PDA

View Full Version : What to wear at Elementary School



JPNLKatie
June 28th, 2016, 01:43
Hi again guys!

I just recently found out I'll be working at the elementary school level. Since my supervisor said I'll be working at "an elementary school", I'm guessing it's only one? Which seems strange, because I thought JETs typically visit several different schools (and of different levels), during any given week. I guess this is a rare case?

Anyway, my purpose for this post is to ask what kind of clothes ALTs typically wear at Elementary schools? I've heard the dress code is a lot more lax at ES than it is at JHS and SH, but how lax? Can any JETs who has worked at the Elementary level give me an idea of what you wear? (For winter and summer). I want to buy a good amount of clothes before coming to Japan so I don't have to worry about finding clothes in my size. Plus, I'm certain I can get clothes A LOT cheaper here.

So far these are the clothes I've purchased for JET:

Black Slacks
Grey Slacks
Khaki pants
Couple of Blazers
Indoor Slip ons
Indoor Gym shoes
3 Polos (of different colors)
2 long-sleeve Button-down shirts (one white, one light blue)
Rain Coat
Rain Pants
Outdoor Dress Shoes (for TO)
Cargo Capri (khaki colored) (Bought for casual wear, but can I wear this at school? Looks like THIS (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Faded-Glory-Women-s-Cargo-Capri-Pants/48931896))
1 pair of jeans (for casual wear)

And that's it. I'm not really sure what other kinds of shirts and pants to buy (especially for the summer). I usually only wear t-shirts and jeans, so this whole "shopping for good blouses and pants" thing has got me overwhelmed. Especially since I'm on a tight budget for clothes. I've dropped 3 clothes sizes since January, so I'm having to buy everything from scratch. All the clothes I had previously bought for internships and such don't fit me anymore. Which I suppose is a good thing, but buying all new clothes is expensive.

So, can anyone give me an idea of what clothes I should bring? Links to specific pieces of clothing would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance!

(Note: Please don't ask me to "ask my pred", or to "just buy clothes in Japan", these are two things I cannot (or don't want to) do)

mrcharisma
June 28th, 2016, 06:40
Hi again guys!

I just recently found out I'll be working at the elementary school level. Since my supervisor said I'll be working at "an elementary school", I'm guessing it's only one? Which seems strange, because I thought JETs typically visit several different schools (and of different levels), during any given week. I guess this is a rare case?

Anyway, my purpose for this post is to ask what kind of clothes ALTs typically wear at Elementary schools? I've heard the dress code is a lot more lax at ES than it is at JHS and SH, but how lax? Can any JETs who has worked at the Elementary level give me an idea of what you wear? (For winter and summer). I want to buy a good amount of clothes before coming to Japan so I don't have to worry about finding clothes in my size. Plus, I'm certain I can get clothes A LOT cheaper here.

So far these are the clothes I've purchased for JET:

Black Slacks
Grey Slacks
Couple of Blazers
Indoor Slip ons
Indoor Gym shoes
3 Polos (of different colors)
2 long-sleeve Button-down shirts (one white, one light blue)
Rain Coat
Rain Pants
Outdoor Dress Shoes (for TO)
Cargo Capri (khaki colored) (Bought for casual wear, but can I wear this at school? Looks like THIS (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Faded-Glory-Women-s-Cargo-Capri-Pants/48931896))
1 pair of jeans (for casual wear)

And that's it. I'm not really sure what other kinds of shirts and pants to buy (especially for the summer). I usually only wear t-shirts and jeans, so this whole "shopping for good blouses and pants" thing has got me overwhelmed. Especially since I'm on a tight budget for clothes. I've dropped 3 clothes sizes since January, so I'm having to buy everything from scratch. All the clothes I had previously bought for internships and such don't fit me anymore. Which I suppose is a good thing, but buying all new clothes is expensive.

So, can anyone give me an idea of what clothes I should bring? Links to specific pieces of clothing would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance!

(Note: Please don't ask me to "ask my pred", or to "just buy clothes in Japan", these are two things I cannot (or don't want to) do)

Seriously, you'll find clothes in Japan in your size, and shops like GU and Uniqlo have everything you'll need.

Elementary school is quite casual, loads of them wear tracksuits.

Ini
June 28th, 2016, 07:37
running shoes, tracksuits, t-shirts, stuff that can stand up to mud, blood, sweat, tears, paint, marker pens, chalk, vomit, nasal mucus, more sweat. Japanese ES love the rather pedo sounding term "skinship" so you'll have little sacks of disease and filth climbing over you all day. You'll be expected to be more hands on than at JHS and SHS with events such as marathon, area sports tournaments, school sports days, PE lessons, rice planting, playing with the little buggers during break time, swimming lessons, road safety walks, evacuation drills, blah blah blah. You'll want some smart clothes for graduations, opening ceremonies, demonstration lessons etc but the rest of the time you'll want to dress for combat.

acpc2203
June 28th, 2016, 09:05
Yeah you can wear a t-shirt and basketball shorts at my ES.

Penguinonfire
June 28th, 2016, 09:31
Seriously, you'll find clothes in Japan in your size, and shops like GU and Uniqlo have everything you'll need.

Elementary school is quite casual, loads of them wear tracksuits.

Seriously. I know you "don't want to do" this, but it's actually a really good idea. I basically had to buy a whole new wardrobe upon arrival because all my clothes from America were not at all suited for Japanese weather.

JPNLKatie
June 28th, 2016, 13:55
Seriously. I know you "don't want to do" this, but it's actually a really good idea. I basically had to buy a whole new wardrobe upon arrival because all my clothes from America were not at all suited for Japanese weather.

What I meant by "don't want to", is that I don't want to go searching around for clothes during my first month in Japan when I'll be too busy stressing out about everything else. I do plan to buy clothes in Japan once I get settled, but I want a nice set of clothes that will last me awhile before I absolutely have to go clothes shopping. Besides, I'm kinda worried that even if I can find clothes in my size, the styles would be limited. I have a much better selection of clothes in my size in the states.

mrcharisma
June 28th, 2016, 15:46
I'll be too busy stressing out.

Yeah we've gathered that.

OatsCurrySummer
June 28th, 2016, 15:52
Also, you're probably going to get fat when you come here, so don't bother bringing nice stuff from home.

Source: Personal experience.

Ini
June 28th, 2016, 15:55
when you first arrive you wont have any lessons or any kids to deal with for a few weeks so it doesn't really matter what you turn up in. You'll want something smart for your first day meeting people at the BOE and the schools, then you can wear anything you want within reason if you are just in a school staffroom during the holidays. It'll be hot and humid so keep that in mind. Then you'll have school opening ceremony where you will be introduced to the kids so you'll want something smart for that. By the time September rolls around you should have a good idea of what your schools dress code is, where the local shops are and you'll have you first months paycheque to blow on sexy engrish t-shirts. If your town expects you to spend the summer in the BOE you'll need something that fits "cool biz" to wear. thats not hard to figure out, no tracksuits, no jeans, keep the twins under wraps etc etc.

uthinkimlost?
June 28th, 2016, 16:00
What I meant by "don't want to", is that I don't want to go searching around for clothes during my first month in Japan when I'll be too busy stressing out about everything else. I do plan to buy clothes in Japan once I get settled, but I want a nice set of clothes that will last me awhile before I absolutely have to go clothes shopping. Besides, I'm kinda worried that even if I can find clothes in my size, the styles would be limited. I have a much better selection of clothes in my size in the states.

At your height there are plenty of clothes. Even if you are heavy, unless your BMI hits something like 35, there are clothes readily available.

You have nothing to stress out about. Like we've told you, you probably have no responsibilities at all until the start of August.

ambrosse
June 28th, 2016, 16:21
I'm actually taking home a lot of my business attire...
Have one good suit, call it good. Or a mix and match set. I have a professional dress that works with my suit coat, but also pants if I'm not feeling like a dress. Outside TO, I've only worn my suit two or three times my entire first year. (JHS + 2 ES)

I wear some sort of pants (usually jeggings because i'm a savage), and a t-shirt, blouse, or sweater depending on the season. I also wear a track jacket frequently.
If you wear an L/XL and under back home, don't waste your money at home.

I don't know where exactly you're from, but I'm from Minnesota. The clothes meant for Minnesota summer are definitely NOT clothes I can wear for the Japanese summer. The fabrics are a lot thicker and more synthetic which means it doesn't breathe well. Clothes in Japan are, for the most part (UNIQLO and affiliates), are made for the weather here. Please think about that.
I did what you did, for fear I wouldn't fit in clothes, and I ended up re-buying anyway and either tossing, or shipping stuff back home.

Just a little bit about the rain pants and rain coat. If you're driving, you won't need the pants. The coat I suppose, but I never use mine anyway. Definitely have them if you're biking or walking though. It's not uncommon to get doused in curb water by a fast moving vehicle...


As a final note....I almost never wear any of my U.S. clothes anymore. Bringing piles of clothes on a "but what if!!!!" mentality is my biggest regret while packing for JET and I'm sure is for a great many people.

acpc2203
June 28th, 2016, 16:22
Also, you're probably going to get fat when you come here, so don't bother bringing nice stuff from home.

Source: Personal experience.
not getting jacked so the kids call you mukimuki, smdh

JPNLKatie
June 28th, 2016, 16:26
Alright, I get it. I really want to thank all you guys for you help. I honestly really do appreciate it, even when you all are teasing me about being a worry wort and that I'm overthinking things. And I do realize I am overthinking things, but that's just how I am. I'm the kind of person who likes to have things planned out "just in case". I don't expect many of you to understand. But truthfully, I probably wouldn't be posting here as much if I had a predecessor in which to ask these questions. I think that's what was really stressing me out. But, I'm feeling a lot calmer now, thanks to everyone's help.

ambrosse
June 28th, 2016, 16:29
And I do realize I am overthinking things, but that's just how I am. I'm the kind of person who likes to have things planned out "just in case". I don't expect many of you to understand.

I understand. Because I was that person. And in the end, I wish I hadn't had things "just in case".... :(
Now I'm trying to get rid of crap.

JPNLKatie
June 28th, 2016, 16:38
I'm actually taking home a lot of my business attire...
Have one good suit, call it good. Or a mix and match set. I have a professional dress that works with my suit coat, but also pants if I'm not feeling like a dress. Outside TO, I've only worn my suit two or three times my entire first year. (JHS + 2 ES)

I wear some sort of pants (usually jeggings because i'm a savage), and a t-shirt, blouse, or sweater depending on the season. I also wear a track jacket frequently.
If you wear an L/XL and under back home, don't waste your money at home.

I don't know where exactly you're from, but I'm from Minnesota. The clothes meant for Minnesota summer are definitely NOT clothes I can wear for the Japanese summer. The fabrics are a lot thicker and more synthetic which means it doesn't breathe well. Clothes in Japan are, for the most part (UNIQLO and affiliates), are made for the weather here. Please think about that.
I did what you did, for fear I wouldn't fit in clothes, and I ended up re-buying anyway and either tossing, or shipping stuff back home.

Just a little bit about the rain pants and rain coat. If you're driving, you won't need the pants. The coat I suppose, but I never use mine anyway. Definitely have them if you're biking or walking though. It's not uncommon to get doused in curb water by a fast moving vehicle...


As a final note....I almost never wear any of my U.S. clothes anymore. Bringing piles of clothes on a "but what if!!!!" mentality is my biggest regret while packing for JET and I'm sure is for a great many people.

This is really helpful, thank you! I did get the rain pants for the purpose of biking to school in the rain. I don't plan on getting a car in Japan, so I'm preparing to face riding a bike in all kinds of weather. The rain pants were just a cheap pair I found on amazon for $12. I'm sure I can find a better pair in Japan if I need to.

As for the clothes, I am trying to spend the least amount of money on clothes as possible for the same reason. I'm just trying to gather up a few outfits to take with me that will last me until I can go shopping in Japan. I just wasn't sure that polo shirts a capris were going to fly at school or not. I'm guessing I'll just pick up a couple of plain t-shirts, and a cropped trouser to go with the clothes I've listed above and hopefully I'll be set.

By the way, my "suit" is only a good black blazer paired with black slacks. I wonder if this will be good enough to pass as my "suit".

OatsCurrySummer
June 28th, 2016, 16:38
Alright, I get it. I really want to thank all you guys for you help. I honestly really do appreciate it, even when you all are teasing me about being a worry wort and that I'm overthinking things. And I do realize I am overthinking things, but that's just how I am. I'm the kind of person who likes to have things planned out "just in case". I don't expect many of you to understand. But truthfully, I probably wouldn't be posting here as much if I had a predecessor in which to ask these questions. I think that's what was really stressing me out. But, I'm feeling a lot calmer now, thanks to everyone's help.
Yeah, if I came off as snarky, I apologize! But everyone here is right. And trust us, we do understand what it's like to be a worry wort with a need for control. Today I was reading some old emails between me and my city co-ordinator when I got upgraded from the waitlist and now I'm absolutely cringing at the needless questions I bombarded that poor woman with. In the end, they were groundless worries.
I think one of the most important things you will learn here is that you can't control a thing. So don't try. Instead, become more adaptable so you can deal with whatever shit will be flung your way upon arrival.
"That which bends, does not break" or some shit like that.

JPNLKatie
June 28th, 2016, 16:43
I understand. Because I was that person. And in the end, I wish I hadn't had things "just in case".... :(
Now I'm trying to get rid of crap.

Well, that's really the reason I'm asking everyone here about this. That way people can tell me about what things I should and should not bring, instead of doing it by myself and regretting it later.

Ini
June 28th, 2016, 16:45
just bring a credit card and a smile.



and baked beans.

OatsCurrySummer
June 28th, 2016, 16:57
^ Pretty solid advice, actually.

JPNLKatie
June 28th, 2016, 17:10
Baked Beans huh?

I was thinking of just bringing a jar of ovaltine seeing as they don't have chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is my guilty addiction.

uthinkimlost?
June 28th, 2016, 17:30
Baked Beans huh?

I was thinking of just bringing a jar of ovaltine seeing as they don't have chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is my guilty addiction.

They've got iced cocoa. Close enough.

mothy
June 28th, 2016, 19:49
You can also find chocolate syrup. Add that to milk, no chocolate milk problem solved.

Shincantsen
June 28th, 2016, 22:43
Late to the party, but in Nagahama it's very normal to be placed in just one elementary school - you may even have another ALT in the school with you if it's big enough. I think there were at least 10 ALTs when I was there who were at one ES, and a few more who switched schools every couple days but were still exclusively ES.

At my ES I wore khakis or other slacks, polo shirts, light blouses/fancy t-shirts, sometimes a dress or skirt that went to the knees. I'd recommend pants more than skirts, since you'll be doing a lot of moving around. The other ALT at my school wore dark jeans sometimes and that was fine. There was another ES ALT in the area who wore cut-off jean shorts, that was not fine. I think capris and a polo would be perfect. And your black slacks and black blazer should be good as a suit - I can only remember having to wear a suit maybe 2-3 times a year.

moonbeam
June 29th, 2016, 17:32
I wear dark pants and a t-shirt (sometimes a blouse) at my elementary schools with normal flats. I'm probably considered 'overdressed' since everyone wears track suits or capris with crocs.

I'd just make sure that your shirt doesn't fall open and show anything when you bend over.

Jiggit
June 29th, 2016, 17:34
I'd just make sure that your shirt doesn't fall open and show anything when you bend over.

Don't you want the students to like her?

moonbeam
June 29th, 2016, 17:56
Don't you want the students to like her?

I'm just assuming there's an undamaged part of her soul that doesn't want little hand gropes.

Jiggit
June 29th, 2016, 18:16
I'm just assuming there's an undamaged part of her soul that doesn't want little hand gropes.

I can't think of any other reason to come to Japan.

JPNLKatie
June 30th, 2016, 00:44
I wear dark pants and a t-shirt (sometimes a blouse) at my elementary schools with normal flats. I'm probably considered 'overdressed' since everyone wears track suits or capris with crocs.

I'd just make sure that your shirt doesn't fall open and show anything when you bend over.

Everyone keeps mentioning t-shirts, but do these t-shirts have graphics on them or are they blank t-shirts? And what kind of pants are your dark pants? Jeans? Slacks?

How low can your neckline be without being inappropriate. I'm used to wearing unisex t-shirts with absolutely no neckline, so everything I've been trying on see seems very low cut to me.

acpc2203
June 30th, 2016, 07:55
I wear a t-shirt that says do not arrest this person

webstaa
June 30th, 2016, 08:24
Everyone keeps mentioning t-shirts, but do these t-shirts have graphics on them or are they blank t-shirts? And what kind of pants are your dark pants? Jeans? Slacks?

How low can your neckline be without being inappropriate. I'm used to wearing unisex t-shirts with absolutely no neckline, so everything I've been trying on see seems very low cut to me.

Most T-shirts that teachers end up wearing are various sports brands - le Coq Sportif was all the rage in the staff room the last two years. Before that it was Puma and Adidas. Most "dark pants" are pretty much anything other than jeans - but usually fairly casual slacks ranging from "sporty" (think hiking pants) to baggy sweatpants. One (male) teacher I work with wears tights under athletic shorts and a windbreaker everyday - even when it gets north of 30 C. Then again he's about 40 kg soaking wet and a long distance runner.

Shirts should show no cleavage and no shoulder - the "support teachers" tend to wear polos with both buttons done up or more rarely with the top button open. Dress code at the school for students also specifies only collar button should ever be undone. (That's JHS level though - they might have a dress code for students that you're broadly supposed to follow as a teacher as well.) Short sleeves - even the very short, as long as it's below the shoulder - seem fine in my schools, but that might hold for all schools.

uthinkimlost?
June 30th, 2016, 08:44
I wear a t-shirt that says do not arrest this person

Options are pretty limited at 6X sizes, so I'm sure they understand.

acpc2203
June 30th, 2016, 10:09
Options are pretty limited at 6X sizes, so I'm sure they understand.
I usually just wear muumuus

uthinkimlost?
June 30th, 2016, 10:15
I usually just wear muumuus

Do you look more like Fat Homer, Gilbert Grape's mom, or the emcee of a tourist luau?

acpc2203
June 30th, 2016, 12:02
emcee of a tourist luau

moonbeam
June 30th, 2016, 14:34
Everyone keeps mentioning t-shirts, but do these t-shirts have graphics on them or are they blank t-shirts? Both. But not, like, band t-shirts or your souvenir shirt from Disney World or something. Sports brands are probably okay because sports are king here. I usually wear shirts with subtle designs so I can also wear them at JHS but another girl I know wears brighter colors/designs to get the kids' attention.


And what kind of pants are your dark pants? Jeans? Slacks? Uh, I guess they're slacks? They're not jeans or dress pants, although I can wear jeans as long as they're black. Gray or navy pants are fine as well. Basically anything that's not blue jeans.


How low can your neckline be without being inappropriate. I'm used to wearing unisex t-shirts with absolutely no neckline, so everything I've been trying on see seems very low cut to me. If you bend over and you can see everything down there then it's too low. It doesn't have to be a turtle neck, but it can't show any cleavage. If the neck line goes below the collar bone then I'd wear something under it like a camisole or tank top.