Fashion has come out of hibernation. Personal style statements are so much easier to see campuswide without the dozens of layers needed for survival during this artic winter. That’s not always a good thing.
English professor Ann Lundberg has seen it all, but to top off the list of most ridiculous clothing items, she said one student stands out in her mind.
“I once had a student who would wear SpongeBob SquarePants pajama shorts to class,” Lundberg said. “He loved those shorts.”
Spanish professor Diana Gonzalez agreed that wearing pajamas was the most absurd clothing choice of her past students. Footwear is equally puzzling on occasion.
“I once saw a student wear slippers with five inches of snow outside,” said history professor Mike Kugler. “No idea what they were thinking.”
Not dressing for the cold weather is a common theme in fashion catastrophe tales.
“I always think of one (student) four or five years ago,” said art professor Phil Scorza. “It was 20 below, and this kid came to class with his cargo shorts and a pair of sneakers. Every piece of clothing he had was dirty, so he just wore what he had.”
These professors learned from their college fashion faux pas.
“Bellbottoms: freakin’ hideous,” Kugler said. “Why would somebody 5’9’ wear bellbottoms? I must have been brain washed.”
Lundberg found herself in a similar fashion contradiction.
“I used to wear very feminine, bright pink rabbit earmuffs,” Lundberg said. “And I’d wear them with my very masculine letterman jacket.”
Nothing says masculinity more than a man riding off on his motorcycle. Scorza used to ride a motorcycle in college, but never before putting his hair into a ponytail.
“I used to have really, really long hair, and I always wore it in a ponytail in the middle,” Scorza said. “I had it braided once. I was going to hop on a motorcycle, and I wanted to keep the bugs out of it.”
Just because professors have more years of fashion experience than the student body, doesn’t mean they use this knowledge wisely. When asked what the most ridiculous outfit they have seen a fellow professor wearing on campus the answers were wide in variety.
“A suit,” Kugler said. “I just don’t understand why you would wear a suit to teach; it’s not a funeral. You aren’t answering questions about the president. You can wear whatever you want, but honestly I don’t care what people wear.”
Others are more out-there.
“I once saw a reformation preacher outfit worn by a professor on campus,” Lundberg said.
No matter what their collegues are wearing, there is a sense of comradery amongst the staff when it comes to predicting what other staff memebers will wear.
“Everybody has their own signature look,” Scorza said. “I can rattle off professor’s names and tell you what the majority of professors have on right now.”
Most individuals have staple fashion pieces, and these pieces make their clothing choices predictable.
“My staple is probably my t-shirts and crocks or my chuck boots,” Scorza said.
Gonzalez has her own favorite go-to.
“I’d say my staple is scarfs,” Gonzalez said. “I love scarfs. I get them from everywhere I go, and I love the different variety of colors they come in.”
Some professors fashion staples stand out more than others. Kugler, for example, is known for his samba flats and flannel shirts.
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE WARDROBE
These professors can’t take all the credit for their signature looks, however.
Both Gonzalez and Lundberg’s styles were influenced by their mothers.
“My mother was always very conscious of what she wore,” Lundberg said. “I like to try and dress like her, but I also read books on fashion, and I love watching ‘What not to Wear.’”
Kugler also finds fashion inspiration from media outlets.
“The backs of cereal boxes, discarded newspapers and wanted photographs in the post office is where I look,” Kugler said.
Gonzalez’s top stores are Macy’s and online Argentinian stores. Lundberg’s favorites are thrift shops in Sioux Falls and the online CR trading post because she enjoys the limited choices. Scorza top picks are Nancy’s — a thrift shop near Spirit Lake — and the GAP. Kugler’s one-stop-shops are Goodwill for clothing and Eastbay for shoes.
PRESENT DAY PROFESSORS
However, these professors haven’t always sported fashions identical to what they wear today.
“I emptied my closest and donated all of my khakis and polos and disgusting shoes from my previous job in the business world,” Scorza said. “But I specifically bought a Bob Ross shirt: he’s a guy from Iowa public television, and he paints happy trees. You should look him up.”
Even though each professor has their own unique fashion, they all shared their opinions on what they believed each professor should own.
“A cap and gown,” Lundberg said. “We have to wear them twice a year, and each professor needs a cap and gown.”
Beyond the traditional graduation garb, Scorza had another suggestion for a need-to-own clothing item.
“We should all be required to have an iPad holster, so that in class we can just swing it out,” Scorza said.
But finally, according to Kugler, the staple all professors should own is “a power animal hat, that like covers your ears — the college should buy them for us,” said Kugler.