• Fashion

“Abbott Elementary” Gives Us a Lesson in Style

Tyler James Williams, Quinta Brunson, Janelle James, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter and Chris Perfetti

The triumphant Golden Globe-winning Abbott Elementary, created by Golden Globe winner Quinta Brunson for TV channel ABC, is a mockumentary sitcom series that follows a group of teachers working in an underfunded school in Philadelphia.


The concept behind the show is that a documentary crew is recording the lives of teachers who do important work in conditions that are quite harsh. Teachers quit all the time.


Brunson stars as Janine Teagues, a second-grade teacher. Janine is one of three teachers (in a group of twenty) to make it past one year. She works with history teacher Jacob Hill, played by Chris Perfetti; experienced kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard, played by Golden Globe nominee Sheryl Lee RalphJanelle JamesTyler James Williams.


Abbott Elementary is inspired by Brunson’s mother, who is a retired Philadelphia elementary school teacher.


Besides high critical acclaim, Abbott Elementary is hugely loved by audiences everywhere. They value it for its sense of authenticity via creativity, achieved with the help of costume-designer Susan Michalek. She is known for her work in The Kids Are Alright, Samantha Who?, and Trophy Wife.


Michalek zipped Abbott Elementary costume design to a realistic teacher’s budget by finding fresh style inspiration at stores such H&M, Zara, Old Navy, and Anthropologie. The show repeats outfits from season one. Real teachers working in real life can appreciate that level of reality.


At Abbott Elementary, budget cuts do not mean a lack of creativity for its characters.

Qiuinta Brunson

Janine Teagues is known among her fellow teachers for her surprising choices in all things wardrobe. Her fashion exuberance works as an emphasis of her social skills. Janine is famous for her love of vibrantly printed maxi dresses, a mishmash of brightly colored cardigans, and long skirts. Her passion for unusual belts is a source of humor throughout the show.

Qiuinta BrunsonQiuinta BrunsonQiuinta BrunsonQiuinta Brunson, Tyler WilliamsSheryl Lee Ralph

The style of kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard is the definition of prim and proper. This rigor is built on a few, solid pillars: cardigans of various brights, including blue, pink, and orange; patterned satin blouses; black pants. The strand of pearls? She feels free to wear them in a multitude of manners.

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Now, the blouses. Mrs. Howard tends to choose a variety of patterns, including paisley, floral, chain, or geometric. And, yes, she is the queen of color-matching crossbody phone pouches. She seems to have quite an extensive collection.

Sheryl Lee RalphSheryl Lee RalphSheryl Lee RalphSheryl Lee RalphJanelle James

Principal Ava Coleman is the most fashion-conscious character at Abbott Elementary. Her wardrobe includes classical pieces such as an elegant blue cashmere sweater dress, black contrast zip-down dress, green ribbed dress, satin bell sleeve wrap blouse, or a navy ribbed contrast dress.

Janelle James

Ava is quite bold in terms of her style. She may, with total ease, combine a geometric print blouse with a black faux-leather skirt. 

Janelle JamesJanelle James