That’s funny … you don’t look like a lecturer! dress and professional identity of female academics

Christiana Tsaousi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
92 Downloads (Pure)


This paper focuses on how female academics in UK universities use dress to construct their professional identity. The paper draws on the current literature on dress, body and academic identity and uses a theoretical framework of Goffman’s work of performance and Bourdieu’s concepts of cultural capital and habitus to explore these women’s attempts to construct themselves as professionals. The aim of this paper is to give insights into these women’s perceptions of ‘what it takes to dress to impress’ for the ‘professional project’ within a constantly shifting university workplace environment. The themes of analysis include issues such as the challenges of being a female academic and establishing yourself in the class, using dress to establish a feeling of belonging in the department and institution as a whole and a critique of how the various aspects of dress are incorporated in this idea of visual gratification of the ‘consuming’ students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1809-1820
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number9
Early online date8 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education on 08/07/19, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.

This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.


  • Academic identity
  • Bourdieu
  • dress
  • female academics
  • Goffman
  • professional identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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