Friday, January 25, 2008

Festive Friday: Best Dressed Medievalist

As the weary week comes to its enervated end, ITM jolts its readers back to vitality with yet another installment of our "At-last-this-won't-make-my brain-hurt" series called Festive Friday. Today we turn to the professorial sartorial.

A recent article by the pseudonymous Thomas H. Benton in the Chronicle of Higher Education explored the effect that dressing formally has upon pedagogy and relations with colleagues. The piece brought this blog to my attention as well. Although your four co-bloggers cannot be found in the pages of glossy fashion magazines, we'd like to think that none of us are frumps. Still, when it comes to combining splendid style with all things medieval, I am going to have to look beyond ITM to announce these nominations for Best Dressed Medievalist. And the nominees are:
  • The dapper David Wallace. When I as a graduate student first met him -- just before a paper he was about to deliver -- he was slumped in a throne-like chair, clad in a leather jacket that exuded academic cool. Whenever I've seen him since, he has been dressed to announce his couture cognizance.
  • The elegant Sarah Beckwith. Au courant eyewear, à la mode coiffure, and conference garb from Vogue: only Bonnie Wheeler plays in this league.
Medievalists, contrary to popular representations, are not a tweedy bunch. And your nominations for Best Dressed?

21 comments:

Dr. Richard Scott Nokes said...

Mock not the tweed, heathen! Mock not the tweed!

Jeffrey J Cohen said...

I give you this: you have the enviable ability to wear tweed without irony and look debonair indeed. Satisfied?

Karl Steel said...

Yeah! I'm a frump! And a dork.

Paul Strohm, and I will entertain no counterargument, or only a few. That guy's been mod since before mod was. His next book should be directed at, I dunno, The Who, and called You Have Never Been Mod, because Strohm's mod star burns so much cooler.

Dinshaw, obviously.

hd said...

a relevant, and hilarious, side note on "tenure" pants:
http://thefreudianpetticoat.blogspot.com/2007/11/anthropologie-clothing-academic-crowd.html

sadly, they're still sold out.

Jeffrey J Cohen said...

Dinshaw and Strohm, most definitely. They have never needed "tenure pants." (Are those like smarty pants?)

dtk said...

I'd second or third Paul Strohm's nomination. Always looks good. To my mind he is the epitome of urbane in the classic and bestest senses.

I don't know CDinshaw as well, but I'd also add Anne Clark Bartlett to the list. Always hip and classy in Kalamazoo and elsewhere.

I've just upgraded to Hawai'ian shirts myself. Tweed's not even on the radar.

dan remein said...

as much as i admire the dinshaw sleek, i myself, though perhaps being too young for it, am also a tweedster. and hopefully without too much irony. i mean, i believe in tweed. though i certainly have my more coutury sleek moments--and pay too much for my haircuts.

Dr. Virago said...

Darn, y'all beat me to nominating Strohm and Dinshaw.

I'll nominate Theresa Coletti, who always looks elegant, and Del Kolve, who has a more understated style now than in his younger years, apparently, but who always looks debonair.

Eileen Joy said...

I realize that Anglo-Saxonists are often behind whatever line demarcates "cool," but for this honor and for my tribe, I would like to nominate, um, um, um, . . . dammit.

Mary Kate Hurley said...

Eileen> As for Anglo-Saxonists -- I'm pretty sure that best dressed amongst the women would go to Patricia Dailey. She has a fantastic sense of fashion -- very European, actually.

Anonymous said...

Can I nominate myself for *worst* dressed. Karl and Jeffey should second that!

MOR.

Karl Steel said...

No can do, Michael. If you haven't changed since I met you, I have to wedge you in near the top. But then again, you didn't have seem to have pink dreadlocks anymore: a pity!

Anonymous said...

Karl, you will be pleased to hear the dreadlocks are on the way back although they are a poppy red.

MOR.

Jeffrey J Cohen said...

Michael, your anti-style is the pinnacle of style.

Jeffrey J Cohen said...

PS Readers who don't remember Michael O'Rourke from his guest blogging stint may find an unretouched picture of him here.

Eileen Joy said...

MKH: I haven't met Patricia Dailey but am going to take it on faith that she has is stylish. Thank god. There is hope for the Anglo-Saxonists.

Prof. de Breeze said...

When I first met Allen Frantzen, I couldn't decide whether I was more intimidated by his scholarship (he had just been introduced as the "pre-eminent Anglo-Saxonist of his generation") or by his Armani suit.

Michael O'Rourke said...

Doesn't Allen Frantzen tell a story about his trouser zip being open at the beginning of his essay on the Pardoner and perversion?

Prof. de Breeze said...

If he does, I bet they were really nice pants.

K. A. Laity said...

After seeing Kalamazoo full of grad students dressed like MLA clones, I'm glad to do my part to keep more of a Betsey Johnson vibe alive in the increasingly Armani world of academia. I'm proud I was hired wearing my Docs and not pantyhose. No one in the department batted an eye when my hair changed to candy-apple red and then to lavender. Then again, sartorial eccentricities may matter less when you out-publish most of your department.

Sleipnir said...

C.Dinshaw and S.Beckwith are the most stylish medievalists I've ever seen up close. My vote goes to Sarah.