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InquilineKea

Do professors care if you wear sweatpants all the time?

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I wasn't talking about makeup per se. I was talking more about the whole image.

Yes learning is pretty important in school (no kidding?), but I feel as grad students, you are representing the school or at the very least, you are a "product" of the school. For my undergrad, I had company representatives and investors just drop by randomly to see our progress on the project that they were paying us to do. We might have gave our professor a bad image if we were not dressed decently and his funding/grants may be reduce or even cut.

I sense a difference in field rearing its head. Obviously yours has connections to the business world where looking a certain way is requisite for success.

I'm reacting to what you said because you were specifically talking about women being the presentable ones, with physical attraction and makeup being the specific topic. Yeah, you may have meant people in general (when questioned on the issue), but in two comments you talked about women needing to look nice. I saw no call to let a double standard comment slip by. And yes, by not mentioning dudes you upheld a double standard: women's appearance is more important to viewing them as successful, so important that it should be commented upon.

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Connections to business make the comment even more suspect, because continuing to comment on what one "likes" in women will eventually end up in harassment investigations for a hostile work environment. Backpedaling doesn't change the original objectification and gender-based norm enforcement, concealed as "professionalism".

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My undergraduate was super casual, so a lot of people simply rolled out of bed and went to class in pjs and professors didn't care. I did this briefly, but honestly, it didn't feel right. In my current Master's program, most people dress in at least jeans and a decent top and sometimes business casual (we have some professional students, so they have work and such).

I generally go with jean or cords and a blouse or nice sweater on a normal day, sometimes I wear dress pants or a skirt, depending on how I feel in the morning, and what I might be doing as far as my thesis (statistics alone in the office or big meeting?). I also wear make-up most days and occasionally heels since I'm not in a lab atm, but that's a personal preference on my part.

For my PhD, I'll probably ditch a few pairs of older dress pants (keep my good ones in case) and invest in a few pairs of Khakis. I was thinking of buying myself a graduation present (for my Master's) of some really good Dansko shoes to wear, too.

Overall, I don't think professors in undergraduate care per-say, but I think it gives a good impression not to look like you rolled out of bed. I also think grad professors generally expect a bit more, and even if they don't I think it's a good idea to dress reasonably well. These are likely people who you will need professionally when you graduate.

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I'll do as best I can to avoid wading into a minefield here--but were I to raise a daughter, I would not wish for her to feel that she must sexualize herself at all times for the titillation of male peers. There is something to be said about ensuring that women are not penalized disproportionately relative to men for "dressing down" on certain occasions since "dressing down" (i.e. dressing for comfort) seems to violate certain expectations about how women are supposed to present themselves.

If there is pressure on women to doll themselves up, I would try to relieve that pressure (assuring women that it's OK do dress for comfort) rather than exert similar pressure on men to dress to impress.

Bottom line--we can't enforce these sorts of double standards where it's less reprehensible for a man to dress down than for a woman to dress down. If women and men dress as they like within reason (and without having to respond to gender-based expectations), chances are we will all be happy and get along.

In a broad sense, it's probably best to reserve our judgments of others as much as possible. So even if I choose to apply cologne most days, I won't impose that expectation on any other man, and I certainly won't expect a woman to apply perfume just because she's a woman and must look professional, lest I suffer the terrible fate of meeting a woman without makeup. That's one plausible step towards equality, I guess.

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Hmm. I suppose this question is directed to grad students than undergrads. I don't think anyone actually cared what UG wore during class, so long as they weren't naked. (There were some people that cut it close though.)

As for grad students, I noticed what a few TAs were wearing during my undergrad. One of the more memorable ones wore a suit to class/tutorial regularly. It was a dark blue suit, red tie and white shirt, like a Congressman or a male flight attendant. It looked a little unusual. One of the other more memorable ones regularly wore Tshirts and shorts. Not just during the early fall, during the winter too. We get cold winters here in Canada, and I wondered if he was coming from the gym or something. I have no idea which one of the two was funded by the department.

As for the rest of my grad student TAs, I don't remember what they wore regularly, but I still have their essay comments and feedback. This is probably a good thing.

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Without reading the other responses, I think this depends very much on your program and school. My sister is in her first year of an Art History phD and was told by the program director that the students should dress business casual as they are representatives of the University. Now, in the preservation classes I took at BU, coming straight from work I was probably the only person dressed business casual. And of course, if we're out on a site visit, everyone's going to be in jeans! Likewise, I'd think that jeans would probably be a better choice in a lab as they're not synthetic and are a thicker than most sweatpants. just my 2c.

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I'll do as best I can to avoid wading into a minefield here--but were I to raise a daughter, I would not wish for her to feel that she must sexualize herself at all times for the titillation of male peers. There is something to be said about ensuring that women are not penalized disproportionately relative to men for "dressing down" on certain occasions since "dressing down" (i.e. dressing for comfort) seems to violate certain expectations about how women are supposed to present themselves.

If there is pressure on women to doll themselves up, I would try to relieve that pressure (assuring women that it's OK do dress for comfort) rather than exert similar pressure on men to dress to impress.

Bottom line--we can't enforce these sorts of double standards where it's less reprehensible for a man to dress down than for a woman to dress down. If women and men dress as they like within reason (and without having to respond to gender-based expectations), chances are we will all be happy and get along.

In a broad sense, it's probably best to reserve our judgments of others as much as possible. So even if I choose to apply cologne most days, I won't impose that expectation on any other man, and I certainly won't expect a woman to apply perfume just because she's a woman and must look professional, lest I suffer the terrible fate of meeting a woman without makeup. That's one plausible step towards equality, I guess.

Hear hear! (I also really appreciate qbtacoma and Nurse Wretched's comments.) I think it's absolutely repulsive what Western society has come to implicitly teach people about what is acceptable and what isn't when it comes to how they look. Especially women (though not only). I think I read somewhere that in the U.S., an estimated 95% of the female population are dissatisfied with their appearances. I've long thought this a major tragedy: it doesn't have to be this way. Perception is subjective, attractiveness is subjective, standards are subjective...possibly even approaching arbitrary. (It works both ways, too: dismissing anyone as shallow and stupid simply because they wear a lot of makeup or whatever is about as narrow-minded as dismissing someone as clueless and socially inept simply because they don't. In an ideal world there would be no correlation whatsoever, negative or positive.)

Not that I want to distort anyone's words here, but statements about people having to be careful to "present themselves as how they want to be perceived" tend to strike me as perilously close to 'your clothes say everything about you', which in turn makes me want to respond, 'Okay, in that case, you should leave your brain at home tomorrow?' Sure, we're a sexual species, and of course we like the idea of looking pretty for prospective mates; but that doesn't mean we should disregard some of the more-recent consequences of this getting way out-of-hand: rampant materialism, artificiality, objectification, anti-intellectualism, a heck of a lot of eating-disorders and unhealthy dieting, arbitrary ostracism/cruelty, etc. It worries me. It really worries me. We're an intellectual species as well, so if you ask me this is something we desperately need to learn to put behind us.

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I also want to add my 2cents (again).

First: I don't think it's this unpersonal thing called "society" that makes people feel selfconscious about their appearance. It's THE PEOPLE themselves. Don't you think not that attractive women hear it every day that they are not that attractive? Don't you think they get the looks of other people (male and female)? Don't you think they understand what's "wrong" when the flower-guy gives the beautiful blond woman before you three roses just because it's such a beautiful day - and then refuses to even look you in the eyes or say thank you when you order and pay? (Just as an example - no personal experience).

What I'm trying to say is: People who do not fit into the current (!) perception of what is "beautiful" and "the norm" - they KNOW it, because there are explicitely and implicitely told so every single day. It's not "the society" who is at fault - it's every single one of the people out there. (Okay, probably not every single one, but most of them).

Second: My opinion on that is not the reason why I choose to wear makeup every day. The things I feel most self-conscious about can't be covered up with makeup. So I don't write all of this because I feel like I am one of those people and everybody treats me badly because of my looks. Luckily I haven't had that many problems even though I know I don't fit into the current perception of beauty. But I see it every day and I see how it happens to people every day. And practically it happens to 90 % of us because who really does fit into the beauty-scheme? Just a hand full of models, and who else? Well - most of us don't, but we are building beauty-hierarchies. We think: I am more "beautiful" (according to whatever standards) than s/he is, so I can judge him/her for his/her looks.

Third: Despite all this, I feel that it's a matter of respect to dress decently to class or whereever you are going. I don't think it shows respect to go to class in sweatpants or even worse - to teach or work in sweatpants or shorts (except when you're a fitness trainer or something like that ;-)) I think people should at least be prepared to put on a pair of jeans. That's not much work, that's not dressing up, but it at least shows that somebody cares a little bit...

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I won't enter into the genders stuff that is going on here even though it is obvious that there is some pretty overt sexism happening here.

In general I think that you should dress in a semi-respectable manner at the least. Sweatpants just cross a threshold into sloppiness that they should be avoided by anyone over the age 8 unless you're at a sporting event. They combine to make you both look like you absolutely don't give a shit about doing work and like someone who has no sense of style.

Is it really that hard to fasten a belt?

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wow. Speaking as a woman, I found some of that stuff a little over-the-top. It's really quite simple: in undergrad, nobody cares what you wear unless you look like a hot mess. In grad school, there are two codes of dress. One, when you are working as a TA. You are then the prof, so you dress for work, male or female, everybody knows what "work" clothes means. For seminars, you can dress more casual, but you want to avoid, again, looking like a hot mess. As with most conformist organizations, the key is to blend in. If you can do this while retaining your distinct individuality, all the better.

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wow. Speaking as a woman, I found some of that stuff a little over-the-top. It's really quite simple: in undergrad, nobody cares what you wear unless you look like a hot mess. In grad school, there are two codes of dress. One, when you are working as a TA. You are then the prof, so you dress for work, male or female, everybody knows what "work" clothes means. For seminars, you can dress more casual, but you want to avoid, again, looking like a hot mess. As with most conformist organizations, the key is to blend in. If you can do this while retaining your distinct individuality, all the better.

* laughs * I might well have overreacted. It's just that I've spent so much time quietly getting so concerned about this over the years that once I started typing a post on the subject I couldn't stop myself.

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wow. Speaking as a woman, I found some of that stuff a little over-the-top. It's really quite simple: in undergrad, nobody cares what you wear unless you look like a hot mess. In grad school, there are two codes of dress. One, when you are working as a TA. You are then the prof, so you dress for work, male or female, everybody knows what "work" clothes means. For seminars, you can dress more casual, but you want to avoid, again, looking like a hot mess. As with most conformist organizations, the key is to blend in. If you can do this while retaining your distinct individuality, all the better.

There's a world of difference between saying "Both genders should dress professionally for what is, in essence, a job" and "Girls should wear makeup, but not too much, because I like how it looks."

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There's a world of difference between saying "Both genders should dress professionally for what is, in essence, a job" and "Girls should wear makeup, but not too much, because I like how it looks."

Yes, this.

I wish the girls I meet in the coming fall would be like you...

I don't like girls with heavy and overdone make up, if that is what you are wondering, but I do like it when a girl actually cares enough about her appearance to dress up and try to make herself look presentable (some of the people at my school don't seem to care). The jewelry might be over doing it, especially for school.

And may I warn any menfolk out there that the so-called "girls" in your program will no doubt prefer not to be infantilized, either. Girls = female children. Female graduate students = adults, not children. Please show the women of your program (and your world) some respect. And if the men out there who use this kind of language "don't mean it that way"--too bad. It still comes off as (and simply is) disrespectful and condescending,

Edited by Pamphilia

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Having sported this style myself for several years, I can tell you that the answer is yes, and no. Most did not mind, but one in particular did, and I think it cost me a little bit in the grading. So, older and wiser, I dress better. But, you know, to each their own.

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what is this thing, "make up"? I am a student. I don't have time to put crap on my face when I have to read the complete works of Chaucer by sunrise.

To each their own, as jordanami said.

Some people just feel better when they wear makeup. For example, I have had skin issues for 10-15 years now (and I'm only in my mid-20s). I would NEVER have the courage to speak in front of a class or to even just ask a question without at least covering up some of my skin problems. So yes, to me makeup even helps at school, because it makes me more confident and I can concentrate on my schoolwork instead of feeling insecure because of my skin and feeling like everyone stares at me.

And about the time issue: It takes a couple of minutes. If you have time to drink a coffee, if you have time to smoke, if you have time for any other habit, you also have time to do your makeup. I am NOT saying everyone should wear makeup. I just say I chose to because it allows me to be more confident and after those 5-10 minutes in the morning it allows me to devote my attention to more important stuff.

That being said: If I had great skin, I probably wouldn't wear makeup at all. So all of you who have great skin: be happy! ;-)

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I don't know if professors care or not. But I sure do. Seriously people, lay off the sweatpants and jeggings and whatever else there is that's preventing you from getting dressed. Pants and jeans aren't that hard. Neither are nice shorts and skirts.

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HAHAHA OH MY GOD, THIS IS JUST SO HILARIOUS:

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/ClassBios

Gregory Crosswhite's major drive in life is to revolutionize the world of fashion. In order to pay the bills, he also works on Quantum Computing research in his spare time as a fifth year graduate student in the Physics Department advised by Dave Bacon (in the Computer Science & Engineering Department). His other secret life goal (known only to people on the internet) is to one day have his blog become as famous as his advisor's. His interest in climate modeling is purely driven by curiosity. He likes to write about himself in the third person in order to sound important.

TuxShorts.jpg

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Haha this is like how news anchors dress! I've seen it!

Exactly: 1246607777666.jpg

(one of the main news anchors in my country ;-))

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He also teaches at my university and he wore pants then ;-)

I guess this pic is just a joke. But it was so incredibly hot that day - the hottest day of the year - so maybe he really didn't wear pants. But I don't think he regularily appears to work without proper pants ;-)

Also: You can see his dress shoes under his desk. So I guess he lost his pants a) only for the picture or B) because it was so incredibly hot that day ...

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When I first started grad school I used to wear comfy clothes -- not sweatpants and yoga pants, but big, comfortable sweaters and T shirts with sneakers and jeans. Problem is, I was TOO comfortable. I wanted to fall asleep every class. No amount of caffeine could wake me up either. Which is difficult when your class has MAX 5 students.

This year, I tried a different technique and started dressing a little smarter (this actually happened more organically, some days I was teaching directly after class so I had to dress more professionally). You know what? I found that it actually made me a better student. I felt more efficient, more professional, and for some reason more mature. The only thing I can think is that maybe dressing professionally made me approach school with a job-related mindset, so I was more on the ball.

Anyway, Ive been doing that ever since. Can't say my grades have gotten any better though.

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Hmm interesting. I just had a thought:

What looks worse: grad student going barechested and barefoot, or same student wearing oversized t-shirt, sweatpants, and socks+sandals?

Obviously, the first look might be more objectionable in a professional setting (hell, the grad student even teaches barechested, and he's quite hairy too). But on the other hand, he might not look horrible that way (compared to the other way)

Edited by InquilineKea

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My undergrad environment was kind of dressy. I went to a women's college, and we weren't allowed to wear pajamas and slippers to class or any public spaces on campus outside of our dorms. I mean, people wore sweatpants and sweatshirts sometimes - especially for those 8 am classes - but by 10 am most people were dressed at least in jeans and T-shirts.

Me personally, I don't wear T-shirts out of my house unless I'm going to the grocery store or doing laundry or something. I also tend not to wear sneakers. But clothes are my grad school splurge; I like dressing up and wearing makeup (which, by the way, only takes about 5-10 minutes for a natural non-fussy look). So I tend to wear nicer clothes - a button up, nice cardigan, or some otherwise dressier-looking shirt, dark-wash jeans, and some dressy flats or wedges when I'm in class or meeting with an advisor or a participant for our studies. I'm usually dressier than the other students though, because I get comments on my clothes from my classmates quite frequently :)

I haven't led any lectures (our TAships are pretty low key unless you have a stats or experimental class) but next year when I teach stats labs, I suppose I'll take it a step up and wear some slacks and a button down with those dress flats. For conferences I usually wear business casual. It's interesting to see field differences at conferences, though - when I go to public health conferences I'm in the land of the Birkenstock-wearing, "khakis count as dressy" professors. But at psychological conferences people tend to dress up more and even wear suits sometimes.

I'll also admit that there's a racial aspect. I'm a black woman and I went to a women's HBC. There I was taught (and I think there's empirical evidence for this) that black people have to look a tad dressier than their white counterparts to be considered the same. I've also noticed that the very few black professors at my grad institution tend to be dressier than their white counterparts. Although I think I'd still want to dress up even if I weren't black because I love clothes and makeup...it's still something I'm cognizant of.

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