Let me start by saying: Don’t wear anything to school that you might want to wear somewhere nice – out to a fancy dinner, church, etc. You are in an environment where paint splashes, markers go haywire, and yes – children have accidents that you will have to clean up. (One summer I couldn’t catch a break. Every time I’d wear my nice sandals, the toilet would overflow. Guess who gets to unstop the toilets?)
That being said, keep in mind that you want to dress like a professional. For your basic wardrobe, you really only need five pairs of pants. That’s what I have. I do laundry every week and that’s it. I used to buy them at a Big Box store – never for more than $20. They kind of have to be considered disposable. Usually a pair of pants will last about 8 – 10 months before they have a couple of spots that just won’t come out. (Don’t wear spotty pants.) Get some inexpensive, yet nice-looking shirts you can mix & match. (I love the show What Not To Wear!) You can, and should, look nice, but keep it affordable.
There are some steps to take to keep your clothes clean, but I don’t do them. Some people wear aprons all day, some have jacket/smock things. I just take the splashes as they come. The most heartbreaking day was when I had a brand-new shirt and we were working with permanent markers to color plastic. We had the ‘be careful’ talk and I was wearing an apron, but a little boy turned to tell me something and slashed my sleeve. “Sorry.” Oh well.
I like the thought of being a preschool teacher but not looking like what people expect of preschool teachers. I had my days of vests and sweatshirts with pictures on them, but those are in the past. You decide what your style is – then go for it.