Dressing Like A Professor
A good friend of mine tells me about a seminar in which an uncomfortable, even heated, exchange arose over “dressing like a professor.”
For my part, I used to dress informally when teaching. In short order, I realized that:
- I look younger than many of my students;
- I am younger than many of my students;
- Many of my students don’t respect the au-tho-ri-tah of some kid in jeans. Even in jeans and a sweater. Even in sunglasses.
So, pretty early on, I learned that I have to “suit up.”
Except for my tennies. And except for examination days, when according to custom so long-standing as to amount to superstition on my part, I make a point of dressing down.
Besides, in the immortal words of Joey “the lips” Fagan, “All the Motown brothers wore suits. You play better in your suit.”
[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_tOW2TWmtY"] (update: now blocked by user)
Of course—the devil is always in the details—there are still the finer points, especially for women (after all, why should this be an area where professional women don’t live in a perpetual double-bind)? Must a prof be dowdy? Is it possible to be too hip? Or even too (gasp) “feminine” (that is, shaped vaguely like a human female)?
So, for your part: what does it mean for you to “dress like a professor”? To what extent may a professor “embrace her/his inner fashionista (or fashionisto)”?
[Dressing Like A Professor was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/03/03. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]