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Any College Professors here?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by copperx, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. copperx

    copperx Member

    Messages:
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    Hello,

    As a new faculty member used to dressing like a graduate student, I would like to dress more according to my new "authority" position. My colleagues dress very sloppily (jeans and t-shirts, sometimes dress pants), with the notable exception of women.

    I do not know where to start.

    Is there a happy middle? I would like to dress better than the students, but without alienating or making my colleagues look funny at me.

    Any tips?
     
  2. RogerC

    RogerC Senior member

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    I'm a junior academic, and in pretty much the same situation as you. I have three basic getup patterns:

    1: no meetings or teaching today : smart jeans/chinos, more informal shirt, cardigan or other knitwear

    2: internal meeting or teaching today: smart jeans/chinos/slacks, dress shirt, sports coat, usually no tie

    3: external meeting, conference or ceremony: suit

    Also, the things that make you look different from students are as much about quality and fit as they are about the category of things you wear. A badly fitting suit will make you look bad always. Nice shoes are another kicker, and of course, open your mind to the world of tweed.
     
  3. lanbexx

    lanbexx Member

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    As a new faculty member, you should be focused on getting your tenure, not on how to look like "authority." I don't know where you are working, but people dress sloppy because what actually commands authority in academia is what you are actually able to accomplish, not just cause you look the part. Dress your age and you are by default you are not dressing like your students but try and dress well as a new faculty member and no one will take you seriously.
     
  4. Louis XIV

    Louis XIV Senior member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  5. RogerC

    RogerC Senior member

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    You need to do your job well, I agree, but as everywhere, looks matter. Your colleagues have a large input in your getting tenure, and looking cool and collected at all times will influence that.

    Also, what do you mean by dressing your age? If I look around me, I don't see a lot of example's I'd care to emulate.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. copperx

    copperx Member

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    I'm sorry, probably the fact that I'm posting into a style forum that I used to frequent as a graduate student might sound like I'm being superficial and not dedicating every single minute of my life to my new station in life. I totally understand that. The only defense to that accusation I have is that I like to dot my i's and cross my t's. Attention to detail does not have to be confined to your work. It's a way of looking at things; a curse, if you will.

    I was just looking for opinions on what constitutes under- and over-dressing in the ivory tower. How well can I dress before I stop being taken seriously?

    All this does not mean I will be preoccupied with my dress every day; on the contrary, I will 'set it and forget it', and wear the same style for a decade or more. I just need to worry about it once.
     
  7. academe

    academe Senior member

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    This isn't such bad advice. I think the key thing here is feeling comfortable and confident with yourself. This will come through in your conversations with your colleagues and also during your lectures. No amount of smartening up will correct for this; if you lack confidence or have a nervous disposition, this will come through. If you're wearing a coat and tie, you'll just be a slightly awkward, nervous lecturer/young prof. in a coat & tie.

    With respect to promotion and getting tenure, the promotions panel will be looking at your outputs (publications, books, conference talks), grant income, measures of "esteem" (e.g. invited talks, awards, etc.), teaching, and service (e.g. committee work, etc.). They're not really going to care either way how you dress. I'm not advocating dressing poorly, but from a career perspective, I'm advocating getting your bearings right, rather than getting caught up in other distractions (e.g. dressing to impress and exert authority, etc.)...
     
  8. academe

    academe Senior member

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    No point in thinking about under- or over-dressing really; there are so many odd balls in academia that any given departmental or university-wide meeting will run the gamut from bowties+3-piece tweed suits to t-shirts, shorts and crocs... I would say dress for yourself first of all and enjoy it. I suppose it's one of the privileges of being in the academy; you can often do what the hell you want (for better or worse)!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  9. SFEND002

    SFEND002 Active Member

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    Could not agree more. Content not window dressing as my adviser used to say. That said, you set your own standard.
     
  10. williamson

    williamson Senior member

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    As one who was a teacher of 16-19-year-olds (college but not university) for 36 years, I would go along with all the above except that in the case of 2 above I would always wear a tie.
     
  11. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

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    And how exactly is dressing well and doing well in your job mutually exclusive? Are you saying that that he should intentionally dress in a sloppy way?
     
  12. PTWilliams

    PTWilliams Senior member

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    I would suggest dark denim jeans, dress shirt and a tweed jacket. I have a cashmere tweed jacket I wear all the time. The softness of the cashmere doesn't seem to wrinkle when you sit in it. You'll be dressed up but not look like you take it too seriously. Then spend a lot of time on this site, and after about two years your going to end up dressing like the WAYWT crowd anyhow.
     
  13. Archy

    Archy Member

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    Williamsburg, VA
    In my department, half of the profs wear sportcoats, some ties, and a few look like they blew in from the beach or supermarket. This is at a fairly conservative school in a social science department.

    I am a 50 year old PhD student and I wear a sportcoat and nice chinos or wool pants and real shoes. This is how I like to dress and how I'm comfortable and it does show respect for the enterprise.

    There is no strict correlation between dress and academic success, perhaps, but I have to believe that if you look organized and well put together, it must reflect well on your reputation--or at least it can't hurt.

    It all depends to some degree on what those around you are doing.

    I'd say look around you and dress as well as the best outfitted members of the faculty in your department, but don't go any further.
     
  14. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    I don't recall any of my profs ever wearing jeans to class, not one of them. Certainly not something I'd do myself.
     
  15. L'Incandescent

    L'Incandescent Senior member

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    I wear a suit and tie every day, but that's just because I love wearing suits and ties. If you think you'd be uncomfortable in a suit and tie, I think a SC and wool pants would work well, with or without a tie. But as academe mentioned, one of the wonderful things about the academy is that you can dress more or less as you please.

    Also, making good progress toward tenure and dressing well are not mutually exclusive. I realize that might sound crazy, but it is true.
     
  16. Benesyed

    Benesyed Senior member

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    Oh word? Thanks man without that the OP would have probably just slacked off and played gameboy all day. Because you know how easy it is to get a job these days in academia.

    Now to be helpful. What is the general feel like of where you teach. You don't want to seem bizzarely out of place. I think well fitting chinos and a scholarly sort of shirt with a tie and sport jacket would look very good and not over the top but its relative to the mood. Not a big fan of the jeans suggestion but thats a stylistic issue not that it would not be good.
     
  17. Bandit44

    Bandit44 Senior member

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    OP,

    Sportcoats, ocbds, chinos, and good shoes are a great way to start off. Since you didn't indicate what kind of faculty position your were starting, I cannot tell you what is most important for you to focus on. Tenure is only important if you have a tenure-track job; otherwise, being a good colleague or being an effective teacher might be more important. Dressing well should make you feel better about yourself regardless, which in turn should help you do your job well.

    If you are starting a tenure-track job this Fall, the best advice I can offer is sell your TV, cancel you internet subscription, and move a cot into your office. The clock starts ticking in August. :)
     
  18. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    +1. And definitely don't spend a lot of time here on SF.
     
  19. bringusingoodale

    bringusingoodale Senior member

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    Gawd, perish the thought that one could overdress at a university!!!...WTF?

    Unless you are contemplating wearing a dinner suit, I don't see how wearing a suit and tie everyday would hurt OR help you either way. It's a gentleman's uniform is all. Or am I horribly out of touch with the embalmed world of academia?
     
  20. BBC

    BBC Senior member

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    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    For me it's

    Monday-Thursday: Suit and tie (the occasional sport coat)
    Friday: Sport coat and tie
     

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