30 April 2009

April 30th, 2009 § 16 comments §

30 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Red Tee – Old Navy
  • Grey Lace Cami – Old Navy
  • Polka-Dot Silk Tie – Thrifted
  • Denim Pencil Skirt – Gap
  • Red Wedges – Anthropologie, via ebay
  • Beaded Cuff – Hawaii
  • Silver Hoops – BR


For the girl who wasn’t convinced she wanted to participate in this week of mini challenges, S. has really stepped up the game. She first challenged me to wear polka-dots but when I complained that the only polka-doted item I own is a very fall/winter top, she changed the challenge to wearing red. Well, I own two red items: -this tee-shirt and these kinda-red wedges! Funny enough, when I have worn this tee before S. has complimented me on the color. I decided to meet her challenge head-on by adding some polka-dots too. I like the way the little flower polka-dots echo the red in the top.

Details, originally uploaded by academichic.

I love all the comments we received yesterday and have responded to them in a rather long comment of my own. Today I have a new topic to pick your brains about.

The lack of red, polka-dots, and pattern in general, along with the change in weather, has me itching for a shopping trip! E. S. and I often hit the stores together and have various shopping strategies, so I see a Taking Notes on this in our future. But, I’m wondering how all of you approach shopping. Do you shop to fill gaps in your closet (ie red) or with a particular item in mind (ie a grey cropped blazer)? Do you set price limits before you go? Item limits? Do you pre-shop online to get a sense of what’s out there? Do you shop alone or with a special shopping buddy?

30 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Layers Upon Layers, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
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30 April 2009

April 30th, 2009 § 14 comments §


30 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • White top – J.Crew, remixed 
  • Red tank – Old Navy 
  • Skirt – Express, hand-me-down from friend about 9 years ago 
  • Yellow shoes – Gianni Bini, remixed 
  • Red button pendant- Brookberrys on Etsy


Last night I sent E. a challenge, so she in turned challenged me. To wear yellow. No problem, I thought, until I went to my closet. I realized that I have a ton of yellow accessories (belt, shoes, earrings I made, my grandmother’s necklace, scarves, etc etc) but no yellow garments. There is a reason for that: It’s a color I really like but I just fear putting in large quantities next to my skin.  I fear it bringing out yellow undertones in my olive complexion, making me look jaundice-y and sickly. 

(I do have a shimmery gold top that I even considered wearing out of desperation for a moment, but I really just couldn’t bring myself to walk into my advisor’s office at noon today for our meeting looking like I belonged at a nightclub with a cocktail in my hand. Even “toning it down” with jeans still seemed to be pushing it.) 

So instead I’m wearing this skirt that has quite a bit of yellow in the print:

Skirt print detail, originally uploaded by academichic.  

And I added the yellow shoes in hopes of bringing out the yellow in the print. But looking at this, I realize that I somehow managed to make an outfit that’s supposed to be predominantly yellow quite red. So to distract you – hey! Check out my cool button pendant from Brookberrys on Etsy! Look! Isn’t it cool how it’s a button?

(see, you forgot about the yellow already, didn’t you?) S. 


Button pendant – front, originally uploaded by academichic.

Button pendant – back, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue
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30 April 2009 – Husbandly Advice

April 30th, 2009 § 8 comments §


30 April 2009 – Husbandly Advice, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Checkered button down – husband’s, thrifted
  • Corduroy jacket – Ross
  • Jeans – ON maternity
  • Pointy toe pumps – Target

End Notes:

Today’s challenge actually comes from S., who told me that I needed to wear something checkered or plaid. It shortly came out, however, that what she really wanted to see was if I could figure out how to steal something from my husband N.’s closet and make it work with my bump. Now, I know that there is some disagreement over whether or not purloining from a man’s closet during pregnancy is course of action to be praised or condemned. I think — much like simply “buying up” several sizes instead of just buying maternity — that there are a lot of contingencies and no hard rules can really apply.

I wore this shirt of N.’s earlier in the year, back when my pants were getting tight but the bump was barely visible to the naked eye. I liked it then — and still like it today — because it has a softer drape than most of his other shirts, thus allowing for my shape to be evident. I felt like I needed some structure on top of it today, and N. actually suggested that I wear a blazer that would let the sleeves “poof” at the cuff. He approved of the shoe choice, too.

In other news, my end of the semester panic has temporarily lifted as I finished my third of four papers yesterday and found out that I passed my glucose tolerance test. This whole “getting dressed for not going to campus” business is working out pretty well thus far!

Category: Beltless, Maternity Style, Pants Please, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual
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29 April 2009

April 29th, 2009 § 21 comments §


29 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Yellow cardi – Ann Taylor Outlet, remixed
  • Lace cami – BR
  • Woven belt – F21, remixed
  • Flower pin – jerry-rigged by me
  • Denim skirt – ON Maternity!
  • Floral flats – Target, remixed

End Notes:

So our challenge from A. today is to wear floral. At first I told her I didn’t have anything floral that fits anymore. Then I got all delusional and thought that this shirt might still fit. It doesn’t, really, so I switched to these flats as my floral for the day and then, because I felt bad, added a lace cami (with flowers) and jerry-rigged a little broach together (with flowers). I had a run-in with a cabbage rose print Laura Ashley dress when I was younger and I think that was enough to make me skeptical for flowery florals and more drawn to Asian-inspired or stylized prints.

I love the conversation that S. and A. have gotten started about who you dress for, when it’s okay for style to fall by the wayside, and how you make working from home productive. Like A. said, I’m entering a new and sometimes overwhelming phase of being both mother and grad student. I’ll also be taking a year off teaching, first to focus on my little one and then to more expeditiously finish off the last of my coursework. Although I’ll get to officially take the fall off — and will definitely take a hard-earned mini break! — I do want to be aware of how routines and habits I set then can be conducive to the elusive work-life balance later.

I know that my style will certainly morph with a wee one around, and I’m okay with that. I don’t think that my love of color-mixing will evaporate, and I’ll pull the pencil skirts and big jewelry out when I don’t need to sit on the floor or worry about being clutched at. But I would love to hear from stay-at-home moms about the challenges (or fun parts?) of maintaining style. I’m especially curious if you draw a connection — as Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear fame often do — between looking put-together and modeling self-respect for your child or children. Even if a four month old can’t appreciate that, is it important to set the pattern early?


29 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
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29 April 2009 – Floral

April 29th, 2009 § 11 comments §


29 April 2009 – Floral, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Floral button down – Talbots 
  • White tank – old 
  • Cropped Jacket – DKNY, remixed 
  • Jeans – ON Flirt (thanks for the tip, Clare!!)
  • Grey wedges – Report, via Solestruck.com, remixed 


Today’s challenge is florals. Florals isn’t that hard for me. I own a lot of florals. Admittedly, a lot of it is of the more abstract variety, but floral nonetheless

But A. assigned florals based on it being a “spring trend” and so I think the floral meant here is of the non-abstract and colorful spring variety. Since just a few days ago, I already wore the one dress that screams that to me, I had to find something else for today.


Spring Florals, originally uploaded by academichic.

This shirt is a hand-me-down and is definitely a spring floral. I liked it in theory but less so in practice and have worn it only once or twice since becoming the lucky recipient of it. I thought the colors very pretty when I got it, but I’ve had a hard time making it feel ‘me’ – so today I challenged myself to do that.

I’m making it feel more me by wearing it with dark slim fit jeans and a jacket. Yes, it’s the cropped jacket that I also had a hard time with before but its challenges pale in comparison to those presented by this Monet-ish number. But I think I like the end results of the floral with the structured jacket and jeans. And now I’m off to implement what I talked about yesterday – I’m dressed, I’m leaving the house, and I’m going to install myself at my favorite cafe with E. and get some mass studying done. S.


29 April 2009 – Floral, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Pants Please, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual
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29 April 2009

April 29th, 2009 § 14 comments §

29 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.
  • Jersey Zipper Jacket (aka sweatshirt) – BR Outlet
  • Floral Top – Old Navy
  • Jeans – BR Outlet
  • Pendant – Grandmother’s
Today I am spending the day with a friend’s 1 year old and am looking forward to crawling around the floor and playing in the park and have tried to dress accordingly while still maintaining some sense of style. I loved the discussion that resulted from S.’s post yesterday and would like to continue it.

I too am entering a new phase of my academic career, I finished my comprehensive exams a few weeks ago and will be starting the dissertation this summer. Like reader Joni, I am often more productive when I lock myself away at home in sweats. I firmly believe in dressing for success and always dress up for teaching, presentations, and even solitary 6 hour exams when no one will see me, but don’t necessarily find this is best for me when working from home.

I will be teaching all next year so will still dress up on those days but wonder if I might find myself in sweats at least one day a week.

E. too is entering a new phase in about a month and a half when baby e. finally arrives! So as a prepare to spend the day with a little one, I wonder how her style will adapt.

As I start my new phase, I am most worried about getting into a routine and not losing half my day to house work and/or blog reading! I like to go back and forth between crazy hermit days and days with an out-of-house activity. I can only work like a madwoman about once a week so it helps to break the other days up. Next year, I plan to make regular house calls to visit E. and baby e. which will give me something to look forward to and thus a reason to get some work done for the day.

My questions to you:
How do all you work-from-homers structure your days?
When does style fall to the wayside for you?
What in your life is worth letting style fall to the wayside for?

Category: Beltless, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please
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28 April 2009 – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

April 28th, 2009 § 6 comments §

29 April 2009 – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Pink and white seersucker blazer – stolen from A.’s giveaway pile
  • Gray tank – Target
  • Jeans – ON Maternity, remixed of course
  • Blue green scarf – Ross, remixed
  • Paisley pointy toe pumps – Payless

End Notes:

When I got the e-mail from A. challenging me to wear “pink — not magenta — PINK” today, I knew it was going to be a battle. Ever since I realized that pastels and my skin tone don’t play nicely with each other, I’ve been fairly ruthless about weeding them out of my closet. I do have a deeper pink top that still fits (barely), but given today’s slightly chilly weather I knew that I would have to layer over that blouse and that A. would likely chasten me for not embracing the challenge. So I did what she would least expect: I wore one of HER old pink items of clothing.

No, I don’t have a secret tunnel of access to her closet — though that would be useful some mornings — but I do have a few bags of clothes that she generously gave me to help with a clothing drive I’m organizing this summer. I remembered that she had once mentioned that she was giving away a pink and white seersucker blazer, so I dove into the clothing pile and fished it out.

I decided that the best course of action would be to pair the relatively preppy jacket with edgier or at least more grown-up shapes and colors. So out came a gray top as a base, the skinnies, and a great pair of pumps. I cannot be mistaken for either a candy striper or a marshmallow peep in those items! I was still unhappy with how the pink looked next to my face, but a saturated blue-green scarf helped to remedy that. I wish I could say that I am happy and confident in this outfit, but I’m really still quite paranoid about all this pink business. On the other hand, one of my favorite songs by The Flaming Lips, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” has been in my head all day, and that’s a welcome respite from all of the other swirling thoughts about discursive materiality that have predominated for the last week!  – e.


29 April 2009 – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Pants Please, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual
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28 April 2009

April 28th, 2009 § 18 comments §


28 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Green button down – J. Crew, remixed
  • Brown print jersey dress – Banana Republic, remixed here and here
  • Yellow belt – J.Crew, remixed
  • Yellow Shoes – Gianni Bini, remixed here and here
  • Yellow earrings – made by me


As E. mentioned, this week we’ll be on campus much less as the semester winds down and we’re working from home much more. I agree with E. that looking put together translates to feeling put together and, consequently, to being more productive. So I, too, will make an effort to keep getting dressed as I work from home and get ready to take my last comprehensive exam in three weeks. And A’s challenges will help ensure that happens! She challenged me to wear green today, a color I don’t wear very frequently, so I combined her style challenge and this very cute outfit worn by Dolofe on Wardrobe Remix to create today’s look.


28 April 2009 , originally uploaded by academichic.

But here’s the thing: This week marks the beginning of a new academic phase for me. The semester is over and I will now be working on my own and from home for the next year and a half! I will not be teaching again until Fall 2010 and I am going abroad this fall, so I will not be on a campus for quite a while.

To be honest, I am a bit scared of what that means for my appearance and attire and I am so glad that I have this blog (and your readership!) pushing me to keep looking presentable. I very much admire Andrea, who works from home and still manages to look fabulous all the time.

Bracing myself for this somewhat unique approaching situation, I have been asking myself these questions a lot and will pose them to you as well: Would you keep dressing the way you do if you worked from home? Is your style impermeable or completely dictated by your lifestyle? To what extent does seeing friends, colleagues, and familiar figures influence how you dress? What motivates you to present your ‘ideal’ self when you don’t know whether anyone acquainted with you will see it?

Maybe I’ll just have to ask A. and E. to keep sending me style challenges from afar!  S. 


Yellow shoes, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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28 April 2009

April 28th, 2009 § 11 comments §

27 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.
  • Khaki Skirt – Gap
  • Navy Blazer – H & M
  • Striped Button-down – J Crew
  • Scarf as Belt – Gap
  • Beaded Flip Flops – Old Navy


Yesterday E. mentioned she could use a little challenge to help her get dressed this week.  She got some great suggestions, but because both E. and S. are quite mentally taxed this week with it being the last week of the semester, we have decided to go with Sal’s suggestion.  I will be the official “challenger” this week and will send both E. and S. email style challenges each night.   They, in turn, can send me challenges or I will give myself a challenge for each day this week.

My first challenge for E. was to wear “pink – not magenta- pink!”  For S., I have chosen green.  These are not their respective go to colors so a challenge it should be!

S. sent me a challenge last night – “wear stripes.”   I don’t own much that is patterned but I do have a few stripped pieces so worked hard to pull more than one striped item into today’s outfit. This outfit went through many revisions this morning, but even though it looks a bit like a middle school uniform, I am happy with the results.

28 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.
STRIPES, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Layers Upon Layers, Mixing Patterns, Our Best Flatware, Skirting the Issue
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27 April 2009

April 27th, 2009 § 9 comments §

27 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.       


  • White button-down – J.Jill, remixed 
  • Blue polka dot scarf – from Kimberly
  • Black jean capris – TJMaxx 
  • Ballet flats – Palladium 
  • Scrabble pendant – Its All About the Print on Etsy 
  • Cat – Louie


Sal’s post today inspired me to pull out one of my favorite articles of clothing: the white button down shirt. While Sal mentions her struggle to embrace this wardrobe basic, I was a believer from the get-go. I love this crisp, clean basic and how easy it is to combine it with other items in my closet. 

27 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.       

I agree with Sal wholeheartedly that the traditional button down can need some sprucing up most of the time. Sal suggested some wonderful methods in her post and I’m donning one of my favorites today: the scarf as belt look. Worn against the white canvas of the shirt, a colored scarf pops beautifully and adds color in addition to waist definition. This particular silk beauty comes form the super stylish Kimberly, who snuck this little guy in with the statement necklace I won courtesy of her giveaway recently! She thoughtfully included three scarves, so that all of us would get a little treat in her package and we couldn’t have been more excited to each pick our favorite. Thanks Kimberly, I love my blue polka-dot silk scarf! There will be a lot more remixing of this item!

Scarf detail – front, originally uploaded by academichic.   

Last time A. wore her scarf in this obi-style, a reader asked to see the back of it. While A. is great at tucking in those ends to create a more seamless look, I’m more sloppy with mine and tend to let the ends just poke out like this:

Scarf detail – back, originally uploaded by academichic.   

Finally, I finished this look with a new favorite accessory – the Scrabble piece pendant from Its All About the Print on Etsy – and my most comfortable ballet flats meet tennis shoe slip-ons. S. 


Scrabble piece pendant, originally uploaded by academichic.


Favorite shoes, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual
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