Female Oxford dons purposely adopt 'jumble sale' look in unwritten dress code that scruffiness is a sign of intellectual rigour Image Consultant Shenda Collins heard the comment from an Oxford employeeShe said she met PhD students afraid to look 'feminine or attractive'
Daily Mail Reporter
02:03 GMT, 22 February 2013
03:37 GMT, 22 February 2013
Dowdy: Dons and PhD students at Oxford University are afraid to look feminine and feel that a 'jumble sale' look is a sign of intellectual rigour (picture posed by model)
They are some of the brightest women in the country.
But Oxford’s female academics fear they will not be taken seriously if they look too feminine, it has been claimed.
They are said to adopt a ‘jumble sale’ approach to clothes because of an unspoken dress code which dictates that scruffiness is a sign of intellectual rigour.
Shenda Collins, an image consultant, heard the comments from Oxford University employees while running a course there.
She said she met ‘PhD scientists who are scared about looking in any way feminine or attractive’.
One told her: ‘If I don’t wear Tesco T-shirts and jeans, then I just won’t be taken seriously.’
Another wanted to know whether a pair of flat boots were ‘too much’ for work.
A third woman admitted she was ‘not comfortable’ with the idea of wearing a jacket since that would make her ‘look like an office worker’.
Mrs Collins told the Times Higher Education magazine that the women were highly intelligent but ‘did not feel free to choose how they dress’.
She added: ‘They are restricted by the dress-down code they have intuited.
'It may be unspoken, but they hear it loudly.
'I have been told by academic women that if you look as if you pay attention to your appearance, you will be perceived as frivolous.’
Oxfords female academics fear they will not be taken seriously if they look too feminine, it has been claimed