Friday, July 23, 2010

How to Be Mistaken for the Instructor

Earlier Drafts:
This whole ensemble is new (except for the wedges that may soon fuse to my feet), but this is a pink version of the same blue print dress I've been wearing to death and the purple one I took out of my sister's closet during black-out week.

pink satin dress and belt (H&M via sister's closet)
abstract floral/rorschach test print tee (American Eagle)
white canvas wedges (MIA)

Two weeks ago, I started a six week intensive intermediate German course in order to get a head start on my PhD degree's foreign language requirement.  I spoke German fairly well after studying it in high school and college, but that was years ago, so I am really enjoying getting back into the language.  I'm taking it with undergrads, so I anticipated that they might mistake me for the instructor.  In an attempt to avoid this confusion, I wore the more "casual" of my work-appropriate ensembles during the first week (like this one and this one) and no one mistook me for the instructor.  Success!!... I thought.

Until the second week.  When I cruised down the hallway Monday morning wearing this more formal ensemble (but with short sleeves), a young student waiting outside the classroom hit me with "Are you the teacher?"  I answered "No," but she still told me she was hoping to add the class after being on the waitlist.  I said "She usually gets here about 10 minutes before class," but I thought "then where were you last week?"

Anyhow, my instructor is the same age as me, and even dresses fairly similarly, so though this young lady had never seen her, the guess wasn't far off.  In fact, when my instructor arrived that day in the black version of this beloved, extremely versatile H&M dress, I laughed to myself and felt jealous that I don't own it in black.  (Perfect LBD material!)  When she complimented me on this bold, experimental (for me, at least) pink and purple ensemble the following day, we commiserated about how difficult it is to dress in this heat.  She also told me she never thought of wearing a top over a dress before, and she is going to try it next week.

I agree with her-- I really like how this $3 clearance tee from AE gave a whole new look to this dress.  I felt like putting the belt that came with the dress over the top of the tee brought the whole thing together and drew attention to the pink flowers? splotches? on the tee.  And, while there was a lot of girl-love for that outfit that day (Katie and another office mate both complimented me on it), one guy who sits behind me in German class said "What do you see in her shirt?  It looks like a horse to me."  Oh, undergrads... how I have missed you! : )

  • For those of you who teach, do you feel pressure to dress differently when playing the role of "student" than you do when playing the role of "instructor"?
  • Or maybe, how do you dress when you'll be in a group of people who are, in general, noticably older or younger than you?  Do you dress to match or do you just wear your normal attire?
  • How else might I style this tee?  It's actually deep purple, not black... and I have an identical one in different, almost neon shades of pink.  I haven't worn them much, though, because I'm having trouble figuring out what they "go" with, and they're banded at the bottom, which makes them difficult to wear with jeans or shorts.


Sal said...

Such a fun combination! And the white wedges were a great choice.

Katie from Interrobangs Anonymous said...

Ah, the foreign language requirement...

So that shade of saturated pink is definitely one of your colors - you skin and hair are just glowing! Is the dog also wearing a pink collar? If so, kudos on your dedication to coordination.

La Historiadora de Moda said...

I love the belt and wedges with this fun combo! I think that tee would look cute with your purple jersey dress or your dark wash skinnies.

I haven't been in the role of a student in the classroom in four years now, so I can't really draw from recent memory in that respect. I tend to dress within an overlapping set of ranges for teaching, research, university events.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Kara M. said...

Given the ubiquity of (mascot)-themed ensembles, yes, it's easy to see why you were mistaken for an instructor. Although you will be soon. :) Love the outfit. Sadly, I feel that I was more creative in my attire in my past life when I dressed for work than dressing for teaching. As for the undergrads, at least she approached you individually, albeit erroneously. I had a student hand in his work to my "secretary" and wondered why I didn't get it. "Secretary" = random student sitting at the table outside my office. Undergrads.

July 23, 2010 10:25 AM

Vickie said...

I LOVE this outfit, and have been recently told that pink looks good on me too, so I guess we should wear more of it. I never thought of putting a shirt over a dress either, but this looks great and the belt does tie it all together.

I remember when I bought both of those dresses that a black one would have been perfect, but those were on sale for $10 each and the black one wasn't. Plus I thought buying the exact same dress in 3 colors seemed a bit ridiculous.

And I would say that it's better to be mistaken as the prof than as a student when you actually are the professor. For instance, apparently camp nurses are all old crotchety ladies, and I'm only 17, so how could I be the person you're looking for?

Glad to see you're still enjoying my closet.

Brooke said...

I would have never considering pairing a tee with a dress, but it looks fantastic. I read over the "composition" part of your post twice, trying to figure out why you wrote "dress" and not "skirt" before I realized it is a dress.

I absolutely dress differently as an instructor than I do as a student. One day, after teaching last spring, I didn't have time to change into my 'school' clothes, so I wore my teaching clothes to grad school. A number of people commented on how dressed up I looked, because it is so not me to dress up for school. Yet for teaching, I feel like I need to wear dressy clothes, heels, jewelry, etc. In the school environment, where I get to be the student, I am a jeans and tee shirt, very casual person. I think a lot of my need to dress up to teach is based on the fact that my students are my age, if not a few years younger or older. I am so often mistaken for a student, that at least by dressing nicer, I play the part of instructor more fully.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! Keep 'em coming!

Katie, I don't coordinate my dog's collar to my outfit, but I am guilty of buying him collars that go well with his coloring. That one's orange and brown. And I don't feel like pink fits my personality, but I should consider it more seriously when I'm shopping.

LHdM I'm dying to wear my skinnies with... anything! It has been so hot that all I can do is stare at them. So maybe I'll try it with the purple dress! Thanks!

Kara- LOL at the suggestion that a student thought you had a secretary! That's really funny. And yes, it wouldn't take much to set me apart from my classmates, especially since it's a summer course-- they're all in what I'd consider pajamas and/or gym clothes.

Vickie, glad you approve of this outfit after giving the harsh stamp of disapproval to one of my favorite dresses yesterday! : ) I wish you'd bought the black, too!

Brooke, I know what you mean! I think I wrote in my intro post about how clothes were my tool for looking "older" when I first started teaching high school. And while I have never "dressed down" for grad classes, and people are used to seeing me like this, they still comment on how "dressed up" I am. Sometimes I'm afraid that, at this point, if I wear jeans and a t-shirt, someone will ask me what's wrong! Little do they know that when something's wrong I'm MORE likely to dress UP! : )

And I forgot to say in my post-- Happy Weekend everybody!


A-Dubs said...

Ha! I love that you and the (real) instructor were wearing the same dress! I live in fear of this happening to me (as I haven't been a student now for lo, these long 3 years).

Also, you look lovely and very professorial, IMO.

Rad_in_Broolyn said...

What a cute story. I love the tshirt with the dresss and I would like a similar outfit for a remix challenge, although I don't have many shorter shirts.
I would like to take German classes again too, and sometimes I see flyers for classes in other departments and I get temporarily distracted and think "Queer theory and Anglocaribbean slave narratives? Yes, please!" I would love to be a student again, and I would probably dress as I usually do for casual time (which is pretty young). Even though I am now "in my 30s" I still worry about getting asked my age so I always try to dress more "professory", which is challenging in an urban school where you get students who wear office clothes to class (and sometimes look more professional then me. I don't want to wear a suit!)

From Shrimp to Lobster said...

That is such a great outfit! Pink is a good color on you. And I love that you got mistaken for a professor. Premonition maybe?

I am going to try the shirt over a dress thing!

orchidsinbuttonholes said...

I love the shirt-over-dress look, and that belt is the perfect touch. Such a fantastic, figure-flattering silhouette. And the white and cork wedges go wonderfully with this look. You look fantastic!

Scholar Style Guide said...

Amanda said...

Love, love, LOVE this outfit on you! It is so vibrant and fun and you wear it so well!

July 31, 2010 1:08 AM