Do I really have to break out the elbow patches?
March 21, 2012 7:38 AM Subscribe
My department chair thinks I dress too nicely for academia. Is this solid career advice, or is he just being a curmudgeon?
posted by ootandaboot to clothing, beauty, & fashion (80 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Yesterday my department chair commented to me that I looked "fancy", like I was going on a job interview. I replied that I didn't really think that was a bad thing, and he said "Well, in acaDEmia....." in a tone that conveyed very clearly that he thinks it is a bad thing. I expect this professor to say vaguely inappropriate things on a pretty regular basis, so I wasn't particularly bothered by it. But I've found myself wondering whether this is actually good career advice or whether he was just being his usual curmudgeonly self.
When the professor commented, I was wearing a three-quarter-length-sleeved blue-grey sweater dress from Banana Republic, with a skinny black belt, lightly patterned black tights, and low black heels. Today I'm wearing a classic black shirt dress with Oxford heels and a neutral-colored pashmina.
In general I like my style and I get a lot of compliments. I do tend to dress a notch above the average person. I prefer to look pulled-together and polished, especially in a campus context because it makes me feel confident and also helps me remember that I'm not just a perpetual undergrad -- that being a grad student is the first stage of my academic career track and I'm already an adult living my real grown-up life.
But am I sabotaging myself here? Is looking nice going to hold me back in academia? I have very few female role models in my department (almost all male professors) and now all of a sudden I'm worried that I might have misjudged what's appropriate to wear.