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I think a lot of it can depend on the disposition of the place you've got a flyout at. This is pretty hard to get a handle on beforehand, so I guess this isn't really helpful advice. But I had on-campuses at 4 departments when I got my current position, and it ended up being really clear from the "vibe" once I was there that at 2 places I could "loosen my tie", literally and figuratively. The other 2 were places where they definitely would have wanted a more straight-laced suit-and-tie situation. I say: feel it out once you get there. But a button-down and nice slacks is the minimum (as a man) I would have personally felt comfortable with in any of these flyouts.

Nicolas Delon

I came here to say what TT said. It depends a lot on the place. The few campus fly outs I had were at relatively laid back places, and while they didn’t mind me wearing a suit, they made it clear that it was fine to relax a bit. My more general sense is that it doesn’t matter all that much as long as you don’t convey an impression of disrespect. I also gather that women tend to be held to higher standards on this, which is obviously unfair.

Guy Crain

Marcus - This might be the prior dress code thread you were thinking of:


Assistant Professor

I agree with Marcus that "as long as one 'looks put together' and 'professional' in a broad sense, the norms today are super flexible." I also agree with Marcus's points from the thread Guy Crain linked to that norms can be disciplinary specific, and as TT and Nicolas Delon say, can be place specific. Some of the flexible norms are certainly around the performance of gender and professionalism (traditional "professional" attire tracked onto traditional "male" attire - the suit and tie thing - and this has thankfully changed as people express their genders differently and express what professionals look like differently).

I find looking like "yourself" is important and helps enhance confidence rather than pretending to be someone else - but dressing the part can also enhance confidence. These might be contradictory statements. However, I think looking like the job you want is a good guide because if you don't get hired merely for how you look, then the place is probably not a good fit.

My own experience and what I have seen others do has been to dress up slightly more on the day you give your job talk (maybe a suit but not necessarily) - and dress professional but slightly less formally the other day(s) and during informal events like dinners out (for me this meant a dress and blazer and then lose the blazer at dinner and swap it for a sweater). For online interviews I always wore a simple shirt with a blazer over it in basic colors. Key for me was something that fit well and wouldn't lead me to fidget or feel uncomfortable.

It doesn't hurt to ask about itinerary for your visit and whether there is a lot of outdoor walking between buildings, etc. because this also impacts wardrobe, especially shoe choice. Bringing outfits that are flexible to have multiple permutations to dress up or down based on your initial read of the place, but also in unexpected weather, helps tremendously.

new assistant prof

This post might be helpful for women: https://theprofessorisin.com/2011/11/15/1947/

I am a woman, wore a suit to my interview, but it was on zoom. I get the sense that it is better to dress up than down.

Tim O'Keefe

A side note, but I'd add that you want to make sure that your shoes are comfortable. If you'll be wearing dress shoes that you don't often wear (or have never worn!), wear them around for a while beforehand to break them in and make sure they fit OK, and exchange them for better ones if they don't. You'll be under enough stress without having to worry about aching feet or blisters.

Prof L

new assistant prof—wow I hate that post from the professor is in! Eat whatever you want to eat at dinner! Get into that second glass of wine if you feel like it (or not, if you don't)—just be yourself. I mean, this isn't the time to try alcohol for the first time or to eat a live octopus, but this amount of self-regulation is insane.

As we discussed on a previous thread, philosophers tend to be a little more relaxed about dress. However, there are exceptions—conservative religious schools, for example, may be more straight-laced. But I'm not sure it's a good idea to "dress up rather than down": I think a full suit (on a man or a woman) can make you look like an uptight weirdo.


I'm glad to hear that during one of the few times in my life that I get to wear my nice suit, someone out there is going to view me as a weirdo.

Prof L

Sorry if it was rude to say "weirdo". And dress is all about first impressions, and inevitably when we talk about impressions created by dress, they will be very shallow and (more often than not) wrong. I'm just trying to be honest that being overdressed also runs the risk of creating that initial (mildly) negative and very defeasible impression.

Hopefully we can all move beyond the initial impressions created by dress during a campus visit.


I like to wear Aldos. They’re expensive, but many of their shoes can be worn casually and formally. Their loafers and slip-ons are comforting. They look professional, chic, and contemporary. If you can’t afford them, then use them as references to look for dupes out there.

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