Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Lite

From the Well Dressed Librarian, who has an on-again, off-again relationship with the AL:

"Why not start a thread on holiday sweaters, and how they are taking away the 'professionalism' in our system by making fat ladies look like bedazzled clowns'?"

And now it's up to you, dear readers.

Oh, and have a great weekend. I know I will.


Ed Crank -- Librarian said...

Gosh, I am glad I am accessed on my sartorial expressions and on my sexual identity.

I would really hate working in a job where my knowledge of how to catalog information, classify information, answer reference questions, create meaningful and easy to use web pages, create meaningful and easy to use databases, etc....

I am glad that if I have a tie and matching hanky and wave my sexual identity in ever ones face I am doing my job.

Anonymous said...

I've wondered if there is a conspiracy between this company and the ALA.

Stacey said...

Why not simply say that NO ONE looks good in bedazzled holiday-themed sweaters, I don't care if you're rail thin or Jabba the Hutt.

Same goes for jersey knit pants. Unless you're going to yoga or to bed, they are not a fashion statement.

Therefore, what I want to know is why all of the above is technically OK by dress code policies at my library, but wearing tasteful dark rinse blue jeans is not -- even on a Friday. Black denim, sure. Pink (or other color) denim, go to town. Any shade of blue...HORROR!

Fashion-Beleaguered Librarian

Lola said...

how exactly does one wave their sexual identity in someone's face? is that like being a stripper?

Brent said...

If sweaters are good for making a library more green-friendly library, then as librarians, we must wear clownish sweaters.

j- said...

Oh no, another thread about clothes. Soon some anonymous yahoo is going to show up and accuse AL of turning this once robust intellectual forum into a meat market.

WDL said...

ed cranky, you can do all of those things AND look good.

i run an entire library alone - i wasn't hired because i'm cute. though that may have played a part in it.

if you have a tie, and a hanky it is a bonus. and i'm sure you don't have to wave your sexuality identity in everyones face. i'm sure you are just as butch and masculine as old spice aftershave.

Anonymous said...


EVERYONE is judged on how they look. I don't care how qualified, smart, wonderful someone is. If they look unkempt or dowdy, people will judge them for that, consciously or unconsciously. It happens to everyone, no matter what the profession. Unless someone is strictly a telecommuter and they do all their work from home in their pajamas without ever leaving the house.

Anonymous said...

Is that ed crank as in "cranky" or crank as in the drug? Or both?

Ed Crank -- Librarian said...

I dress professionally, but not as a fop.

When someone dresses too much for the job, whether that be with a silk pocket hanky with matching ascot or Bedazzled holiday sweater, you have got to start wondering what they are covering up in their job performance.

Crank as is in personality, not drugs.

Lola said...

so someone that likes clothes (be it holiday sweaters or ties) can't be good at their job? what kind of assumption is that?

Anonymous said...

The assumption is that the person is too tied up in the holiday and celebrations than in their work.

Kendra K. said...

How many librarians really wear jeweled sweaters? Around where I work, most of the poorly dressed librarians wear unsightly homemade sweaters, weird semi-new age frocks, or dirty jeans and t-shirts.

I'm not really one to talk, because I still wear the hipster staple- the hooded sweatshirt. Nobody cares that it's over a a nice polo-shirt. Luckily, I'll never be the worst dressed at a meeting.

Anonymous said...

Librarians wear what they can afford.

Pay us more and we'll be able to invest in our appearances.

Anonymous said...

Unless you are a children's librarian and entertaining clothing is required or if you work in the back cleaning off really old books, there is not excuse for not coming to work in a suit and tie (for the male librarian) and the appropriate business attire (for the female librarian -- look at what female politicians wear for a clue).

Anything less and you are a slob and give the profession a bad name.

Can you imagine an attorney going to court in a hoodie and flip-flops?

Librarians wonder why they don't get paid more and get more respect. It starts with respecting yourself and showing that you care to the whole world.

Until that day comes, people will always snicker at the dowdy librarian and the hippy guybrarian.

Anonymous said...

"Pay us more and we'll be able to invest in our appearances."

You can dress very professionally on a very tight budget.

Especially if you blow $150 on a pair of jeans.

Anonymous said...

"there is not excuse for not coming to work in a suit and tie (for the male librarian) and the appropriate business attire (for the female librarian -- look at what female politicians wear for a clue).

Anything less and you are a slob and give the profession a bad name.

Can you imagine an attorney going to court in a hoodie and flip-flops?"

Great suggestion. Business people. Lawyers. Politicians. Definitely groups of people I want to model my life after.

j- said...

*Unless you are a children's librarian and entertaining clothing is required or if you work in the back cleaning off really old books, there is not excuse for not coming to work in a suit and tie *

There's so much wrong with this statement that I do not know where to begin--let's just throw some stuff out here:

People clean books in your library?
The only dirty books are in "the back"?
People clean the library itself? I've worked at libraries that seem to be held together only by the dust.
How much does it cost to clean toner out of a suit jacket?
Many librarians, if they wore a suit to work, would be woefully out of place vis-a-vis the building itself, which is either a 100 year-old crumbling Carnegie castle, a 40 year-old strip mall or a 40 year-old Cold War fortress with no windows painted entirely in instutitional green.
Plus, suits aren't that warm. They heat the library where you work?

Anonymous said...

Look like the hired help.

Get paid like the hired help.

Get treated like the hired help.

WDL said...

My point isn't that people who wear holiday/bedazzled sweaters aren't good librarians & can't do their jobs right - My point is I hate seeing those sweaters. That's all. They are silly and ugly.

And as for cleaning toner, etc. out of a suit? Please. My Doctor had his finger in my ass the other day.. and guess what? He had on french cuffs and a tie. When is the last time you did that at work? I wear a white lab jacket over my clothes while I work in the archives....and when I'm on the floor I look well.

How can you ever look out of place when you are dressed well?

Perhaps public librarians work in crumbling old strip malls and carnegie castles - but not all librarians work in public libraries.

As for warmth? Ever hear of a cashmere sweater? or layering? You can look nice without wearing snowpants and a hoody at work. I wear long johns under my dress trousers (mostly because I'm thin & I'm cold 10 months out of the year.)

As for the pay scale, you can look good on a budget. I swear, people look for excuses. Its all about priorities. Some people just don't care what they look like. That's fine. Im just glad I don't work with you.. but don't be the same person who barks when people talk about librarians looking all like a hot mess.

Anonymous said...

I work in a building that is two steps away from being condemned.

I still put on a suit and tie every day.

Go to the Salvation Army. You can pick up great deals on nice suits from the previous generation.

Anonymous said...

I make the point to look decently dressed and combed everyday. It says a lot about you the way you present yourself in public. It also shows that you care about your work environment and that may even indicate that you enjoy going to work. And I am not the kind of person that spends $150 in jeans. I have to agree to other posts, librarians could afford to dress better if they really wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Plus, suits aren't that warm.

Apparently you've never worn a suit! Suits, with the corresponding layers and linings, are the warmest things I own and often times I wear them just to stave off the cold.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is a connection between age and dress choice. I work at a university and have watched the students go from well kept to pj's and a definite lack of hairbrush. I'm not saying all within a generation do this, but I can't help what I've seen in the past 20 years.

When cloths shopping I always ask “would Audrey Hepburn be caught wearing this in public?” As opposed to the last work-study student who’s only concern was making sure all her “cool” piercings could be seen through her sheer baby-doll dress. We asked her to go home and change – WOW that was ugly. Thank heaves for dress codes!

DearReader said...

I think that public librarians who dress in suits look intimidating. I think that's true for any public librarians, but especially true for anyone who works with kids. I don't wear bedazzled holiday sweaters (or bedazzled anything - shudder!), but I don't see anything wrong with looking approachable.

page said...

"since 1867"

Annoyed Librarian is Canadian?

Karen R. said...

This whole topic leaves me cold!

webbygrl said...

The only librarian that anyone can take seriously, is the one who carries a fly tote bag to match said sweater. Look out!

Anonymous said...

I want to be approachable too.

And I have to wear clothes that doesn't inhibit my dance moves when I start to collect fines from the teens.


Anonymous said...

I forgot who said it, but:

"Don't dress for the job you have - - - Dress for the job you want."

Anonymous said...

Most people want the job of lounging on the couch doing nothing....:D


But they want to be paid like a CEO to do it!

Merc kAT

\bvb said...

I wear decent slacks, a nice dress shirt (with the sleeves rolled up - I like to give the impression that I'm "ready to work" on anything), and a tie every day. I get them from a nice thrift shop near a better part of town.

In essence, I dress the persona I want people to see about me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is my own snobbery showing through, but does anyone else think that, at least for men's clothing, budget-priced business formal looks less professional than business casual of decent quality? A wearer of the latter may look like an office monkey, but the former smacks of Fuller Brush salesman.

GAP khakis may be unserious, but Men's Wearhouse and *shudder* Salvation Army suits come pre-soaked in flop sweat.

webbygrl said...

Fortunately, I'm around guys (and gals) who wear scrubs all day (and a lab coat!) They are so preoccupied with their patients and current disease of the day, they take no notice of what I'm wearing...unless of course there is cleavage. And as a rule, I wear a lot of cleavage. I seem to get more reference requests with cleavage. Funny that. Anyway...

And should my current DH ever pass (perish the thought!), I'm always on the lookout for my next DH doctor type...or maybe anesthesiologist...or brain surgeon - whatever, I'm not picky. But he must make more than a guybrarian to keep me in the taste to which I wish to become accustomed to. OMG...I'm a librarian 'ho. ACK!

Kevin Musgrove said...

It occurs to me that having approachable staff waving their sexual identities in people's faces might do wonders for our visitor counts and income targets.


On second thoughts, perhaps not.

Anonymous said...

I am a public librarian.I worked at one branch where my two supervisors always worked in suits and ties. I wear jeans and a blazer.For some reason, the customers always ignored my supervisors and stopped me for reference help, even if I was walking into the building carrying a clearly visible burrito and soda on a lunch break. A co-worker in that building often wore baggy jeans and a hoodie but was beloved by the customers.

I worked in another branch with a supervisor who always wore dresses or nice suits. The customers would complain to me about this supervisor's work performance because they thought that I supervised her.

In my experience, customers seem to judge by ability, not by appearance. Only librarians seem to worry about the clothing of other librarians.

Tudor Rose said...

Forget holiday sweaters. What about jumpers? With holiday turtlenecks! (uh, American jumpers. Not British. Although, I suppose a British holiday jumper is just as bad)

Between the sweaters and the jumpers, everyday at the public library was like working with five of my mother.

Anonymous said...

Kat is a fan of the Hawaiian Clad. Thus, I go to work in bright happy hawaiian shirts...over a nice pleated pair of pants or a pair of gray dickies or whatever else I can find in my size.

It may be Monday withthe rest of the building, but my cubicle is definately...Friday with a forecast of a six day long Saturday!

Why do this?

Then when important things go down, I whip out the razor for the weekly shave and show up in the boardroom or for the grand opening in either the gray powersuit or the black powersuit. The appearence shocks people. It's like Clark Kent turning into Superman.

It's a firm reaffirmation that I am firmly in control of my life!


Kack said...

The ghastly holiday sweaters have to go, along with North Face vests and any footwear that includes velcro. We are professional educators, not REI gophers or Wendy's managers.

Kristen said...

"so someone that likes clothes (be it holiday sweaters or ties) can't be good at their job? what kind of assumption is that?"

People who like clothes don't wear those sweaters/sweatshirts.

Anonymous said...

I think you have to be comfortable with your job, then think about what to wear-

We don't have a formal dress code at our library.
(though short shorts, skirts and tube/halter tops are not allowed, and no "message" T-shirts are allowed).

I feel stiff and formal in suits.I can't relax dressed so formally, much less enjoy what I do. Also, a lot of the nice suits are in colors that look bad on me(navy, grey). When I find a nice brown or beige suit I buy it and wear it in formal circumstances.

I like to wear patterned blazers. turtlenecks and pants/corduroys in winter; long (but not tripping length) dresses in summer and also cotton blouses/nice pants.I wear low shoes or low sandals, depending upon the weather. Sometimes I go for something slightly eccentric(I work with kids).

I think if you are somewhat "modestly" covered, you are OK. There are times when I wish I was better at coordination of tops/pants/accessories, though.