February 6, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 38°F


Fashion statements: Well-dressed professors share style tips

Anthony Ardornato

"Even when I came for my interview, I remember suit and tie because it was for the interview, and I remember some of them were like ‘we don't dress like this in this department, it's laid-back,’ and I was like ‘that's cool because I'm not all buttoned-up either.’ I think it's pretty laid-back."

Sara Haefeli
Music Theory

"I think because we're a creative industry, we want to also represent that in our appearance. We're creative artists, we are going to be a little creative in how we dress and how we look."

Anne Theobold
Modern Languages

"When I was a graduate student, I was teaching one class a semester, and even then I tried to distinguish myself from the students and look professional and put together."

Katie Marks

"One of the nice things about teaching and having a classroom ... is that you have a place to go and to kind of rise to the occassion, it's fun. I like getting dressed up for the classroom, I think one of the most exciting things when I started teaching was to have a place where I could do that a little bit more."

Anthony Adornato
As a former TV news anchor, Anthony Adornato, assistant professor of journalism, was more accustomed to wearing suits and ties every day than the more casual outfits worn by most professors in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy a more relaxed dress code.

“I have dozens and dozens and dozens of ties just sitting in my closet that I don’t actually wear,” he said. “I’d rather be more laid-back than buttoned-up.”

Though he said he rarely wears a tie to work, depending on the day he may wear anything from business-casual attire to blue jeans.

“The classroom here is less lecture and more discussion,” Adornato said. “I think it lends itself to that as well if students see you as kind of laid-back and not all buttoned-up, and in a suit and rigid. I think it’s just a comfort factor too, to come in and be able to wear jeans some days if you want with a sweater and blazer.”

Sara Haefeli
Sara Haefeli, assistant professor of music theory, history and composition, said she doesn’t usually think of herself as particularly stylish. She prefers comfortable clothing instead of trendy pieces, usually shopping at the local thrift stores, like the Salvation Army.

“The textile industry is incredibly polluting, so if you can buy clothes that are reused, why not?” she said. “You’re just recycling. And then there’s the thrill of the hunt. You find something and it’s not the fact that it cost $1.99, but it’s like, ‘I found this! I hunted this thing down and I found it!’”

Looking professional, with clean lines and modest hems, is a priority for Haefeli, who said she feels that her colleagues and students judge her on her appearance.

“My theory about dressing the way I do is about looking professional … if you don’t look professional, they’re going to treat you unprofessionally,” she said. “That’s colleagues, students, whoever it is.”

Anne Theobald
It’s not unheard of for students of Anne Theobald, assistant professor of modern languages and literatures, to comment on her put-together style in course evaluations. While she doesn’t necessarily encourage comments about her appearance in end-of-semester evaluations, she takes it as a compliment.

“It’s always a nice surprise, and it makes you feel like, ‘Oh, they notice!’” she said.

Her favorite store is Anthropologie, where she tends to gravitate toward dark, jewel-toned dresses and bold-colored blazers, but she also shops at Nordstrom and Banana Republic to find her on-trend clothing.

“I try to think about what I wear and wear something elegant to show that I know that I’m standing in front of people,” she said. “I love Anthropologie, I just wish there were more stores in Ithaca. The woman at the post office knows me because I’m always bringing Anthropologie boxes from when I ordered and had to return something.”

Katie Marks
As Katie Marks, assistant professor of writing, sits at the desk in her tidy, naturally lit office, her blonde hair cut like Mia Farrow’s in “Rosemary’s Baby,” it’s easy to see why she was described as one of the best-dressed teachers at Ithaca College by a former student.

“I do have a thing for stripes,” she said, gesturing at her jacket. “It’s kind of ridiculous if you look in my closet, all of the many striped things that I have. I like stripes and I like colors, that’s one of my signatures.”

Marks said she tends to gravitate toward classic, ’60s-inspired clothing, preferring to shop at stores like J. Crew and Banana Republic. She often plans her outfits around one of her favorite pieces, John Fluevog black leather, calf-high boots with buckles on the sides.

“[Fashion] can feel really good when you can get it to a place where it feels right, where it feels that it is saying that thing that you want it to say,” Marks said. “I really enjoy having a place where I can show up and have that stage to play with clothes and to play with that kind of expression.”

Evin Billington can be reached at ebillin1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @EvinBillington