What (Not) To Wear

A typically entertaining find and follow-up comment from Peter Black on his Freedom to Differ blog, about the dress sense (or lack of sense) of law professors (or in our way of doing things, law lecturers!). Read the post here. Peter cites a whimsical article that I too spotted and had a good giggle at – Law School Attire: A Call for a Uniform Uniform Code by Eric Jensen (download it here).

Peter says (edited by me):

When I studied law at the University of Queensland, I think every lecturer I had wore a tie on the days when they were lecturing, but they didn’t feel the need to wear a tie when they weren’t teaching or if they only had tutorials on that day. Of course, some wore a tie every day (generally some of the older members of staff and some of the professors) … When I took up an appointment at [QUT], I followed the example set years earlier at the University of Queensland, so I wore a suit and tie when I was lecturing, but was happy to discard the tie on days when I only had tutorials or was not teaching at all. I persisted with this approach for my first semester of teaching, before realising no-one else seemed to adopt this approach … since then I usually wear trousers (occasionally even jeans) with a shirt (frequently quite bright, usually designed by Tommy Hilfiger). I wouldn’t say I’m the most casually dressed member of the staff – indeed far from it (I can think of one colleague who seems to only ever wear jeans and a t-shirt)…

It’s a point that interests me a lot as I make the slow transition from law student to law teacher and law researcher (although, like Peter, being involved in the ‘trendy’ area of cyberlaw means that we must also note our own true uniform). Even contemporaries and colleagues around me differ in their practice – some arrive in suit and tie for the tutorial teaching that most PhD students engage in, others in super-casual t-shirt etc. (I tend to fall somewhere in the middle, and don’t like to wear ties). On the other hand, we in Ireland and the UK are spared the dilemna of many other law lecturers and wannabe lecturers around the world, in that we don’t have the issue of looking professional in hot weather (cause we don’t get hot weather worth planning for!).

Oh, and Peter has a poll too, so vote in it. I wonder if the modern recommendation has a fashion section…

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