Schoolteacher fashions and dating

This afternoon, I met a woman for come caffinated beverages at a neighborhood coffeehouse.

I couldn’t help but notice what she was wearing; a black blouse with patterns of bunnies, baloons, rainbows and so on, with slacks that were an off purplish-pinkish color. You guessed it - she was an elementary school teacher.

The conversation went well, and she seemed like a nice woman, but the schoolteacher fashions were a huge turn-off. I’ve dated teachers before, but they’ve usually worn “normal” clothes on a date, not stereotypical teacher clothes. Am I being overly critical here, or are schoolteacher-style clothes appropriate for a first date?

No, you’re not being overly critical. Appearance matters, especially on a date when you’re supposed to try to look attractive. If you can’t even be bothered to wear grownup clothes for a date, you’re not putting much effort into it.

I think it’s far more important to judge the person inside the clothes. You are coming of as a bit shallow, unless there is more to the story. Does she teach younger children, say K through 3? That might explain the whimsical clothing, especially if she met you after work. (you did say it was an afternoon date)
OTOH maybe she’s just not that into you?

It was a first date, so if women aren’t even into me before they even meet me, I’m a lost cause.

The date happened abott 18 hours ago. It was a Saturday afternoon, in late June, which normally isn’t a school day in the United States.

Well, I wasn’t there, but it still seems overly judgemental to concentrate on her dress, especially based on one instance. I assume there must have been some physical attraction, to inspire you to ask her to meet you in the first place. I think I would be more interested in what kind of person she was, rather than her wardrobe.
If it’s a big problem, don’t pursue the relationship.

Maybe she just likes that shirt. I’m not a school teacher and I think it sounds … horrendous… but still, maybe she just likes it.

Bad taste in clothing among teachers is pretty common. Most likely it doesn’t mean anything but that she has bad taste in clothing.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with not liking her because of her . . . uh . . . style. You can’t force an attraction if there isn’t one and, I’m sory, clearly that is how she wants to come across (you know, as that lady who wears shirts with rainbows and puppies and unicorns).

If she (let’s assume a 30-something year old) showed up in a denim mini, Ugg boots, and a shirt that says, “What Happens at Spring Break, Stays at Spring Break,” none of you would be pushing the OP to be tolerant or less shallow- all so he could go on another date with her.

The fact is that, like it or not, the clothes we choose present to the world who we are. Sure, that woman isn’t all rainbow shirts and good times, but she is presenting a certain image to the world with her choice. An image that clearly doesn’t work for the OP.

I don’t understand the question - what wasn’t appropriate about the clothing?There’s nothing inappropriate about those clothes. I’m assuming, of course, that they were neat and clean; that their only problem was that they were not what you consider an attractive. To repeat Idlewild said:

Maybe that’s her favorite outfit and she felt she was getting dressed up.

I’m with the “WTF” crowd on this. How we dress is a way of expressing who we understand ourselves to be – “presentation of self,” as Erving Goffman put it. She’s presenting herself of someone who’s all about puppy-dogs and balloons, somewhat cutesy-wootsie. This is apparently not what the OP is looking for in a potential sexual/romantic partner.

If I’m doing a coffee date with someone on a workday, I choose carefully what to wear that day from amongst my various work outfits, some of which are more attractive than others. If I’m doing a coffee date with someone on a weekend, I might wear jeans and a T-shirt – but it’s going to be a “nice” T-shirt, probably not a ratty old Hanes thing or something with a rude motto printed on it.

If you’re not going to make an effort to look like an attractive potential mate on a first meeting, when would you?

That whole atmosphere of cutsie and overwhelming femininity is one of the big reasons I don’t teach elementary any more. The stereotypical elementary school teacher is an overweight woman who dresses in jumpers like she’s five, has forgotten how to do any math over a fifth grade level, and is about as cool as Doris Roberts on “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

And they don’t tell you that the principal can make it a condition of employment that you spend your own money on decorating the room that they made you work in. That’s one of the small arguments for tenure, I’ll tell you. When you don’t have it, your haircut literally can be the thing that turns the corner for your being renewed for the next year.

Give her a second chance. see what she wears for a dinner or movie date. She could have been having some sort of laundry machine emergency and her only choice was cute or wet.

If it’s cute clothes the second time and she doesn’t seem like the cute clothes type maybe she’s just been out of the dating world for too long.

I do know what you mean though, I hate teacher clothes.

Honestly, she probably doesn’t
A. know what “teacher clothes” look like (as opposed to real clothes)
B. own anything else
C. realize there’s a problem

My mom’s been a teacher for 20 years, and it’s hopeless. When we go shopping, she picks the most horrid things, and I try to be as gentle as possible, giving a subtle shake of the head, while inside I’m screaming “NO ONE OVER THE AGE OF 7 SHOULD BE WEARING A JUMPER, YOU MORON!” She doesn’t wear puppies or unicorns, but she wears a lot of jumpers, dickies, and the occasional holiday print.

Problem is, everyone she sees everyday dresses like that. It’s “normal”. It’s as if she’s a member of a foreign nation with a different traditional dress for 12 hours everyday. When all you see all around you is jumpers and dickies, you start to think that’s fashion.

Obviously, if it’s a turnoff, you should find someone else to date. You can’t force yourself to be attracted, and to resent someone for their clothing is just too silly for words. I’d give it another try or two, though. There is that laundry machine hypothesis…

(For our foreign friends, “jumper” = this. I have little or no problem with “sweaters” like this. Although this is definitely into “teacher clothes” territory.)

(Thanks, WhyNot. I’m not foreign, but I am pretty clueless about female fashion, and I didn’t know what a jumper was, aside from something you’d use to start your car.)

I recommend seeing her naked prior to making any permanent decision.

I’m married to a teacher who wears jumpers, and while I don’t mind them on her, I flat out enjoy them off her.

Not foreign, but fashion illiterate. Thank you for the definitions, I had no idea that’s what they were called.

First thing that went through my mind when I saw the photo was “Mom?”

And yeah, she was an elementary school teacher.

Clearly, I need to quit my job before this happens to me. I’ve taught elementary school for 7 years, and my favorite work clothes are levis and a baby doll T. On days when the admin wants us to snazz up, I’ll wear wrap pants or khakis and a nice top.

There are no bunny shirts, holiday prints, or appliqued anything in my wardrobe. No prints of anything childish, really. Once, at the beginning of the year, the administration gave all the teachers these cutesy little aprons with our names screen printed on them and do-dads sewn all over the front. I threw mine away. Should I be afraid that this will happen to me? Should I be wary of some sort of brain washing?

Come to think of it, though, there are several teachers in my building who are under 40. None of us wear bizarre crap like that, but almost all of the over 40 teachers do.


Agreed. But here’s the thing: if appearance is very important to you, then you definitely shouldn’t see her again. There’s nothing wrong with being concerned with appearance; it’s one of the factors that everyone considers (no matter what they say), and that’s fine. If her clothing is so off-putting that you can’t get over it, then drop her. If, on the other hand, she’s otherwise appealing (attractive, smart, interesting, etc.), and you can overlook the clothing at least in the short term, then maybe give her another shot.

But it sounds to me like you’ve already made up your mind.

Foreigner here. Thanks a lot. In Swedish, a jumper is what you call a sweater, so I was a bit confused.