Junior Pia Adtani is a reporter for Nordic News during the 2022-23 school year. They hope to refine their writing and photography skills as well as make...
Best dressed: Fashion forward faculty
Have you ever looked at a teacher’s outfit and wondered how they always look so good? Maybe you’re curious about their fashion inspo or are wondering where they shop. At Nordic News we got exclusive interviews with three of our best-dressed teachers to answer these very questions.
Nov 18, 2022
IB history teacher Amy Monaghan (she/her) never disappoints with her simple yet classic outfits paired with distinctive silver jewelry. Monaghan’s top two brands are J. Crew and Madewell, but every once in a while, she visits a retailer in her neighborhood called Horseshoe, which specializes in rustic, yet cozy, apparel.
Staying cozy is the name of Monaghan’s game, and she prioritizes comfort over anything else. Eighteen years ago, when Monaghan began teaching at Inglemoor, she would gravitate towards more formal clothing, often wearing skirts and dresses. But eventually, Inglemoor’s outdoor campus prevailed, and Monaghan switched out the skirts for jeans.
“I walk around a lot outside in between classes. So I don’t wear as much fancy clothes like I used to.” she said.
A self-proclaimed “jeans girl forever,” Monaghan would sport carpenter pants, Converse sneakers, shoulder pads and big hair when she was a high school student in the ‘80s. At the time, Madonna was the trend-setter, influencing many people — including Monaghan — to wear the same “funny gloves” as her.
Regardless of how she used to dress or how she dresses now — on the inside Monaghan has always had a bad-girl sense of style.
“I think, deep down, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll girl, and I liked the rock ‘n’ roll girls from the 1980s, and so the jeans and the leather jackets and that tough classic stance is what I like,” said Monaghan.
American Sign Language teacher Renée Boulac (she/her) is known for her color-coordinated outfits, a fashion staple that she’s kept up for all 23 years she’s been teaching. Boulac became hooked on fashion after working as a runway model when she was 21. She quit after two years because she lost interest in the industry.
“Now that I’m a high school teacher, I’m not as focused on my fashion,” she signed in ASL, joking. “I like comfortable clothing because I’m a little old gray-haired lady.”
Boulac’s outfits generally follow a similar formula. She wears a long sleeve shirt, occasionally with a vest, and jeans.
Boulac shopped at major retail stores such as Nordstrom and Macy’s in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but she said she rarely does anymore due to the decrease in quality and increase in price. She continues to wear her older clothing because the quality is much better.
“Sometimes, I’ll go to the back of my closet to find something to wear. Students will ask me, ‘Where did you buy that?’ and I’ll say, ‘Sorry, I don’t know, I bought it in 1970.’ I still have and wear clothes that I bought from 1970, but I’ve donated some.”
When Boulac was in high school, she wore clothing that her mother, a skilled seamstress, created with patterns.
“Often, when I went to school, students would look at me and say ‘Wow, cool clothes! Where’d you buy them?’ And I’d reply, ‘Sorry, I didn’t buy them; my mom made them,” said Boulac.
Boulac holds onto clothing if she deems it to still be in good condition. Her house is full of clothing of all kinds, ranging from old jeans covered in patches to a dark blue ankle-length dress that she wore for her son’s wedding.
“I have many clothes, four closets’ worth,” she said, remarking, “I like clothes.”
Arts and metalwork teacher Jin Ellis (they/them) enjoys dressing up in vibrant colors, often using color theory to compose the playful outfits they’re known for. Ellis’ current favorite outfit is an ensemble that includes “insane primaries,” featuring a Carmen Sandiego-like trench coat and yellow miniskirt that they salvaged from the kids section of Target.
Ellis gets their best clothing pieces from thrift and vintage stores like Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange. They also visit many local artist alleys and Comic Conventions to find one-of-a-kind garments to add to their collection.
“I really like that the money goes straight to the artists,” they said.
Inspiration for some of Ellis’ fashion sense comes from the Seattle drag scene.
Ellis follows a lot of the drag queens on social media, and the pictures they post of their outfits, both in and out of drag, never cease to amaze them. Ellis also looks up to Eli, their tattoo mentor.
“They wear whatever they want, and it’s always the most insane stuff. Once I started working with them, it made me way more comfortable to dress however I wanted,” Ellis said.
Ellis said their style has come full circle. In their earlier high school years, Ellis wore the same fun outfits, but as they grew up and started paying more attention to their appearance, their style toned down. In time, Ellis realized that fashion is a form of self expression and returned to wearing their colorful outfits.
“When I was in high school, I wanted to dress like Zooey Deschanel, basically. Everything was super muted earth tones and stuff because I wanted to look older and more sophisticated. And now I’m at the point where I just want the brightest, most insane colors possible. I want people to see and think I look like a muppet in a crowd of people. I’m finally at an age where I don’t care anymore, and it’s great!”