Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Day of School!

Earlier Drafts:
I styled this dress six different ways last week, and I wore this jacket during black-out week and with a printed skirt.

eyeglasses (Kate Spade)
black shift dress (H&M)
red short sleeved jacket (via sister's closet)
Vickie, please note that I've created a tag for this per your request : )
black leather wedges (Lauren by Ralph Lauren)

Last week, when I showed you several different ways of wearing this dress, I was kept this look in reserve because I'd decided I wanted to wear it on the first day of teaching.  I knew I wanted a fairly simple outfit for my first day, and I knew it would have to work in the heat, so wearing the only short sleeve jacket in my house was a logical choice.  Once I paired it with this versatile, simple sheath,  I felt polished, professional, and like me, which is exactly the combination I was hoping to achieve.  The jacket requires a belt, but otherwise I tried to keep the styling fairly minimal.

Naturally, it also had to be a glasses day.  I've said before that I feel more comfortable in my glasses in academic situations, but I also think that glasses give off a distinct "academic" vibe, so I made sure to wear them so that even freshmen who are untrained in recognizing instructors would know to take me seriously.  : )

My first day with my class went well, I think.  I had some nervous jitters about returning to the classroom for the first time in two years, and donning an outfit in which I felt confident was one way of helping me soothe my own nerves.  Once I got up in front of the classroom and started talking to the students, I felt right at home again.  I hope the outfit conveyed the "I'm an authority figure" vibe, though, because I was a lot more friendly than I normally am on the first day.  I generally like to abide by the "don't smile until Thanksgiving" approach (okay, I don't wait that long to lighten up, but you get the idea), but today I failed miserably at projecting a stern, serious attitude.  I think I was just too excited to be teaching again to execute an all-business demeanor.  Hopefully that doesn't backfire on me in the upcoming weeks.  And, in case you were wondering, I gave them the option of calling me Liz or Ms. Lastname, and they seemed to respond positively to being given the option.  Thanks again for your suggestions on that topic!

If you're interested in what other instructors and students are wearing for their own first days of school, check out the list of participants Fashionable Academics has compiled for their Back to School Conference.  And if you have something in your closet that you have been utilizing in a lot of different ways, as I've been doing with this sheath dress, please consider participating in our upcoming Wardrobe Workhorse Week!  We'd love to hear what accessories and items of apparel work best in your wardrobe.

  • Fellow teachers: Does your style of dress and/or your attitude remain constant for every class, or are you stricter in dress or behavior near the beginning of the semester? 
  • How far above the knee do you go when you're going to be in front of a class?  This is borderline too short for me, but since I think the dress is great, I'm going with it.  One inch shorter and I think I'd have a problem on my hands.


Iris said...

I love this first day of school outfit. You look really put together and authoritative but, still approachable and stylin'

Anonymous said...

I love it! The power red is a great first day touch.....and I agree about the skirt length.
Glad the day went well and that you are happy to be back in front of the classroom....

La Historiadora de Moda said...

You look fantastic! I definitely relax in my dress and demeanor after the first few weeks of the semester. Unfortunately, students form an opinion of a class and its instructor very early on (usually within the first week), so setting the tone is crucial.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks ladies! It occurs to me after the fact that I might have been subconsciously channeling a Scandinavian woman I met and talked with about clothing at the conference I attended in April. She wore essentially the reverse of this ensemble- red dress with black cropped coat- and she told me that in her culture female academics wear red because it's associated with good luck.

LHdM, I'm glad to hear you think it's a first week thing, actually, instead of just the first class. I think I did a better job of being authoritative today. I also gave them a pretty big homework assignment on the first day of class, so maybe that plus this outfit will counteract my initial cheeriness.


Brooke said...

You look so teacher-like!! I really like that outfit. I need something like that to really convey my teacher-ness.

On a different note, I'm always so envious to read that you feel 'comfortable' in those types of clothes. I'd very much prefer to stand up and teach in gym clothes or jeans and a tee shirt. I always can't wait to get home and hop into my leggings and tees. Have you always felt comfortable dressed up, or did you adapt to it? I'm hoping I'll adapt soon!

Scholar Style Guide said...

Great question r.e. comfort, Brooke. I'll tackle that one after we get done with WWW!