15 October 2005

Attiring Oneself as a Rabbinical Student (Part 1?)

My parents came into town the other day and we went shopping yesterday, erev shabbas, which got me to actually travel all the way to midtown today. We went to Macy's, which was really huge and reminded me of Harrod's, which we also went to as a family, though Harrod's is clearly bigger. After looking at some of the prices for clothing, my dad and I left my mom and sis there to shop and we went outside. We saw Old Navy, though we stopped at H&M first. While shopping, a question that time over and time again keeps popping up into my head, "How should I attire myself as a rabbinical student?"
As "Chovevei" isn't a penguin/oreo type of yeshiva, it behooves every individual to make conscious decisions regarding their own dress. Obviously, on a quotidian level, the thought may not arise, but certainly it will occur occasionally. We're in a weird position: we're not in college - we're past that, we're not rabbis yet - so dressing up that much would be too fancy (maybe too haughty?), we're not exactly in grad school, per se - so we can't just dress as we please. The only formally heretofore stated policy of the school has been that shorts are not permitted. So that leaves A LOT of leeway as to what sort of garment choices we could be making for ourselves. Granted, people generally dress nicely, with Fridays somehow being a little more casual.
So that works for the כלל (the general populace at the yeshiva (I've been asked to translate Hebrew and Aramaic on my blog)), but what about me, what about how Drew Kaplan should dress?? Okay, so I've mainly just been dressing as I did in HS and in college, so 'there ain't nothin' fancy goin' on here' with me as to my threads. That's where I'm at now, but I have these tendencies to want to dress slickly, y'know, to pimp it out. Nevertheless, I still maintain my humble and modest raiments and think I will stick with it for now. However, when I approach my latter two years at YCT, I will probably start turning up the niceness level of my getups, as I get closer to having to dress nicely, etc. :)


Jewminican said...

Okay, first...hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Let me say, that I just spent quite too much credit card moula to ensure that I look properly Modern Orthodox. I do not own pants and let me tell you, I owned many, many pants which have been replaced by skirts, sweaters to cover my elbows at all times, shirts that cover, ahem, everything, and um, skirts past the knees and thermal underwear to keep warm and go with my new thermal boots. So, I understand the need to "dress a certain way."

My first wardrobe change in college meant that I wore less than I wore in high school to attract attention. Then, that got really old so I just wore "casual" stuff with no style. Then, I had to work and TRY to be trendy which did not work out. Then, I had to learn to dress "business casual," yeesh.

Can I suggest that you go shopping with some classy broads like Devora and myself when you do get the urge to shopping splurge? I see...slacks and shirts in a variety of awesome colors. Avoid turtlenecks at all costs and sweatshirts should never be worn in the presence of girls you might marry or girls who could match you with the girl you might marry.


Drew_Kaplan said...

You got rid of all of your pants? Not even wearing them under your skirts?
Granted, I'm not particularly inclined to wear sweatshirts in the presence of "girls I might marry," but what's with "in the presence of girls who could match me with the girl I might marry"??
What's wrong with turtlenecks? I like them. What about mock-turtlenecks, at least?
Funny you should mention doing the shopping thing with you gals! I was thinking since I don't see my mom to go shopping with much, I could certainly use the feminine assistance with wardrobe selection. :) But, as I'm a guy, the shopping comes seldom (i.e., I have a low shopping-drive - it does kick in when I'm in the mood).

In the Lee of the Wind said...

I have to say as someone who is of the same generation (Relatively, I jsut started college...), my respecct for you as a to be rabbi comes from being forthwith, not from the way you dress...

That being said, if it makes you feel more rabbinical, then wear it, if it doesn't, then don't.

Drew_Kaplan said...


Let me start off by typing that I respect you a lot from the issues you bring up on your blog - I really like it.

Yeah, thank you for the comment about the same gen. - it's about the same.

Although I appreciate what you typed about rabbis being forthwith and not their clothing and agree with you, people also judge that (esp. the more superficial ones - fact of life). I'm not yet at that point in my life/career where I'm concerned how I'm coming off as a rabbi, so that is not currently relevant. Plus, as to what rabbis where, that's a little more understood as to what they wear, vs. rabbinical students - what should they wear?

Granted all of this is stated with the background of the aphorism that "The clothes make the man," such that clothes are a social interface of someone, thus raising the question of "How do I, Drew Kaplan, interact with society?"