WIW: professorial

The semester just started, and even though I’m not teaching, campus is bustling and I suddenly have all sorts of meetings. And - the big update - I am staying here, upgraded to an actual faculty job. I haven’t signed anything yet but I have the offer letter, at long last, so I’ll just count it as done.

So, I’m trying to shift from my jeans-and-tee uniform to a slightly more polished look. When I joined YLF I wore nicer clothes, but I drifted back to casual. My long stretch of interviews left me with quite a large professional wardrobe that I rarely wear. Now's my chance to make use of it.

I don’t have photos of most days, but my ‘grownup’ outfits have included two of my silk shirts, my dressier flared jeans, and my favorite new pointed flats. I wanted to make a good impression at the welcome lunch for new grad students, a lunch meeting with another new professor, and similar events.

Today, to meet with someone who is a bit of a direct competitor in my research area, I wore a power outfit I really like:
- deconstructed shirt by Milly (the tiny shoulder cutouts make me a little uncomfortable at work)
- R13 boy skinny jeans (my only remaining low rise skinnies, but they are a timeless rock n roll look)
- Zara cowboy boots (very comfortable despite heel height)

I’m going to try to keep up this trend of wearing my professional clothes for daily work life!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Joyce B replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the faculty job! That is great news. Now you have a lot of clothing from all your interviews but at least you are sorted.
    Fab power outfit, too.

  • Elle replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations!  That's wonderful news.

    I love your power outfit agree that it's a good idea to wear your new professional clothes.  They add authority and, more importantly, aren't gathering dust in your closet.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    I should say that I don't think this outfit itself is professorial, per se, but my overall mindset this week is! I wouldn't wear this shirt to teach, I think.

  • Jaime replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the new status on campus! Great look for the stylish scientist!

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Love it ! Congrats ! It’s nice you’ll still be here to dish local fashion with me ;)

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Greyscale, congratulations! You will impress everyone. I love how you stay true to your style. You will be an inspiration to students and everyone who meets you. You are awesome

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    Well done - great news!!

    I totally agree - wear your gorgeous new pieces and move to a more elevated/polished version of your existing style.  I don't see it as a big shift and I am sure your shirts, boots, blazers and knitwear will all work in easily.

    IMO - it is having only one casual piece per look - eg sneakers with black pants, or jeans with leather boots, or a cotton tee under a blazer....

  • Jessikams replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations! That’s huge, an upgrade to faculty. So many universities are skimping and using more and more adjunct labor! Bravo.

    And bravo to the power outfit, too. Kicking ass.

  • Jane replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations and I wish you well in your new role. I like your professorial style! It is well considered and absolutely true to your style. And, your hair too adds extra edge and style. 

  • Lucy replied 5 years ago

    Wow, big congratulations, what a huge achievement. I'm so pleased for you.
    And (less importantly), YLF.
    I personally think the shirt would be great for teaching as long as the rest of the outfit was sedate and professional. I'm Faculty in the Humanities, and I'd wear it.

  • jussie replied 5 years ago

    Congrats! Your power outfit looks fantastic on you.

  • elpgal replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations, Professor!

  • replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations.  This is wonderful news!!!  

  • Toban replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations! I love the outfit and those shoes. Definitely keep intermixing your more professorial interview clothes into your day-to-day work life. It helps give you both a mental and physical transition into your new role.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    KILLER shirt, and you look adorable. CONGRATS. 

  • cindysmith replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the permanent position! Love the outfit, boots are KILLER

  • UmmLila (Lisa) replied 5 years ago

    Great news ... and great look!

  • Style Fan replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations!!!  I love your shirt.  You always look fabulous.  

  • viva replied 5 years ago

    Such great news!!! Congratulations! And I love this power look: you're a scientist I'd love to learn from because you look so creative.

  • gradfashionista replied 5 years ago

    Congrats—that’s wonderful news!! Love the vibe of this outfit.

  • chouette22 replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for the update - I was wondering what had come of the big round of interviews. Congratulations, this is fabulous news! Just like Jessikams said, getting a full-time faculty position is tough these days (and I am so glad I have one as well). Pretty much every time a full-timer retires at our school, the position gets replaced by adjunct professors (and it's really hard making a living as an adjunct). Are you happy to stay? Would you have liked to move to the East Coast or elsewhere?

    Like Lucy above, I would wear that fab shirt in my Humanities classroom without a hesitation. 

  • Lynn replied 5 years ago

    Very exciting news- congrats Greyscale. It will be fun to see how your style evolves. 

  • DeAnna replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations! So happy for you.

  • Bijou replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the new job - I love this power outfit, you look killer stylish and a little intimidating (in the best way possible)!

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations!!! I’m so glad it’s all worked out so well for you. :)

    And yay for wearing your interview clothes!

  • replied 5 years ago

    Fantastic look - and all you need to do is toss a blazer over it for teaching days .  That blouse is beyond great.  

  • Christina F. replied 5 years ago

    You look great! And congrats on the position!!!

  • gryffin replied 5 years ago

    Congrats!!  That's awesome!!  Love the outfit, you look polished, professional and edgy in the best way.  Booties are great.  Wish I could tolerate that heel height.  Wonderful outfit!

  • Katerina replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations! And what a great power outfit! Amazing shirt and boots.

  • Greenjeans replied 5 years ago

    Yay, Greyscale!  This look is still very you, just upgraded a bit.  I love it.  

  • LaPed replied 5 years ago

    Wow, congrats! This outfit is superb -- very pulled-together and current, without sacrificing personality.

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations!  Amazing outfit!  Wearing all your new professional clothes sounds like a fun challenge.

  • kkards replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations!! that's wonderful.

    and the boots...love!

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 5 years ago

    That's a great outfit. I'm inspired by your power outfit, done your way. Congratulations on the position!

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Thanks, everyone!

    chouette22, I am pretty excited to be staying in the SF area -- my partner is about to go up for tenure here and my social universe here is large and interesting. I'm a tiny bit sad not to be moving back to New England where my family lives, but maybe later in my career.

    Teaching is going to be a big transition. The faculty jobs I was looking at mostly have very low teaching requirements in exchange for very high research expectations. My partner only teaches two months per year (and that provides full 9 month salary, for those of you who are in this game)! And that's the sort of job I thought I was preparing for. But I'm going to be in a different department with a slightly higher teaching load - still mainly focused on research, but I'll be teaching every semester. It'll be fun though. (She says, nervously.)

  • chouette22 replied 5 years ago

    You'll get used to it. And remember, it is also fun having an audience for our style! I put quite a bit of thought into my teaching outfits, no doubt. Several students have remarked on Ratemyprofessor.com that they love my fashion sense! :)

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    I am so glad ratemyprofessor finally ditched the ridiculous chili pepper.

    Last time I TAed, the evals included a comment about my cool purple shoelaces. That was 15 years ago (yikes) and it's funny to remember that I wore only two pairs of shoes back then: Converse in the summer, Dr Martens in the winter. Not such a bad plan actually.

  • bj1111 replied 5 years ago

    congrats on the job and the use of fashion to signal and intimidate the competition!

    are you tenure track?  hopefully, your teaching is explicitly part of your overall evaluation in addition to your academic productivity.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations! That's wonderful about the job, and I'm glad you don't have to move right now. Fantastic outfit, too. 

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Bj1111, yup, tenure track! And they do care about teaching in my evaluation, more than my previous department, although research output and grant money are still the main criteria.

  • bj1111 replied 5 years ago

    So awesome and well deserved.

  • Windchime replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the faculty position; that’s fabulous! You must be incredibly happy and relieved.
    Great outfit, too.

  • Kathie replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the position! Great reason to wear your more dressy pieces and enjoy them.

  • JAileen replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations! Love your boots!

  • Jenni NZ replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations Professor Greyscale! So exciting you could stay there. Although your family must feel very far away. I love your new look, so true to you and yet up a notch. Glad the new boots are working out.
    What is a TA- is it maybe a teaching assistant? And I don't understand what tenure track and adjunct professors are. Perhaps naively I have always assumed that people I saw who worked in academia as lecturers/senior lecturers/associate professors/professors earned well. My uncle was an Associate Professor when I was growing up and in my twenties in 60s/70s/early 80s and they always had more money than us where Dad was a clerk and Mum a primary school teacher. Still, different country, different time...
    And back to fashion, YLF!

  • Marilyn replied 5 years ago


    That shirt is AMAZING. It's got so much character.

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 5 years ago

    Make a good impression? The offer letter says you’ve already done that. <3 But I agree with you on stepping up your attire to matched your stepped up role. The slits in that shirt, IMO, make it even more of a power outfit, because they show you aren’t cowed in the least.

    Congrats on the new position and have a great semester!

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Jenni - there's a wide range of careers and salaries for college/university positions, here, and I know some of the titles vary internationally.

    * I'll be an assistant professor on the tenure track, meaning that in six years, the university decides if I'll stay permanently. I'm at a large university and in a technical field; these research-focused jobs are very desirable. Unfortunately there are far more qualified candidates than openings (thus the stress of the job search, and the decade I spent in postdoctoral 'training' positions!).

    * There are also some positions called lecturer or instructor that are purely teaching but have stable employment and salaries that range from primary school teachers to my own salary. (This is different from the UK system where lecturer is a step on the faculty ladder, not a separate career path like it is here.)

    * There is an unfortunate trend in the US of shifting the teaching onto adjunct faculty who are paid badly, usually per-course instead of full-time employment with benefits (health insurance etc). This system takes advantage of a mismatch in supply and demand, especially in the humanities. There are very few permanent faculty jobs in, say, history, and there are a lot of folks with PhDs in history who are hoping that they'll hit the jackpot if they just spend a few more years scraping together a living.

    (Yes, TA is teaching assistant.)

  • Jenni NZ replied 5 years ago

    Thank you for explaining Greyscale. I hope then that your tenure track is successful. I am sorry to hear of people with PhDs "scraping together a living". After all that work!
    You will be a stylish Prof!

  • Beck replied 5 years ago

    I'm a US-trained academic working in Australia, so I can translate: US "Assistant professor" = Aus/NZ "lecturer", although in Australia and New Zealand the probation period (US pre-tenure period) is shorter -- between 1 and 3 years (mostly 3). Here our adjuncts are called "sessional staff" or "casual staff" and the problem is as bad or worse, at least in my area of the arts/humanities :/ The American "teaching assistant" position is equivalent to our "tutor".

  • Jenni NZ replied 5 years ago

    Thanks Beck and sorry for highjacking the thread!

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