Monday, January 28, 2013

Faculty Fashion. From InsideHigherEd.com. (Old Article, Sent to Us By a Couple of Readers.)

Make it work!
Writing a column on faculty fashion is no small task. Indeed, the first thought that comes to mind is, "Faculty fashion? Isn’t that an oxymoron?"

It’s no secret that faculty members are famous for dressing poorly, outlandishly or, even at their best, in styles that lost popularity a decade or two or even more ago (the length of that time lag is dependent primarily on the year the professor in question entered graduate school). What is it about academia that seemingly produces an inability to pay attention to dress and hair styles — styles that are a ubiquitous presence in the media and our daily encounters with normal people?

Does graduate school somehow produce the superpower of resisting the conformity pressures of society? Or, as we like to say in the social sciences, perhaps this really is the result of a selection effect: academia doesn’t produce the fashion faux pas tendency; rather, people with a stunted sense of style are somehow inordinately drawn to the profession of teaching and research.

MORE.

31 comments:

  1. I have no idea what this guy is complaining about. I am ever so stylish, as opposed to merely fashionable. Never mind the bloodstains.

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    1. Blood spurting from a screaming, struggling victim, of course. I wouldn't be much of a mad scientist without those!

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  2. Generally agree with the article. You are making a choice of how you want others to see you when you wear clothes. Different groups see you in different ways so you have to balance that with price, comfort, etc. How you look matters to most other people. It is a part of life. Therefore, it is not fair.

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  3. I admit I am guilty of this. I still wear some outfits that I purchased when I first started teaching. I have also been known to use overheads in my lecture. Both these things pretty much "date" me.

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  4. Frankly, I don't make enough money to buy new clothes. My wife shops at the thrift store, but they rarely have my size, and usually are even more out of date than my closet. And no, I'm not an adjunct. If they want fashion, they can pay me first.

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    1. My wife shops at the thrift store, but they rarely have my size, and usually are even more out of date

      You're poppin' more tags than you know.

      http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/macklemore/thriftshop.html

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  5. In class, I strive for `neutral': I very much don't want them to remember (be distracted by) what I'm wearing. So neither sloppy nor flashy, just academ-boring. My colleagues do the same, but my girlfriend tells me this is all wrong. Come to think of it, my students dress pretty neutral themselves.

    My Ph.D. adviser buys large numbers of identical white shirts and dark pants on visits to his country, and wears the same thing day in, day out. I see a lot of merit in his method: not wasting a second's thought or a penny on these kinds of decisions. I've made moves in that direction (buying a number of "[adviser's name] shirts"), but I can't quite pull it off.






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    1. copy him after you leave your current school, so you don;t look like you're butt-kissing.

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    2. They are more likely to be distracted by the fact that you are wearing the same thing every day. I know of at least two professors whose identical wardrobe over 20 years is the only thing I've ever heard about them as teachers.

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  6. I always wear a suit to class. I've been thinking of getting a second one.

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    1. See, I also keep a suit jacket in my office, in case I need to talk to the dean or something. So today as an experiment I wore it to class. Hard to say if anyone cared. Usually it's dress shirts and dress pants or jeans, depending on what's clean.

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  7. I dress "business casual", basically the same as I did outside academia: khakis, dress shows, dress shirt and tie. A suit jacket hangs in my office for emergencies. That makes me better-dressed than everyone in my department except for the (female) chair, who also dresses business casual.

    OK, some of my ties are a bit dated, but not horribly so! And I tend to pick ones that match that day's lesson when possible.

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  8. I work with things that burn, stain and cut--and that's just the snowflakes. I dress accordingly. And if they want Versace Mondays, they're going to have to give me a clothing allowance.

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    1. "I work with things that burn, stain and cut--and that's just the snowflakes."

      You da prof.

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  9. I don't give a fuck what students think. I wear what I like and what is comfortable. I'm clean and covered and my hair is brushed. I have a colleague that wears jeans and old shirts and flip flops to school. He doesn't give a fuck either. That's not where his head is at.

    I always vaguely suspect the fashion plates. The perfectly coiffed and made up and dressed. If Don Draper taught in my building I would be secretly on the lookout, waiting for some sort of coup.

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  10. "18. It’s not that dirty. It was on the top of the laundry hamper."

    This is me, today and every day.

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  11. If you dress up to the moment, you're dressing too young and that's even worse.

    Whatever happened to wearing academic gowns to teach? I thought their whole purpose was to cover the stains, burns, cuts, and crusty stuff on the impoverished professor's clothes.

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    1. Academic gowns make a lot more sense in the cold, damp climate of Oxford. They don't here in Fresno. Never ride a bicycle in one, or you may end up like Isadora Duncan.

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  12. I resent clothes shopping as a waste of time and thinking about clothing as a waste of mental energy. I've figured out that if I have 5 or 6 nice pair of dress pants in neutral colors and a bunch of seasonally-appropriate, well-fitting but neutrally-colored tops, I can look professional and much more stylish than many of my clothes-horsey, shopaholic colleagues. The secret is to invest in a few pair of wickedly stylish, high-heeled dress shoes and a bunch of stylish scarfs. Pull anything out of the closet in the dark, add scarf and bitchin' shoes and voila: stylish.

    I think it was Michael Lewis' fairly recent magazine article on President Obama that mentioned that the president made a conscious effort to eliminate unnecessary decision making from his daily routine, which meant eliminating ever making decisions about clothes or food. I wish I had the staff to not have to put any effort into food but still eat healthily.

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    1. Oh, lord, heels. Never in a million years would I bother with heels for teaching. I barely bother with them for other reasons.

      Other than footwear, though, I think you've got a perfect scheme going, Surly. Makes me want to go scarf shopping!

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    2. Sofft brand shoes. They are very stylish heels that are as comfortable as flats. Naturalizers are pretty comfy, too. I'm not talking stilettos, here, and I never wear anything that hurts. But a stylish pair of heels gives me a very useful "don't fuck with me" attitude. They make me stylish and tall, and you can hear me coming down the hall. And because they're comfortable, I don't mince around like a girly-girl. I move like a fast motherfucker who looks good and doesn't have time for bullshit.

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  13. Does graduate school somehow produce the superpower of resisting the conformity pressures of society?

    No, dumbass. Graduate school reduces one to poverty. Choos are pretty much the first thing that goes out the window. I could try to keep up with my undergrads' fashion whims, but that would mean taking on as much debt as they have.

    I feel like this guy has never spent a significant amount of time around engineers.

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  14. I'm an overweight, youngish looking (not young) woman. I dress in blouses, blazers, jewelry ect so the little dears know not to %(#(& with me. Much like my friends who are african american do the same.

    That didn't stop one student from asking an African American friend of mine in dress slacks and a blouse if she was there to clean. Unironically.

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  15. I think we need uniforms. Something sharp, with riding boots, jodhpurs, and spiffy hats. We'd need some sort of insigniae for our collars or shoulder plates that indicate one's status: sessional/contract, adjunct, assistant, associate, and full professor. Maybe heads of department could get something special for their hats. For deans and vice presidents etc. I'd suggest something polyester, brown and orange, just top and pants, and hair nets.
    Or maybe I should just find a naturist SLAC. Are there any?

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  16. I didn't get the memo about having to be effin' stylish.
    I wear clean and comfortable, with a nod to acceptable (as in chinos rather than sweatpants).

    Some of my classes in hamster husbandry expose me and students to various types of effluvia.
    I dress accordingly for such expeditions, and encourage the snowflakes to do the same.

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  17. I've got to say, I don't even know what coordinating your pants, socks, and shirt means. What people mean by matching clothing items to each other completely evades me.

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  18. Geez louise, I pity the poor souls that have to work under this senior adminflake - most of the time when it comes to fashion I Don't Give a Shit, because I sincerely don't give a shit, as opposed to taking "perverse pleasure" in not giving a shit. It doesn't have to be complicated.

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