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semi-upscale casual for an older professional - Page 2

post #16 of 21

I’m a bit late to the party.


The advice others have given here seems sound to me, and I have nothing specific to add so far as specific items of apparel are concerned.


Do keep in mind that no matter how knowledgeable about dress we may be, there’s only one expert here on the environment in which you work:  you.  So test the advice you receive against what you observe in your workplace.  I’ve become convinced over the years that 90% of learning to dress better is learning to observe.


You wrote:


“Among other things, I teach the capstone course for graduating seniors. As part of that course, I ask the students to do presentations in business formal attire. I also dress business formal for the presentations. Bottom line is that, with few exceptions,  I didn't think the students had a very good sense of style, fit, or quality. Ok, we are engineers, we usually dont think much about that, but maybe we should.  I also want to see in students of all classifications, a sense professionalism, and I think appearance as an important element of that. In either case I think I could do a better job of setting the tone/being an example.”


Don’t lose sight of this:  you’re doing this in some measure as part of your teaching, to instill in the students a sense of appropriate dress in your discipline.  It might help to clarify your own thinking to run through various professional scenarios (an undergraduate interviewing for graduate school, a recent Ph.D. interviewing for a job, someone delivering a conference paper, and so forth) and imagine what might count as good dress in each.


I see that Claghorn has kindly bumped the old “Dress in Academia” thread.  You’ll find it here:


Unlike the current thread, which will disappear in a few days, that one is a permanent (albeit an often inactive) fixture of the forum.   You might find some food for thought in it.





post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 

Here are my "teaching sandals". Disclaimer: I am not advocating this as a reasonable style, Also they did not look quite that good yesterday, I polished them today. I am just providing information about what I wear.


Its hot here in the summer and can be hot at any time, though we have not officially broken even 90, this year. However I wear them because they are comfortable, and dont look too horrible, I think, especially the dressier pair. 


With respect to my shoe wearing schedule, conventional wisdom, as I understand it is that you should give shoes a day off between wearing, but I just dont feel that is adequate. Of course I have not done a careful (or sloppy) study of creep-recovery or moisture retention, so I have no analytical support, but it still expect that longer rest, 2 or 3 days at least, is better. Technically, I guess I would say that I expect that the drying of the inside of a shoe is largely diffusional and diffusion is slow on the scale of a shoe. 




It is nice to know there is quite the academic community here. Thanks for the info. 


Fok, I second the congratulations to your wife. Also thanks for the nice story. Creativity is a funny thing and I think there are fewer differences in the  creative process across fields than many believe. 

post #18 of 21
Originally Posted by TweedyProf View Post


I'm curious about the sandals: is it very warm where you live so that shoes are to be avoided? For me, at a university where one is a faculty, proper shoes should always be worn, but then again, I don't live in a climate with 100 + daytime heat. PTB's occupy a nice position: they can be dressed down or dressed up.

I think that this may be a situation in which an unlined shoe, like Alden's unlined chukkas or Church's Saharas (I use a pair in the summer) might be welcome additions, and perhaps canvas shoes 


Church's saharas are the lighter weight of the two chukkas I mentioned:;104033;6167&visitor_id=v3_0430610e-0b6e-11e6-ac40-001636bdd5d5&gclid=CjwKEAjwgPe4BRCB66GG8PO69QkSJAC4EhHhQSFtPdXIUEb-ydtKi-peWe-wCztz9ex9rFPsQB3nyRoC_7bw_wcB&qxjkl=tsid%3A75618%7Ccid%3A275295366%7Cagid%3A17618876766%7Ctid%3Apla-80706242685%7Ccrid%3A66843546846%7Cnw%3Ag%7Crnd%3A10955078001524194692%7Cdvc%3Ac%7Cadp%3A1o5)


I am drawing a blank right now on canvas shoes, but given where you are located, they might be worth considering.

post #19 of 21
This is cheaper and possibly a little cooler (and very likely less durable).

By the way, lightweight socks - Viccel sells a version thereof.
Edited by mensimageconsultant - 4/28/16 at 4:16pm
post #20 of 21
Please get chukkas or penny loafers to replace those sandals!

If it's too hot for a jacket and tie (and I'll not be able to park and get into air conditioning by 830 a.m.), I'll generally teach in an OCBD, oxford dress shirt, or a polo, jeans, and either suede chukkas or penny loafers. Maybe sneakers once or twice. But I'm 30. So I can see that as either being more or less acceptable as a result of my age.

Tweedy, we've already broken 95 once or twice. Regularly gets to be 100. I don't own a pair of sandals.
post #21 of 21
Here are some of my €2 cents - disclaimer I am from Europe, and in a very niche academia (think government school) so it tends to be super formal, compared to other kinds of academic institutions.
First step - identify your needs (aside the fact that you need a wardrobe vamp up) - teaching, conferences, travel, other activities (committees, fund raisers, alumni relations).
Second step - see in activities what kind of outfit can overlap - teaching with conferences and travel, etc.
Third step - build capsules i.e. One sport coat that will go with 3 pairs of pants to create 3 levels of formality looks - e.g. a dark blue donegal tweed jacket with mid gray flannels, plus cord, plus jeans. Attached to each outfit 2 shirts, 2 ties, one pair of shoes.
Fourth step - do your research - start with Style Forum (see the coherent combinations thread), go tumblr, forget Pitti.
Fifth step - burn the sandals (your choice of event - public, family or private).
Sixth step - start building look books if you need a visualization.
Seventh step - compute a budget.
Eight step - establish priorities.
Ninth step - start operations.
Shoes and footwear are deal breakers - get measured, it is extremely important for comfort. A well fitting Goodyear shoe is more comfortable than a sandal. As a model, monkstrap shoes are quite versatile if you are in an informal environment - you can wear them with almost everything. Search for 100% cotton socks, or better in very hot weather 100% linen.
Visit your barbershop regularly, I've seen great outfits ruined by scruffy looks.
Think seasons- I remember seeing the editor of an ultra important review nearly dying of heat stroke because he donned a tweed jacket on 40+ degrees Celsius, so have also that in mind.
So, good luck and Godspeed:)
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