Professional Clothes: The Expectation

I just reread Karen Kelsky’s The Professor is In, a book all about how to land the tenure track job at the end of the grad school tunnel (cannot recommend this enough, also has useful tips about leaving academia). I forgot that not only is Karen Kelsky a career genius she is also full of clothing tips on everything you need for the campus visit. Here’s her list:

-a suit (dress or pants for women) in a traditional color (she says she prefers gray, but black can be ok as long as you break up the severity with a lighter shirt)

-reasonable heels (no more than 3 inches, pick a wedge or a block heel) or flats (in separate convos on her website she concurs with some readers that pointy toed flats tend to look sharper, other readers also expressed disdain for flats with bows on them..)

-a top that requires no tugging or re-tucking (avoid silk, it rides up) no buttons that will betray you by popping open (this actually just made me think of avoiding buttons all together instead of messing with safety pins or fabric tape)

-the above outfit is to be worn on the job talk day of the campus visit. the second day (if you’re on a two day interview) is not as discussed. I thought I’d throw together some second day outfits I’ve seen candidates come through in below:

Anyway, all of this talk about campus interview clothes is awesome, but it has me doing the math on the cost…and realizing there’s no way I can buy this all retail. For that reason, Kelsky suggests thrifting! Which she doesn’t give as many tips on, but is a goal of mine for 2018 (more thrifting, less retail). So this week I’ll be posting a bit more about what I’ve thrifted and how I’ve found the good stuff. I love this list though and it really helps me to remember that to start a “professional” wardrobe right out of the grad school the first step is just to get 2 outfits together so you can rock any interviews that come your way.

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