Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being an ALT #17: What To Wear?

Do you need a suit? Can you wear sandals in the summer? Is it Okay to not wear a bra?

All this and more answered within.

This information is for Junior High and Elementary. I don't yet know the details for High School. Please leave us a comment if you do.

First of all, yes you do need a suit. You will be expected to wear it for the big ceremonies and enkais. TIP: Don't wear a black tie, because it symbolises death.

I would recommend keeping a suit at school if you can, as you never know when someone will forget to tell you about a teachers' photo etc.

For general, everyday wear, a pair of smart trousers (skirts reserved for special occasions) will do. They don't need to be suit trousers at all. Many teachers wear tracksuits, which is perfectly acceptable. I wear black coloured sports trousers. No denim.

Your top half wants to be at least short-sleeved, covering any cleavage you may have (men or women) and not showing your lower back at all (in any position). Generally, print T-shirts are not acceptable (expect in elementary school), but polo-necks are. Sports "dry" T-shirts seem to be fine. And you should probably wear a bra.

In cold weather you may want to wear a jacket at school. You can do so if it's not huge. A sensible, thin jacket may be worn.

It seems that you can wear sandals, but flip-flops are a little too casual. And most people wear socks, too...

You will need indoor shoes for school, which can be pretty much any style you want. I'd steer away from luminous coloured trainers, but even that may not be a problem.

If in doubt, ask.

Being an ALT series: 


  1. Great info. It is sometimes hard to navigate what is and what isn't ok to wear at school.

    I generally wear black trousers (sometimes black jeans which seem to be ok, Blue denim is a no). I team it with a coloured T-shirt and in the winter it is acceptable to wear a hooded top or a light but thick jacket. A ski jacket is a no.

    However I disagree with Dom. A skirt IS ok. As long as it is over the knee.
    For events such as graduation a suit jacket and skirt is quite common.
    Although day to day skirts are generally not worn by most.

  2. That's true, I have seen skirts at ceremonies. Correction on the way!

  3. I've found that you should use your fellow teachers to help determine the correct level of dress. Many teachers at my school wear denim and I do as well. Blue jeans are my fashionless bread and butter. I also couple then with a nice long sleeve button up and during the cooler times of year I also wear a blazer, so I still look acceptable. My advice is to dress very nicely for your first week or so than start dressing down over the course of a week or two into what you'd like to wear daily. As long as you are in the midrange spectrum of professional dress you'll be dandy.