What Does a Professor Look Like?

There’s an interesting discussion happening in library land about what to wear at work, particularly as a leader or manager. Librarian in Black has an excellent post on the subject, as does Agnostic, Maybe.

This made me start thinking about what a professor looks like. Now that I’m teaching, I’ve ditched my jeans and TOMS for long-neglected heels and dresses. I’m a dressed-up version of me because I want to look the part. I want my students to respect me. I always complain about looking too young and blending in with my students. I figure dressing up can’t hurt.

The hard part is that we don’t have a dress code…at all. I’ve seen other professors wearing jeans, even shorts! I can guess which area of law professors teach by how they dress: the East Coast profs wear suits to teach. The environmental and animal law profs don’t. For the most part, I suppose you could call it “Portland business casual.”

I’m trying to remember what my professors wore in college, law school and library school. It all sort of blends into one blur of suits, skirts and cardigans. I’m not willing to put on a suit when I teach. On the other hand, you won’t catch me in Crocs or flip flops either.

What does a professor look like? What does a librarian look like? Me.


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