Between the people in the non-knowledge-based disciplines and the people who didn't go to one of the three Ivies, there is a lot of bruised ego in this thread. There is a reason I asked for trigger warnings in the beginning.
Yesterday evening, I saw the chairman of the philosophy department of a major university running around in shorts and a t-shirt. That is no big deal except that he was also wearing those weird knee-high compression socks. Those look kind of dorky.
I just saw Irrational Man, the new Woody Allen movie, last night, which was set on a lovely campus. Emma Stone dressed beautifully, as did her boyfriend--they were students--but Joaquin Phoenix--a professor--dressed very poorly but for his haircut. He did carry a nice hip flak, which he drank from all the time. I didn't think that was common these days in academia, though I can see the appeal.
To the Workwear: Yes. It is a perfectly fine idea. I think I have some pictures of mine in the shoes with patina thread. Just choose a maker that knows how to do that. Foster & Son would be a good choice. Janne Erik Melkersson did mine and I would certainly recommend him.
Neglecting dress as a means of conveying authority is ignored at the professor's peril. Noted University of Illinois historian Richard Jensen was, for example, greatly underserved by his unwillingness to pose in a three-piece suit for his faculty photo.
This look is far too common these days, and the consequences are predictable. Even High School students won't defer to a professor wearing a lanyard and a polo shirt.