As term approaches, I become serious about getting ready for teaching. I tweak my syllabi (four for this fall plus another reading course I’m going to have to map out with my new graduate student). I make a last stab at getting as much research and writing done as possible. I set aside a day to catch up on all the filing. Last but not least, I tackle the weighty concerns of wardrobe.
I’m not a fashionista. Not in any way, shape or form! (My colleagues who might be reading this blog will be nodding in heartfelt agreement at that characterization.) No, my interest in my wardrobe comes from the simple concern of not being the figure of fun I occasionally encountered in high school and university. You know the situation: if this is Tuesday, Professor X must be wearing green. If this is Thursday, we see the grey suit! (And we all know that if this is seen as charmingly eccentric on the part of a male professor, it’s seen as profoundly weird and incompetent on the part of a female academic.)
To this end, I pay attention to my clothing so that I rotate and refresh the wardrobe in such a way as to not become utterly predictable. Or so I hope. Every teaching day, I keep note of what I wore so that I’m not too closely repeating the same outfit when I’m back in the same class. Having a dozen different jackets means never having to say “I’m boring!”
Summer means culling the wardrobe of clothes that needs must be retired. Farewell, beloved boiled wool jacket, wearing out at the elbows. Au revoir, jeans with a nascent rip at the knee. Auf wiedersehen, black and white printed skirt that I never should have bought in the first place!
Summer is also a time for clothing repair and maintenance. I need to take my favourite pair of black winter boots to a shoe repair kiosk in town and get the leaky seams repaired. (This is not so much because I am cheap as because the boots fit remarkably well and have a helpful non-skid sole that’s saved my bacon more than once in winter.) I have a button to replace on a jacket, another on a pair of pants.
Summer also means shopping for new clothes. Since May, I’ve scored five tees, one pair of sandals, a pair of khakis, two skirts, two pairs of yoga pants and a funky print jacket. I have not found the right pair of replacement jeans, yet. My favourite store for dress pants is turning up nothing that fits. I’ve failed utterly in my attempt to find comfortable navy dress shoes. (I may have to retire that lovely pair of navy dress pants for want of suitable footwear. This is galling.)
It certainly doesn’t take as much brainpower as it does to wrangle a syllabus or design a new assignment, but it’s one more bit of preparation I don’t dare neglect. I can’t be the only one. How do you handle the back-to-school wardrobe situation?