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Dressing up for a social courtesy call

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by josepidal, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. josepidal

    josepidal Senior member

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    I was wondering how you guys might dress up for a social (not strictly business) courtesy call.

    I'm a law student doing research on a certain topic, and had corresponded with a very senior professor from a university in the next city. She was referred to me by the professors in my own institution. I eventually made a courtesy call, and decided to dress up a bit, with blazer, light slacks and the complete tie and square ensemble.

    Would you see this as the appropriate sign of courtesy, especially given the big difference in professional seniority, or would you see this as over the top?

    (We had a very warm discussion, and she gave me a copy of her book and told me to just keep it because it's very expensive. Turns out she's usually a visiting professor in my university, and possibly the leading authority in the East Coast if not the country on that particular topic.)
     
  2. EL72

    EL72 Senior member

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    So what's the problem here? Your meeting seems to have gone well.

    I am an academic and have to tell you that the vast majority of university professors I know don't care (and probably wouldn't notice) whether you wear torn jeans or white tie.
     
  3. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

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    I actually think you made the right call by dressing up a bit. Law professors, leading ones at that, are a little different than the guys at the local U. A little formality is always appreciated. My law school required students to wear ties to class until the mid-eighties.
     
  4. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Senior member

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    My law professors looked lousy. That's no reason for students, to follow suit. I'm sure you made a positive impression. You have good instincts. Trust them.
     
  5. dirk diggler

    dirk diggler Senior member

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  6. Dakota rube

    Dakota rube Senior member

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    This "relationship" sounds as if it might have beneficial potential somewhere down the line: you noted you've corresponded with her (at some length, I presume) and now have met — and (again presuming) made a favorable impression. I'd say you did good young'n. Don't forget to send a formal note of thanks for the book, and keep the lines of communication open in the future with occasional notes.

    Might be a good reference some day? A door opener?

    Good instincts.
     
  7. styleoasis

    styleoasis Active Member

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    Like everyone else has said, I don't think you made a mistake. She probably would not have reacted so warmly and given you a copy of her book had you not made a good impression. Most students are hardly formal in their dress, so even if you did seem overdressed, she was probably pleasantly surprised to see someone in more than jeans/sweatpants and a tee shirt.
     
  8. Rocker

    Rocker Well-Known Member

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    is she hot ?

    She was a law professor - there are NO hot female law professors....at least none that I've ever seen - in school, on TV, at lectures, wherever...not a one.
     
  9. Lucky Strike

    Lucky Strike Senior member

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    She was a law professor - there are NO hot female law professors....at least none that I've ever seen - in school, on TV, at lectures, wherever...not a one.
    I've seen one, or maybe two.
     
  10. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson . . .
     
  11. gj555

    gj555 Senior member

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    Here is my cynical response. I think you should have only worn pants and a shirt. Dressing up to events or meetings that do not require "business attire" so early in your law school studies may cause more harm than good. If your class-mates see you constantly doing this around profs, senior lawyers, etc, you run the risk of being branded "competitive", trying too hard or even a "kiss ---" amongst your fellow students. This is a reputation you don't want right off the bat. Priority one in first year law is to get good grades. This will get you the interviews you need for a summer law job (where you will be able to where your suits and jackets everyday).
     
  12. Charley

    Charley Senior member

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    JP,

    My impression is that you were dressed exactly correct. Even with all of the floundering around here and on AAAC, you've actually nailed one just right. The occasion did not call for a suit. The stature of the person you were visiting did require respectful attire. You chose the perfect dress that sits right on the borderline of business dress and informal. That is why the navy blazer is so popular. And the items yu described as paired with it will always be correct for that occasion.

    Congrats.
     
  13. josepidal

    josepidal Senior member

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    gj555: But I'm not a first year law student!

    She was at least sixty years old... I said she was very senior in the profession. Yes, she did promise to e-mail a list of people I might like to talk to should I think of finding work in her field of expertise.

    Thanks for the positive feedback.

    I DID have hot law professors before, though. My tax professor was the best reason to sit in the front row and be attentive.
     
  14. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Here is my cynical response. I think you should have only worn pants and a shirt. Dressing up to events or meetings that do not require “business attire” so early in your law school studies may cause more harm than good. If your class-mates see you constantly doing this around profs, senior lawyers, etc, you run the risk of being branded “competitive”, trying too hard or even a "kiss ---" amongst your fellow students. This is a reputation you don't want right off the bat. Priority one in first year law is to get good grades. This will get you the interviews you need for a summer law job (where you will be able to where your suits and jackets everyday).

    I don't think he said he was a first year. (As I'm sure you recall, if there's one thing all first year lawyers are taught to do it is not to assume facts.)

    Sounds like you had the right instinct, acted properly on it and reaped the benefit of doing so. A well dressed man is never out of place, even if all the bunkos around him look like crap. Never surrender your personal style to crowd mentality. It is easy to be ordinary; it takes courage to be different. Always be a lion, and stand apart from the sheep -- just not too far.

    Congrats on your result.
     
  15. gj555

    gj555 Senior member

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    Sorry. I recall reading in another thread that it was your first year at Harvard law. I guess I was mistaken (unless you are a grad student). My error. Of course, I would have gone without the pocket square [​IMG]
     
  16. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    Sorry. I recall reading in another thread that it was your first year at Harvard law. I guess I was mistaken (unless you are a grad student). My error. Of course, I would have gone without the pocket square [​IMG]

    Every student at Harvard law is a grad student. [​IMG]

    EDIT: By the way, even though I still disagree with LARon about his contention that a well dressed man is never out of place (try stepping into a soccer pub dressed in your bespoke suit), I think in this case, you pretty much got it right.
     
  17. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Senior member

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    I DID have hot law professors before, though. My tax professor was the best reason to sit in the front row and be attentive.

    The hottest prof I ever had was in my first semester of Latin. She was a former dancer and exactly the type I have a strong weakness for. Never before or since has grammar been so titillating a subject. [​IMG]
     
  18. gj555

    gj555 Senior member

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    Every student at Harvard law is a grad student. [​IMG]

    I meant post JD graduate studies in law.
     
  19. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    If you develop a personal style, such questions would be superfluous.
     
  20. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    If you develop a personal style, such questions would be superfluous.

    This is quite true. It's hard to be seen as 'trying too hard' when you are merely being you, regardless of what you are wearing (ignoring some extreme situations).

    Regards,
    Huntsman
     

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