To me, professional dressing means you need to dress for the part of your profession. So...if you are on your feet all day shoes of comfort/safety would be a mainstay...by MY feet's definition of comfort. Heels have never fallen into that category while I am teaching. If I am running to the copy machine or to pick up kids from all over the building or setting up paint, clay, glue, or cleaning up those items, then I need to wear comfortable, washable fabrics...unless I am being given an assistant! Plus, air conditioning is not a part of our classrooms...I should wear a suit in the heat of the day...NO WAY!
Society's outlook about dressing has become more about comfort and being casual on all levels. Has anyone seen a bustle or powered wig lately?
Khaki pants, gauchos, slacks of any fabric, blouses, tops, sweaters, whatever, should be the choice of the professional dictated by personal budgets. Unless of course, the school board has decided to allocate funds to offset such a request. I wouldn't mind money for a new wardrobe or dry cleaning bills!
Now, truth be told, we all know some colleague who has pushed the envelope on good taste. Very revealing clothing...LOW necklines; short, short, skirts; skin-tight pants; dirty, crumpled jeans...does seem to cross the line of what most people feel is acceptable. BUT, that colleague needs to be addressed privately with the administration. We all shouldn't have redo our wardrobes because someone has decided we dress unprofessionally by some long-gone standard. That problem falls under the category of modesty. If you are clean and show some pride in yourself then you are professionally dressed for being a hard-working professional educator! By the way, will all school board members dress accordingly for their meetings each week?
Geez, next thing I 'll be hearing is how teachers need to stay unmarried so they can ALWAYS put the needs of their classes first!
PS: My dentist wore khakis and a golf shirt and he's considered a professional! My doctor had on a pair of COTTON capris, a tee-shirt and vest with clogs and she's considered a professional! And they both do a fantastic job!