Help a (male) librarian dress for success....and the summer
June 23, 2013 6:42 PM Subscribe
What should I, as a new librarian working on a short-term contract at the reference desk, wear to work in the public library in the summer?
I'm a newly-minted (male) librarian. A 'guybrarian' if you will (...if you must). I've just started a new job in a public library where the dress code is a single sentence about dressing "appropriately" for "safety" and to be able to do my job, whatever that means. There is a fair range of style and dressiness among the staff. The circ staff usually dresses a little more casual (some wear jeans, tee-shirts, and hoodies, others wear business casual though most are a little more casual than that). Librarians have more of a range: right now, the women usually wear nice capris, light summer dresses, jersey dresses, or some dress up a bit and wear a nice skirt and blouse. I'm one of the few male librarians (I might be 1 of 2, the only other guy librarian I met is on-call) and I work on the reference desk. I want to dress up a bit since I'm trying to make a good impression (I'm currently on a short contract) and I also like to dress up a wee bit (without being costume-y) because it helps me feel more professional. Although we do tend to be more casual on Fridays/weekends; for example, on Friday I wore nice jeans, nice-ish shoes, and a button-up shirt.
I have plenty of stuff to wear in the fall when the weather gets cooler (I love me some tweed and herringbone with wool slacks or cords, and knit ties) but I'm a little stumped about how to dress well in the summer for both heat, style, professionalism, and to not stand out too much and be "that guy". I guess part of it will take some time to get to know the culture and norms better as well as the patrons.
Bearing all the above in mind: what can/should I wear in the summer? I've just bought some light khaki chinos (as well as med and dark brown), some more colourful dress shirts with some small subtle patterns on them (gingham, small check, etc.), a couple nice ties for days that I want to dress it up a bit, some twill nantucket(?) red chinos, and some plain white and blue dress shirts as well as Oxford BD collar shirts. I have a variety of dress shoes, leather Euro-style "sneakers", and I'm looking to get a pair of nice brown Italian loafers for more casual days. Is this okay? Any other suggestions? I'd rather err on the side of a bit more formal and/or stylish than drab (I HATE polo shirts, I find them uncomfortable and more sweaty and less breathable than light dress shirts). Any suggestions? Bonus for advice from other male librarians, but not absolutely necessary.