Shoot the Man Who Invented Neckties

I’m actually going to post this in reverse of how I discovered it. I came across this article suggesting that college professors pay more attention to their level of dress, which alone makes for a pretty interesting read. I’ve always been of the opinion that if clothes are having an effect on the learning going on in a given class, then there’s a deeper problem somewhere. I can recall many courses with quite casually-dressed profs that I enjoyed, learned a great deal from, and never once questioned the “authority” of my instructor. In fact, in some circumstances, I’d say that I enjoyed seeing professors “dressing down”, just because it humanized them a bit.

That being the case, I also can see that I’ve had professors that came across very well and were dressed well at the same time. So perhaps it’s more of an issue with energy and charisma, ultimately.

But I found the above-mentioned article via this post which does a good job of shredding several of the initial arguments and yet, interestingly, supplies perhaps one of the best rationales for professional dress that I’ve seen. That said, I still don’t know how I’ll eventually feel about dressing to the hilt for a job – but as my aspiration is to teach college, I’ll definitely have to consider this question at greater length.

If I buy-in to the concept that presenting an authority figure is necessary (and I think it really depends upon the environment), I’m leaning towards jeans with a tie and sport coat… I think you can come across as well-dressed and distinct from students without having to go the route of full-on formal-wear.

But even then, given a motivated student body (and as an outsider hoping to “get in”, I don’t know if that’s reasonable), jeans and a sweatshirt could be just fine. Because, ultimately, the issue should be about our knowledge and how we come across intellectually.

In a perfect world, we’d just get rid of ties altogether – something just seems wrong with the argument that we should do something just because people have been doing them for years.

Incidentally, there are some good comments to the blog here.

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3 Responses to “Shoot the Man Who Invented Neckties”

  1. Well, I guess I’ll stand up for “my people” (young male professors slovenly dressed). I try to hit the middle of the road – if I wear jeans, they are a nice pair of jeans with a nice shirt, and often a sport coat.

    I guess part of it is the “fun” of doing the college professor thing, but more so, it’s a statement of academic, professional freedom: with terminal degrees, we’ve earned the right to look smart (fashion-wise), but not stuffy. And no one is going to tell us how to dress.

  2. […] weirleader under Bizarre, Humor, Technology | Tags: dress code, pixels, think geek, ties |   I recently noted an article dealing with a dress-code for […]

  3. thanks much, brother

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