It is a truth universally acknowledged that historians are not particularly fashion-forward. The sartorial stereotypes persist: the tweed jacket with elbow patches for men, the flowy linen ensembles for women. Glasses. Sensible shoes. A fine layer of chalk dust covering all.

While I haven’t seen many elbow patches lately, it is true that at conferences–our profession’s Bryant Park–one notices a certain uniformity in the academic look. Men don’t wear suits but they do wear jackets and ties, and increasingly, dark jeans instead of dress pants. Women have more flexibility but they tend to go with one of three outfits: the dress and cardigan, the skirt and sweater, or the pantsuit.

At the Southern Historical Association meeting (known to those in the know as “The Southern”) this weekend in Atlanta, these clothing trends were evident in the book exhibit, the meeting rooms, and the hotel bar. There were some notable variations, however.

Because it is The Southern there were

White Guys in Bow Ties:

White Guys Bow Ties IIWhite Guys Bow Ties I

There were also several interesting takes on the three-piece suit:

The vest here is both fashionable and warm. Note the pocket square.
The vest here is both fashionable and warm. Note the pocket square.
A look that reads more Western than Southern.
A look that reads more Western than Southern.

Leopard and other animal prints were in evidence everywhere: shirts, dresses, coats, and especially shoes:

Leopard IILeopard I

I love the mix of prints here on CC, and I want those shoes.
I love the mix of prints here on CC, and I want those shoes.

Art historians and romance language professors usually corner the market on accessories, but historians are making up some ground:

Scarves:
Pete sets the standard in this particular arena.
Pete sets the standard in this particular form of accessorizing.
Hats:
Will fedoras ever come back as an every day accessory for men? I hope so.
Will fedoras ever come back as an every day accessory for men? I hope so.
Handbags:
A bag that is both beautiful and large enough to hold a laptop?  Yes, please.
A handbag that is both beautiful and large enough to hold a laptop? Yes, please.

And finally, a note on hairstyles. As with outfits, historians tend to be quite conservative in their choice of coiffure. Not these two, however, who are rocking the long locks:

I'm not sure if your name must be Stephen to pull off such a look, but it may help.
I’m not sure if your name must be Stephen to pull off such a look, but it may help.

6 thoughts on “Street Style at The Southern

  1. Thanks for the accessory nod but the lighting gives my skin a yellowish glow. Or maybe I just have jaundice. At any rate, this citation in Historista must find a place on my resume. Community service seems like the appropriate category. Back in the 1980s GQ used to bring in regular guys from a particular profession, deck them out in the latest fashions, and do a photo spread. I will admit on Historista that I imagined GQ calling when I worked for the National Park Service as a college student. The phone never rang, but maybe you can approach the editors at GQ and remind them that academic men are ready for the cat walk.

  2. Bob! The man knows from hats. And CC keepin’ it classy. Thanks for this…made me smile on a cold, snowy day north of South.

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