Julie Latham

TTN: How would you describe your style in college? JL: When I was a student I think I was pretty much into comfort. I think I mostly wore jeans and T-shirts and sweatpants. At least

TTN: How would you describe your style in college?
JL: When I was a student I think I was pretty much into comfort. I think I mostly wore jeans and T-shirts and sweatpants. At least when I was in West Chester [as an undergraduate student], I don’t know if that’s still the case, the students that went to West Chester were actually a lot less formally dressed than the students that go to Temple. I don’t know why that is, maybe it’s because most of them weren’t commuter students … we’d just roll out of bed. It wasn’t as integrated, with the culture, at least when I was there.

TTN: How has your style changed since college?
JL: Before I came back to academia I actually worked in the corporate world for about seven or eight years. I was in marketing. I had to dress much more formal; I had to wear formal business attire. There’s not very much leeway in the corporate world, they have the corporate casual days, but it doesn’t really mean very casual. You’re still wearing business appropriate clothes. I think now I kind of strike a balance between some business qualities in my clothing and take advantage of some of the freedoms.
In academia, you’re much more able to focus on style rather than fashion. In other words, I think that you’re expected to some degree to express a little bit of your individuality in clothing, that’s something about your personality, that’s something about who you think you are, essentially. In the business world its much more about what people want you to wear.

TTN: What is the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?
JL: I actually have a sweater from high school. I do! I don’t know if its particularly meaningful but its just one of those things that I haven’t been able to throw away yet. I don’t think I wear it that often, its just there.

TTN: How would you describe your style?
JL: I think I buy and wear what I like. I like clothes, I like to shop, but I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about it though. I think I like to look a little more professional in the classroom, certainly more than I ever thought I needed to, because I it’s a professional job. I also teach business classes and technical writing classes and talk a lot to my students about appearance and how you’re perceived in the work world according to what you wear. You know, I think to a large degree its unfortunate that those conformities exist to the degree that they do in the business world. When you teach on a college level, students look to your clothing as some indication to your personality- like if you have a nose ring. I think people are actually surprised to see me in corporate clothing or business attire and then to have something that’s sort of… I think some people view it [the nose ring] as a little bit of rebellion and, it is, I think it’s a little bit of rejection on the demands to the way you should look and how attire makes a person.

TTN: How would you describe Temple’s style?
JL: I think Temple is wonderful because it has such a huge variety of styles… there are so many cultures that go to this school, you get a really wide variety. When I was a teaching assistant here, we would teach classes in our jeans and T-shirts, and it was well received by the students, it made them feel as though we were very acceptable. We were students too so we understood the student dynamics.

TTN: Where do you try to draw the line between looking like a student and looking like a professor?
JL: I don’t like to look like a student for a couple of reasons. Obviously I want to be taken seriously in the classroom. Students are paying good money to have a professional teach them something they know a great deal about. I think that clothes give an indication of what’s going on in your internal world. In addition to authority, just control… knowledge [of the material]. I do have days where I come to class deliberately in very casual clothes, because I want students to view me as acceptable, I want them on one level to know that I own a pair of jeans.

TTN: What’s your favorite piece of clothing that you own?
JL: I have a pair of boots that I’m in love with and I wish that I could wear them all the time. They’re just a pair of black boots. They’re comfortable, and you can wear them with long skirts.

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