I\’m Too Sexy for My Master\’s Thesis


fashion and the grad student

Posted in scholarship by Rae on 16 August 2006

When getting dressed for my thesis defense, I wasn’t sure what to wear as I live in a hot place. I wanted to combine cute with professional without wearing clothes that would leave me soaked with sweat. I think my choice of dressy, sateen tank top (in avocado green) with unlined, designer wool pants (black with off-white pin stripes) and sleek flip flops (in spicy orange) worked out well. Plus, I used my new, big boho bag that fit everything I needed (including a cardigan in case the a/c was up too high).

Honestly, though, I could have worn my frumpiest outfit and still looked stellar compared to most of the people who mill about the History department. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a coincidence that most grad students and professors have no fashion sense, or if it is some kind of prerequisite for serious scholarship. I’m not saying everyone should look like a fashionista, but people shouldn’t look askance at a student or professor who puts together a nice outfit. Looking hot should not cancel out genius.

So there.

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5 Responses to 'fashion and the grad student'

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  1. Brett said,

    Sometimes I wonder if it’s a coincidence that most grad students and professors have no fashion sense, or if it is some kind of prerequisite for serious scholarship.

    Oh yeah … didn’t they tell you that when you signed up? Luckily, I was already well-prepared …

  2. Kristen said,

    I too feel out of place periodically because I like fashion and enjoy dressing up for just the everyday. I live in the Midwest where a number of the grad students wear jeans and sloppy T-shirts everyday, so I stand out when I wear cute dark jeans, a cami, and a shrug. I feel your pain…just because I have fashion sense doesn’t mean that I’m shallow! Speaking of fashion sense, have you been watching Project Runway? If not, I would highly recommend it!

  3. Rachel said,

    Thanks for your comment, Kristen! I was in the South (woohoo! past tense!), where people (almost everyone) looked sloppy and some (a few) looked like they were straight out of some so-so catalog. Now I’m in Europe where almost everyone looks fabulous or is too poor to own more than two okay outfits.

    I’ve watched Project Runway in the past. Those judges annoy me, though, and I’m still upset that Santino didn’t win! Even so, I haven’t yet figured out the tv situation here. There’s a lot of US programming, but it’s usually delayed.

  4. Kristen said,

    Where are you studying in Europe? I did a study-abroad program at Oxford while I was in college, and coincidentally, at that point in time I was a Europeanist studying Jewish history and anti-Semitism during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Even though I have since switched to American history, I enjoy hearing about current research on Jewish history!

  5. Rachel said,

    My husband and I have actually moved to Europe (Tallinn, Estonia) for work. My husband just finished law school and is now an attorney here in Tallinn, and I am working for Unbridled Books as a web marketer and web manager. I am also writing, editing, and designing some websites on a freelance basis. One of the universities here has a doctoral program in Book History that I’ve been eying, but I’d need to learn Estonian first (I think). It’s an extremely difficult language to learn, but I’m currently looking into my options. Not a whole lot going on here re: Jewish Studies, though there is a linguistics professor I know here who wrote her dissertation on Yiddish in Estonia, and Finland and Sweden have some Jewish Studies programs. I’ve been thinking about participating in the Vilnius Yiddish Summer Program for several years, but now it’s a more realistic possibility. We’ll see…


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