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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that tweed is the typical fabric for academics. Another common outfit for academics is a brown corduroy sport jacket with a button down shirt and jeans. Unfortunately, this makes me look like many other faculty members at my university and I wanted to explore other alternatives on the tweed/corduroy sport jacket. Here are two questions for the folks on the forum:

1) What do people on the forum think of a brown velvet sport jacket as an alternative to the corduroy jacket for an academic?

Is it appropriate, especially since velvet is usually worn at night? I would wear it primarily during the day with jeans and a button down shirt. The sport jacket I'm considering is a chocolate brown pinstripe cotton (almost velvet-like) sport jacket.

2) What else would you suggest as an alternative to tweed or corduroy for a sport jacket?
 

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Break the mold. Wear proper suits and clothes not normally associated with academia. I had professors who'd show up to class in sweatpants. The student's didn't have much respect for them. I had one prof who stands out and who I've volunteered locally with for many political causes who wore either a full suit every day, or a sportscoat, sometimes wearing a sweater instead of a shirt. We'd have a laugh every time one of us wore something questionable, but if you want to be a respected academic, it makes sense to dress like you care about your appearance as much as somebody in the private sector.

And if you find you don't care for traditional suits, many of my favorite professors wore course-specific gear (ie a geo prof might show up dressed for a day in the field, and frequently coursework would take us into the field.).

As for what to wear on days off, where you come in solely to mark, or consult with academic clients, wear what makes you feel comfortable. That one prof who wore a suit or sportscoat every day, would wear a turtleneck and slacks with a jacket, even if it was after supper on Sunday.

I don't believe there needs to be an "academic" look. The image you present should be neat and orderly. You'll have students who wear suits, so why not wear one yourself.

Thomas
 

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I know that tweed is the typical fabric for academics. Another common outfit for academics is a brown corduroy sport jacket with a button down shirt and jeans. Unfortunately, this makes me look like many other faculty members at my university and I wanted to explore other alternatives on the tweed/corduroy sport jacket. Here are two questions for the folks on the forum:

1) What do people on the forum think of a brown velvet sport jacket as an alternative to the corduroy jacket for an academic?

Is it appropriate, especially since velvet is usually worn at night? I would wear it primarily during the day with jeans and a button down shirt. The sport jacket I'm considering is a chocolate brown pinstripe cotton (almost velvet-like) sport jacket.

2) What else would you suggest as an alternative to tweed or corduroy for a sport jacket?
I very much enjoy both tweed and corduroy, both individualy and in combination. Probably my favorite mode of attire. But I see nothing wrong with a brown velvet jacket, though I'd prefer it without the pinstripes. Try it with tweed odd trousers. (Oops, there's that tweed again.)

And yes, there's nothing wrong with a suit. How about some flannel Saxonies in a nice relaxed cut with a soft cotton shirt. The shirt could even be a cotton flannel check. And there's twill too, the basic garbardine, and then covert, whipcord and calvary. Either odd jackets, or trousers, or put them together and call it a suit.
 

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What about a raw silk sportcoat? Flannels also sound good to me. I guess as an engineering student I'm used to seeing professors wearing buttondown shirt and jeans or chinos.

Business and law professors tend to dress a bit nicer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I am in a field where if I wear a full suit, my students would think I am stuffy and unapproachable. There's a fine line between being well dressed and looking too stuffy. The cord/tweed sport jacket and jeans look seems to work but I'd like to explore other possibilities.

Note that I don't have anything against cords or tweed. I'm just looking for something different. I like the velvet sport jacket and tweed odd trousers idea. The moleskin suggestion is also a good one. A raw silk sportcoat might be okay as long as it's not the super shiny kind.
 

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I also am struggling with the concept of "clothes for academics". What springs to mind is clothes that are shabby and about on par with how most reporters dress. I cant imagine dressing to go and teach with the thought in mind that I should look like the rest of the staff. "rumpled" is a term often associated with the appearance of academics as well indicating poor fit and care of ones clothing.

My advice: Start with the swiss army knife of jackets, get a Navy blue blazer with brass buttons, I would get it in both single and double breasted models. Brooks Brothers makes nice ones but they can be found everywhere, any Macys has them, Polo cranks them out etc.

I would go with suiting material and ditch corduroy, tweed would still work but I wouldn't rely on it heavily, why dress cliche?

A nice glenplaid, grey, charcoal, dark green, hounds tooth etc. with horn buttons. Pinstripes if you like.

I would wear slacks to match, with and without cuffs, and a mix of shoes and loafers. I wouldn't wear jeans - ever.

You could add button down collar oxfords in stripes and solids along with turtle-necks. Add some point collar shirts in white/stripes/solids so you can wear a decent tie rotation. Dont wear the ties with the button down collars.

Rotate from casual to more formal by putting together an OCBD with a jacket and loafers then go for a point collar with tie and laced dress shoes.
Every now and then wear a suit.

When your colleagues ask what happened to you say "I just got tired of looking like a bag of laundry" or "I just got tired of looking like an academic cliche" and then change the subject, after two weeks watch how they start dressing!

I also dont think this is true: "if I wear a full suit, my students would think I am stuffy and unapproachable"
If you wear a full suit and dont act stuffy and you tell them you are approachable you wont have a problem. Its a "teachable moment" where you can decouple the silly notion that there is anything stuffy about wearing a suit - the statement is a classism cliche. tell your students to get dressed up for each test, they will perform better when they are dressed better, its a fact.
 

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I also am struggling with the concept of "clothes for academics". What springs to mind is clothes that are shabby...I can't imagine dressing to go and teach with the thought in mind that I should look like the rest of the staff... "rumpled" is a term often associated with the appearance of academics ...

My advice: Start with the swiss army knife of jackets, get a Navy blue blazer with brass buttons, I would get it in both single and double breasted models... I would go with suiting material and ditch corduroy, tweed would still work but I wouldn't rely on it heavily, why dress cliche?

A nice glenplaid, grey, charcoal, dark green, hounds tooth etc. with horn buttons. Pinstripes if you like.

I would wear slacks to match, with and without cuffs, and a mix of shoes and loafers. I wouldn't wear jeans - ever.

You could add button down collar oxfords in stripes and solids along with turtle-necks. Add some point collar shirts in white/stripes/solids so you can wear a decent tie rotation. Dont wear the ties with the button down collars.

Rotate from casual to more formal ...Every now and then wear a suit.

I also dont think this is true: "if I wear a full suit, my students would think I am stuffy and unapproachable". If you wear a full suit and dont act stuffy and you tell them you are approachable you wont have a problem. Its a "teachable moment" where you can decouple the silly notion that there is anything stuffy about wearing a suit - the statement is a classism cliche...
My teaching days are now over, but except that I think that a corduroy jacket with shirt and tie is appropriate and acceptable, otherwise I agree with everything you say. Very sensible advice indeed!
 

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I know this is still a tweed, but how about a sport coat with a nice fat houndstooth? That might make you stand out a little more than your colleagues.

But I also agree that a full suit can look great and not too stuffy if you wear it a little casually, loosened tie, etc.

A third idea is to maybe watch the original Indiana Jones movie and see how he dresses in the classroom, and dress that way. That's probably what I'd do if I were a professor.:icon_smile:
 

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While I'm not a college professor- I teach middle school history :pic12337:no, not the history of middle school, but history to 14 year olds who have just found girlfirends/boyfirends, cigarettes, alcohol, and the like- I find that an occational suit isn't so bad. When I first started dressing well, people, and kids looked at me differently (in a good way). At first, I had a suit heavy rotation, but now have moved away from that to a sportcoat/odd trouser mix wearing a suit about once a week. I always wear colorful socks when I wear a suit to lighten up the attire a bit (maybe making me more approachable).

They key to kids feeling comfortable approaching me though, really doesn't lay with my attire, but my personality in the classroom (and out). I'm a bit of a whack-a-doo that does silly things, and often incorporates fun (yes, fun...YES FUN!) into educating our future generations.

Dress how you feel comfortable, and enjoy what you do...and you'll be fine!
 

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Out of curiosity, why not the pinstripes? What if I'm wearing the jacket with jeans or if the pinstripes are subtle?
Mixed metaphor. Lest I am mistaken, the origin of velvet is as workman's wear, and it is in that most rustic mode that it is best suited for casual wear, despite its plush hand and occasional sheen. Hence the counterpoint of tweed odd trousers. Pinstripes are for banker's clothes. To me the two in combination have an aesthetic dissonance.
 
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