Neckwear and Yellow Bathrobes: A Teacher’s Guide to Fashion


Maddie Morales

By Madeleine Morales ’18, Lifestyle Editor

Illustrations by Lizzie Norwood ’18, Contributor

Ranging from History teacher Peter Fossett’s bow tie infatuation to Choral teacher Esther Rose’s ankle boot obsession, all the teachers have some staple article of clothing or a strong opinion regarding their appearance. Fashion, a form of self-expression, varies from person to person. Interviewing Country Day faculty, I found that our teachers are up-to-date with trends. Their clothing experiences in the past and present are quite interesting no matter who I spoke with: Ms. Rose and Mr. Fossett, along with English teachers Deborah Floyd and Chuck McGivern, and History teacher Merle Black.

Mr. Fossett
Ms. Floyd

Ms. Rose’s “unhealthy obsession with The Limited” and Ms. Floyd’s tendency to “do some real damage at Talbot’s or J. Crew” is a result of their love for cute yet professional clothing including pencil skirts, pearls, and funky boots. Enjoying his usual “oxford shirt and khaki dress pants with a sports coat donned with neckwear,” Mr. Fossett jokes he “doesn’t generally wear a kilt or turtleneck.” That is much to Mr. Black’s dismay, who loves his turtlenecks: “The New York Times Magazine says turtlenecks are coming back in style, but I need to go on a diet if I can wear a turtleneck. McGivern and Fossett are the fashion plates here. I am more in the Dunn camp. We have our fashion wars. It’s been fun but now we are getting violent.” Mr. Black defends his love of turtlenecks but happens to have a different ensemble he titles his favorite: “Pajamas and a yellow bathrobe like the one worn by Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner. He is my hero. It is really ugly but I wear it to be like him.” Mr. McGivern, who pleaded with Mrs. Luebbers to abolish the necktie rule, must wear a jacket to work in place. McGivern “opposes self-strangulation. I put on a jacket and I feel liberated. It is masochism to wear a tie voluntarily—it is pointless. Period. If I am to leave a mark on the community, it will be a jacket minus tie look.”
Our teachers, drastically changing from their younger years, had some interesting looks in high school. Mr. Black was a self-proclaimed “minor league hippie. [He] had long hair, jeans, ratty shirts, a beard, and talked about living in a commune with [his] friends.” Ms. Floyd was very strict regarding her daily clothing. She “kept an outfit diary in high school so [she] would never repeat anything in a month. If [she] could not find two matching barrettes or matching socks, [she] could not go to school.” This differed from Mr. McGivern, who, thinking he was looking good, modeled himself after Vanilla Ice. He claimed: “I was a sell out like everyone else. I had earrings to make myself to look more rebellious. I looked like I needed medication.” Soon realizing MC Hammer pants were not his calling, Mr. McGivern adopted a more preppy wardrobe, which he wears now.