Charm, October, 1951

Charm, as the subtitle tells us, was a magazine geared toward the young career woman.  In 1951 a career woman was often an office worker or a nurse or a teacher.  Personally, I’d like to see this woman in a classroom.

Teacher fashion gets a very bad rap, often with good reason.  I’ve witnessed too many teachers wearing ill-fitting dowdy denim jumpers and baggy elastic waist knit pants.  And come October, schools are filled with adults wearing heavy orange sweaters liberally decorated with scarecrows, pumpkins, and if the community allows, ghosts and witches.  But that’s only the beginning, as there are sweaters for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Valentine’s Day and so on.

Teachers will tell you that the reason they dress like that is because the job necessitates that they be comfortable and look cheerful.  While that is true, it does not mean that sloppiness is requisite.  Whether or not they like it, teachers are strong sartorial role models.  Children notice what the teacher wears and they get a sense of how a professional  is supposed to dress from the woman or man standing in front of them every day.

It may sound as if I’m being over harsh in my assessment of how many teachers dress.  It’s only fair to point out that for every teacher who looks like a refugee from the Quacker Factory, there is another who dresses simply but professionally, like our cover girl.  A trim and neat sweater topping a pleated skirt or a pair of well fitting slacks with a scarf at the neck (brooch optional) makes a good school uniform for the teacher, and sets a high standard for the children to aim for in the future.

Of course, when I retired there were five black pleated shirts in my closet.


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Viewpoint

5 responses to “Charm, October, 1951

  1. OH!!,,,, those “theme” sweaters!?! what could be more distracting ?i think it was a period in time?…1951-i was not yet in school-however-i do recollect!the way women in general appeared in the late 50’s-very pretty-my teachers and most women were groomed and pressed-alwas in stockings -skirts or suits-i don’t know how my teachers always looked so nice -dealing with all of those kids!? very lucky to have those memories-sans the “theme sweaters” and baggy poly pull – ons! I was of that generation-RESPECT for adults and by all means Women and my Educators!..i am proud to say!


  2. I’m a dress and cardi teacher and think it is so right to lead by example! My daughter says I am always over the top, haha but that’s teenagers for you, however, my motto is ALWAYS LOOK YOUR BEST !


  3. This is post comes at the right time for me, as I have just been hired for a teaching position that begins after Thanksgiving. My husband teaches in the same school, and he wears a suit and tie to work. He is definitely the best and most formally dressed among the teachers, and I have seen his professionalism grow and, honestly, his classroom management has improved since he started dressing professionally. I remember professional dress helping to draw the line between the students at my high school and the young teachers (really not that many years older than we were). Now, for me to figure out what I will be comfortable as well as professional in… any suggestions are welcome!


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