Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Teacha Fashionista

"Oh my God! That is heinous!"

I shook my head as Susan grinned and held up a sweatshirt bedecked with sequined turkeys and pilgrims. The racks at Kaufmans held shirts, sweaters, jackets and vests seasonal decorated with appliques ranging from autumn leaves and conucopias, to ghosts and jack-o-lanterns, to candy canes and reindeer. Each one tackier than the next, and every one over-priced.

"Who wears this stuff?" she laughed.

"You will." I smirked. "I'm buying you that one for your birthday."

"Then, you're getting this one for Christmas."
Susan pushed aside several garments to reveal a Santa in swimtrunks and sunglasses stitched to a sweater. "You know, they make these things especially for teachers. You are the target customers...Look! She pulled out a knit vest decorated with apples.

My jaw dropped. She was right. Her statement evoked the images of my colleagues gathered in the teachers lounge in holiday attire. ANY holiday, EVERY holiday. Ties and T-shirts, jumpers and jewelry. Even shoes. Teachers take to theme-dressing like bloggers to snarking...Both are distracting and keep us from being taken seriously.

I recall a former co-worker whose attire rivaled that of the "Mimi" character on the Drew Carey show. Her September wardrobe featured pencil earrings, chalkboard brooches, and "A,B,C" "1,2,3" tights. October was resplendent with witches and scarecrows. In December, I can remember being amazed by a headband with antlers and a necklace of flashing Christmas lights. I would walk away from conversations and not be able to recall what we discussed because, I couldn't keep my eyes off of her outfits.

Every now and again I hear talk from administrators and board members about instituting teacher dress codes, and the occasional comment about having a uniform for faculty members. They should keep in mind the effect that would have on stores that deal in seasonal attire. Without the teachers, they would loose their customer base and I'm certain those places would go out of business.


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