Thursday, October 19, 2006

Public personae

I'm going off to another school to give a workshop talk tomorrow afternoon, as I've mentioned before a couple times now.

I just learned that they're going to videotape the presentation; the organizer suggested that we should wear pastels.

I don't think I own anything pastel, well, maybe one Hawaiian pattern looking shirt in light blue. I have black, plenty of black and even some grey, which usually suits pretty darned well for academic occasions short of regalia. But pastel?

My sense of fashion at this time of the year runs rather heavily toward long johns under whatever shirts are clean, and then a sweater over. But it's a little past Hawaiian pattern light cotton shirt time, isn't it? There's probably some fashion rule about such things.

It wouldn't matter so much, except that my fashion faux pas will be forever preserved on film.

My talk? I'm at a semi-final draft by now, getting some fine-tuning feedback from colleagues. But the clothing anxiety is now at full throttle.

My ability to appear publicly presentable provides challenges on a daily basis, but nonetheless, I've been asked to represent the department at a public function next week. This may sound like quite the honor, but the fact is, I have regalia, and that was the main qualifier. I've been trying to talk all my colleagues into wanting to go in my stead, even offering to lend out my regalia (complete with gold piping! GOLD PIPING people!), because it's basically a one tent fits all sort of clothing. So far, people are saying no, sometimes more, sometimes less amusingly. I need to learn to say that word more quickly!

Anyone in the Northwoods want to parade around in regalia? I'll even let you borrow my tam!!!


  1. Why pastels? Doesn't that wash a person out on camera? I think every year on picture day at school they told us to wear dark or bright colors. They used to say that at Owen Mills too! I think it's strange that you should be asked to wear pastels (especially this late in the year) - is it because you're a woman? Hmmmm....perhaps I read too much into this....

    On another note - I too have a tam from my school! They're so much more fun than mortar boards - very de Medici!

  2. Do not wear pastels--most people can't (and shouldn't) wear pastels, and whatever the organizer may be thinking, they won't show up well on camera. (Plus, the idea of the panel looking like a bunch of Easter eggs is, well, appalling.)

    Bright, strong colors DO look good on camera and in person--jewel tones, like emerald green, cobalt blue, magenta and that kind of thing--and maybe that's what the organizer was thinking. Or maybe she just likes pastels.

    Point is, grey is a safe, professional choice that won't wash you out, make you look like a corpse, or remind everyone in an unfortunate way of the 1980s (when I myself had an entire wardrobe of lilac, girly pink, and powder blue). Go with grey.