Originally Posted by Trotsky1940
I teach Political Science and getting the look is, for me, part of the fun. I am late to the trad party but assure you that I will be wearing white bucs in the fall with khakis and a nice tweed jacket I just picked up. As it gets cooler out here I will go back towards my wools and vests. I don't do it to impress anybody, I do it because I enjoy it.
That being said...
If you dress the part, you will at least look like you know what you are doing. When I am even marginally dressed up I get called sir more, treated with more respect and people pay attention to me. It's odd, but it really is true. So in my vest, coat, tie and khakis I tend to have slightly more control over my classroom than when I was a young Adjunct dressed in polos and jeans. If you told me this five years ago I would have thought you were full of bullshit.
Also, I take lots of pride in what I do and my profession as a whole. Sure the "classic professor look" is cliche' at times but I love it!
Many of my colleagues either agree with me or just don't care. They don't have to. This profession allows you to maintain a certain air of professional eccentricity about your dress. I exploit that to the fullest.
I'm a political science academic as well - written anything I'd have read?
. Do you not think the control you have over the room has more to do with your greater experience and confidence?
Not sure what it's like in the states - my experience is in the UK and now Australia - but there is certainly a strong anti-suit vibe in a lot of universities. Suits are seen as being for administrators or for people on the make. Usual uniform for me is shirt (Lewin, usually), dark jeans or chinos and something from my wide selection of Loakes. And that makes me smarter than most, I should add. Sports coat or blazer goes on in the classroom and the weather demands it. If I've meetings, particularly with outside bodies (more as I've been made Assoc. Dean of the Faculty, sadly), a suit get worn but usually results in people stopping you and asking what you're up to.
On the original article, I don't know whether academics are dressed substantially worse than other professions, but it's this lack of a dress code that allows the abominations. There's a limit to how bad you can look in a place where a suit is required whereas if you're free to wear what you like, you have the freedom to make an utter bollocks of it.