Hello all,

      This is my first post to the forum, so nice to meet you all! (I've been a long time fan, just recently signed up). My question is about dressing nicely. I am a music education major in college and we are required to go to various schools and observe current music teachers, and we are told to dress professionally. I always get complimented on looking nice because I usually wear khakis, a light blue or purple dress shirt with a complimenting tie and a blue suit jacket. My question is, I only have a blue and black suit jacket, and only grey, black, and khaki slacks. What are my options as far as colors? Am I limited to blues and whites? Or can I wear red or green with that? I just get tired of wearing the same dress clothes every day of the week. Thank you all in advance for feedback and I hope to post again soon! 

Tags: dress, fashion, professionally

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I think you can have some different colors.  Might post photos, though, since not all colors look good, or would look good on you.

BTW you posted this in "Introductions"; I suggest moving it to the Clothes & Grooming section (or whatever it's called).

Hi Kaleb,

It depends on how conservative your industry. I'm not a musician so I cannot really speak to that. I am an attorney and generally the dress code is if you are in court, wear white or light blue shirts. If you are meeting with clients or just staying in the office, you can get a little more flare. The bottom line though is you cannot go wrong with white and light blue.

If that is too boring for you, I would suggest sticking to those colors but in different patterns: stripes and window-pane shirts can look sharp, conservative, and professional.

Are you asking what will look good, or what will look professional? "Good" is a matter of taste and style and needs to be carefully studied or something you have knack for. "Professional" mostly means following simpler rules.

For professional, what do the teachers you observe wear? principals? your instructors?

No sir you are entitled to a endless world of manly goodlooking outfits. As a person in music you are able to open an endless world of colors and possibilities. change it up wear a sweater if you want to. slacks and khakis go with any color. 

 

Given your task is to observe not distract, wear the suits.  Keep the shirts to blues, whites, and greens.  Wear a tie.  

Be the "Observer" the students expect to see so you are not disrupting the class room more then necessary. 

I would second that you should lean more conservative in your dress, as you're there to observe.  When you get into student teaching and practicum time (when you'll actually be doing some of the teaching), you could get a little more adventurous.

Sounds like you have a good, basic, business/business-casual setup there, which is a great foundation.  Around here (midwest), most schools have dress codes for teachers that preclude jeans and T-shirts, but are rather relaxed aside from that, so your clothing would be fine.  It's usually a good idea (in a professional setting) to dress better than the minimum (i.e., if khakis/polo shirt is the minimum, wearing a shirt and tie/slacks is a good idea), especially when you're the Padawan learner.

As far as right now, you'd probably be fine to wear some greens (especially light greens), maybe some darker blues, as far as shirts go.  I like to be a bit more adventurous with my ties (as in wearing interesting textures/patterns, or colors that "go" but don't necessarily "match"...I'm not wearing novelty ties) than the other items in my wardrobe, since it's a widely-accepted way for a man to "spiff up" his outfit without going over-the-top.  Also, you can find very nice, high quality ties at thrift shops for a buck (recently nabbed a Brooks Brothers tie and a couple others that retail for $70+), and, if I feel like the tie is a bit "too much" after a couple hours, I can easily take it off/change ties.  Can't do that so easily with a pair of "adventurous" slacks.

(Note:  My experience with educators' dress codes comes from experience as a student, being married to a teacher, and from my experiences while working on my teaching licensure, and my knowledge is geographically-based.  You would, however, be fine wearing slacks/khakis, a dress shirt, and tie in just about any high school I'm aware of, short of prep schools or other "prestigious" private schools.

  The music professor from my college routinely would wear yellow and green golf pants with a green and purple polka dot tie, at times paired with a sombrero created out of starched recycled jeans. This man is both successful, and well known in the area.  Going by that as a point of judgement, I'd say if you do your job well, and follow any sort of fashion sense at all, you should be a-okay!

The day after he got tenure my friend went around the office in house slippers, PJs and a robe.  But that was AFTER he was established.  The person asking the question is a student entering into a teachers domain to learn not distract.  Dress is always situation specific.

From the post he is going into teaching, which is not a college position.  As a teacher the dress code is quite different from that of a tenured professor.

Dress to kill. Clown suit and big red toe flapper shoes.

Hey Kaleb,

I've been meaning to post on this for some time, but I'm just now getting around to it. I was a music education major in college, so we're coming from similar backgrounds. I'm going to offer some things for you to think about (mostly not relative to your actual question).

  1. First, look at what the teachers wear at the schools you're going to. Every district and every school within a district is going to have different clothing that is the "norm" among teachers within the given dress code. Clothing at a rural school in Texas is going to be different from Dallas, and that will be different from New York City.
  2. I think that within education, colors are fine. However, I think that they usually need to be more on the muted side; if they stand out too much, it gets a little furrier. Just my opinion, though.
  3. Within education (and music education in particular), there are several aspects that you must think of when asking "is this something that is good to wear?" Here are some:
    1. Can you perform your entire range of conducting gestures in this jacket and shirt?
    2. For instrumental, can you play all instruments in this jacket and shirt? Flute, tuba, trombone, double bass?
    3. For elementary, would you be okay with a kid coming in off the playground and giving you a big, sweaty hug?
    4. Also for elementary, can you get up and down off of the floor easily in this?
    5. For vocal, does the buttoned neck of the shirt restrict the vibration of your vocal cords any?
    6. Can you stand all day in the shoes you're wearing?
    7. For band, is this something that you're afraid of getting messed up if you're marching on the practice field that day?

The last five aren't something that you'll have to worry about as much while you're just observing; but when you begin doing your own teaching, they'll come into play.

Good luck in your endeavors!

--Matthew

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