In this quick guide, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of buying professor regalia. If you plan on having a long career in academia, it might be worth the investment to buy regalia up front. As a professor, there’s nothing quite like having your own custom robe and tam for Graduation.
First, take a moment to consider your current employment situation. How secure is your current academic position? Can you afford purchasing regalia now, or is it out of your budget? Will you be expected to attend commencement, and how many ceremonies will there be during the academic year?
Typically, renting professor regalia can cost upwards of $75 a day, which can add up if you’re attending several ceremonies. If your university has policies regarding renting or handing down regalia you won’t need to worry about rental costs. However, many institutions are discontinuing these policies and asking professors to purchase their own regalia.
With a rental service, you’ll have fewer choices about color, style and overall quality. Meanwhile, purchasing regalia will allow you to personalize your graduation day attire. You’ll be able to choose if you’d like pockets and what colors you’d prefer. Additionally, you’ll have a memento that you can wear for decades to come. If it’s too expensive to buy your regalia in one transaction, you can purchase regalia piece by piece or wait for an “off-season” sale. If you’re still undecided, check out this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
To ensure that your regalia lasts for years, it should be removed from product packaging right away and hung in a closet. Depending on the material, you’ll want to bring the gown to a dry cleaner before wearing it. This will ensure that the colors are properly set and any delicate sections of the garment (i.e. ribbon, silk, velvet) are not damaged.
If you’ve purchased a 100% polyester garment, you may be able to wash it in a household machine after the first dry cleaning. Finally, if you need to press a garment, you should steam it on a low setting instead of using an iron. You should also avoid applying heat directly to polyester if possible.