April 19, 2008

The Scientist's Dress Code

Dick asks, 'What is the scientist's dress code?' Here's a line from the Science pages of the New York Times: 'He preferred the scientist's anarchic dress code of well-worn slacks and a faintly wrinkled shirt over the administrator's buttoned-up Brooks Brothers.'

'Anarchy' is a good word but just as much 'utility'. If you can't go for a hike, eat Weinerschnitzel and solve partial differential equations in a given piece of clothing, it's got to go. I saw a young scientist at the meeting in Vienna with an air of forensic pathology and rasta locks in a short skirt, nylons and hiking boots. Outdoor clothing always fits in, like just about anything you could buy at REI. There were a handful of professors in crumpled suits and running shoes. Plaid is OK, so are Converse All-Stars. And there were a few conferees wearing hats indoors, like they had just gotten in from the big dinosaur nesting site outside of Bozeman. I was wearing REI travel pants and a shirt from The North Face one day, and crumpled Dockers and blue dress shirt another day.


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