I know it's not exactly the season for this sort of issue anymore, but this piece by a law prof in Inside Higher Ed's got me thinking again about how academics dress. I'm actually one for profs dressing reasonably well to teach, and that obviously goes for candidates in interview and job-talk situations too. But something was really rubbing me the wrong way about this clown's finger-wagging defense of wearing tie and creased pants to teach. Part of it was the patent vacuity of his "arguments". ("The tie is important because it’s always been important; its importance makes it important." Got that?) I mean, I think the author thinks this is funny. Tough to say, though.
But the real problem was, the guy's got no actual fashion sense. He pretty plainly hasn't passed his eyes over the cover of a GQ while waiting in the grocery store check-out line since at least 1978. Get a load of this: "For men, Fussell’s default rule works: “You can’t go wrong with the classic navy blue blazer and khakis”." A "classic" navy blazer and khakis? Seriously? This is supposed to be advice for academics? But that's Mr. Howell, asshat, not the Professor.