Post # 1
Just wonder what people think about this. Welcome responses from teachers, professors, and students. I teach part time at a college. I do not wear jeans or really informal clothing, but do not get dressed up in a business suit, either. I have no strong feelings about what a professor should wear. I am probably a little more formal due to having worked in other fields where dressing up was more common before starting to teach. I started to think about this when I was researching online about problems professors have with aggressive, disrespectful students and one article I read made the point that because many professors dress very casually, let students call them by their first names, etc., that the lines of authority have become blurred. The article, of course, did not blame the entire situation on this, but it raised a point I had never thought about.
Post # 2
if I were a professor I’d probably stick with business casual. Shift dresses, pencil skirts and blouses, trousers and sweater sets, etc. I might throw in jeans occasionally as long as the rest of the outfit was really polished (heels, blazer, etc).
Post # 3
honestly my proffessors wore all kinds, non ever dressed in suits and the only requirments where sagety ones (no one is allowed to wear stappy shoes, flip flops or open toes in the lab and lab coats must be worn inside the lab at all times etc…) I never once have thought anything how they dress
Post # 4
interesting you mention that… NON ever wore heels that I can remember which makes sense as they are on their feet all day long – the women always seemed to wear ballet flats or trainers/sneakers
Post # 5
I’ve been an adjunct professor for a few years. I don’t usually wear jeans but I do occasionally. And I do let my students call me by my first name. I have not had a problem with aggressive, disrespectful students but I have no problem calling out students in class or if it comes to it kicking students out of class. I make my expectations clear and I’m not a push over. It’s never been a problem.
Post # 6
honestly, when professors are more informal it makes them approachable. You’ll have the couple students who are disrespectful, but they probably would have been otherwise.
ive had professors show up in jeans and others wear full suits. My favorite professors have always been pretty casual though. They were relatable.
Post # 7
yea I had a few female professors in college that strictly wore heels and I thought they must be uncomfortable, but it seemed to work for them! I sit at a desk and wear heels maybe
once a week.
Post # 8
I think it depends on the culture and environment of the school? My brother is a grad professor, and he tends to dress up, like a button down shirt and black slacks since that’s what his colleagues all wear. For law school, my professors were in at least business casual, the male professors in blazer with slacks (some wore suits all the time) and the women professors in dresses or slacks with sweaters. In college, some professors wore jeans, some wore khakis and whatnot. In grad school, my professors all wore slacks and a button down (biz casual). In my experience, post-grad professors tend to dress more formal (biz casual and up) than undergrad professors.
Post # 9
Interesting topic. I found when I was in school (eons ago); I was going for a degree in English Education and went to a liberal arts college. So, most of my professors were quirky, guys dressed in bowties and tweed jackets, leather bags. Hipster before hipster was cool.
The female professors I had always were dressy casual, maybe a wrap dress with flats or something of that sort. I had this one professor who was elderly and had been there for decades, and she dyed her hair bright auburn red, wore velvet suits and taught British Lit. She even spoke in a quasi – British accent… so was so unique and fun with her giant red hair and velour pants.
By contrast, my sister was in the business field of study. They were required to dress up for class, business attire. This was a department mandate for juniors and seniors, and it was to prep them for “real world” dressing and bringing a level of formality and professionalism to their studies.
All that to say, it depends OP on the type of environment your classroom is skewing towards and how you WANT it to skew. If it were me, and should I ever get back into education, I always liked to be a little more dressed up and polished.
Post # 10
I think that Professor McGonagall would make a good role model, especially with that pointed hat.
Post # 11
In my university professors & lecturers are pretty casual. If a male professor shows up in the department in a full suit he either has his tenure-review interview or a meeting with a potential external project funder
The younger looking grad students will dress up when leading practicals/tutorials just to better differentiate themselves. But most male profs when lecturing will wear jeans and a button down. Maybe slacks and a button down if doing departmental research presentations.
I’ve never seen any of my female co-workers wear formal business attire. The dressiest I’ve gotten is a pencil skirt and blouse for a donor-meeting. Even at conferences I’ll wear dark jeans, nice shoes (riding-style boots or pointed-toe flats), and a blazer over a blouse.
ETA: when I lecture I’ll trade out the blazer & blouse for a sweater or just wear a blouse if it’s warm out.
Post # 12
I would stick with business casual.
I had a professor in college who had an outfit for the same day of each week. For example, Mondays she wore the same blue dress. Tuesdays, she wore the same pants and shirt, etc. I only had her on Tuesdays so I saw her in the SAME outfit every single class.
Post # 13
Business casual is good. You look good, but not too formal. I strongly agree with the PP who said that the more casual profs seemed more approachable.
Post # 14
I’ve had professors wear everything from hoodies and sneakers to suit and tie. The content of their lesson and overall presence was what determined the energy of the class, not their outfit.
Post # 15
I will be graduating college next month so I can at least give you a student’s perspective. I honestly think it boils down to the person’s level of comfort, I haven’t treated any of my professors differently due to their clothing choice (formal, informal). I noticed my younger professors tend to dress up more than the older ones. Maybe this is because they want to look professional should a higher-up see them, I’m not sure. The majority of my upper-level professors allow us to call them by their first name while my lower-level (core) professors insisted on us calling them Dr./Mr./Mrs./Professor ________. I see this as a more authoritative choice. I personally think the professors who teach the lower-levels want to evoke a sense of authority over their younger students (especially freshmen) to set the standard for how college should be treated. Again, my opinion is that the upper-level professors know that we know how to behave as adults and don’t feel it is necessary to be as authoritative and professional. Just my two cents.