Spice up your teacher threads

Spice up your teacher threads

Alternatives to the shirt and tie combo

We got some great feedback from our last fashion article on teacher bags. It was refreshing to know so many chalkies are embracing the quality leather manbag and saying adios to the shabby backpack. OK, what shall we tackle next? A lot of you guys are sick and tired of the shirt, tie and trousers combination and asked what could be worn as an alternative. You wanted high-end fashion combined with teacher functionality. Most of all something to make you stand out from the crowd as you're waiting for a minibus at Victory Monument or stuck at those traffic lights on Silom Road in the back of a tuk-tuk. I've chosen what I think are ten head-turning outfits and as an extra special treat, I've invited fellow fashionista Mimi Rodgers to give us those all-important female opinions.     

"Can I get fifty photocopies of this before eleven?"

The cotton 'eye-hat' with the sleeveless polka dot shirt and the traditional fine-knit cardigan.

Mimi: I really think we're going to be seeing a lot more of these eye-hats. They're such an irresistible mix of tropical style and functionality. Fashion and hot weather hate each other but I love the way you've teamed the eye-hat with the sleeveless polka dot shirt and then of course the option of the cardigan if your air-conditioned classroom gets too chilly. This is such a versatile outfit. You could be standing outside a language center waiting for the person with the key to arrive or you could be sitting around in reception waiting for someone to come and fix the photocopier. With this outfit you've got all your bases covered.

"pick up your passport tomorrow between two and three 'o'clock"

The lightweight summer suit in lime green with off-lime unstructured tee.

Mimi: In a suit like this you are going down. You are going all the way down to Chinatown. Picture yourself. It's a hot, steamy afternoon in Vientiane. You're in a queue of 700 people outside the Thai consulate, all waving application forms and being incredibly silly. As the mercury nudges three figures on the F-scale and people all around you are losing the plot, there's you. There's you in your lightweight summer suit in lime green with off-lime unstructured tee. You're somewhere near the back of the queue and and a bunch of excitable Bangladeshis have just pushed in - but you remain the epitome of cool. You're just standing there. Smoldering.   

"zip-up wardrobe, zip-up wardrobe. Excite me today"

Lilac silk blousette with shimmery satin culottes.

Mimi: I was a tad apprehensive about this outfit but it just seems to work. Culottes get something of a negative press. You might even consider them the 'enfant terrible' of male teacher clothing but whether you are gliding up and down classroom aisles checking test papers or diving under desks to escape the clutches of knife-wielding technical students, there's little that beats the satin culotte when it comes to freedom of movement. The only downside to this outfit is the delicacy of the fabrics. Make sure that your regular laundry lady doesn't put them in the hot-pot for a six-hour boil wash like she does to the rest of your clothes.    

"Native English speaker wanted"

Navy blue three-buttoned blazer, bold striped tie and hat by Titfer of Bond Street.

Mimi: This is such an audacious cocktail. It screams native English speaker. Let there be no doubt that the passport never lies. This is about as patriotic as fashion gets. This is a golden retriever bounding across Hampstead Heath. This is cucumber sandwiches on the croquet lawn. It's walking along Blackpool promenade and relieving yourself up against the local war memorial. If it's mid-rainy season, you can even carry the brolly. Timeless.  

"What do you mean you've cocked up the paperwork?"

Tailored jacket from Kayozi's Tutankhamen collection worn over azteca print T-shirt

Mimi: If there's an outfit that will create a buzz in the teachers' room long after you've gone to your first lesson, then this is it. Highend fashion isn't for cissies, and if you're bold enough to dabble in Kayozi's Tutankhamen collection, you're not putting a hand on fashion's testicles and giving them a playful squeeze. You're grabbing fashion by the hand and taking it for a good seeing-to behind the delivery bay. Up against the big bins. And yet, when I look at this outfit, just two words spring instantly to mind - visa run. Imagine yourself on the overnight sleeper to Butterworth and as the early risers get stuck into their morning ablutions, you emerge from the top bunk with a swish of curtain to rapturous applause from your fellow passengers. Think William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman.

"By all means observe me but I've not had much time to prepare"

Linen shirt with unstructured collar worn with patterned silk tie over print sweater

Mimi: Wow! Let's really crank up the style with something that bridges that gap between formal and smart casual. Ditch those conservative white shirts and live life on the edge. This is truly a get-up for all occasions. Not only will it carry you through the rigors of a seven-hour teaching day but long into the evening as well, be it meeting parents at an informal parents evening, attending a pointless teachers meeting or getting bladdered in Nana Plaza's ladyboy bars. Ideal for those dress-down Fridays. Turn that classroom air-con up to the max because you are gonna sizzle.  

"As long as I can wear it for gate duty?"

Faux bird wing accessory

Mimi: You don't always need to splash out on an expensive new wardrobe to change the way you look and feel. Sometimes it's a simple case of accessorizing and the faux bird wing adds that extra dimension to any outfit. I'll concede it's an accessory that complements shorter hairstyles but for those 'what to wear for the coming sports day' dilemmas, the bird wing really does come home to roost. Definitely one for the new breed of fashion 'flock'. Go on - branch out why don't you?

"Come on - out with it! Who's taken the teachers room scissors?"

Satin dicky bow worn with cotton plaid shirt and toy sunglasses 

Mimi: This is such an individual fashion statement and a daring alternative to the tired shirt and tie format. Whether you're hanging out the side of a non-aircon bus or weaving your way through Sukhumwit traffic on the back of a motorbike taxi, this throwback to the 50's is sure to make you stand out, Team it with skinny canvas chinos and a pair of battered Converse and you won't care when the next bus arrives. And no socks of course.  

"I've come to pick up my work permit"

Metallic trim skull cap with the faux fur epaulettes worn over hand-print tee

Mimi: This is probably an outfit best saved for the cooler months of December and January. I love the way the skull cap combines with the faux fur epaulettes to give the wearer a regal, some would say snooty air. It's an outfit that commands respect whether you're popping into 7-11 to pay your electricity bill or buying water melon from the fruit vendor at the end of the soi.   

"Any chance of getting a multiple-entry?"

The tribal weave balaclava with exaggerated tribal weave shoulder pads

Mimi: The balaclava is one of those forgotten fashion icons, but when you are stuck in Mae Hong Son on a cold December morning and you realise the border doesn't open for another hour, you'll be so glad you packed your tribal weave balaclava and shoulder pads. With its playful nod towards ethnic minority culture, it's a real show-stopper. Brace yourself for those open-mouthed stares on the Burmese border and a few supplementary questions from the immigration officer - it's all part and parcel of being a trend-setter.


Had so much fun reading this article in my break. Could the next issue of Ajarn Fashion be for ladies, PLEASE...

By Natalie, Bangkok (10th November 2010)

Hilarious outfits!! Of course the article is a big joke, not something to get serious with. So funny how one person reacts to it presuming somebody in his right mind will wear such ensembles!

By fairygodmother, neverland (4th November 2010)

For me, that was fully funny. Especially how you introduce the fashions, it's just classic.'What do you mean you've cocked up the paperwork!'
Too cool, makes me wish I had my own sense of humour.

By Matt Smith, Salalah (25th September 2010)

I take it this whole article is a joke. It must be 100% tongue-in-cheek surely. Who in their right minds would be seen dead in any of these outfits. They would be ok for Elton John or Liberace, but seriously, I really don't think the average red-blooded teacher would wish to prance down the road dressed like a fairy. Ajarn.com, please don't go the same way as MSN by putting up "stocking-filler" articles just to fill space.

By Paul, Bangkok (20th September 2010)

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