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Academic doing research?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I will be doing archival research in London this summer. What would be appropriate to wear in such a setting?

I've done similar research in the US and the dress of the other researchers ranged from Crocs and cargo shorts to basic suit. I wore a tweed jacket, OCBD, tie and trousers most days. However, that was in the winter.

I'm a 30-something social sciences PhD student trying to differentiate myself from the pack, with a fairly small selection of nice clothes and an even smaller budget to add new items. However, I'll keep my eye open on B&S for anything suggested that I don't have.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 10
I don't know if it really matters what your wear in an archive. I'd suggest a linen/moleskin jacket, OCBD, a comfortable pair of trousers and shoes which aren't overly tight. There's not really much more to say.
post #3 of 10
You're doing research, and your days - nights, too - will be long and tiring. Wear comfortable clothing and focus on your task, no one will care how you're dressed as long as your clothes are clean and decent.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
You're doing research, and your days - nights, too - will be long and tiring. Wear comfortable clothing and focus on your task, no one will care how you're dressed as long as your clothes are clean and decent.

+1
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
You're doing research, and your days - nights, too - will be long and tiring. Wear comfortable clothing and focus on your task, no one will care how you're dressed as long as your clothes are clean and decent.

Doing archival research requires extensive engagement with the archivists who can make or break your research. If they like you, they will direct you to sources you may have overlooked. They might bend some of the rules for you. I want to look professional and respectful to improve my chances of being taken seriously by the archivists.
post #6 of 10
No necktie unless you'd feel naked without. I like a jacket with plenty of pockets. If you have shoes that are comfortable and not ugly your feet will look better than those of anyone else in the room.
post #7 of 10
As a London-based social scientist, I can pretty confidently assure you that it won't matter a toss. Overdoing it will as likely have the opposite effect and have you marked out as uptight and/or on the make (confirming the UK university sector's impression of most US academics!), in the unlikely event that it has any effect at all.
You'd be better served packing for the London climate, which is infuriatingly inconsistent at any time of year, and for any other activities or events that you may have planned whilst you're in town. Even allowing for the legendarily poor British weather (it's really not bad, it's just inconsistent), a tweed jacket in London in summer will lead to heatstroke (wait til you try the Jubilee Line in a July rush hour!). OCBDs, chinos and jeans, a cotton sweater for evenings or excessive air con in archives, and a lightweight waterproof and you're good to go. If you anticipate any more formal events (elite interviewing, dinners, etc) then add a dark suit and dressier shoes (black and no f*cking loafers either!).
From my distant memories of my own doctoral research days, a clean shirt and shoes without holes in them will go some way towards making you stand out. And overdoing it will make you look like you're trying too hard. As someone who's academic career has largely been based on personal style over intellectual substance, I'm well qualified to comment on this.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg View Post
Overdoing it will as likely have the opposite effect and have you marked out as uptight and/or on the make (confirming the UK university sector's impression of most US academics!), in the unlikely event that it has any effect at all.

You'd be better served packing for the London climate, which is infuriatingly inconsistent at any time of year, and for any other activities or events that you may have planned whilst you're in town. Even allowing for the legendarily poor British weather (it's really not bad, it's just inconsistent), a tweed jacket in London in summer will lead to heatstroke (wait til you try the Jubilee Line in a July rush hour!). OCBDs, chinos and jeans, a cotton sweater for evenings or excessive air con in archives, and a lightweight waterproof and you're good to go.

Very helpful. Thanks. I'll leave the ties at home. I have a couple of cotton/linen jackets that I'll bring to pair with chinos and jeans. Desert boots okay?
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by evolsty View Post
Very helpful. Thanks. I'll leave the ties at home. I have a couple of cotton/linen jackets that I'll bring to pair with chinos and jeans. Desert boots okay?
Was wearing a pair to the British Library only last week. As long as you've nothing formal lined up whilst hear, absolutely.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
You're doing research, and your days - nights, too - will be long and tiring. Wear comfortable clothing and focus on your task, no one will care how you're dressed as long as your clothes are clean and decent.

+1
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