Dawgs with Style: Scott Bridge

Professor Scott Bridge serves as the College of Communication’s internship director. Photos courtesy of Scott Bridge. 

MEGHAN STRATTON | MANAGING EDITOR | mrstratt@butler.edu 

This week’s Dawgs with Style features Scott Bridge, College of Communication internship director and electronic journalism professor. Known for the palette of suits he wears around Fairbanks Center, Bridge describes his style as professional and conservative. Even while Butler is conducting online classes due to the coronavirus, he hopes that wearing suits to teach his Zoom classes brings students a “sense of normalcy.” 

The Butler Collegian: So, everyone has seen the social media posts of you teaching class and mowing the lawn in a suit. Why wear a full suit around your house when you could be wearing sweats?

Scott Bridge: Well, and that’s not to say that I’m wearing a suit all the time. I am wearing a suit during special events, like being interviewed by The Collegian, but the rest of the time I’d be in jeans and sweatshirts. But I know the reputation I have. It is amazing to me how many times, if someone sees me not wearing a coat and tie, it freaks them out. 

TBC: On that same idea of your reputation, people usually see you in a suit around Fairbanks. How do you feel while wearing a suit? 

SB: I feel like a professional. And this is something I have done ever since I graduated from college. When I graduated, I was 22 and I looked about 17. And I was a news reporter, so I was dealing with newsmakers, who are going to be much more likely to take someone who looks professionally seriously than they would somebody who looks like they were 17 and wasn’t even shaving at the time. And my father had always impressed upon me early that if you wanted to be treated like a professional, you need to dress and act like a professional. But then when I started teaching at Butler I was 27, and I looked like I was 20. As a matter of fact, there were a couple of times where I didn’t wear a coat and tie, and I actually got mistaken for a student…. I needed to project a professional aura, and that just stuck with me ever since. I do believe you have to dress professionally — that doesn’t mean you have to dress expensively, because God knows if it doesn’t come from Kohls or J.C. Penney I’m probably not wearing it. 

TBC: Are you trying to impart that same message of professionalism [from your father] onto students? 

SB: Yes, very much. I think that students pay attention to what you wear, what you say. And I think it is always good to set a professional example. Now, that professional example can certainly take all sorts, I mean, that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun right? And so which is why I posted that photo with my version of hip hop. 

TBC: Along that line of taking a break from professionalism, what other sorts of outfits are you sporting during the quarantine period? 

SB: Let’s see, I’ve got my full complement of suits, although one of the things I’m learning about quarantining is that quarantining and exercise are not exactly the same thing. And so some of my suits are getting a little bit tighter, and I’m going to buy new suits. … As far as what I’m wearing, I’m pretty traditional but I like color. … My wife helps me in this regard a lot. And so if I come out of the closet, and I’m wearing something she’s not crazy about, she’ll often say ‘Oh, that’s not what you’re wearing today.’ And I just turn right back around, I go back in the closet, I pick something else. 

TB: That’s sweet. How do you think fashion has impacted your relationship?

SB: Well, it’s fairly much one way. You don’t stay married for almost 37 years by giving your wife fashion advice. So, she gives me fashion tips. And a lot of the times I’ll also ask, because one of the things I’m very aware of is I know students pay attention to what I wear, and so I don’t want to look silly or dumb. So I will ask her, ‘What do you think of this? You think this matches?’ And if she says yes, I’ll feel really good about myself because like, I picked this out all by myself. 

TBC: So in general, how would you describe your style? 

SB: Conservative? Yeah, conservative. I don’t take a lot of chances. Just because I guess I’m apprehensive that taking chances sometimes won’t work out very well. And I know I’ve got several sets of eyes who are looking at me, and I’m aware of my age also. And so I try to dress my age. But yeah that’s one of the great things about men’s fashion, that it doesn’t change drastically, not like women’s fashion. And so I’ve got some suits that I’ve had for, probably older than you are. I just now thought of that. But yeah, I feel professionally, I feel good when I put on a suit. 

TBC: Do you have a favorite suit you own? 

SB: Oh wow, good question. I like wearing dark colors more than I like wearing light colors. I think that I look better in dark colors because I think I’m kinda pale skinned. … Let’s see, it would be a charcoal gray suit that I really like wearing with a navy blue or dark blue dress shirt… I’ve heard people talk about their lucky outfit, so that’s my lucky outfit. I’ll wear that when I’m recruiting or if I’m talking to a group of parents. 

TBC: That makes sense. So what are your favorite accessories? What do you think makes an outfit? 

SB: I like wearing wristwatches, I always have. My wife got me a nice Butler Seiko wristwatch, it’s very nice. And I’ve got a gold Timex that I bought at Walmart for like 20 bucks or something. If you press a little button here on the side it actually glows in the dark. It’s very functional. 

TBC: Like you said, fashion does not have to be expensive. 

SB: My thoughts exactly. But otherwise I don’t wear necklaces or chains, I never wore a ring until I got married. I’m pretty simple, pretty basic. 

TBC: Speaking of the basics, what do you think every man should have in his closet? 

SB: A black or very dark gray suit, at least one. And certainly a white shirt, certainly a shirt that has dark stripes, one that has blue stripes, and a solid dark blue shirt also. Nice shoes. 

TBC: Where do you get your fashion inspiration from, if anywhere? 

SB: Oh gosh, I mean watching TV shows and movies I guess, but frankly Meghan, my look hasn’t changed a whole heck of a lot in like 40 years. I mean, my father always wore, and still to this day, always wears a coat and tie, He always did when he went to work. He used to wear hats too. And I thought about that, but not a whole lot of people wear hats these days. So I don’t, but I’ve thought about it, I thought it was kinda a good look. 

TBC: How have students and colleagues reacted to your quarantine style? 

SB: I knew I would get smiles and some laughter when they saw me for the first time in a coat and tie. But on a more serious note, there was an underlying reason for that. And it’s because I think during this time students — not just students, but everybody frankly — are looking for some normalcy. And it is normal for my students to see me wearing a coat and tie. And so I was hoping that that would at least bring a smile to their face, if I was wearing a coat and tie, because that’s the way they’re used to seeing me. And there was a student in my 100-level class who actually, and I was so proud of him for asking this question, he challenged me, ‘Are you wearing sweats underneath?’ And so that’s when I stood up, I said no, and I backed up. I took off one of my dress shoes and I said, ‘Brendan I’m wearing the whole thing here!’ But yeah, I want our students to have something to smile about. Yes I realize in this time, especially the further along we go, that people may need something to just smile about. They could think of Professor Bridge sitting on the lawn mower riding around his house. I want them to smile and think that things are going to get better. I really believe that they are, but in the short term, I want to make things as good for them as they possibly can. 

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One Comment;

  1. Barry G. Hohlfelder '66 said:

    Back in the 1960’s when Butler University had a 40,000 Watt FM radio station, WAJC that was totally student operated, many Radio-TV majors wore jackets and ties to class because we were broadcasting later that afternoon and evening. We were taught very much the same philosophy as professor Bridge. We sounded more professional on the radio if we dressed the part and it worked, most of the time. We were reminded that early radio announcers on network live musical broadcasts wore tuxedoes for the same reason. Thanks for being a great example for up and coming professional communicators, Professor Bridge.

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