After the "town hall" session I had with faculty when I was considering this job on "permanent" basis, a couple of faculty told me afterwards that what they really wanted to know was this, would I still be wearing jeans?
The answer is "yes", and I often can be found so attired. Of course I find that I have to clean up more often as dean, but my preferred day-to-day attire is still very casual, and usually blue denim.
Now, however, George Will has got me to feeling like my choice to wear blue jeans might reflect deeper needs than I realized. Last week in his column he took on Demon Denim. Boy, I didn't realize how awful my favored choice of clothing was -- an "infantile", "carefully calculated costume" that is a "blight on America's surfaces". When I first read this essay, I thought perhaps it was tongue in cheek. However, I've never known Mr. Will to write in that vein, and I don't think was meant as a joke. Stephen Colbert, on the other hand, did have his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he took notice of Mr. Will's column, here, starting about 30 sec into the clip (a must see).
It may be that George didn't mean to go all Edmund Burke on people like me who actually grew up in rural America and have never not worn blue jeans; seems he's especially down on folk who have no connection to jeans other than as a slovenly sop to egalitarianism in dress. So, in the end, I'll continue with my jeans much of the time, and clean up when the occasion calls for it. I actually like nice clothes.
And, I'll keep reading George Will, although I know this won't be the last time he gets it wrong.