Most days, when I get up and get dressed, I have one question in mind: How do I not look like a student?
I know this post might seem kind of funny directly following that last post about how sad I am that I'm not a student, but oh well.
It's true, I am only 22 years old, and I did just graduate 8 months ago, so it shouldn't bother me that I look like a student. But I do supervise students (most of whom I consider my peers and with whom I worked when I was a student), and I interact often with faculty, so I have this need (however self-imposed) to exert my authority by the way I dress. I want people to take me seriously as a professional!
Usually heels are a good place to start. When you wear heels, people automatically assume that you are up to something fancy. Or you're an adult. It helps if you can actually walk in them, so you don't look like a stumbling baby giraffe.
Also, anything but jeans. This has been a difficult transition for me, since that is what I wear most often and what I am most comfortable in. But if you are wearing a pencil skirt or slacks, you are immediately upgraded from denim-clad student-hood. If I do wear jeans, I try to pair them with a button-up or a frilly blouse so people know I didn't just wake up in a dorm room bunk in a T-shirt and walk across campus.
My library is pretty casual, and there's no real dress code involved, so technically there's nothing wrong with wearing jeans and a T-shirt (many of the librarians go this route daily), but for me, dressing up a little makes me feel more like a grown-up, and like I belong in this office with an ocean view.
Here's what I wore on the first day of classes:
Frilly blouse, slacks, and heels. Went all-out for the first day. Mostly wanted to look like I knew something for the benefit of new students.
Despite all this, sometimes it's nice being mistaken for a student. Today I got a free lunch because the cafeteria worker swiped my ID card as a student and didn't charge me as staff. Oops.