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Dress me like a Dean

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by III, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. III

    III Active Member

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    Or perhaps, as a snooty academic, I should say "Dress me as a Dean would dress".

    I'm about to take a job as a research dean at a medical school in the southwestern US. It's a pretty casual place (high desert, lots of folks in cowboy boots, etc). It will be my first obligate full-time suit-wearing gig. I currently own a solid navy bespoke suit, a navy windowpane (Hickey-Freeman), a gray glen plaid (Hickey-Freeman) and a gray sharkskin (BB). Four suits are obviously not going to cut it, so a wardrobe expansion is in order.

    I was oogling a navy chalk stripe in a shop the other day and my girlfriend said "absolutely not - too Wall Street". I know there are a few other academics and medical types around here. What say you? Strong stripes OK? Too authoritarian for the Academy? How about brown? It could be a farm town if anything would grow there . . . .
     
  2. Eccentric

    Eccentric Senior member

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    As the man in charge, you do have the liberty of dressing however you want. That being said, a tweed suit would fit the role perfectly.
     
  3. Marcus Brody

    Marcus Brody Senior member

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    If i were you, I'd be heading here as fast as my virtual feet could take me. I'm just starting my journey toward academia, and when I start getting toward the top, I'm going to reward myself with just such a suit. They are fairly inexpensive to add to the wardrobe and will definitely add a somewhat casual but eminently academic vibe for when you want to go for that. Edit: Eccentric is a man of good taste and fast fingers.
     
  4. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    Tweed, and an ascot is a must. A pipe wouldnt hurt [​IMG]
     
  5. Dewey

    Dewey Senior member

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    Not too many things can be said about dressing for academia that will be true at all the various schools and in all the various regions. But it does look to me like you can make almost anything work in academia. Eccentricity is easily embraced so long as it's not too aggressive or unstable (inconsistent).

    The whole range of suits should be an option for you. Prince of wales, other classic plaids, solid brown and olive suits, brown shoes, and outfits without a lot of contrast appear to pass for laid-back. It's doubtful you'll need the warmth of tweeds in the southwest, which is too bad since they are good for down-to-earthy tones.

    It's probably best for you to wear what you have for a month and take notes all the while. The appropriateness of various outfits will depend on your duties for the day. If you must do a lot of fund-raising, you may or may not want to blend in somewhat with potential donors. If you deal much with the faculty, you may or may not, depending on the case, want to blend in with them. And you will be looking at your equals and superiors as well.

    I'd go slow and grow the wardrobe cautiously.
     
  6. Marcus Brody

    Marcus Brody Senior member

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    The Southwest's high desert can get fairly cold, tweed might work. Also, you might want to look to this guy for fashion tips. Dressing like him can give you that added bit of authority to put rogue fraternities on double secret probation. [​IMG]
     
  7. dopamine

    dopamine Senior member

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    Tweed, tweed, tweed, tweed!

    And elbow patches.
     
  8. James Bond

    James Bond Senior member

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  9. james_timothy

    james_timothy Senior member

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    -1 on the tweed. A research dean is not a research/teaching position. He is -not- trying to look like a professor.

    I'd vote for gray prince of wales. Dewey's advice seems the most reasonable to me- I'd listen to him.
     
  10. dirk diggler

    dirk diggler Senior member

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    don't forget that as the dean you will have to shill for the school and hit up alumni and wealthy patrons to be donors, pay for new buildings, scholarships, etc. DRESS FOR WALL STREET
     
  11. Stazy

    Stazy Senior member

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    It's all in the glasses. Oliver People's for Nom De Guerre would work well.
     
  12. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    don't forget that as the dean you will have to shill for the school and hit up alumni and wealthy patrons to be donors, pay for new buildings, scholarships, etc. DRESS FOR WALL STREET
    dirk is right, dress conservatively. Your audience is not only the school, it's donors, state legislators, NSF, NIH, and others in DC. Your university administrators and other deans will be dressed very conservatively, and in suits.
     
  13. badchad

    badchad Member

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    How do the other faculty dress? If you've made it to "dean" then you have obviously been in the academic sector for quite some time.

    In my experience, a standard suit will suffice.
     
  14. JeffsWood

    JeffsWood Senior member

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    Some odd jackets are needed.
     
  15. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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  16. gsugsu

    gsugsu Senior member

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    I made the transition from industry to academe and the first thing I noticed was that university reflects the larger world: few people dress well whether they are a university president or a professor. As Dewey notes I don't think there is a requisite dress code that typifies academic life. University environments allow for expressions of individuality but use your head and express that individuality with good taste. Wearing an ill-fitting, quilted Thom Browne jacket won't work anywhere. There is nothing in the job offer stipulating that "the board of regents would like you to wear tweed on a regular basis". That said, a rotation of suits and odd jackets should be considered. Wear tweed because you want to not because you feel you have to - actually I have two tweed jackets but had them prior to coming to the university. If you will be liaising with industry and alumni trying to raise endowment funds I echo Dirk in saying you should dress as you would in industry. There is no limitation on colour or pattern as long as they work and are tasteful. You are on this forum most likely because you appreciate sartorial style so apply what you know and what you have learned here. In the end, it comes down to you. Some people will recognize and appreciate your style but most will be oblivious to it. Hopefully the new job comes with a bump in salary giving you increased wardrobe flexibility. acquiring
     
  17. ccffm1

    ccffm1 Senior member

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    I´m not so sure about the tweed recommendations. While I like tweed as much as the other guy, a tweed suit might be overkilling it and seen as costumey. A couple of suits in muted colours, a blazer, both a tweed and a corduroy coat, a pair of gray flannel pants, and you´ll be fine.
     
  18. kaxixi

    kaxixi Senior member

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    Our b-school dean wears stripes, and he's doubled our endowment during his six-year tenure.
     
  19. merkur

    merkur Senior member

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    ..
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  20. Eccentric

    Eccentric Senior member

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    I'm not saying tweed should be the only thing in your closet, far from it. I agree with the above posters who assert the occasional need for conservative dress, but it is an occasional need. Having one or two casual (tweed) suits will only enrich your wardrobe.
     

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