Professor Fashion: Professor Tomoko L. Kitagawa

Were you aware that students paid attention to your style?

Were you aware that students paid attention to your style?

Yes, I knew because some of my female students would ask me where I got my suits from. I told them, and two of them actually managed to find the exact same suits online!

How do you pick your clothes?

I don’t know if I have a specific type of cut or color I’m looking for. Instead, I try to maintain my level of happiness, so that my good mood can spread to whatever decisions I make and help me choose the right thing.

What has influenced your style?

Well, I grew up in Tokyo, studied in Canada, and now am working in America, so I think that mix of different cultures has all combined to make my clothing choice a bit different. I think the biggest influence was from my college days. I played the piano and figure skated for five years. I remember I had to choose costumes for special competitions, costumes that matched with the music and choreography of my dances. I think just being involved with so many artistic activities somehow taught me to express myself.

What is your favorite article of clothing?

I have a lucky bag that I got from graduate school at Princeton. I also have a green keychain holder that just makes me very happy.

Do you think your field of study has influenced your fashion?

I wear a Kimono once a year, on Dec. 1, to my Kyoto class. Not many people dress in traditional clothing anymore in Japan, and I like to be able to show to my students what it’s really like. I think a lot of professors in our department are sensitive to the cultural elements we bring to class. Actually, sometimes my colleague, Mark Warren, wears very special ties to work, and I can find them very inspiring.

Do you ever look at yourself in reflective surfaces?

I don’t know. I can avoid looking at them. I really hate it whenever I have to do a filmed lecture.