Several BYU professors have caught the attention of students on campus for their unique fashion styles. Some professors have the habit of wearing bow ties, lab coats or Hawaiian shirts daily.
Many believe the reason for the repetitive style is for comfort or fashion preferences. Other professors may do it just because thinking about picking out a different outfit every day is too much of a hassle.
BYU business professor Gove Allen slips into his favorite academia robe just before beginning each class. This expensive and scholarly robe cost around $600 and is Allen’s most expensive piece of clothing.
“I was just going to wear the robe on the first day of teaching here at BYU, but a student voiced his opinion about how he liked the robes and he thought I should wear it every class,” Allen said. “So, I took a class vote, and the decision was unanimous. I have worn it every class period since. I once thought about wearing it to church, but then I thought wearing the robes of the false priesthood to church maybe wasn’t such a good idea.”
Allen is not the only one in the Marriott School of Business who likes to wear similar clothes. Professor Karl Diether always wears either a black or dark blue T-shirt.
“To be clear, it’s not the same t-shirt every day,” Diether said. “I just have quite a few black and very dark blue t-shirts. In terms of why? I don’t know … dark colors are slimming.”
Bow ties are another common trend for professors on campus. History professor Neil York frequently rocks the bow tie. He switches it daily for variety. Despite his vast experience with bow ties, he admits he has never been able to tie one perfectly balanced or straight.
“I have dozens of them, essentially divided into Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer groups,” York said. “I always wear them to class, except on exam days. I prefer the look; they are easier to adjust to a preferred length, and spilling something on them is virtually impossible.”
Statistics professor William Christensen also has a thing for bow ties. His style changed from regular ties to bow ties when he was a young father and disliked that his kids were always chewing on his long ties. His usual teaching attire consists of a bow tie and Converse tennis shoes because he wants to dress up while staying comfortable.
“Bow ties are light and playful,” Christensen said. “You can’t take a guy with a bow tie too seriously, and I don’t want to be taken too seriously. I guess I’m kind of a rebel.”
Business professor Earl K. Stice’s trademark at BYU is the all-time classic Hawaiian shirt. His wife recently dropped all 71 shirts off at the dry cleaners so Stice could make sure his shirts were clean, since he never wears the same one twice in one semester. Stice wears the Hawaiian shirts because he believes his spirits are higher when he is surrounded by bright colors.
“One day a student brought his younger brother to class,” Stice said. “They were sitting together chatting before class when I walked in. When the younger brother realized I was the teacher, he evaluated my wardrobe and said to the student, ‘Well, he is either a genius or an idiot.'”