Dress codes,. written and otherwise

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    A report from academia--or at least my little corner of it. I teach at a little liberal arts college. There is absolutely no dress code other than the general desire to not look like our students. So my colleagues run the gamut from jeans and a t-shirt to a suit. But always in a fairly conservative vein--muted colors and red or blue ties. I, however, have one colleague who looks like he stepped out of the 1940s and does it well. He shops exclusively at vintage shops and will travel and spend big $ to do so. The women also span a similar range. I have a few female colleagues with 50+ pairs of shoes and all that goes with it--very sharp looking. Then we have many older female colleagues who, well, they dress like middle-aged moms. I don't konw how else to describe it. Most of my colleagues (male and female) are prime candidates for What Not To Wear. In fact, we tried to get our new president on Queer Eye. As for me, I almost always wear a shirt and tie. I once in a while will wear a sport coat or a suit. But that is rare even though I like it. I think I am known on campus for my clothes because I wear a lot of purple, pink, and green. In ties and shirts, that is. [​IMG] In fact, a sociologist colleague was talking with her class about colors that men and women tend to wear and the class said that men don't wear purple. Her response was "I know a guy that wears purple," and they responded "Oh, you mean Dr. Bob. Yeah, there's him." A general rule is that you only need to wear a suit when you interview. Until you become Dean, then for some reason you have to wear a jacket. And I'm not sure that even holds, that could just be our Dean's taste. My experience at being at another liberal arts college and a large research school during my PhD studies is that this sort of dress code is the same for all. It all comes down to personal taste and appropriateness. I also consult and have found that for that I can wear anything from khakis and a long-sleeve shirt (I could probably wear short sleeve but would not dream of it), to a suit. But then again, I'm a fisheries economist so the people in the world of commercial fisheries aren't exactly the suit and tie kind--even the attorneys. I imagine that will change when we get to court. bob
     
  2. Buster

    Buster Senior member

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    A report from a different part of the academia: I am going to join one of the top B-schools next year as a faculty member ( and still a phd student in one). Professors wear everything from shorts ( and flip-flops) to suits. However, when someone teaches MBA classes (unlike phd classes), he has to don a tie, and most actually wear a suit.

    B
     
  3. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    "must" wear a tie? Ugh. Is that actually a rule? Does it truly serve a purpose? I can't imagine it does.

    bob
     
  4. Buster

    Buster Senior member

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    I think it is an unwritten rule, but, as far as I know, at least in the schools I am famililar with, it is introduced (to toung professors) as the "proper attire" when teaching. Whether it serves a purpose: in the B-schools environment, where students pay a lot ( and not their parents' money), it is belived to bring more business-like ambiance to the classroom. Since I haven't taught an MBA class yet (only gave recitations until now), I cannot attest to that myself.
     
  5. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Don't know about rules 1 and 2, except to say that any bar that has a dress code is usually either full of gangbangers, which is interesting if you leave an hour before last call, after which is can get slightly dangerous, or a haven for the "mature singles scene" - i.e. American Jackasses and their female couterparts who are desperating fighting the clock. Junior Vice President indeed.
     
  6. gorgekko

    gorgekko Senior member

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    Frankly I wish all male professors were forced to wear suits/jackets and ties and their appropriate equivalents for the female professors. With few exceptions, every professor dressed like a scumbag at the university I went to. It's hard to take anyone seriously -- even when you know they have a brilliant mind -- who looks like they slept on the lawn the night before. With few exceptions I was always better dressed than my profs and all I wore were button downs and chinos.

    There should be a sartorial line that separates student from teacher.
     
  7. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    Some would say that attaining the position of professor (or lecturer in the english system) gives you the right to dress just about however you like. And I know many people who choose academia in part because of its relaxed attitude towards things such as dress and hours.

    I also think you may be assuming that a college professor makes more money than he or she actually does. It makes very few people rich. And for some it barely pays enough to cover the bills.

    Should there be a firm line between student and teacher? Yes, of course. Need it be defined by clothes? Not necessarily. When I first started teaching at the age of 26 I wore a tie just so I wouldn't be confused for one of my students. But at this point, everyone where I teach know I'm on the faculty.

    bob
     
  8. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    In academia you are judged on what you actually do not what you wear. It's "publish or perish" not "wear a tie or die". When you see a Nobel laureate without a suit you don't think that he is incompetent because he does not wear a suit, his Nobel prize proves how competent he is. Those who need a tie to look professional can do so, others can just be professional. Mathieu
     
  9. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Sorry, but it is difficult to take anyone who actually feels this way seriously. If you *know* that somebody is intelligent and accomplished, and can't take them seriously because they eschew shirts and ties (and in my experience, most academics, and definitely most of the best scientists, do,) you've inadvertently shown your own level of intelligence.

    On a tangent now: I disagree with alchimiste's implication that a prolific publication record is necessarily correlated with an academic's merit.
     
  10. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    You'd better change your mind if you wanna get tenure. [​IMG]
     
  11. rootless

    rootless Active Member

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    First post...

    I went to a huge, mediocre, public eastern university, but my department was top fifteen, and should probably have been ranked higher. I worked for the best research lab in the world, in our field, at the time. Some of the people I studied under were as first rate as first rate gets. A rule like the one you suggest would have knocked out every good professor there.

    The best professor I had (who was a legend in the field of programming language design, a pioneer in robotics, a stout Scot from the uni at Edinborough, and C. A. Hoare's protege) was simply unable to keep his underwear in his pants- and not able to avoid tucking his shirt into them... it was a bit painful actually. He always had at least two inches showing, and he was not at all a hip-hop kind of guy. He's no longer with us, but I'll always remember him fondly, not least for his interesting taste in boxers.

    The price of genius seems to be poor dress sense, though there are of course exceptions (I gather Leibniz was dapper- but look at Newton.).
     
  12. Buster

    Buster Senior member

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    I think you have to distinguish between teaching and research activities ( and I include here seminars, conferences, even teaching phd classes and just about everything that isn't teaching undergrads or masters students). While most of your peers (and phd students) in the community should be able to appreciate your academic achievements, most of the students are nowhere near it. Unless someone publishes in the NYtimes op-ed ( and very few professors do that) or got a Nobel prize (fewer), most students will not be able to say who's an important researcher and who's not. And thus they are bound to treat almost anyone as just another teacher-lecturer-professor, until proven otherwise in the classromm. It is true that through the course of the class, students should be able to recognize greateness. But, some of the professors make such hedious first ( and second, and third ) impressions ( popping underwear is only one option), that students will not even make an attempt to look beyond that.
     
  13. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    (LA Guy @ June 12 2005,11:36) I disagree with alchimiste's implication that a prolific publication record is necessarily correlated with an academic's merit.
    You'd better change your mind if you wanna get tenure. [​IMG]
    No, it depends upon where you have a job. Of course, there are many places that are publish or perish, however--and if you're not in academia you might not realize this--there are different levels of publishing and there are also vastly different policies on granting tenure. They range from the place where I teach where our new President has made it clear that you are hired with the expectation you will get tenure and basically if you are a good teacher and do "enough" scholarly work (which can be broadly defined) you will get tenure. We're a private liberal arts college that prides itself on teaching. The other extreme are the competitive research uni's where you not only must publish, but you must publish in the right journals and there are also quotas on tenure. What you will note, however, is that your choice of clothing is not considered. bob
     
  14. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    Oh come on now. Are you really saying that professors don't/won't dress decently because they are too ill-paid. Even if you factor out "superstar" profs and professors in fields that command high-dollar salaries, I would be willing to give long odds that the average professor, even in the liberal arts like history, classics, English, languages, philosophy, etc., makes more than I do (and only has to work 8 months or so a year to do so), certainly if you factor out entry-level assistant professors.

    Really, how much money does it take to get an assortment of four or five sport coats, a smattering of cords, khakis and chinos, a dozen or so ties and a few pairs of halfway decent shoes? Of course, in my day, we assumed a young man had at least some such apparel before he ever finished his education. Nobody has ever expect profs to be real clothes horses--running around in Oxxford or Brioni--goes against the stereotype.
     
  15. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    (rdawson808 @ June 11 2005,15:31) I also think you may be assuming that a college professor makes more money than he or she actually does. It makes very few people rich. And for some it barely pays enough to cover the bills.
    Oh come on now. Are you really saying that professors don't/won't dress decently because they are too ill-paid. Even if you factor out "superstar" profs and professors in fields that command high-dollar salaries, I would be willing to give long odds that the average professor, even in the liberal arts like history, classics, English, languages, philosophy, etc., makes more than I do (and only has to work 8 months or so a year to do so), certainly if you factor out entry-level assistant professors. Really, how much money does it take to get an assortment of four or five sport coats, a smattering of cords, khakis and chinos, a dozen or so ties and a few pairs of halfway decent shoes? Of course, in my day, we assumed a young man had at least some such apparel before he ever finished his education. Nobody has ever expect profs to be real clothes horses--running around in Oxxford or Brioni--goes against the stereotype.
    While I will concede that it does not take a boatload of money to own the clothes you are suggesting, there are plenty who earn just enough to afford that and no more. Many faculty are married with children, and so have other financial obligations. And most important here: we do not work 8 months out of the year. No college professor does if they are in a tenure-track position. While my classes run from late August to the end of May, I spend my summer preparing classes for the fall and doing research. I also don't work a 40 hour week--during the academic year it tends to be 60-70 hours per week. Please don't perpetuate that dumb stereotype that teachers get their summers off. It simply is on true. bob
     

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