By Colleen

What to wear when you are invited to another university’s campus to give a presentation? When in doubt, wear the school colors. 

herky-hawkThis week I am on spring break and in Iowa City. As a junior scholar, spring break is no break at all as I am grading, updating my syllabi (due to losing 3 or 4 classes due to snow earlier in the semester), and prepping for the upcoming weeks. I also presented at the University of Iowa’s Global Scholars Certificate professional development workshops for Iowa teachers on “Teaching Global Shakespeares.”

The University at Iowa’s color scheme is gold and black.* And as I have a gifted skirt in this golden hue, I decided to wear black and gold for my presentation. Yes, I completely dressed like the University’s Mascot, Herky the Hawk.


SPECS: black lace shirt (Banana Republic); skirt (J.Crew, gifted); yellow and silver bead necklace (Macy’s?); black tights (H&M); black booties (Doc Marten)

SOTD: Kelly Caleche by Hermes. This is one of my favorite perfumes: the soft suede of the interior of a Hermes’ handbag with soft floral notes.

(Upper left: Me (standing in  front of a Herky the Hawk image for the International Programs; upper right: Herky the Hawkeye at a football game; lower left: Hawkeyes logo. That’s how Herky I dressed. I felt I needed to clear things up)

On wearing school colors and dressing like the school mascot:

I have never watched a college sporting event ever, BUT I do love college mascots and school colors.

Victor E. Bull (University at Buffalo)

I have even won a college basketball bracket (let me see if I have this correct: Field of 64, No Motto 32 Teams, Sweet 16, Crazy Eights, Final Four, Last Two, the Immortal Ones) by choosing which mascot would win in a death match.

It’s not always a fail-safe system as seen below, in which I pit two of my alma maters against each other. The University of Buffalo’s (MA: English, BA: Classics/English) mascot is way tougher than The* Ohio State University’s (PhD: English/Theatre), but the latter is a much better school for sports. UB has a demonic blue bull and OSU has an anthropomorphic chestnut (but it is poisonous, so I guess that’s scary?.)

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 8.54.37 AMSometimes, I even wear my own school colors. Here is an example from the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Award ceremony. I decided to play with OSU’s scarlet and grey, opting for an oatmeal cardigan over a red, white, and beaver-color patterned dress (dress: Banana Republic). (I was also growing out a pixie haircut at the time.)


Disclaimer: I never wore University at Buffalo’s blue & white (all black all the time back then), except for a fake Greek shirt that a few fellow Classics majors put together for Phi Upsilon Kappa (think about it), but Cindy’s post on wearing European football colors is on point in her blue and white.

Action shot!

(Action shot! The room was incredibly cold, so I wore a draped scarf most of the day, as in this image.)

  • * You can look up any school’s colors, font choices, and related color schema quite easily. Beyond Google and Google image, you can find official language of colors and suggested color combinations, usually through the University’s branding or communications departments an services. For example, UI suggests pairing PMS Yellow (various numbers, depending on matte or gloss) (i.e. gold) and black with teal, orange, purple, maroon, brown, blue, navy blue, etc.
  • ** The “The” for Ohio State is  pronounced emphatically as “THEE Ohio State University” when discussing sports. But it’s not that way with other schools. I have no idea how this originated.

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