03 June, 2010

What to Wear?

Received Thursday, June 3, 2010
perspective and opinion I am starting a new position next week and am slightly unsure how to dress. In my last position, I would dress mainly for comfort/functionality (it was freezing in their house and we weren't allowed to go anywhere, so I didn't care too much how I looked.) However, this is a much more professional position (through an upscale agency, who actually suggested I wear only khakis, which I only own one pair of.) I am very big into fashion and like to dress up and look nice, but it has to be a compromise since I am working with an infant and not at a fashion magazine.

So I am curious- what do other nannies typically wear to work? It said in my contract no ripped jeans, sweats, or tank tops (which I wouldn't wear anyway) and other than that, I'm a little unsure. I am really short and live in heels, but would it be innappropriate to wear them? (Obviously only when I am able to- once the baby is walking/running, that most likely won't be an option!) I want to make sure I'm covered up appropriately and don't look sexy, of course. With that in mind, would dresses/skirts be ok to wear in the hot summer months? Ideally I would like to mend conservative/function/fashion. Is this possible? Thanks for your kind suggestions!

36 comments:

Nanny Sarah said...

I think high heels would be a bad idea whether the child is an infant (you could lose your balance and drop him or her!) or whether child is a toddler (it would be hard to run after him or her!)
I think you should dress according to the weather and what activities you will be doing. I think a nice pair of khakis shorts would work for warm weather, maybe a casual skirt if you are not going to the playground and the child is still an infant. Perhaps even a sundress on a warm day. Or a pair of casual capris or jeans. T-shirts and sweatshirts (for cold weather) and comfortable sneakers. Maybe casual sandals if the weather is warm and they are comfortable to walk in. Torn jeans/shorts, tank/tube tops, sweatpants would look kinda provocative and a little sloppy. I know you like to look nice, but in this type of work it is best to look "presentable", but functional and ready to play and have some fun.
Hope this helps. :)

MONKEYSHINES said...

It would depend if the dad was around a lot, if he is cute and how much extra cash you want to make!

no longer a nanny said...

A pervy dad is going to try to fck you whether your dress length is respectable or not. Take it from me... I wore yoga pants and he still wanted to bang me.

Nom de Plume said...

I actually don't think shorts are appropriate unless you're going to the beach. I suggest long capris. Right now Old Navy has button down shirts that are extremely light weight which can work through the summer months. Polo shirts are always acceptable as well.

Remember to always bring an extra shirt to change into with an infant and invest in a good stain remover. :)

No rules said...

I find I always get dirty at my job (maybe with just the one infant, it wouldn't be so bad), so I don't wear anything too nice. That being said, I definitely will wear skirts and dresses, etc, when I want to or when the family has a holiday or religious service to attend. Keeping in mind you'll be playing on the floor a lot, you might want to wear bike shorts or short leggings underneath, depending on the skirt.

The only other thing I would say is, watch the jewelry, esp. with an infant.

Nanny Sarah said...

Nom de Plum...interesting that you mentioned that shorts would be inappropriate unless at the beach. Can you elaborate on this please? I am a nanny who lives in San Diego CA and I always wear shorts on the job. Most families do not mention it, yet a few years ago I had this one woman who glared at me for wearing shorts and couldn't understand why. For the record, they were not daisy dukes or torn, etc...just regular shorts. And one of my friends told me she probably glared at me since shorts are "unprofessional". I understand in an office or some other jobs, but was surprised at a nanny job where you play on the floor w/kiddos all the time. I would LOVE your input.
Thanks a bunch.

Monkey Shines....that was funny, but true.

Village said...

I would listen to the agency. If they suggested khakis, I would get four more pairs. As for tops, golf shirts like Izod are relatively cheap and comfortable, and easy to clean. Khaki suggests a uniform look. That may be what your employer is after, and it also suggests they want you in pants, not a skirt. Inexpensive khakis Dockers are also easy to wash and wear.

NannyinBoston said...

I just finished working as a nanny for two infants, 3 months when I started and 1 year when I left. It started in August and it was hot. I wore shorts. Not short shorts or anything inappropriate, but they were definitely shorts and not bermuda length or anything. None of my four employers ever said a thing about my clothes, and they kept me cool and comfortable so that I could focus on the babies. My employers wanted me to take the babies for a walk, and after lugging them and their stroller and accoutrements down the stairs, I was already sweaty. I would have been really uncomfortable in pants. I understand modesty, but you aren't working at a bank or in an office, and I think as long as you would be comfortable wearing the outfit around your grandmother and a group of her friends, then you should be okay wearing it to work.

That said, I would never ever wear heels to work as a nanny. I guess it would partly depend on the parents' expectations for you, but I was asked to take the babies for a walk every day, weather permitting, which means that heels would be out of the question. Also consider that you might be carrying the infant up and down stairs or even just walking around outside, and the likelihood of tripping would be much greater. Just imagine how you'd feel if you fell while carrying the baby.

As for dresses and skirts, I wore them sometimes if I knew we were going somewhere and I wanted to look a little nicer. That said, the dress should be cover up a lot on top since you'll be bending over a lot to pick up and play with the baby, and it should be long enough that you can sit on the floor and play with the baby without flashing anyone. I personally spent most of my nannying career in black yoga pants from Old Navy. They were inexpensive, so I didn't mind the wear and tear on them, but they looked sleek and professional and were incredibly comfortable for long days with lots of movement and transitions.

Good luck!

Bostonnanny said...

It's funny this came up today because I happen to be wearing a very low cut dress. I just threw it on and left my apt before I realized that my boobs hangout but my boss didn't say a thing and yesterday I wore shorts and a tank top. Also last weekend I wore pj pants and a tank top to my night sitting job.
I normally don't wear anything to revealing and never heels. Most of my outfits are jeans and tshirts with no prints. I have worn ripped jeans and sweat pants.
I don't think business casual isnt really practical when you spend all day getting drooled on and playing in dirt.
All the parents I worked for cared more about my interaction with the children not what I was wearing.

nycmom said...

I really don't care at all what our nanny wears to work. I have a nanny and occasional sitters from 18yo-50yo and it has never been a problem. I think jeans and shorts are perfectly fine. It would be inappropriate to wear anything too revealing, but that seems like common sense. For peace of mind, just wear slacks and polo or button down shirts. Did the parents specifically raise this question during your interview with them? If not, you can ask them the first day just to clarify.

shel said...

Why not start off on the right foot and ask the family that you will be working for? That way, they see that you are open to communication with them and they can let you know what they expect.

Also, I would say heels are not a good idea, as was previously stated. One fall with an infant and it's dangerous.

In my 15 years as a nanny I have never had a dress code, so I can't comment on more "uniform" wear. I've always been encouraged to dress comfortably, whether that be in shorts, jeans, yoga pants or a dress/skirt. When you are dealing with children, you are going to get dirty....so maybe base what you wear on what you can afford to get dirty and clean easily.

Skittles said...

For religious/modesty reasons, I don't wear shorts. However, you can find some really cute, conservative skirts at places like Ross or T.J. Maxx for very affordable prices. I nanny for twins, and am constantly down on the ground or chasing after them outside. I have never had any problems wearing a skirt! :)

MONKEYSHINES said...

the last job I had a little something, something with daddy! the mom was always working and he told me she was cold in bed and she really let herself go. I am not a skinny mini by any means, I am just curvy around size 12 I didnt actually sleep with him just did stuff like sit on his lap with my shirt pulled up and and he was really generous the kids were always in bed for the night when all this went on. I dont think I would have had sex with him. you all might think this is awful but it happens more times than you think and other nannys do it but no one talks about it.

Wow said...

You are such an award winning nanny, Monkey. Wow. And the winner of the Homewrecker goes to...you.

Wow said...

*Award

OP said...

Thanks for all the great suggestions! I definitely agree with you guys about the heels- I definitely don't want to take the chance of falling with the baby, I'd never forgive myself! But I think I was thinking more along the lines of high heel wedge sandal types of shoes for the summer, ones that are sturdy, comfortable, and easy to walk in (not stilletos- I should have been more clear!) Do you guys feel the same about those? Anything that I am not 100% comfortable walking and even running in I wouldn't even consider.

And I love wearing yoga pants, I just figured that fell into the sweats catagory. But you guys are right, I'll just ask MB if that's okay. She is very laid-back, in general and in the way she dresses on her off-time, so it probably won't be too big of an issue.

And Monkeyshines- um wow. That is so inappropriate and wrong. It's "nannies" like you that give the rest of us a bad name.

Anonymous said...

I have never even thought about it. I wear my usual clothing... jeans, and t shirts, and in the summer tank tops. I wear shorts or capris in the summer also. I almost never wear make up to work, my hair is ALWAYS pulled back(at least by the end of the day) and I wear flip flops or sneakers. I also run a wedding planning business so i do own the 'professional' clothes but i would never wear them to my day job because they would get dirty, worn out, or ripped in a second.

no longer a nanny said...

I've fucked a dad! And there was exactly one person responsible for the "wrecking" of that home: him. Now that I'm married, I know if my DH were ever to cheat on me, it wouldn't be the other woman's fault. She owes me nothing. It'd be ALL HIM. But he's a good guy so it's not a concern. And we don't hire hot nannies. :)

NYCnanny said...

I am a nanny for a baby and a toddler and I wear sun dresses, appropriate skirts, and capris for warm weather. I also wear jeans with no rips. I would avoid heels because I would not want to carry a baby in heels. Also I agree with norules in the avoiding jewelry advice- babies pull on earrings. Good luck and have fun.

chgonanny said...

As to the jewelry thing--

When I first started I wore this little gold necklace from my mom. The baby loved holding on to it. Now she's 3 years old, and when she falls and hurts herself and I pick her up, she has to rub the necklace between her fingers. If I'm wearing a turtleneck and she can't get to it, she gets upset!

Sorry, it doesn't really add to your questions, I just wanted to share.

in seattle... said...

I've worked for some of the top earning families in this country and dress code has never been an issue. I've always just been modest and not revealing in my dressing. If I had a baby or infant, there was more wearing of yoga pants and jeans, sneakers & James Perse shirts, as well as my alma mater sweaters. With toddlers, where there is significantly more outings, always comfortable footwear - sneakers or Rainbow flip-flops - and clothing that would allow me to feel I could perform my job - running, chasing & paying with a toddler - with ease without ever being revealing. When going to the beach, I would always wear a cover-up and a modest swimsuit. On my time off, I enjoy wearing high-end, designer clothing but even then I am conscious of realizing I represent a family and these children I adore. I have often attended more formal events with my families, especially around the holidays, but knowing I am still in charge of the children, there was always cute appropriate flats I could wear. I just don't think it's ever acceptable to wear heels at a job where you're in charge of children. I think you should be sensible in your dress knowing that you are representing your family and, more importantly, wearing things that won't put limitations on your job.

VAnanny said...

No Longer a Nanny: I see why you are no longer a nanny. Thank god you no longer work as a nanny! Sorry to tell you but you absolutely played a role in the wrecking of that home. You could have avoided his advances. You could have quit. You could have done a million other things but you chose to break up a marriage. YOU made that decision. Sure, the father probably would have hooked up with some other skank but at least your conscience would be clear. Not that you care. It makes me sad that people like you are working as nannies and setting this example for the children who look to you for guidance. Just remember that karma is a bitch and it's too bad I won't be able to witness when it comes to bite you in the ass.

VAnanny said...

On the subject of what to wear, I agree with the other posters that heels aren't really practical when working as a nanny. Khakis and polos are always a good choice. Invest in some Birkenstocks. Super comfy and you can find some cute ones. When I nannied for twins, I lived in yoga pants and tennis shoes. But I've been lucky to work for families whose primary concern is the well-being of their children and not what the nanny wears. But I do understand how it can become an issue with some families. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. Just use your good judgement. Be modest and neat and I'm sure you will be fine! Good luck with your new job!

Seattle Nanny said...

Nothing I wear has holes or is too worn. Everything is neat and clean in the morning, but I don't wear anything fancy. I wear a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers.

I wear sneakers to keep up, a t-shirt because it'll get pulled and stained, and jeans because I'm a down in the mud type of nanny.

If the day is one of the better ones, I'll be a mess by the end.

It works for me.

Meghan said...

I, too, am extremely into fashion, and always like to look my best on and off the job. I do tone it down a bit for work, but I definitely still put effort into my appearance. I typically wear ballet flats (great compromise when you're used to cute heels, but need to wear something functional in order to keep up with a baby or toddler). There are a lot of darling flats that are just as comfortable as sneakers - trust me, I do a TON of walking and running with my two year old twin charges! I wear fitted tops to work, but never low cut tops or short tops that show my midriff. I don't cover up my figure or try to hide it with baggy clothing, but I also ensure my body is covered and that my attire is "modest" enough to not show off "the goods" each time I bend over. There are a lot of cute stylish tops that will not show cleavage or your stomach, and you can always layer. As for pants, I usually wear dark wash jeans (not only do they look more dressy, but they hide sandbox dirt better. lol) I usually wear bootcut jeans, but I do wear skinny jeans occasionally. I don't tend to wear shorts (too much bending over), but I do wear capris and crop jeans. I wear a one piece at work, and never walk around in it (outside of the pool/beach environment). It's definitely possible to find a nice balance of being stylish while still be functional and professional. If you have any doubts don't be afraid to ask your employers, I'm sure they'll appreciate your desire to please them!

To the nannies who've slept with their bosses or done sexual activities with them ... you could make more money stripping, or prostituting, and well, you got pretty darn close with your actions anyway... Just saying. I'm glad I quit when my boss put the moves on me. I personally don't like taking money for sexual activities, but that's just me.

San Diego Nanny said...

I work as a nanny for a 10 month old. My usual work attire consists of dark-wash jeans, khaki pants, polo shirts, button up shirts and short-sleeve cardigans. For shoes I wear sneakers, ballet flats, or comfortable sandals. The parents have never complained about my look, they have always said that I always show up professionally looking.

BB said...

Capris, Light weight shirts, and the idea of a sundress is good so long as you cover your shoulders. I have never had a dress code and wonder is the "no tank top" dress code for religious reasons. I liked the suggestion of discussing it directly with the family. I would be hesitant to work for anyone who restricts my mode of dress without me understanding why.

As for the cheating discussion. If the other woman never met the wife then you are right, she owes the wife nothing and the main home wrecker would be the husband. HOWEVER...if you work for the mom, see her everyday and help raise her kids then she trusts you and she deserves the nanny's respect a loyalty. And FYI all cheating men say their wife is cold..it's number one on their hit parade.

Ariel-chan said...

When I had a similar position to what you're describing, I wore dark wash straight leg jeans and a nice blouse nearly every day. Low heels are fine as far as I'm concerned. Just make sure you have a spare t-shirt in case you get barfed on. ;)

In the warmer weather, I would wear cute dresses or a nice skirt with a t-shirt. I don't see them online any more, but for several month Old Navy had some great nanny work skirts - full, bright colored and around knee length, but with an elastic waistband so they're very comfortable.

Team Jacob said...

I wear mainly capris, jeans and t-shirts.
Sometimes I will go in on one of my off days and if it's just me and baby girl(we would have a girls day out of breakfast and looking at toys) :)I might think about wearing a skirt

I do not understand how nannies go to work in, tight clothing, short shorts and tank tops.
Be decent and professional!

Andrea said...

I declined a position I was offered in the back bay of boston because I was required to wear business casual attire. which is essentially khakis etc...I am more of a yoga pants, cute top/hoodie kind of nanny. It looks tasteful and appropriate. And most importantly it's comfortable and easier to get down and dirty with the children. I guess it all depends on where you're working. If it's worth the money do it, but I definitely prefer working for families who are more concerned about their children than making sure their nanny is in clothing appropriate for a business meeting.

Seattle Nanny said...

Andrea:

Well said. Another problem with khakis is that the knees will often tear if you're doing this job right and they're far too expensive to have to buy a new pair every week or two just to keep an ample supply. Jeans at least hold up for awhile.

Fawn said...

well i used to wear yoga pants/sweats and raggy shirts, but then my bosses gave me a large gift card to buy clothes claiming that it was a treat since the baby ruins so many things. haha... i took a hint and bought some still casual, comfy clothes, but they look nice now. i wear nothing shorter than burmuda shorts, lots of comfy khaki or non jean, old navy type pants. i hate jeans so i never wear them. sometimes i'll wear a dress if its super nice and we're going somewhere special. i'd say no to the heels though, that sounds a bit ridiculous for a nanny. i wear tenny's or flip flops.

MELISS said...

For me the issue of appearance is always the first thing I discuss, after the employer expresses serious interest in me after finding me qualified...I am heavily tattooed (over 100 hrs of work), have many (tasteful and small)piercings and 1.5 inch stretched lobes. Firstly I always make sure that Mum/Dad are comfortable with body modifications as it's not possible for me to cover my tattoos (I have hand and neck tattoos...) and I also let them know my piercings can not be removed (I heal too quickly) nor my earrings removed, as most people are more shocked and disgusted by a huge 1.5 inch gaping hole than a plug or tunnel. That being said I have always been able to wear whatever I want, as it's the children I am focusing on and not fashion. I wear shorts, sometimes very short-it gets bloody hot and I run after twin autistic four year olds...also, though-there is no Daddy in the picture, so I don't have to worry about being oogled. I also wear tank tops, but keep it modest with ones that are 3 fingers wide (a guideline I learned in highschool and use as a rule of thumb now...), as for skirts and dressed I'd say that's fine, so long as you do wear shorts of some sort underneath :)

You'll get the best answer, and the only one that matters, from your employer, though-so I recommend asking them on your first day-or perhaps call ahead and discuss with them?

world's best nanny said...

I have 3 pairs of tan khaki pants, 3 pairs of navy khaki pants and 1 pair of black khaki pants. I also have the same thing but in shorts. If you are going to spend a lot of time on the carpet and they have pets, leave the black pants/shorts at home!
What a mess!

I wear nursing scrub tops. I go to thrift stores and consignment shops to buy'em. They are cheap, due to the colorful patterns they hide stains well, and most have stain release so they wash well. I also love the pockets on the front. They are good for stashing binkies, barrettes and hair elastics. Plus mine usually have "cool looking" stones in them from nature walks.

Try and find things that are neat and comfortable that don't show too much skin, or look like you got them out of a dumpster. I'd go with sneakers the whole way, sneakers have never failed me yet!

Anonymous said...

Having experience with hosting young nanny, house and au pair girls for many years; I prefer having them uniformed in a white blouse or a white blouse and a black skirt (and apron when needed) or a white blouse and black pants (changed some years ago), which make them look more representative. When they went out during time off, they wore own clothes, of course.

This has not have been popular among them, but I never had any major problems with recruiting staff and most of them seem to have liked their employment, even if they hated the uniform.

Mari said...

I don't like to wear jeans at all. I do like to where colorful pinks, orange, yellow, red, blue and purple capri pants and cotton tops. They are comfortable and colorful-- stimulating the creativity of the children I care for. I wouldn't want to expose my body to anyone.

To Monkeyshines and "No longer a Nannie", and others....I feel so sorry that those men felt it was open season on Nannies when you were there. It IS a great way to make lots of money, but is it the Moral way? No. And worse, you can argue that it doesn't 'bother you' inside your mind, that a grown man with kids and wife hit on you or molested or seduced you...but it should. Its unprofessional, its in appropriate, and its not 'part of your job'. You're there to take care of the children- not the daddy. That's not the duties of a Nanny; it is the duties of a prostitute. Don't ever let a man demean you again or confuse you as to your job description. If I were working ( as a Nanny ) and the husband told me about his cold wife and his sexual needs, I would refer him to an institution where prostitutes work. Unless that's your other 'part time job'. If that guy is horny, its not YOUR problem. And I feel bad you were enjoying all that extra cash and affection. He got what he wanted too-- paid services. You girls are MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than that. Draw the line and don't let anyone cross your personal boundary again. Unless you need a part time job, and he's hiring a prostitute.