My Academic Uniform

Sunday, November 12, 2017

With the latest move in apartments, comes a slight move in job appearances. In my current posting, the need to differentiate oneself from the students is not as pressing as at other institutions. This is likely both a departmental and an institutional thing, so it's enough to make me find TheProfessorIsIn's post on 'What Not To Wear' far afield and perhaps overly judgmental (my haircut is apparently not de rigeur enough for the humanities, lol).

4 days a week I am wearing Keds, chinos, a dressy tank, and a cardigan. The fifth day I throw in a skirt or dress and nicer shoes. Or toss it all out the window and wear dark wash jeans and a blazer. This process has the benefit of maximizing the amount of time I can spend on sleeping and minimizing the time spent on decision making. I literally have 5 of the same tank top, in 4 different colors.

As an undergrad it was jeans and t-shirts, as a graduate student it was jeans and slightly nicer t-shirts/blouses, at the next post it was chinos and cardigans. Now is more of the same, but with slightly nicer tops and the occasional blazer thrown in for extra gravitas.

Why am I such a BodenUSA fangirl? (1) They have a very generous, 365-day free return/exchange policy. This makes online shopping waaaaay better. And (2) colors, prints, creative details, and quality! I also turn to J. Crew Factory as I can try stuff in store, and then wait for a good online clearance/sale. I don't purchase clothing that's mostly man-made materials, and these two places, combined with LandsEnd, typically have a decent collection of natural materials.

Also, I now live nowhere near any good clothing stores, so the Internet is where my clothing comes from. Some notes on how I scour the Internetz for well-fitting, solid quality attire:
  • Pants: LandsEnd Women's Mid Rise Chino Straight Leg Pants are the best priced for solid chinos (and shorts for the summer), if you wait for a 35-40% off sale. They often hit clearance for less than $30. LandsEnd chinos also come in custom inseam lengths, so if you're someone who needs the extremes of the 26-34" inseams, these are the best! I own 4 pair, plus 3 pair chino shorts.

    LandsEnd will occasionally have printed chinos as well, but BodenUSA pretty much always has some version of their printed Richmond Pants on clearance or coupon code sale (or better yet, BOTH clearance and coupon code). Boden's Richmond tall-size has a 32.5" inseam, which is respectable.
  • Skirts: I don't wear skirts/dresses often, but J. Crew Factory pencil skirt in double-serge wool or a Boden modern pencil skirt or Boden tunic with leggings and ankle booties are my go-to. The end-of-season sales/clearance can be pretty great for these.
  • Cardigans: LandsEnd does supima cotton cardigans in tall-sizes, so you don't have to always roll up the sleeves. I also like Boden's machine-washable cashmere cardigans or their printed sweaters, when that style is available.
  • Blazers: Boden's tweed blazers go on significant clearance at the end of winter ($80!). J. Crew Factory's Schoolboy Blazer is also a nice option for a simpler wool (or linen) look. Fit is most important with blazers, and these are the two that have a decent fit for me right off the rack.
  • Tops: I pretty much just browse Boden's long-sleeved tops looking for a good clearance/sale. The quality on their t-shirts is nice, and they often have decorative t-shirts, or comfy knit blouses that look a step-up from the t-shirt category. It's always good to have a couple stripey shirts, and Boden is great for the colorful Breton as well.
  • Sleeveless: In the summer, I found these Drapey tank tops with silky hem from J. Crew Factory and promptly bought 5 of them when they went on sale. They have a higher-neck, so I can bend over at my computer without flashing the audience. They're a relaxed fit, which is forgiving. And there's little details like the center seam, silk trim, and keyhole back that make it look a bit dressier than a standard ribbed tank. J. Crew Factory also has similar styles with a ruffle, or eyelet trim instead.
  • Shoes: A generic ballet flat or, my preference, Ked's Women Crashback Leather Fashion Sneaker. Sometimes Amazon is cheaper, sometimes DSW. I'm on my second pair, as the cognac color pretty much goes with everything and the shoe works in all seasons except winter. For winter I'll probably return to my La Canadienne boots from the interview days, or just wear a pair of snow boots for commuting.
  • Sock Liners: Hue Sock Liners are the best non-saggy sock liners I've found. You can usually get 4 pair for less than $10 on eBay, which is great, because the tiny sockies get lost all the damn time.


rooth said...

J. Crew is my go-to for work apparel as well. Their basics typically end up lasting a long time

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