My personal sartorial style is, hmm, tailored eclectic. Tailored in that I really do not care for loose, flowing clothes. Leggings and a tunic or big shirt are just not my idea of comfort, and my garments need to have a waist. No idea why, they just do. And sleeves, although that is because 1) the sun and I do not play well and 2) my muscular upper arms do not fit the current definition of attractive. But I’d never given it much thought until after I was hired for a job, and the boss admitted some concern about my personal style, in that some students might fixate on it and write me off.
He needn’t have worried. The students notice nothing, so long as we have clothes on. And even then there are a few who probably wouldn’t realize they’d wandered into a nudist camp so long as “Barb” was still trying to get “Cathy” to drop “John” because “Kelli” wanted to date “John” but he was ignoring her because of track and “Cathy” and did you see what “Larry” wore to the basketball game last week and . . . That’s assuming they looked up from their iThing in time to notice a sky-clad faculty member or fellow student anyway.The only reason this came to mind recently was I flipped through a catalogue and thought “teacher clothes.” Actually, the items in question were closer to little-old-lady clothes now, because I recall grade school teachers wearing them [censored] years ago. You know, jumpers (sleeveless dresses worn over a blouse, with sensible shoes, and often with patch pockets), cotton cardigans (with a chain means you are a librarian), flannel one-piece loose-fitting dresses (often with patch pockets and in plaid) or corduroy versions of same, and corduroy wrap-around skirts. All somewhat tailored, washable, sturdy, not too fancy, and kiddo-resistant.
My closet is, er, hmm. Let’s say that I could be mistaken for my college German professor very easily, except she never wore trousers, and I do. And that was before I hit a sale in Vienna last summer. My skirt suits are all trachten. Most of my jackets are trachten. What isn’t is English country house (moleskin with a touch of tweed), or quasi Victorian. I tend to mix-and-match, unless it is chapel day, when everyone wears church clothes.
Even my working grubbies are not loose-fitting, probably because I know very well what happens when flapping shirt tails or sleeves meet rotating gears or belts. They are not snug (I refuse to wear leggings or skinny pants) but nothing flops or bags.
So, how do I know the students do not notice what I wear? Because I tried an experiment. I was filling in for the theater/film teacher, who had the students watch part of “Sound of Music.” On a whim I wore a trachten jacket that is almost identical to what Captain Van Trapp wears in the middle of the movie. None of the students noticed, nor did any recall the next day what I’d worn.
But that’s probably nothing new. The only teacher that I remember noting their clothing during high school was a math teacher. He wore the same thing every day, having at some point decided that there wasn’t much point in doing otherwise because he had better things to worry about. I suspect he bought five pair of black trousers, five shirts, plus socks and underthings all in one go. He probably had three identical ties, because how many neckties can John R. Highschoolteacher get dirty in a week? Yes, he used a pocket protector. Looking back, I almost wonder if he bought his wardrobe from the same place that outfitted IBM and NASA during the late 1960s – solid shirt (single chest pocket) with narrow black tie. But he was a very, very good math teacher.