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Any College Professors here? - Page 5

post #61 of 75
Going to extremes could raise the bar a bit. A person regularly dressing at extremes of slovenliness -- t-shirt -- elegance -- Savile Row -- or niche -- seersucker and bowtie -- would be making himself conspicuous in ways irrelevant to the job and would thus constantly raise the question, "does he have attention to spare for the professional work?" Of course, that question comes up anyway at review time, but I wouldn't want to be raising the question on a daily basis.
post #62 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by EngProf View Post

Going to extremes could raise the bar a bit. A person regularly dressing at extremes of slovenliness -- t-shirt -- elegance -- Savile Row -- or niche -- seersucker and bowtie -- would be making himself conspicuous in ways irrelevant to the job and would thus constantly raise the question, "does he have attention to spare for the professional work?" Of course, that question comes up anyway at review time, but I wouldn't want to be raising the question on a daily basis.

I see this kind of argument made a lot, but I have to say I really don't understand it. I've never wondered whether my colleagues have attention to spare for their professional work, since the answer to that question is provided pretty unambiguously by their actual performance.

Moreover, there are lots of extra-professional interests and hobbies that are much more time-consuming than an interest in menswear. I've got a couple of colleagues, for example, who run marathons and triathlons. Needless to say, preparation for those events takes a lot of time and energy. Again though, I don't need to wonder whether their commitment to long-distance running prevents them from doing their professional work. I can just look at the record of their professional accomplishments.
post #63 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by L'Incandescent View Post


I see this kind of argument made a lot, but I have to say I really don't understand it. I've never wondered whether my colleagues have attention to spare for their professional work, since the answer to that question is provided pretty unambiguously by their actual performance.

Moreover, there are lots of extra-professional interests and hobbies that are much more time-consuming than an interest in menswear. I've got a couple of colleagues, for example, who run marathons and triathlons. Needless to say, preparation for those events takes a lot of time and energy. Again though, I don't need to wonder whether their commitment to long-distance running prevents them from doing their professional work. I can just look at the record of their professional accomplishments.

+1

In my experience sitting on appointment (hiring) committees, never once have we commented on what the candidate wears. I've seen the range from slovenly (polo shirt, chinos and trainers) to smart (suit and tie), and I don't think dress has made one iota of difference as to whether or not we have hired someone. Rather, we have paid more attention to the excellence of their presentation, how well they have come across during the interview, publications and funding record. I would guess that it is much the same for promotions panels. When a panel gets your application for promotion (or, tenure), at least some proportion of the panel won't know you at all and will be simply judging you on your performance on paper. And for those who know you, whether you've published tons and won lots of grants will count for more than whether or not they think you're "weird" for wearing a suit and bowtie to work (while everyone else is in sneakers and t-shirts).
post #64 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

Would any of the dept heads and other senior people care to comment how the clothes of a junior faculty member might impact the perception of him/her by others and how this affected advancement?

OK. A suit every day will do you no good and be noticed. In the long-run (after you've made the investment in your clothes and your education), it will not matter. It is very easy to spot bright and productive students seeking a Ph.D., although the bright ones are not necessarily the most productive.
post #65 of 75
Thanks to both of you for your input - it seems like overall consensus is that you can basically dress how you want and not have it affect your career unless you come off as really arrogant and uptight anyway, which is exacerbated by overdressing. I'm not interested in using my wardrobe as a substitute for professional achievement, but I do like dressing well as a hobby (hence my presence here) and only hope that it doesn't distract others from noticing my work or mislead them into thinking I believe I belong somewhere better. I think the admonition to avoid looking too business-like (for me that means avoiding suits in charcoal and navy) is a good one.
post #66 of 75
If you enjoy dressing well don't let your surroundings keep you from doing what you enjoy.

That being said, if you want to avoid the discussed stigmas of over-dressing, be extra mindful of the fabric, color and texture.

i.e.
- grey tweed suit with suede shoes
- corduroy blazers with natural shoulders / patch pockets
- wool ties
- penny loafers
post #67 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frihed89 View Post


OK. A suit every day will do you no good and be noticed. In the long-run (after you've made the investment in your clothes and your education), it will not matter. It is very easy to spot bright and productive students seeking a Ph.D., although the bright ones are not necessarily the most productive.

I'm sure that all the above is right, but (a) the OP is a new member of staff, not a graduate student, and (b) you live and work in a country where dress is relatively casual in any case.
post #68 of 75
Yes, now, but worked in and around academia for many years in the US before I made the switch.
post #69 of 75
You should dress as well, formally and orderly as possible. What you wear influences your students. The more seriously you are dressed, the more seriously it appears you take your job and your students. Forget the opinions of your colleagues and the opinions of the students.
post #70 of 75

Interesting thread. This is my first post here, but I am far from new either to university teaching or considerations of style.

 

The only lesson I have from 15 years of university teaching is, anything goes so long as you don't frighten the horses. Only two things ultimately matter: the quality of your work; and the way you interact with your colleagues. Be productive, be constructive, be respectful, develop a sense of humour, don't get cynical, and then whatever you wear will be up to you and you can feel free to develop your own personal style at work. In fact, as a previous commentor noted, academia is an ideal place to cultivate a more eccentric dress sense... provided that you keep in mind what ultimately matters.

 

Having said that, style can also be part of your work. If you are teaching a lot, then it's worth remembering that teaching is a performance, especially when it comes to large class teaching. Your style can enhance your teaching and make your classes memorable amongst a crowd of other lecturers who wouldn't know style if it sneaked up behind them and smacked them on the back of the head.

 

If you happen to be lucky enough to teach a subject where you can use style more directly in your teaching, you can have all kinds of fun... and after all, isn't fun what this is supposed to be about? As a couple of example, I teach a course on the sociology of cities, and I include several case-study lectures, where I dress appropriately. Here are pictures of what I wore teach on Paris in the Nineteenth century and on New York between the wars (and yes, I did tie the cravat properly when I wore it on the day!)

 

paris1880.jpg

 

 

 

newyork1930.jpg

post #71 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

Interesting thread. This is my first post here, but I am far from new either to university teaching or considerations of style...

Awesome first post!
post #72 of 75
I don't think this has been commented on yet, but from my business school experience, suits or at least a SC + tie are the norm for faculty.
post #73 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

Interesting thread. This is my first post here, but I am far from new either to university teaching or considerations of style.

 

The only lesson I have from 15 years of university teaching is, anything goes so long as you don't frighten the horses. Only two things ultimately matter: the quality of your work; and the way you interact with your colleagues. Be productive, be constructive, be respectful, develop a sense of humour, don't get cynical, and then whatever you wear will be up to you and you can feel free to develop your own personal style at work. In fact, as a previous commentor noted, academia is an ideal place to cultivate a more eccentric dress sense... provided that you keep in mind what ultimately matters.

 

Having said that, style can also be part of your work. If you are teaching a lot, then it's worth remembering that teaching is a performance, especially when it comes to large class teaching. Your style can enhance your teaching and make your classes memorable amongst a crowd of other lecturers who wouldn't know style if it sneaked up behind them and smacked them on the back of the head.

 

If you happen to be lucky enough to teach a subject where you can use style more directly in your teaching, you can have all kinds of fun... and after all, isn't fun what this is supposed to be about? As a couple of example, I teach a course on the sociology of cities, and I include several case-study lectures, where I dress appropriately. Here are pictures of what I wore teach on Paris in the Nineteenth century and on New York between the wars (and yes, I did tie the cravat properly when I wore it on the day!)

 

paris1880.jpg

 

 

 

newyork1930.jpg


Excellent first post. It takes some guts to do, but I really think it would make the class more entertaining and memorable. I've had professors who have gone the extra mile in ways like this before and they are always the ones whose classes I remember most.
post #74 of 75
I teach in a Business School, so dressing like a business consultant (for teaching and meetings) is expected. On non-teaching days I used to dress somewhat casually, usually with multi-pocketed shirts and cargo pants. (Most tenured people dressed like this as well.) After all, I thought, I'll be evaluated on my research and teaching (correct!) and therefore outside of class my dress doesn't matter.

BIG MISTAKE!

This is something I noticed after a while and across many schools: it's true that your academic colleagues won't care much about how you dress but everybody else will behave differently if you dress like a professional: A/V and IT support, bookstore clerks, librarians, admins, etc.

Your clothes send a signal that you care about your image and take yourself seriously; that can be interpreted as arrogant by some colleagues, granted, but will certainly help with the Provost's receptionist when you have to go there on a day when you weren't planning to teach and were not dressed for it. Also, I've noticed that even in this bastion of "self-expression" that is the Bay Area, you get better service almost everywhere when you dress up. Even from the communists at the Cheeseboard Collective pizza place.

As for choices, I'm partial to suits for teaching & meetings; sport jackets & trousers & ties otherwise. I personally never wear jeans (they are not flattering to my body type) and wear "action clothing" (cargo pants, cargo vests) only when hiking or carrying a lot of camera equipment.

FYI: I'm from Europe, where we wear suits regularly even to parties in college, and I was a consultant for a long time before getting a PhD. When I arrived in the US for grad school, I had 17 suits with me but my t-shirts and sweatshirts were for exercise only; I had to buy a casual wardrobe on my first month here. So maybe I'm atypical.

I wrote a post about this some time ago, http://josecamoessilva.tumblr.com/post/681332762/why-wear-a-suit-and-tie-well-i-wear-them

And Minding the Campus has some strong words about professorial dress as well: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2011/04/professors_should_dress_like_p.html

Cheers,
J
Edited by PelhamGrenville - 9/5/11 at 8:14pm
post #75 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by PelhamGrenville View Post

FYI: I'm from Europe, where we wear suits regularly even to parties in college, and I was a consultant for a long time before getting a PhD. When I arrived in the US for grad school, I had 17 suits with me but my t-shirts and sweatshirts were for exercise only; I had to buy a casual wardrobe on my first month here. So maybe I'm atypical.


Very possibly! BTW, I was an undergrad at a university where we had to wear black tie and academic gowns to dinner on Saturday night (and to sit exams...). That rather put me off dressing 'correctly' for a while, if not for good, especially given the fact that I was far from well off and the rich kids tended to rub it in by flaunting ludicrously expensive clothes.

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