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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Dressing for an Archaeological Conference

archaeologistI attend a number of archaeological meetings, yet this will be my first annual meeting or conference. Believe it or not, yours truly is going to be recognized for her humble accomplishments during this gathering. At a time like this, my thoughts turn only to the most important matter at hand: what to wear?

In the field, archaeologists generally wear cargo arhPhotopants and quilted/journalistic-style vests. Pockets are essential. Then there are hiking boots, usually with the less treads, the better, since that leaves footprints in your perfectly-scraped or swept excavation squares. Good luck with finding smooth-bottomed boots, although if you rode your horse to the dig, some equestrian boots would fit the bill…. However, no one’s going to show up straight from an excavation.

female archaeologistAnything I can find online about these kinds of conferences generally involve anthropological conferences. Attendees are said to wear ethnic jewelry and scarves for men and women, kinda Euro. They caution not to appear too grad-schoolish nor too corporate.

This is going to be a problem. I pull out some sweater jackets, boiled wool and colorful. Next, I take a look at basic grey, black, and navy pantsuits that I can spruce up with interesting jewelry. Hmm…. Should I go with attractive shoes or comfy shoes for all-day and all-night sessions?

I read a quote from Carla Jones, anthropologist of fashion, who does nothing to alleviate my thanxiety as she writes pithily:

“What is surprising is that we somehow persuade ourselves that because we analyze symbols, we see through them. Nowhere is this more apparent that anthropologists’ ambivalence towards their own clothing. We deny that clothing matters even as we know it does. Why else insist on wearing jeans, the ur-garment of working classes, even as we expect those jeans to be a respectable (i.e., expensive) make that most working class people couldn’t afford? Why else eschew clothing that accountants might wear, unless we appear like capitalist tools or lacking individual genius? Why else expect accessories to do all our stylish heavy lifting, conveying cosmopolitaneity, political consciousness, and personal good taste at once? Such safari suitfamiliar, modernist anxieties lurk under our carefully chosen scarves and jackets, worrying that by acknowledging the importance of surfaces we are therefore superficial, which must mean we aren’t intelligent. The bigger the earrings, the smaller the brain, so we seem to think.”

I vacillate, eventually deciding on the basic suit with a bold necklace and yes, big earrings. At 5:00 am, I’ll decide on the shoes. And then I will need to do it all over again for the next day, but by then I’ll at least have some experience to build on….


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