Professor fashion shows range in classroom
Posted May 19, 2006

High-water pants, Hawaiian shirts and hippie sandals are the fashion norms for many professors at the University of La Verne.

Some teachers are stuck in their own era and students are finding this quite distracting.

With the ever-changing fashion world, students do not expect their professors to keep up with trends, but some sense of style in the classroom would be nice.

“They need to use their money to buy new clothes,” said Michelle Flamenco, a junior speech communications major. “They need to dress more professional, especially at a private institution.”

Despite these claims, there are a few professors that manage to keep up with student standards.

Freshman legal studies major Zara Cardoso says Professor of English Renee Scariano-Willers has a nice sense of style that many students respond to.

She is dressed in the latest trends and Cardoso admits to looking forward to seeing what she is wearing when she comes to class.

Another teacher that gets a lot of attention is Associate Professor of Political Science Gitty Amini.

“She is really cool and wears business casual,” said Brent Rawson, a junior history major. “I think it is very appropriate for the class setting.”

A comfortable classroom environment is hard to come by and some teachers feel it necessary to dress less intimidating and more down to earth.

“Prior to class I change from my suit to jeans to be more comfortable and accessible to the students and reduce psychological distance,” said Steve O’Sullivan, a part-time journalism professor at ULV and the general publisher of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Maybe professors think more about their wardrobe than students realize.

Dressing casually for class may also be a way of opening a communication between students and teachers.

“I personally don’t believe in displays ?of rank,” O’Sullivan added.

There is the possibility that an overdressed professor can be as bad as an underdressed one.

There is the possibility that an overdressed professor can be as bad as an underdressed one. Student interaction in class may deplete if a professor dresses in a suit and tie to intimidate. However there are some departments on campus, like business, where over dressing is part of the classroom experience and is completely acceptable. But if a biology teacher comes to class in a business suit, students may get the wrong impression.

To sum it up, professors should focus on looking put-together and clean cut, rather than sloppy.

“The way they dress and the way they present themselves reflects how much they care about the class and what they are teaching,” said Erica Holmes, a junior liberal studies major.

Dressing for class does not have to involve a tie, but it does involve spending a couple more minutes in front of the mirror each morning thinking about an outfit. Professors are the fountains of knowledge from which students drink, and they deserve a certain amount of respect.

Business casual dressing may be the ticket to a more interactive classroom environment and a more respectful student body.

“If professors dress pretty and maintain themselves students would be more interested in learning. If they don’t dress well you don’t want to pay attention to their lectures,” said Rati Santakey, a freshman film production major.

Katie Hillier can be reached at

?Kristen Chocek can be reached at kristenchocek@

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