Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sending a Message

Sending a Message

Works Cited
blue (look! color!) sweater: urban outfitters
gray dress: h&m
wool tights: j crew
black belt: urban
boots: j crew

Today is my first day of teaching for the semester and I always think carefully about what I wear and the message it sends to my undergraduates. Because I was an undergrad not too long ago, I usually try to dress a bit more professionally at the beginning of the semester so that the many badly-behaved college-age boys take me seriously. But I also value the fact that I can relate to my students and I use my relative youth as an advantage in the classroom--I don't see it as something that makes me seem unprepared.

I think this outfit gives off my serious-but-approachable vibe well. A structured work dress and boots in dark colors say "I know my British literature and I'm serious about it. Plus, I'm a grown-up." The slouchy, bright sweater says "But I'm flexible and I'd love to chat with you in my office hours about the relationship between House and Sherlock Holmes."

Most importantly, I feel comfortable and not at all nervous in this get-up, which is key. I notice what my professors wear the first day of class and when they seem overly dressed-up and anxious, it makes me wonder if they are entirely prepared. I'm wondering--for those students and former students, and for teachers, what do you wear the first day of class? What do you like (or hate!) to see your teachers wearing?? I'm genuinely curious, especially after Elaine's recent post on Fashionable Academics.

42 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

I really like your blue sweater! Good luck teaching this semester!!!

ANA said...

Great outfit! I think you definitely look both professional and approachable :o)

http://www.ToilTroubleStyle.com

nadarine said...

I am FINALLY de-lurking: the "compare and contrast: House and Sherlock Holmes" did it for me.
Hugh Laurie FTW, and a close second to Jude Law. It seems I have a thing for Brits...

(Also, I wore that same grey H&M dress last week, and got a ton of compliments. H&M's work-appropriate clothes have been killin' it this season!)

bookwaif said...

Happy First Day of School (it's week three of classes here, but it's nice to enjoy everyone's "first day" vibes vicariously!) Delicious sweater! That colour looks really good on you. Incidentally - I once had a student write an essay comparing The Sign of Four with selected episodes from House. It was a really good paper :o) (Un)fortunately, Hugh Laurie will always be Bertie Wooster for me.

kateohkatie said...

I love this outfit! I think it portrays just the right message :-)

Jilliebeanie said...

Great choice for your first day of the new semester. I'll gladly discuss the House/Sherlock Holmes similarities anytime. :)

Emily Kennedy said...

This is a really cute outfit!!!

Let's see. On the first day, I like it if the professors dress up. I dress up, and I'm a grad student, but I'm also an office lady, so I live in both worlds. A button down shirt, slacks, a dress, a blouse; these things all communicate professionalism for me.

As the semester goes on, a bit of a more relaxed dressing attitude is totally fine, but the first day is special.

chaoskontrolowany said...

Lovely cardigan! ;))

daisychain said...

that is a great outfit.

Elaine said...

I think you did great balancing your youthfulness and your seriousness as a teacher. The black underneath is more serious but the blue plays it up and makes you more approachable as you said. I hope your first day goes well!!! I want to hear all about it :) BTW, check your email! I just sent you something.


clothedmuch.blogspot.com

The Closet of Kim (ShopKim) said...

Looking good! I like the strong blue color with the black and grays. I hope you have a good first day!

Charmalade said...

With the casual up-do and coffee mug, this outfit is grad student complete! I love the bright blue against the classic neutrals (is blue your thing?).

I think that what outfit best suits a teacher applies to everyone: be comfortable with yourself. Granted, with them I think a bit more decorum is called for, but I think you pulled it off very nicely. :)

PS: I'd LOVE to discuss House and Holmes. I love Conan Doyle's creations and successors so very much.

http://charmalade.blogspot.com/

Sidewalk Chalk said...

Love your blue sweater and good luck teaching this semester! - JoAnn, Sidewalk Chalk

Intelligent Tool said...

I love this! Have a great day teaching!

Sal said...

I think you've struck the perfect balance here. And so smart to make sure you're comfortable. Nothing broadcasts vulnerability like an outfit that requires constant readjustment.

futurelint said...

I think this is perfect! I love the shape of the sweater when it's belted - it give a nice tulip shape on the skirt! Good luck!

La Historiadora de Moda said...

What? Color?!?!? You look so lovely in blue, lady. I say embrace it as your signature color.

caffeinerd said...

I LOVE this! Definitely looks like the right combo of professional and approachable. :) And have to agree--this blue rocks on you!

Honestly, at this point I've had all of my professors previously (and the same 23 classmates), so I didn't put too much thought into the first day of class outfit (wound up being: jeans, boots, ruffled tee, long black sweater vest belted, earrings)...especially because, as my schedule is so funky, I went to class, went to the gym/showered, wore a whole other outfit to my night class.

Law Girl said...

I decided to de-lurk and say that you look fabulous. The fact that you feel great will definitely come across in the classroom. Also, my undergraduate degree was in literature and I'm jealous that you spend your life in British Literature :) I love law school and being an (almost) prosecutor but sometimes I miss my Shakespeare!

jesse.anne.o said...

Love this sweater. I would want to wear this outfit every day - it looks so put together but still really comfortable.

xo, Alexi said...

great choice! i think it's a very safe outfit for teaching. i'm an undergrad right now, and i've actually got a teacher who dresses very fashionably. it's nice and refreshing because, being a business school major, i usually only see my professors wear "business casual." i'll definitely check out the fashionable academics post.

http://steampunkdolls.blogspot.com

MaryBeth Hughes said...

cute outfit(s)! yay to america's heartland -- where in the midwest are you located?

A-C said...

Chickie, you look great! I think what matters most is being comfortable and confident. If you feel that way in your clothes, then its a lot easier to portray to students that you know what you're talking about. Which in turn makes you an authority figure.

Athenista said...

I really love this look on you! So chic and flattering on your figure. You definitely achieved the dressy but laid back vibe. Might have to rip this one off in the very near future :)

You Are My Fave said...

I really like that cardigan. So much so that I might buy it. It's okay because we're not sisters or something.

megan-mae said...

You look very chic. My favourite lecturers and tutors are always the well dressed ones. i think you'd make a good impression on everyone wearing that. However, that's something i'd wear in winter in like Melbourne. And that looks like snow on your porch. Aren't you like.... cold?

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

yes, i was cold! but only for the five minutes it took me to take the photos, and then i was cozy inside again.
i suffer only for the pictures, then i wear a giant down coat all day (but i figured endless pictures of me in my coat would get a bit boring...)

Chelsea said...

This outfit is just perfect for its purpose. The sweater is dreamy...

betz said...

looove this outfit!!! btw, i left an award for you on my blog!

xx,
betz
http://herarmoire.blogspot.com

Shannon said...

Thank you for your comment!
Being a nerd myself, I love your blog (and that blue sweater!) :)

Andie said...

Great outfit! I especially love the sweater!

I have to say that I am glad you stopped by my blog because I LOVE yours! Especially your "lit" spin on it. I actually got my degree in English so I appreciate this!

I hope you don't mind that I am going to be following!

Orchid Grey said...

I think you chose this outfit well, I really like the shot of blue. I went to art school so people were always dressed a little crazy.

Nina said...

A "serious but approachable AND chic teacher." A perfect combination!

stealthnerd said...

Great first day teaching outfit. Warm and comfortable but still professional. I like it!

Dottie said...

Good outfit, conveys your message very well. All I remember from my Russian lit professors' wardrobes are gypsy skirts and crumpled button-down shirts.

FashionJazz said...

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog and for introducing me to yours, luv ur belted cardigan! Hope u have a lovely day xx

MissNeira said...

Pretty blue cardigan!

chicfaced said...

love the outfit - super profesh! I work at a University too, and I am constantly getting asked what year I am...more because I'm a whopping 5'1 and look about 7 yrs younger than I really am....
-Megan

Nishant said...

Might have to rip this one off in the very near future :)

videos models

wulanasihsetyarini said...

CUTE!!

love it

http://wulanasihsetyarini.wordpress.com

Jen said...

this is such a perfect first-day-of-teaching outfit! i'm in love with that sweater and how you belted it! :) hope those college boys take you seriously! haha

Jessica said...

I remember that one of my professors always wore chic silk scarves and I would stare at her in awe and kept thinking "I wonder when I become that effortlessly chic."

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