Sunday, March 02, 2008

Doctoral regalia

I have a question: Did any of you purchase doctoral regalia after you graduated?

I must confess that when I graduated a couple of years ago, wearing that insane get-up (it was a RIDICULOUS colour at my institution) and that floofy, floppy beefeater hat made me sooooo happy. It was like a magical outfit. I have these hilarious pictures of me with the widest smile ever...just thrilled, for some reason - the gaudy colour, the floofy hatness, I guess. I didn't want to take it off. I just wanted to stand around and drink champagne in that hat. And to swan around with my garishly coloured sleeves flapping.

So I kind of want to buy it now. Just so I can wear it once a year at graduation and maybe feel like that again. (It really was something about the clothes, I think, more than the event.) I know some people just buy the [crazy-coloured] hood...but I don't think that would satisfy me. I want the whole deal. The robe, the enormous hat. It's expensive.

What do you think? Worth it? Not?

(It occurs to me that if I ever end up working someplace like my alma mater, where they have multiple convocations every year, I'd go to EVERY ONE just so I could wear this. I'd be an asset to the school - they're always having to pull teeth to get faculty out to this, it seems to me. There I'd be, every time! Smiling dementedly.)

19 comments:

kermitthefrog said...

Mmm, it sounds like it would be worth it to you! Unless it means giving up, like, heating oil or something. Of course, you might then have to post a picture of its floppyness.

Brigindo said...

I haven't bought it yet but need to. It's ridiculously expensive to buy but also to rent. Everyone tells me if I'm planning on staying in academia it will pay for itself eventually.

Me, not so happy with the silly outfit, but mostly it's the price.

It definitely sounds worth it for you.

Dr. Crazy said...

I have to say, I love my regalia. My parents bought me mine as my graduation present. It's wicked expensive, but if you're going to be attending graduations for the next 20 or more years, it is worth having, I think. And, well, it makes me feel like a Hogwarts professor, and that's an added bonus :)

Hilaire said...

Ah, Kermit, you're right - It does seem to be worth it to me. I realized that after I wrote the post.

Brigindo - Right!!! I forgot about having to rent!! That helps me settle it, actually. I was just sort of imagining that the regalia would materialize for free. And so I'd pay to rent it, and it wouldn't be the fun/gaudy colour and I wouldn't get a hat. Well, that settles it, then!

Hilaire said...

Dr. Crazy - See, I love that you love it, too. Yeah, that's the thing - feeling like some magical character in it. Fun!

T.E. said...

I bought mine. It was ridiculously expensive and there's that wool-in-June problem, but I've never regretted it. Two minor things that bug me (apart from the heat): I like the color, but it makes it impossible for me to sit near my friends whose robes are a deeper and profoundly clashing shade of crimson; and we have an inadequate hat - no beefeater. I've been tempted to have a costumey friend whip up a more attractive hat - nothing too flamboyant, but something black velvet with a little swash and flop to it, to which I could attach the official tassle.

hypatia said...

Depending on the U you work at, they may pay for rentals (mine does) in order to entice enough faculty to attend graduation and other formal events.

Maggie said...

I love my regalia. I get to wear it 3X a year here and I get a thrill every time. And *students* love it. They love seeing their profs all gussied up in these ridiculous get ups. It was well worth the $ to me!

medieval woman said...

TD and I bought ours and I love it - I haven't had to wear it again so far, but a friend and I are planning on attending graduation this year just to be able to wear it. It hangs on the back of my office door and it looks so official.

*Definitely* do it!

Maude Lebowski said...

hilaire,

thanks for this post! i really really wanted to buy the regalia for my hooding but i was thinking of not buying it (because i found some shoes i like that are about $100 less than the regalia get-up), but i really really want the fancy outfit with the much cooler hat. i really really do.

now i think i may have to save up for it so i can indeed have it. i've put off graduation too many times to have to wear the ugly, disintegratable (a word?) $100 alternative.

dbm/gaa said...

I plan on buying a set when I graduate - the same ridiculous one as hilaire's!

Just be glad you didn't go to McGill, where they are SHINY GOLD. Seeing a picture of my ex in that was the biggest treat, let me tell you.

Hilaire said...

Wow, I'm definitely in the minority here - you all own it, or plan to!

Okay, so I'll fork over the cash.

It's amazing how much we all love these outfits...

luckybuzz said...

Just chiming in to say that, if I ever actually finish my dissertation, buying my regalia is one of the things I'm most looking forward to. :)

Pantagruelle said...

I didn't buy mine. It's not shiny gold. It makes me look like a christmas tree! The robe was all red, with a big, shiny green stripe down the front and within the hood. The hat was kinda Henry VIII-ish, or maybe Hogwart-ish. I felt ridiculous in mine, as if wearing the robes was the last humiliation ceremony that the university insisted on putting us through.

At my new job (I love saying that!), the new students "matriculate" at the beginning of every year (just like at Oxford, but alas my job isn't at Oxford), and all of the profs are obligated to attend. They have robe rentals at my new school, but I have no idea how much they cost. I was thinking of either renting or buying ones in different colours than at my own university, after I see what all my colleagues wear in the fall. I'm going to be getting a lot of use out of mine (twice every year!), so I'm thinking of buying.

If you really like your robes to begin with, and you know you are going to wear them, I think you should go for it and buy them! :-)

possiblyfuturedrmandy said...

One of my (many) jobs during my undergrad was to help out in the faculty robing room during convocation. It was my job to dress the professors. Literally. They would hold out their arms, and I would place the garments around them, then snap or zip or pin or whatever it took to make sure that they looked presentable. It was... bizarre.

Anyway, I became enormously thankful for professors who owned their own regalia, because a) they often arrived pre-dressed, and b)it meant that AFTER the ceremony, when I was peeling these gross, sweaty robes of the backs of equally sweaty professors, the people who owned their own robes would just leave.

So, you know... consider the poor undergrad who ends up working the faculty robing room because she smiles a lot and will put up with lecherous old male professors who enjoy being dressed by a young woman FAR too much. She'll thank you for it!

Oh, and P.S. Those sweaty rented robes DO NOT get cleaned between ceremonies. So unless you're in the first ceremony...

plam said...

I got my own regalia, which sort of looks ugly; then again, MIT is not renowned for its aesthetic sense. However, one can buy cut-rate (yet better-quality, allegedly) aftermarket MIT, Stanford, and UC regalia on the Internet. Furthermore, our departmental student committee bought a bunch of regalia in bulk, further lowering the price. So I think my regalia was about a third of the cost of normal regalia.

Also my Facebook photo has me sailing a dinghy in my regalia.

I haven't used it yet. We'll see how that goes.

Hilaire said...

Pantagruelle - Getting a generic set seems like a really smart idea if you didn't like the institutional one...As for me, I think what I like about it was precisely the "differentness" of it from the others. I don't usually like to stand out, but it is appealing in this instance!

Mandy - You make a very compelling case...:)

Plam - You sailed a dinghy in your regalia??

JustMe said...

yes, yes!! buy buy!!!

Bardiac said...

My parents bought mine for me as a graduation present. I think they'd figured out that they'd never be buying a wedding gown or paying for a wedding, and I wear it a whole lot more than a wedding gown!

If you use it a couple times a year, it's nice to have your own. And get a hat you like :)

Mine's blue with ridiculous gold piping. Sort of Gilbert and Sullivan. (Seriously, the very model of a modern academic, even in the medieval clothing.)