The Well Dressed Librarian wrote an amusing (to me) post about the scourge of library fashion – “festive” sweaters. It does raise the whole question of library fashion/dress codes, but I feel like I’m not the best person to weigh in on the issue. I am easily pigeon-holed in the hipster librarian clique, though I would argue I’m not trendy enough, but I’m young with plastic-rimmed glasses with tattoos and piercings. (I already discussed my issues with being young and “alterna” in the library world here.)
The Well Dressed Librarian has sums up his case against the complainers nicely:
I’ve realized why. The people screaming so loud were the very people who:
a)Will(hopefully) retire soon, and hate seeing themselves replaced.
b)Pretty much complain about everything.
c)Are dowdy, and can not admit to it. So I will just point it out.
d)Somehow think that spending $100 on a pair of jeans is wasteful, but spend twice as much on knitting supplies, and getting their hair set on Saturdays at Iola’s Beauty Parlor. And suck it. I like my square framed retro glasses – they are cuter than the drug store magnifiers you are wearing.
I’m beginning to see how the way we dress impacts the way people perceive us professionally. I eventually grew tired of people mistaking me for a student employee or some other form of riff-raff, so I started wearing collared shirts every day. Does this make me well dressed? Not really, though I am making my wardrobe more mod. Given that I know at any given meeting or event, I won’t be the worst dressed library staffer there, I guess I’m doing all right.
I did try to fulfill one library stereotype in buying a cardigan recently. The cashier commented on how much she liked it, and I told her I needed one since I was a librarian. “You’re a librarian?” she asked with utter confusion. Apparently, young people with lip rings, messy hair, and tattoos can’t be librarians in most people’s minds. That’s a stereotype I need to change.
Anyhow… I bet the whole librarian fashion problem is symbolic of a deeper issue about the future of libraries, but it’s Friday afternoon and I need to socialize with my patrons.