By: Adele Marchant
Photos by: Christine Zhang
Nearly everyone has a “professor crush” – a professor that seems totally out-of-this-world awesome. Dr. Marcia Chatelain is mine, and I’m not alone. As an American Studies professor, it is not unheard of for one of Dr. Chatelain’s classes to have up to a 30-person waitlist. She has a devout following of students who, like myself, eagerly take her classes semester after semester.
Dr. Chatelain is a familiar face on many television channels, an author, and a total girl-boss. Easily way smarter than the rest of us, she also boasts more than 4,000 followers on Twitter. To top it off, Dr. Chatelain is stylish. She is often seen rocking professional yet fun ensembles, to match her equally fun class discussions. Curious as to how such an accomplished woman manages to find time to have fun with her style amidst all of her other commitments, I wanted to investigate. Here’s what Dr. Chatelain said:
Thirty Seventh: How would you describe your style?
Dr. Marcia Chatelain: I think my sense of style is classic American; I like classic looks over trends.
TS: Who are your style inspirations?
MC: The First Lady, of course. I think she always look so pulled together and perfectly styled.
TS: Favorite places to shop?
MC: Nordstrom for dresses, Kate Spade for accessories, and most recently, I’ve discovered Ann Taylor Loft for more casual looks. I also love the Land’s End Catalog for seasonal items like winter coats and beach coverups. Oh, and J.Crew cardigans to finish out my look.
TS: Favorites items of clothing you own?
MC: I have some Elie Tahari dresses that are my go-to when I have to give a lecture or do a talking head thing on TV because it’s a whole look.
TS: Shoes, bags, or jewels girl?
MC: I love jewelry–not necessarily the most fancy or expensive things–but I love how a pair of earrings and a necklace can really improve a look.
TS: Any favorite fashion moments in American history?
MC: I would say Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress because it was made by an African American fashion designer named Ann Lowe!
TS: What’s your motto when getting dressed for the day?
MC: ‘Will I feel comfortable in this outfit in 10-12 hours?’ I have long days, whether on campus or when I’m traveling, I often get up at the crack of dawn, and I may not return home until 9 or 10 at night, so I like to put together outfits that are comfortable, in fabrics that won’t be totally disheveled on my way to another meeting or a reception, and in enough layers to deal with freezing airplanes and stuffy conference rooms.
TS: Name one fashion trend you would ban from campus if you could.
MC: I wouldn’t ban any fashion trend–I like seeing how creative people are with their looks. I do think seeing the 90s throwback looks are strange, because I really never thought they would come back.
TS: Favorite color to wear?
MC: I love a bright orange or yellow!
TS: Best career or life advice you’ve ever received?
MC: Know your audience! My older sister gave me this advice when I was younger, and it works for career, dating, and finding meaning. I interpreted that as know yourself, and know what environments that can support you and appreciate what you have to offer.
TS: If you had to give Georgetown students one piece of wisdom, what would it be?
MC: Prioritize your friendships and your communities above all things!
If you think your teacher is the perfect subject for one of our Stylish Professor segments, email us a suggestion at firstname.lastname@example.org!