No announcement yet.

Clothing for Grad School

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Clothing for Grad School

    I know we have covered some of this so I apologize for any redundancy but my interests are pretty specific and time somewhat short. I start grad school soon and was just awarded a research assistantship that involves being in the schools performing data collection, administering assessments, etc. I need some clothes for when the weather is still warmer.

    I'm thinking of trying some alpha chinos as I found the fit on the D1s awkward. I am also looking for some cotton pants somewhere in between casual chinos and dress trousers in terms of formality. Any recommendations? Im hoping for light grey, khaki, and maybe dark grey. Also do alphas fit true to size? I have plenty of heavier weight pants for fall/winter. I'm hesitant to try bonobos again as I have really disliked everything I've ordered from them.

    When it is still warm I'm thinking mostly polos as I'm not a fan of the chinos and dress shirt alone look. Any recommendations on polos that aren't quite so casual? I've heard those BR luxe ones or whatever are nice.

    I'm quite set in the shoe department but I'm thinking I'll pick up some desert boots as well. Thanks fellas.

    "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano


    Anyone? Thoughts?

    "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano



      greg_s, Mon protégé, you walk a path that I have traveled well. Graduate assistants generally dress poorly. You will stand out in a good way if you wear an outfit as simple as chinos, a button down shirt, and decent shoes. Graduate assistants rarely wear a jacket or a suit.

      My recommendation is to simply dress in a manner that will promote your own confidence. Academia is not a style arena, and you will be well received as long as you appear professional.



        I would concur with our learned friend, bruschetta, on this one. If I'm not mistaken, you're pretty solid on the biz casual from your WIWT, which I think would work great for the RA job as well. I'd also note that academia allows for a bit more experimentation in dress, so feel free to take some chances or go outside your comfort zone on days you aren't meeting with profs or the dean or something.



          Oddly I've posted a bit on this in some other threads today, but I'll give similar thoughts here. I was a grad student for about six years, and I'm now a professor who mainly works with graduate students. If you wear a collared shirt, chinos, and wingtips, you'll be the best dressed guy around. It depends a bit on your field, but the humanities is very, very casual. The upside, as hornsup said, is that no one really cares what you wear, for the most part. I wear suits or coat and tie now when I teach, but your grad student colleagues would think you were weird for dressing that formally. So, my advice in general: no ties, because people get weird about ties for some reason. I think chinos/dress jeans/cords, sport shirts/OCBD, and sweater/corduroy jacket/tweed jacket is a safe bet. You could look slovenly and hardly anyone would care, though. What people DO care about in academia, however, is any affectation of "business-wear" (besides of course, weirdos who worry about you out-dressing them, or you focusing too much on your appearance to the detriment of your work). Looking like a banker -- or anything close -- will likely earn contempt. No pinstripes, no contrast collars, no french cuffs. People freak out about that stuff (at least at three different institutions at which I've studied and worked, I've heard this critique). Perhaps it's warranted, perhaps not, but a lot of people in the humanities at least are worried about the corporatisation of the academy, and so are particularly attuned to things that remind them of Gordon Gekko.



            "the humanities is very, very casual."

            So are most social sciences. Hoodies, lace-up vans and jeans pretty much every day with the occasional sport shirt as well, but I was certainly not the worst offender of my class.

            As far as suggestions go? Club Monaco has short-sleeve button-downs and a variety of polos (including button-down collars) on sale for ~$29 to which you can add a 20% student discount.



              I agree with most of what's been said here. I dressed sloppy business casual while getting an MSLIS recently, and was among the better dressed people at my school. That said, in retrospect neater business casual would not have been bad, and when I went to events (mainly industry conferences) I did and think my appearance was helpful in getting taken seriously. I'd wear what BB said, but include blue blazers.

              I also noticed many professors at a different school at which I interned for a while often wore suits, particularly those in fields like economics, international relations and business. Nothing banker/fancy, but plain gray, brown or blue suits.



                Greg, are you going to be teaching as well? If so, I would definitely dress with class on those days and for the rest of the week I would wear something very casual (especially if you are going to be doing a lot of manual labor, like working in a lab).

                Most grad students wear jeans and t-shirts all the time, and some professors do too :-)



                  Both my Alpha Khakis have fit true to size. I just want to get some boring colors in addition to my GTH colors.

                  And congrats on grad school!!!!



                    Haha thanks NC and everyone. I'm pretty excited to start. I try to stay modest in my daily life, but as this is more anonymous on the Internet I'm going to toot my own horn a bit. I was accepted to the top school in the country for my field (beep beep) so I want to bring a higher degree of professionalism even early on.

                    @Vovan, I may teach later on, but not yet. Mostly research.

                    I ordered a few alphas so we will see how that works out. I will look into Club Monaco for polos. Thanks, Lib.

                    I'm still thinking nicer chukkas or desert boots. Clark's would seem to be the obvious choice but I'm awfully tempted by these:


                    Suede can be a pain in the Midwest. Any suggestions for similar shoes? Or other nicer polo suggestions?

                    "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano



                      Greg, I'm in the same boat, and have been trying to figure out my wardrobe over the past few months (this forum has helped so much)!

                      Personally, I'm more of a button down guy - and if you're going to wear a v neck during the winter months, it looks way better with a button-down. I'm kindof in the same camp as you most of the time, and I'm really not wild about patterned shirts, but it's awesome to have a few really well fitting solids in white and sky. I'm tempted to try Frank & Oak's Polo shirts as they are priced pretty well and look decently slim fitting from their shots online.

                      On the shoe front, I'm going with desert boots, leather drivers and sneakers (in addition to my dress shoes). If you want to avoid suede I'd say definitely either grab a chunkier (but still attractive) pair of more traditionally "dressy" leather shoes (like a more inexpensive alternative to the McTavish or something) or leather drivers. Both get the idea of "dressy casual" across.

                      Also, not to hi-jack this thread, but does anyone know where to get good, not mega-expensive merino V necks? I really, really want 2-3 new sweaters, and I might get one of the cotton/cashmere J Crew Factory sweaters, but I'd love the other to be warm merino...but unfortunately J Crew's regular Merino V's are 74 a sweater. Which isn't ideal. Unless they might go on sale?



                        I remember my first day teaching as a TA... I was wearing a dress shirt, nice pants and a pair of dark red cap toe shoes. The very first question I got from my class was ... what's the occasion?


                        10-20 more of "what's the occasion?" questions later and I had to dress down to avoid hearing it over and over again.

                        That and once I started working in the lab, I ended up spending a decent time on my knees on the floor connecting cables and doing other stuff like that so I quickly realized that jeans or cargo pants and a t-shirt/hoodie combo makes the best grad school outfit ever. Now that I'm out of school, I can FINALLY start wearing something decent :-)

                        Once again, if you are not going to be doing a lot of manual labor, then you might be ok dressing up a little.

                        It also depends on what kind of school you'll be going to. Do you mind telling us? I'm really curious :-)




                          Try Target, Hollister and A&F (I put them in the order of ascending prices).

                          I have a lot of V-necks from Hollister and A&F and I love them! You can get them really cheap if you catch them on sale.



                            I was really young (22) when I taught my first college class (it was my own class, not as a TA), so I tried to bolster my authority by dressing up. Like Vovan, I would sometimes get playful comments from students on being overdressed when I first started teaching. And on days when I had my own coursework immediately after my teaching classes, I felt way overdressed in comparison to my peers (most of whom also taught).

                            This was in the humanities, though, which, as others have said, can be ultra-casual (one of my dissertation committee members would teach class in things like a Pittsburgh Pirates t-shirt or a monochrome denim on denim ensemble). But the moral of the story, for me, is that dressing well doesn't necessarily entail "dressing well," but, rather, dressing appropriately for the context and then distinguishing yourself in subtle ways. What's appropriate for your own grad school context is something you'll quickly discover. I, for example, almost never wore a tie again in grad school after wearing one several times a week my first semester. It's fine to be over- or better-dressed by a rung or two, but much more than that and you start to stand out for the wrong reasons.

                            Good luck and have fun!



                              I was a grad student in clinical psychology for a lot of years, and I had multiple practica, research products, and other placements in elementary schools during that time.

                              The advice I was going to give has already been echoed several times in this thread: if you put ANY effort into looking put-together, you will be a notable exception to the rule. I went to grad school in the deep, deep south, so I am sympathetic to your concerns about climate-appropriate clothing. In my experience with Alpha Khakis (I have four pairs in various colors, only one of them being khaki), they fit like pretty slim jeans. By that I mean that if you buy your normal pant size, they will initially fit unusually tightly, but after a couple of wears, they'll look and feel similar to slim- to skinny-fit jeans.

                              Others may disagree, but given their unusually heavy fabric for chinos, I'd be careful about Alphas where you'll be in school. These things are noticeably thicker/"tougher" than most of the chinos I've ever owned. See if you can find some cotton/linen-blend khakis -- if they fit right, those would serve you very well in warm weather. Along similar lines, thanks to GQ, this site, and other places, I learned this year that I'm allowed to go sockless in the summer, as long as I'm wearing the right shoes (i.e., drivers/boat shoes/loafers). This has paid massive dividends for my comfort.

                              As for polo shirts, my best advice would be to look through some of Joe's posts on the subject (there have been many within the past few months). Personally, I've enjoyed fitted Express Signature Polos, but it would appear that those have disappeared from their website in favor of ONLY logoed polos. The BR polos to which you refer need to be tried on in-person -- I have never owned any of them because they didn't quite work for me, fit-wise. I'd be hard-pressed to explain exactly what was wrong with them; they just didn't look/feel right on me.

                              I'd strongly urge you to consider some of the J. Crew Factory polos, particularly those with words like "washed" in their names ( ). Again, your mileage may vary, but in my experience, some of those have been nice, economical options that feel great in hot weather.