Fashion at the head of the class

Professor Melissa Hall shows off the heels she says get her in the zone.
Professor Melissa Hall shows off the heels she says get her in the zone.

Fashion professors know that what they wear to class communicates almost as much to their students as their lesson plan. But almost every prof has an individual philosophy on what constitutes classroom chic.

We recently checked in with four fashion department leaders to find out what looks they plan to unveil for the fall.

Doreen Burdalski
Chair of the fashion department at Albright College
Look: Clean and Classic
Frequently worn: Shift dresses, jackets
Favorite accessories: Earrings, scarves
Brands: Ann Taylor
What the prof will be wearing this fall:
I definitely won’t try to be as trendy as the students. I came to teaching from the [business] side of fashion, so I wear a lot of classic suits. I used to wear constructed jackets, but I’ve been moving into a softer look for a while, and I think I’ll continue that in the fall.

Melissa Hall
Instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Look: Young and Forward
Frequently worn: Skinny jeans, heels
Favorite accessories: Handbags, hats
Brands: Caputo & Co., rag and bone, Alexander Wang
What the prof will be wearing this fall:
I pretty much have a uniform: jacket, fashion forward blouse, skinny jeans and heels. The heels are the key for me. I stand up straight and I know it’s show time. I was recently given a fur piece that was owned by my great great grandmother; I can’t wait to put that together with jeans when the temperature drops.

Mary Justman
Program chair of fashion at Bauder College
Look: Fashion Black with Plenty of Trend
Frequently worn: Dresses, pants, flats
Favorite accessories: Jewelry
Brands: Ralph Lauren, Elie Tahari, bebe
What the prof will be wearing this fall:
I take what I wear seriously. I mean, how would you like it if your trend forecasting instructor didn’t know how to keep up with trends? For this fall I think we’re going to see a looser fit on pants. For dresses, the emphasis is moving from the hip up to the waist.

Lisa Hayes
Program director for fashion design at Drexel University
Look: Niche-y, Versatile (and Teachable)
Frequently worn: Boots
Favorite accessories: None!
Brands: Prada, Helmut Lang
What the prof will be wearing this fall:
I pride myself on wearing the fabrics and designs I teach. So my wardrobe is all part of my lesson. I think this fall will be all about leather, but in a clean geometric way. The leather trend has been going on for a while, but I think it’ll hit its peak this year. And I have a number of leather pieces that I want to


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