Inspired by the sartorial choices in the new Netflix series The Chair, we asked Chronicle readers, among other things, what you wear to campus, if the pandemic changed your fashion choices, and of course, your stance on elbow patches. You gave us a closet full of answers.

Is the stereotypical professor wearing a camel-colored sweater — or gray tweed jacket — with big chestnut or black elbow patches? Turns out, many faculty members prefer their own look, at least according to a Chronicle questionnaire with more than 460 respondents.

Here’s what some of you told us.

Illustrations by Barry Blitt for The Chronicle

What do you wear to campus?

“Jewel-toned silk charmeuse blouses tucked into gray or black pencil skirts. In cooler weather, cashmere sweaters.” —Joy Castro, professor of English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln

“Button-down shirt, Wrangler blue jeans, and boots.” —James Eldridge, kinesiology professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin

“Dockers, golf shirt, or shirt with sweater.” —Jim McHugh, political-science professor at the University of Akron

“Lots of dresses, heels, and full makeup. I work in an engineering department and want to stand out from the khakis and button-down shirts worn by my colleagues. I also want to signal to young women in the program that if you identify as a feminine woman, you don’t have to hide that femininity to be an engineer.” —Nancy Barr, professor of practice, engineering communication at Michigan Technological University

Has the pandemic changed your choices?

“Ties and jacket were dropped because they could not be home laundered.” —John M. Perkins, reference-services librarian at Mercer University School of Law

ProfessorClothing-0825 profwear1crop.jpg

“Have added fun masks (dogs, aliens, etc.).” —Stephanie Kolitsch, director of accreditation at the University of Tennessee at Martin

“I tend not to wear many bright colors or patterns. After the pandemic, I am looking for something brighter and happier.” —Larissa Larsen, chair of urban and regional planning and associate professor at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

What’s your favorite piece of clothing or accessory to teach in? What about for research?

My research go-to is an oversized men’s hoodie. I’m a humanist, and libraries are COLD.” —Sarah Ferrario, associate professor and chair of Greek and Latin at Catholic University

“For teaching, it’s footwear — I love shoes (and boots), and I favor four-inch heels. For research, I have a large collection of linen clothes (bright but modest) for hot climates.” —Beth Dougherty, professor of international relations at Beloit College

“Bow tie for teaching.” —Jim Moore, associate professor and director of political outreach at Pacific University

Do you have a “lucky” piece of clothing?

“A forest-green suede shirt: It’s been loved for years.” —Patricia Taylor, graduate school and fellowship adviser at Marist College

“I used to have a red plastic pendant watch with a human(ish)-looking face. His name was Mr. Boethius. The students and I all spoke to him.” —Kathryn Lynch, English professor at Wellesley College

“Purple Dr. Martens.” —Wendy Christensen, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at William Paterson University

“Greek evil eye earring.” —Christopher Richter, professor at Hollins University

Do you own a piece of clothing with elbow patches?


Not on your life. In the English Department we avoid clichés at all costs.” —Regina Flynn, associate professor of English at Salem State University
“Yes — as a satire, because it’s such a cliché.” —Teri Balser, provost at the University of Calgary

“No — my wife won’t let me.” —Benjamin Wilson, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Tampa

“Sport coat. Sometimes enjoy the stereotype.” —Stephen Preacher, dean of the Benson School of Business at Southern Wesleyan University

The cartoonist and illustrator Barry Blitt won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, Rolling Stone, and The Atlantic, in addition to The Chronicle.