Once, I was talking to my dissertation advisor, many years ago, and I mentioned a colleague of ours who always wears suits. Whereas suits make perfect sense in some realms, ethnomusicologists tend not to wear them. Ever. Once, I saw my diss. advisor in a tie, and just to protest the need to wear one, he affixed it to his shirt with a paper clip in lieu of a proper tie-clip. And, in keeping with his (and my) dress-code, my diss. advisor, grizzled hippie and messy dresser that he is, replied, “Suits? He wears SUITS? Why would he do that? I chose this field specifically so that I would NEVER have to wear suits!” In short, we’re all slobs in my field.
Now, this might seem superficial, but I think somehow that the way you like to look influences the career direction you take. All the clothes-horses I knew in high school and college are now in law, business, fashion, or some similar high-paying gig; all the slobs (myself included) are teachers, artists, musicians, journalists, and other comparatively low-paying gigs. So I ask you: how do people dress in your work-place, and how do you fit in? And does that make a difference to you, or not at all?