Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Overdressed vs. Underdressed


Eyeglasses (Kate Spade)
Pewter-tone disc earrings (Charlotte Russe)
Sheer Print Top (Target)
Black Cami (Old Navy)
Black Cardigan (New York and Company)
Charcoal Pencil Skirt (New York and Company)
Black Cable-Knit Patterned Tights (Target)
Black Wedges (Lauren by Ralph Lauren via Amazon)

On the Friday before Spring Break began, I had planned to dress a little more casually than I normally do for work.  Then I remembered that we had a department faculty meeting.  Since I'm one of the graduate student representatives, I was going to see many of my professors, so I decided to wear a normal work outfit.  I'm still working out a few camera glitches, and I wish this top had photographed better.  I really like its ruffle detail and the gray and purple of the print.  Also, I know I've been wearing these earrings excessively.  They aren't the same ones from my last post, but they came in a three-pack that I found for $3 on clearance!  The third pair are gold-toned and I'm sure they'll make an appearance soon. : )

When I got to the department meeting, most of the professors were dressed much more casually than they normally are.  I guess it makes sense that I wasn't the only one thinking about wearing jeans.  I felt a little over-dressed, but I would've been more uncomfortable if I'd been in jeans and all the professors had been in professional attire.  This is pretty standard: in general,  I would much rather feel over-dressed than under-dressed.  To me, over-dressed reads as "I took this event a little too seriously," whereas under-dressed reads as "I didn't try or care enough to dress up."  Still, I wonder if I'm wrong here.  People ask me why I'm "so dressed up" more often than I would like.  I'm interested in what you have to say about the over/under dressed issue!


  • Which makes you more uncomfortable: being over-dressed or under-dressed?  Why?
  • What impressions do you think you're sending if your over-dressed versus under-dressed?


Vickie Chambers said...

I always prefer to be overdressed as well. I can think of few instances where "trying too hard" is seen as a bad thing, none of which occur in the workplace. Plus I always feel more confident when dressed up, and confidence in the workplace is perhaps one of the best traits to have.

My main issue is dressing for my role. While I often prefer to go "overdressed" especially when dealing with prospective students and families, I know that my role is that of "current college student" so I typically stick with jeans. I do throw in heels every once in a while though :)

Also, your hair is getting really long.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Liz, I really like the top you're wearing in this post!

Vickie, glad you're reading! Keep rocking the heels!

I think the question of over-dressing vs. under-dressing is a great one. I agree with both you and Vickie that I would rather be over-dressed in a professional situation than under-dressed. In social situations, though, I think its a little murkier.

If I were at a party and everyone was wearing jeans and I was wearing a dress and heels, I'd feel very out of place. However, if I were at a party and everyone was wearing dresses and I was wearing dark wash jeans and a cute top, I wouldn't feel quite as out of place. Though, I do think in that situation it would depend on how under-dressed you were.


Rebecca said...

I just discovered fashion blogs and then I saw ACADEMIC fashion blogs. Oy vey! Whilst perusing your blog titles, I zeroed in on this one...mainly b/c I always under dress. I have a beautiful wardrobe of more dressy/professional clothes, but jeans always, always win out. I think this question of over or under may have something to do with either age or professional level. I'm 41 and am tenured and have been at my job for more than a decade. Early on, I dressed up more: suits and etc. I felt like I needed to in order to be taken seriously (I look young, too). Now no one even notices me. And besides, all the men wear jeans or khakis...