teacher style

Inside: Casual teacher outfits, ideas for clothing, hair, footwear and accessories.

Teaching children with autism and supporting students with special needs brings its own unique set of rewards and challenges. Of the many things that we need to do a little differently, finding our teacher style means striking the right balance of fashion and functionality. That’s because each day is unpredictable and dynamic. Comfort is really the key while still looking put-together and professional and adding our own touch to our everyday look.

Layering & Extra Clothing

Wearing layers is a great way to stay both comfortable and clean. So many outfits can be changed up with something as simple as a cardigan. With a cardigan sweater, you can layer it over short or long sleeved tops, stay warm if it gets chilly, and take it off if it warms up. It’s one of the most versatile pieces to have in your wardrobe. You can find lightweight cardigans for the warmer months and thicker options for colder temperatures. Solid, neutral colors balance out brighter tops, while colorful cardigans can give your outfit a little extra pop. Extra pop is something that Elease from the former Sylvia's Closet Shop online store knows a lot about. “I birthed my business with the concept of offering affordable clothes at a fraction of the cost. I decided to open an online business that enables my clients to build on their wardrobe without spending a lot of money,” says Elease. “I opened my unique online business and named it after my mother Sylvia. She always inspired me to be the best version of myself. Had she been alive today, she would be proud of way my dreams have come to fruition.” Elease says that having an extra set of clothing is a pro tip.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to always have an extra cardigan with you in the classroom in case of spills or accidents, too. Keeping an extra pair of pants or even shoes with you can come in really handy on those challenging days. It might seem silly to pop an extra top into your tote, but you’ll be glad you did if you end up getting spilled on. Think ahead when planning your outfit and packing your bag for the classroom so that you’re prepared for whatever the day may bring.


Many special needs teachers like to keep their hair tied up so that it’s out of the way, and with less chance of being tugged or tangled. However, if you like wearing your hair down, you don’t have to sacrifice your style. Ponytails stand a decent chance of being yanked on, too. Keep a few hair ties with you just in case. A clip or barrette can also be a good way to get your hair out of your face in a hurry. Bottom line; don’t spend too much time worrying about your hairstyle each morning. Keep your hair simple, neat, and tidy.


As special needs teachers, we spend much of our day on our feet, moving around the classroom. That makes comfortable footwear essential, but we still need to look professional, rather than casual. The key is finding footwear to go with our teacher outfit that is both versatile and provides support. Many shoe brands today are aiming to strike that perfect balance of comfort and functionality without looking frumpy, so you have more options than ever. Stick to flats instead of heels or pumps, or your feet will surely pay the price after a long day. Once you find a pair of shoes that you like, pick up a few other pairs in different colors, if possible. Anything that helps you to run or move fast will work.


Accessories, especially jewelry, can be a great way to dress up any outfit. However, jewelry can quickly become an issue in the special needs classroom. That’s because necklaces, bracelets, and dangly or large earrings can be tugged, pulled on, or catch on something and break. Consider how dynamic your day is in the classroom and keep your costume and sentimental jewelry pieces at home. Stick to studs for earrings and simple necklaces that let you add that little touch of style without becoming a hazard or running the risk of being lost or broken during a hectic moment.

Dressing for the classroom doesn’t have to mean being only practical all of the time. Remember, there are meeting days and professional development days!!! Have fun with your personal style, whether it is plus size teacher outfits, petite outfits, art teacher clothes, student teacher outfits and anything in between, by choosing comfortable pieces in a variety of colors and patterns. Opt for comfort and consider how much of your day you’ll be moving around and working hands-on with your students. By focusing on functionality over fashion, you’ll find what works best for you.


teacher style autism