24 September 2010

September 24th, 2010 § 56 comments

24 September 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Sources:

  • Blazer: Gap, gift from MIL
  • Top: Target
  • Belt: (in picture below) thrifted
  • Ponte pants: Ann Taylor
  • Pumps: Madden Girl, via DSW

End Notes:

I think all of you had great thoughts for L. yesterday regarding her colleagues’ responses to her “dressing up.” In preparation for an upcoming series of posts, I’ve been reading a lot of older articles from the Chronicle of Higher Ed regarding academia and sartorial choices. While it seems that many people are willing to admit that it is unfair to equate care for one’s appearance with a lack of intellectual rigor, the actual advice dispensed tends to accept this state of affairs as normative: “Don’t look like you’re trying too hard but don’t look like you didn’t try at all.” Not so helpful.

My favorite quote from a 1998 article on professorial fashion comes from Nell Painter, then-professor of history at Princeton.

“There are prejudices against people who look too Jewish, too working-class, too Italian, too black, or too much of anything different.” She adds, however, that “if you look too WASPish, that’s probably all right.”

All of this has very little to do with my outfit today, except for this one question: are skinny or slim cut pants appropriate for the classroom and/or office?

I love these straight leg black ponte pants from Ann Taylor, but, as I am today, I have tended to wear them only for more casual outfits that I would not consider teaching appropriate. Weirdly, though, I always seem to wear them with a blazer. I’ve been happy to let these pants exist in my casual-but-not-too-casual register of wardrobe-dom, but now that even Ann Taylor is styling “work looks” with skinny black pants, I’m wondering if skinnies are mainstreamed, demystified, desexified, or de-whatevered enough to be considered professional garb?

But did you get what just happened there? For a garment to become “appropriate” for teaching or the office, I implied that it has to achieve some sort of vaguely defined neutral status as not “too anything.” But who is making that judgment? Is there really a “neutral” category for clothes (or how people wear them)?

What do you think? Are skinny pants appropriate office or teaching wear? In what scenarios? If you think they’re okay now, would you have thought that two or three years ago? If you think they’re inappropriate, what are your reasons?

And here I am, thoughtfully contemplating this question:

24 September 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 56 Responses to 24 September 2010"

  1. debbie says:

    You look professional and polished! I do think that you have to be careful with skinny jeans. I definitely would not wear jeggings to teach, but I think that you are wearing a nice (not too revealing) pair of pants. Also, you have paired the skinny jeans with a top that is not too tight, so it is a good balance.
    I recently found this blog and love it! I am a PhD candidate in Chemistry who loves fashion. I think that in my field dressing to teach is a little different because as a graduate student you often teach chemistry lab classes. It is a fine balance of dressing in something that is professional, but not too nice because clothes get ruined very easily. If I wear a nice outfit I usually just wear a lab coat, and then it really does not matter anyway.

  2. S@sha says:

    A couple of things- first, those pants are really nice and look great on you, and second, academia isn’t the corporate world. There are no dress codes that say panty hose required, close-toed shoes only, etc. Students these days come to class in all manner of casual clothes from flip-flops to pajama bottoms, so its not hard to dress more professionally than they do in order to set yourself apart. I sometimes think that you (all) really over think this issue. An academic hazard, I’m sure. Just wear what you want! If some old fogey faculty member looks askance at your skinny pants, it’s probably just because they are wondering if they’d look good in the same style. As you know, being older or conservative doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of current fashion trends. I used to work in an academic library and one of the new art history faculty wore leather pants and sheer blouses. She was tall and thin and totally looked awesome. The students loved her because she was cool, and the faculty respected her because she was smart. Do you really feel judgement coming from your colleagues or do you just ask these questions to spur discussion?

  3. MONKEYFACE says:

    First, your emo-thoughtful face is adorable. Second, all of the non-denim pants I own that I consider most classroom appropriate happen to be skinny cuts! As someone moving from the office world into academia, I’m shying away from more traditional “work pants” in favor of the skinnies b/c I think they read more approachable and down-to-earth than the standard wide-legs. Bear in mind, though, that I’m not talking clingy, bum-hugging versions but just slimly tailored lines. I think you look fantastic; this isn’t a sexy outfit but it is certainly very attractive and I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate about looking great!

  4. Rebekah says:

    Good questions!

    I don’t think slim pants are unprofessional— would calling them “cigarette pants” instead of “skinnies” change our perception of them?

    I DO think it matters 1) how form-fitting they are and 2) what material we’re talking about. Ponte may read as “sweatpants,” but I haven’t seen yours in person. They look pretty crisp in the photo.

  5. Kate says:

    With the previous comments, I agree that it comes down to fit and material. I would see a slim cut as perfectly appropriate, but a tight fit would not be. Similarly, trouser-type materials, even chino, would be acceptable while knits and denim wouldn’t be. I teach in engineering, and so I’ve set myself a “no-denim” rule, unless I am actually mixing concrete with my students.

    You look fantastic, and very stylishly professional.

  6. Izabela says:

    I think that you look great in those pants! They look professional as well. In my opinion, anything but denim would be a great outfit to teach in because it would set you apart from the students. I don’t think that a certain style of pant (skinny, wideleg, bootcut, etc.) should be limited to a certain type of setting.

  7. Ecochic says:

    I have been reading academichic for awhile, and I find I identify the most with your style, probably because we have similar body types. Your ability to piece things together simply yet still sophisticated when you do casual is really great. Reading and watching you layer dresses and shirts and skirts and scarves really makes me critically look at my wardrobe and see the possibility.

    As for the “slimmer” (instead of “skinny”) dress pant look, I think it is appropriate in the workplace. Now this might be my young age saying this, but don’t pencil skirts hug and show things a bit snugly? Snugger dress pants with give towards the ankle, but not wide leg, to me are just a reflection of the pencil skirt in pant form. If styled right, slimmer pants can be professional in the workplace and in the classroom. The way you styled it here is one of those cases.

    Beautiful!

  8. admin says:

    @Sasha – Oh yes, we definitely over-think things here. No apologies :)

  9. Grace says:

    I think skinny pants can be very very carefully worn in professional situations. The best option, to my mind, is to wear them with a professional but not short jacket–that way the most exposed bits are covered up, but the top isn’t too casual, like a tunic or similar might be.

    Shoes are important too, I think. Skinnies with heels or boots strike me as more professionally appropriate than with flats.

  10. Diana says:

    I think skinny pants can be perfectly appropriate for professional situations, provided they are (A)preferably black/dark and not denim, (B)not super tight, and (C)styled with something more formal, like a blazer or button-down and heels. In fact, I’m seriously considering wearing my BR Martin black skinny pants to give a talk at our departmental retreat in a couple of weeks…granted, my field/department is pretty casual, so YMMV.

  11. Beth Ellen says:

    As another chemistry phd student, let’s just say if you walked through our halls people would stare at how dressed up you are. If I teach in jeans, tshirt and a cardigan over top I’m dressy. I’ve seen other female co-workers teach in everything from yoga pants to skin tight jeans to even leggings. I think you’re pants are completely appropriate as they are not nearly as tight as a lot of other women I see wearing to teach.

  12. Sarah Jedd says:

    Yes, I think you could teach in that. My TAs often wear jeans — usually with blazers– and I think those pants are jean-like in terms of formality.

    I am still in my semester’s honeymoon period, meaning I have worn skirts and heels every day (okay– red cowboy boots one day, but only for a meeting with grad students and my office hours). For me, it’s a slippery slope– once I start wearing pants, I start to look progressively sloppier until I am in Uggs (gasp!) by the end of November.

  13. indigorchid says:

    I agree with most of the commenters, that slimmer pants can be perfectly appropriate in professional situations, with the right materials and colors. One thought I had about this outfit, is something you’ve talked about before – mixing registers. I don’t think the slimmer pant in itself is “neutral” – not yet at least. I think they are still too recently trendy. I also think the fact that proportion-wise, they are more flattering to a slimmer body-type, they are in their very nature excluding in a way (does that make sense?).

    Anyways, my point being, since the slimmer pant still has something trendy (or, not neutral) about them, they seem to me to need to be paired with something more business-like, more… structured(?) to balance the “non-neutral” and bring it back to acceptable wear for the professional or academic atmosphere (which I do believe exists – there are a lot of politics and boundries to be aware of).

    I have to say – this is one of my favorite things about academichic; the pondering of mechanisms in dress and presentation. (The other being delving into proportions of body, and how to dress to flatter.)

  14. More so than the pants dilemma (like other posters before me, I feel that it’s the material and styling that makes skinnies office- or classroom-appropriate: twill or cotton sateen seem work-safe while denim does not; heels and a blazer convey more formality than a tunic and flats), I’m interested in the concept of ‘neutral’ dressing – and, more vexingly, of ‘not trying too hard.’

    It’s a concept that comes up in fashion a lot: a stylish look may be lauded as ‘effortless’ while a less well-executed one is ‘over the top.’ What I (and everybody else, I think) can’t really put a finger on is what makes for the effortlessness or overdone-ness. It’s not mere simplicity; it’s not really related to the number of components in an outfit; it goes beyond good fit and confidence.

    Essentially, I think what I’m trying to do is quantify elegance, and I don’t know if it can be done.

  15. Michelle says:

    1. Love the outfit, both versions, though the creative belting in the second picture is my favorite.

    2. I echo everyone else who said that slim pants are definitely professional if you wear them correctly. I think the keys are fit (not skin tight), fabric (not denim unless it’s a casual dress day/setting), and what you pair them with on top are they keys. You don’t want to wear something you’d also wear on a fun night out. The thing is, a slim pant, depending on the cut, is very classic and Audrey Hepburn-esque, so I don’t think they can be deemed “too trendy.”

    3.) I didn’t get to chime in yesterday on the dress/perception question, so I will today. This is my fifth year of teaching at a small private school, and I have never found the need to “tone down” my fashion sense because of my profession. There are a few reasons for this. One, I am a young female, so I think people are already going to make pre-judgments about me, and I’m not sure how I dress will really make things better or worse. Two, the reality is, my work needs to speak for itself. Whether I’m wearing a polyester suit and clunky shoes or a belted dress in a bright color with heals, if I present poor quality work or conduct myself in an unprofessional manner, people aren’t going to take me seriously. If my work is good, and people still don’t take me seriously because I dress too “stylishly,” then they probably aren’t people I want to associate with anyway. To be blunt, even in 2010, I think I am much more likely not to be taken seriously because I am a young woman than because I dress myself with care. Many of the women around me dress themselves as if they care nothing for how they present themselves (unflattering colors, cuts, etc.). How is that considered more professional than dressing stylishly but within the professional register? Why should they be taken more seriously? Granted, I am a high school teacher, but I believe I would feel the same no matter where I taught. 3.) From the perspective of what a teacher needs to wear to be taken seriously – I don’t think students care as much as we think they do. On the first day of school, I wore a white pencil skirt and a ribbon belt with silk flowers. Not exactly a “serious” outfit, but definitely appropriate and professional. I was well prepared and confident in my classroom, and I haven’t had any trouble (ever) with students or parents not taking me seriously because of my clothing choices. If anything, I think students appreciate seeing someone in front of them who puts some thought into what she wears. The other day, my future sister-in-law was bemoaning the fact that one of her professors has worn nothing but monocromatic black or gray almost every day so far. She said, “I have to stare at her for an hour, so at least she could wear something that’s not so gloomy and depressing!” The high school daughter of a colleague says that one of the first things a teenage girl notices about a teacher is her shoes. I think dressing stylishly can actually work for, rather than against teachers. I think it can help make you more approachable to students because you don’t seem so much to belong on a different plannet from them.

    Whoa, that was long. Obviously, I’ve thought more about this subject than I realized.

  16. Becca says:

    I think your pants are perfectly fine. I’ve been searching for a tailored black pant or cropped pant to wear with just such outfits.

    I don’t think the narrowness of the leg can be considered casual– remember a decade (or two) ago when “straight leg” pants were the norm? I’m not advocating for a 90′s fashion flashback though, please.

  17. Christina says:

    I’m surprised and a bit horrified to see you ask if skinnies are OK for teaching and the office because I absolutely wear them for exactly that several times a week. In fact, I’ve worn jeggings to teach. Yeah.

    I have a pair of very dark wash blue skinnies, a pair of black skinnies and dark grey-black jeggings. I’ll either wear them with boots or heels. I almost invariably wear a blazer when I’m wearing them, but sometimes wear a nice cardigan or structured vest. The only rules I have are that what’s on top has to be formal enough to (in combination with the blazer, etc.) negate the fact that I’m wearing jeans AND it has to be long enough to go past the crotch area. This isn’t too hard for me since I have a short torso. My view is that skinny jeans and jeggings were designed to be a cross between tights and jeans, and as a result, you really shouldn’t wear anything shorter than you’d wear with tights.

    I guess a lot of it hinges on department culture. Ours is very casual. Even wearing jeans, I usually end up being the most dressed-up person in the room. I find skinnies, since they are well-structured, provide clean lines, and look crisp, are a better choice for the blazer/jeans combo look than boot cuts or flares. They don’t draw the eye as much.

  18. Dana says:

    Luckily, I never have to worry about that query. Being what the fashion magazines like to call a pear shape (or hourglassish), these pants do nothing for my figure. When I put them on, they makes me look disproportionate, and while I’m proud of my family’s Slovenian hips, I don’t want to flaunt them to my lecture classes. Personally, I’d never wear them out on a date, let alone to teach in.

    That said, they flatter you. You have the body to pull them off and you look put together and professional to me. I think the main issue with these pants in the workplace has to do with how tight they are. Yours are slim but appropriate.

    Some of the newer styles are really in that gray area between leggings and pants (I saw a tag on one that said “jeggings!”). Leggings are not pants, no matter what the tags say. I think professionalism is often a concept related to neutrality, as you said. Tight clothing draws attention to your body, and in a learning environment you want your students to pay attention to the subject matter, not your shape.

  19. Jackie says:

    First off, you look smashing, with and without the belt.
    I agree with you about skinny pants. No matter how nice the fabric and finishing, I still feel uncomfortable wearing them for clinic. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but for me looking “professional” isn’t a question of “how trendy/dressed down can I get by with?” but more “how would I want my doctor/professor/lawyer to dress?”. Skinny pants are great for going out with friends or more casual encounters but to discuss serious matters I think serious clothing is important. I think the trend in colleges and universities is more and more toward not dressing appropriately for class; I understand that some semesters you must go straight from work or gym class to another class but that doesn’t mean that your professor and classmates don’t deserve respectful dress when possible.

  20. I think your blazer and work shoes made black skinnies outfit teaching-appropriate. I am quite conservative in terms of what to wear for teaching, but I wear them to class teaching too. However, if they were black jeans, I would hesitate. I do not like the idea of wearing leggings to class either.

  21. mamichan says:

    I’m curious to hear why you think the pants weren’t teaching-appropriate?
    I think it depends on the styling. With a floaty tank, it wouldn’t be work-appropriate but I think with a more structured piece like the blazer, or a crisp button-down it definitely has the potential.

  22. e. says:

    I think we have the most thoughtful, articulate commenters!

    @mamichan – I think I surprised myself when I realized I hadn’t worn these pants to teach in and I was trying to get to the bottom of my hang-up. They’re body-conscious, but I guess no more than a pencil skirt would be. I’m wondering if part of the issue is that I don’t usually wear button downs or woven tops. I tend to wear dressier bottoms and knit tops, when these pants require that I do the inverse. I’m going to work on this, though, and I think I’ll be teaching in them before the semester is up!

  23. Lisa says:

    I’ve been contemplating this very question this week! I’m on staff at a business school, responsible for meeting with corporate clients and prospects. I’m struggling with maintaining my sense of style while dressing conservatively enough, since I got feedback early on that I could not dress as “creatively” as the faculty can, I guess because I don’t have the academic gravitas. I bought and returned a pair of BR “Logan” pants because I was afraid they wouldn’t read as professional enough. Then I bought a pair of Gap “curvy” fit black pants and wore them with a jacket (with the sleeves rolled) and heels. I really loved the way it looked, but I think I could only “get away with” that outfit on a more casual day. Sigh.

  24. Mel.J says:

    I’ve been on hiatus from academia for almost 4 years so my thoughts might not be current. I think that narrow pants are ok, but if they cling too closely anywhere, they should be avoided or worn under a tunic length top (if tight at the top). Even older guys can find tight clothes are distracting & challenge their concentration (& I imagine younger ones have had less practice at this). Which kind of defeats the purpose of teaching, so I tend towards the conservative in the classroom. Leggings (thinking skin tight) should be treated as tights.

    Yours are a line call – I personally wouldn’t choose them for teaching without a longer top but I think you could get away with it. They don’t look like a skin tight fit in the photos and they’re a heavier weight fabric. They look great on you, they are stylish, and flattering.

  25. I agree with one of the early comments that this might boil down to departmental culture – and possibly with how comfortable you feel with stepping outside of its bounds. Personally, I would probably not wear skinny jeans or pants to teach in here, especially not until later in the term or without a longer tunic.

  26. Cait says:

    I agree with most everyone here! As a recent grad heading out into the workforce, I’ve had many a battle with dress pants in various changing rooms. I’ve found that “skinnys” work the best on my body type and think that they can have a very vintage, put together feel about them. So, I would say they’re absolutely appropriate for the classroom!

  27. sarah says:

    I’m not sure this problem is overthought, though. The thing about the “old fogeys on faculty,” as I paraphrase from Sasha, is that they are on hiring committees, and so these impressions matter.

    And while, yes, the strength of your work should stand alone, it doesn’t always. Unfortunately, I’ve realized that a number of men are simply not going to be able to think about anything but the bright colours, high heels, and accessories that I wear.

    Still debating the black skinnies myself, as I just bought my first pair at end of summer. They’re super tight; I’m not sure yet what I’ll do. What do we think about riding pants from J. Crew, complete with leather patches?

  28. Rachel says:

    Interesting post! When I saw the top photo, before reading the post, I immediately felt that the look was more casual (although very nice!) than what we’ve been seeing this week. There is something about skinnies that seems less professional to me, although I think it’s because in a photo/from a distance they can look like skinny jeans, leggings, or (heaven forfend) jeggings, which definitely look much less dressy to my eye. The material would make all the difference to me.

  29. E says:

    You know, I love your posts. And while you look professional and lovely, I always wonder if *I* look professional wearing skinny pants myself. My students all wear them… but should I? And do I have a choice? Because all the stores stock skinnies these days and it’s difficult to find pants at all (especially the straight leg or bootcut variety) for work. It’s a problem. I’m glad I’m not the only one that worries about it. But *you* look work-appropriate (to me).

  30. E says:

    I just want to add that I’m in Australia, in Melbourne, and that in my department the undergraduate students I see walking around and in my classes are always dressed up in trendy outfits. I have not seen anyone wearing yoga pants to class unless they are actually going to a yoga class. Having spent four years doing an undergraduate degree in the States, I will say that American universities have a more casual dress code and an uncomplicated approach to the whole situation. When I started my PhD in Australia in a university near the central business district, I had to re-think my entire approach to dressing because while most male lecturers do not arrive on campus in suits (although some do) the female lecturers in my department almost always wear skirts or a blouse. Finally, I have to add that I’m in a “creative” area so the skirts and blouse might be accompanied by retro 50s makeup or hairstyles, which seem to be popular lately here, or bright non-corporate colours. It’s been a struggle trying to dress “seriously”, to dress my age (33), and also not dress “too corporate” as I don’t have as many options when shopping in this town as I would if I were shopping in the States, which has a bigger consumer market.

  31. E says:

    OK, I swear this is my last comment! I really do appreciate this blog because it’s taught me how to get out of jeans and hoddies (sweatshirts) without having to resort to a suit. I actually found this blog when, in desperation, I googled “academic” and “fashion”… and I have not worn any of my suits (as suits) since!

  32. Iris says:

    I think skinny pants are totally ok for the office but, not jeans unless it’s casual friday or something like that… Unfortunately where I work people will swap in skinny black jeans for everyday wear which is not the same thing,I wonder if they get it…

  33. Claire says:

    I’m so happy to have found this blog, and to have found a group of people who think & discuss & consider the same things I am. I’m a tenured History professor, but mid-30s, so questions of style – and not dressing as of ‘yore,’ for which I suspect history profs are among the worst – are important. Anyway, I wore skinny black pants to work yesterday – but deliberately on a non-teaching day and a non-meeting day. Nice to see my caution was just a conservative history professor’s!

  34. Tina Z says:

    I’ve been trying to get a copy of the 1997 Vogue article “The Professor Wears Prada”. Apparently it caused quite a stir.

  35. Tina Z says:

    Interestingly Miuccia Prada has a doctoral degree in my field too.

  36. Meredith says:

    While the outfit is as cute as can be, I would be uncomfortable choosing it in a professional setting and would notice it negatively if I saw a fellow teacher wearing it at work.

    Something about the casual loose drape of the top combined with the shortness of the blazer and the undeniably tight fit of the trousers just says casual far more than professional.

    Still cute, just not for work.

  37. sabrinaK says:

    I wear skinny jeans to teach. Once with a long grandpa cardigan (Rachel Rachel Roy, so I felt it was stepping up a notch, style wise) and it was for a movie day, so the class itself was casual. I’ve also taught in jeggings. And gave professional presentations in them. I think I do not stick out in my department, except for my relative youth, and my race/ethnicity (although that’s less the case now, since we hired another Asian American assistant professor).
    What do profs in your department wear? Other female profs in my department vary in their dress, so I think that wearing skinny pants/skinny jeans/leggings/jeggings in the classroom is fine. Then again, I seek to create a creative, unconventional, participatory and open learning environment, and dress according.

  38. Why is covering the legs with pants less academic/professional/appropriate than exposing the legs with skirts (and sometimes short shirts)?

    (I am not making this point as a judgement but rather offer it as a point of comparison.)

  39. Clare says:

    Lovely post, and superb outfit!

    I really think that skinny pants are totally appropriate for officework or teaching. There’s nothing wrong with wearing things that show off curves, and I see no reason why skinny pants would be inappropriate. I’ve loved the recent re-introduction of skinny trousers into the fashion world. Some of my favorite work outfits are with slim-cut trousers!

  40. Hope says:

    I think skinny pants are appropriate as long as they fit properly. I am always having my husband do “butt checks” before I leave for work to make sure I don’t look like I’m going to a club. I would have NO hesitations with the outfit you have on, it looks polished and professional with a bit of fun mixed in!

  41. This outfit is, quite simply, stunning. You pull it off with such ease, and it isn’t easy. You are a pro fashionista!

  42. [...] Academichic links to an article on professorial fashion that is old but still a good read. I must say, though, as a woman with a PhD in a statistical field, it drives me crazy when people assume that any one (really, what they mean is “any woman”) who cares about fashion must not have spent much time working on her mind. At some point, the stereotype that “Really smart science-y types don’t pay attention to what they wear” got twisted around to “If you care what you wear, you cannot possibly be smart enough to be good at science.” I read quite a few blogs by women in academia, and they sometimes report that they get snide remarks for dressing up to teach, or are warned they might not be “taken seriously” if they wear a trendy outfit. It boggles my mind that this is still happening. [...]

  43. Gina says:

    Would a man worry about the width of the cut on his pants?

    So long as the fit is body skimming rather than skin tight, in my view it is classroom and office appropriate (and skin tight is no good even outside of the classroom!)

    I work in a male dominated industry (energy). Most of the time i am the only woman in the room, and usually 20 or so years younger than my professional peers (although my subordinates are my age, my own level in the food chain is dominated by white men who are abut 50 yrs old). I am also Polynesian! I always dress professionally and relatively conservatively, but I am not afraid to dress fashionably. It’s a question of cut, colour and fabric (quality).

  44. Sarah-lucy says:

    I find this whole question so interesting as a theater major, where our professors usually wear jeans (or sweatpants) and none of the graduate or phd students discernibly dress up to teach class. I.E. they normally wear jeans and a hoodie. However, the students tend to dress up quite a bit, because they all want to look like actors…

  45. admin says:

    Thanks, everyone, for all your thoughtful comments. As I think we’ve established multiple times before, context is everything, and appropriateness will vary between universities, regions, disciplines, and departments. The female professors in my department are a real mix, ranging from all-black pantsuits to a mini-skirt-and-combat-boots outfit to a tropical print kaftan. And lots of museum gift shop jewelry and scarves. It’s a little all over the place, but definitely not a t-shirt and jeans situation.

    As always, we love it when everyone chimes in for discussion time. Full marks for participation grades, everyone!

    - E

  46. Sara says:

    I love the conversations you all get going!! I had a coworker who wore skinny pants to work, and she looked appropriate, but she also looked downright chic and stylish at the same time, so unless that’s what you want (and like these articles allude to, sometimes you do not!), I’d go for it! I personally look stupid in them due to my leg shape, but if I could wear them, I would! :P

  47. GingerR says:

    It’s really up to you whether these pants are too skinny to teach in. It’s my impression this is a sort of temporary job while you finish up your dissertation, so it’s not like you’re actively climbing the career ladder at this place.

    In the corporate or government world I would go for pants with with a more trouser-ish fit.

    Do not forget that one’s superiors could well be older women. In addition to not looking like a sex object to male superiors you want to tiptoe a line of not looking like a sweet young thing to a woman who may well have packed on 20-30 pounds during her own career rise.

  48. Callipygian says:

    I think skinny black pants are fine when the rest of the outfit is polished. Skinny jeans aren’t ok in the office, even on casual Fridays, although that’s because they look terrible on pretty much everybody and not because they’re inappropriate.

  49. Aussie says:

    Skinny pants, yes (you wear them well!). Skinny jeans no… unless you are Iggy Pop…

  50. [...] Notes: Following close on the heels of E’s recent post about skinny trousers, here I am wearing my go-to skinny black pants. Like many of you, I am apprehensive about the whole [...]

  51. I dress up more now, but I remember teaching in jeans and tragic hipster-style leg warmers during the first three years of grad school. Perhaps if I had been teaching in the College of Business it would have been scandalous, but really, no one cared in my department…especially not the faculty members who routinely taught in shorts and Hawaiian shirts.

  52. kelly k says:

    I would not even consider those pants as skinny, I would classify them as a slim cut dress pant. In no way are they inappropriate for an office or academic setting. They are not tight spandex or leather leggings the style of Sady’s in Grease, they are a nice multi functional pant. I also think that in addition to the fact that they are not skin tight, the fabric also helps define them as a work pant, and I would not hesitate to wear them to teach.

  53. Amy says:

    I’m jumping in late here, but I’m intrigued.

    I teach and work at a conservative college in a conservative-dressing city (DC), but I often find I am the most dressed up of all of my colleagues, even when wearing jeans. I wear slim black pants often, jeggings, leggings, and even the occasional pair of drawstring pants (I have on a chambray pair of drawstring pants today, for example). For me, the issue of department culture seems appropriate, but there’s a larger issue at stake: why do I seem more put together wearing jeans than my peers who wear skirts or pants? I suspect that it’s the cumulative effect of the entire outfit, a sense of proportion, finishing touches of accessories and shoes, an obvious sense of style–overall, the idea that clothes are a deliberate, rhetorical choice. I’m much less concerned with the “rules” of what I’m supposed to wear than how I feel and act while wearing an outfit, and to a degree, how my peers and superiors act towards me while I’m wearing it.

    I wear my black ponte pants weekly – and I’m a curvier girl. When thinking about how I style them, I always go for longer layered tees, a structured jacket, long cardigan, or tunic. I don’t follow the strict “bum must be covered” rule that I do with leggings or jeggings, but there’s definitely a nod to volume on the top. I tend to wear heels with them, but I do flats in a pinch, too.

    If I obeyed the old rules, I wouldn’t be able to wear anything in my closet.

  54. [...] very intelligent blogger at AcademiChic, in a mildly tongue-in-cheek (I really had to resist the temptation for the bad pun there) manner, [...]

  55. [...] very intelligent blogger at AcademiChic, in a mildly tongue-in-cheek (I really had to resist the temptation for the bad pun there) manner, [...]

  56. [...] very intelligent blogger at AcademiChic, in a mildly tongue-in-cheek (I really had to resist the temptation for the bad pun there) manner, [...]

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