Given the importance of this first impression, am I the only one that obsesses at the start of the school year about what to wear on the first day of class, down to what color tie to wear? And I’m curious. Given that professors who don’t naturally look professorial:I think you know what I mean:often have to do extra work to command respect and authority, is it mostly those professors who worry about clothing and first impressions?
At the beginning of every school year for the last 7 years, I have had some variation on this conversation with female colleagues. We discuss good, serious points about the topic and then I usually drag the conversation down to a purely petty level with a discussion my own peeve: open-toed shoes. I don’t think open-toed shoes are appropriate for the classroom. Ever. I don’t care how cute the shoes are. I don’t care how cute the pedicure.
I have colleagues whose judgment I respect a great deal, and they tell me that open-toed shoes are perfectly professional, especially in late August/early September when it’s still very warm. So I suspect that mine is a minority view.
I have to admit gender bias here, too. I really hate seeing my male colleagues’ toes. I don’t want to see my female colleagues’ toes, either, but a little polish goes along way to creating a visual “noise” that I can accept (if not block out) between the end of a new semester and the start of another.
So I know what I won’t be wearing on the first day of class.