seen teachers at the academy have the sloppy bun going on, but it looks cute on them, is age appropriate and it's not super sloppy where it looks like they did roll out of bed.

    My main profession is simple, because I wear scrubs and sneakers since I'm a RN. You can't wear any extra stuff or anything on your hands. One necklace and one set of earrings.

    I feel like this post was off-putting because to me, you sound really judgmental by "don't wear this" and "you can't wear this". In March, I would know my daughter's teacher by now, so I wouldn't care if she was dressed messy for one day. I care more about what she has to say about my kid, instead of writing a mental check-list to see what she's wearing.


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