23 October 2009 – Minimal

October 23rd, 2009 § 12 comments §

23 October 2009 – Minimal, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Black sweater dress: Target
  • Gray skinnies: thrifted, skinnied by me
  • Gray suede wedges: Gap Outlet
  • Turquoise earrings: vintage beads from a wee shop in Wheaton, IL

End Notes:

As simple as this outfit is, it’s really a stretch for me. Not only are my pants ankle length, but I am also wearing a fairly shapeless sweater dress-slash-tunic without a belt. I know, I know. I’m totally living on the edge.

Angie from You Look Fab calls this surrendering the waistline. And it really is. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you know that all three of us love to belt at the waist. Even when I was pregnant, I kept right on belting up to the bitter end. Letting this fairly shapeless sweater shift just hang out like this goes against my basic style instincts and the little Stacey and Clinton demons in my head.

Vintage Bead Earrings, originally uploaded by academichic.

And yet here I am. The skinnies add some needed edge and the wedges give some needed lift and length. What is really a basic outfit in terms of pieces and color becomes much more interesting because of the more unexpected play with proportion. And while it was tempting to figure out more accessories to add to the mix, I think this look achieves its greatest impact by embracing its inherent minimalism.

(And the better to show off my new-as-of-this-morning haircut, too!)

23 October 2009 – Minimal, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Office Hours, Pants Please, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights
Tags: > > > > > >

Color Review Symposium Part 2

October 22nd, 2009 § 12 comments §

A while back we posted a CFP for your best color combinations following our reviews of the color modules. We received some wonderful submission for the first part of our color symposium and we are excited to present you with the second part of the symposium below:

Cinderella’s Folly sent us this lovely green – purple- and -orange triad combination, with the orange coming in subtly through the brooch. We love many of Cinderalla’s Folly gorgeous color combinations and professional outfits and think you, too, should check out her Flickr set.


For a monochromatic combination, we received this lovely submission from Lana in a rich chocolate brown. Lana’s attention to the details – the lace trim on the top, the sheer layer and lace detailing on the skirt – gives this monochromatic outfit added interest and depth. Great job!


Rose of From Sneakers to Stilettos sent us this beautiful analogous combination of teal and olive green. Rose tells us of her long running love affair with this particular combination and we couldn’t agree more: it’s lovely! Rose was also inspired by A.’s self-made flower belt to recreate a similar one using her olive green flower brooch and a ribbon tie.


Meanwhile, Christina of The Story of Wonderful tried her hand at a triad, using a slight variation of the straight red-blue-yellow mix, and opting for a subtler pink-blue-yellow triad instead. In her own words: “I also convinced myself that I’m channeling S’s very inspiring “preppy romantic” style by incorporating a full floral skirt with a more traditional cardigan and loafer.” – Well played, Christina! You’ve definitely nailed the Preppy Romantic Look here!

Missy P sent us this lovely monochromatic mix of denim and blue. Not only is this a great monochromatic ensemble, but we also love the idea of using a vest as a way to create a waist and give definition to a tunic dress. If you’re less enthusiastic about belting, then make sure to bookmark this clever idea!

Sharon of  The Other Side of the World also constructed a monochromatic blue outfit, using jeans with varying shades of blue to create this rich and anything but monotonous monochromatic outfit. We think Sharon may be giving our own queen of layering, A., a run for her money! The tube top worn as vest over the button-down looks great!

analygous lauren

Camera shy Lauren sent us an analogous color combination of purple and blue. The scarf of blues and purples brings this already lovely combination seamlessly together. And we also love the subtle pattern mix of the floral lace on the cami and the abstract print of the scarf.

Picture 1

The always glamorous Bella, a favorite wardrobe remixer of ours, sent us a monochromatic combination of neutrals. Yet another great vest look and definitely an academic ensemble far from the polyester suit.  We love the sophisticated elegance created by the pale colors and slim lines.


Mariel of Preppy with a Twist constructed an analogous combination of red and magenta. In her words: “I definitely wouldn’t have paired red and magenta together before, but after the color review I’m seeing my closet in new ways.  In this outfit, I was super comfortable yet felt stylish fabulous at the beach”. This outfit is Fabulous with a capital F, Mariel!

Picture 5

Wardrobe remixer Wearabouts Town has created an entire  Color Review Symposium Set on Flickr, showcasing her many great triadic, analogous, split-complimentary, and monochromatic ensembles. With so many wonderful choices, we had trouble selecting our favorite but this look won out due to its subtle analogous mix of purple and blue. We also loved the preppy touch of the tied oxford shirt and the lovely nude wedges.

Thank you, all, for your wonderful submissions! As always, we love being inspired by our readers just as much as we hope to provide inspiration in return with our Color Modules and Pattern Workshop!

Category: Calls for Papers, Color Combinations

22 October 2009

October 22nd, 2009 § 14 comments §

22 October 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.
All remixed
Apparently today is quite the Banana Republic day.    I didn’t realize that almost everything I am wearing today is from either Banana Republic or Banana Republic Outlet until I typed up my sources.   I do lover BR!  I find their clothes to be well-made and they usually have pretty good sales.  BR style tends to be pretty classic, meaning I still wear many pieces  that I purchased from there years ago.

I love J Crew but often find some of their pieces harder to work into my daily wardrobe.  What about you?  Do you have a favorite store?  What is it that keeps you going back?


22 October 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Teaching Outfits
Tags: > > > > > > >

22 October 2009 – Let’s Go NaNoWriMo!

October 22nd, 2009 § 25 comments §

22 October 2009 – Pop of Pink, originally uploaded by academichic.


Black cropped jacket – thrifted, remixed
Striped top – J.Crew, remixed
Black skirt – ON, thrifted, remixed
Pink tights – my mom’s from the 80s
Boots – Banana Republic, remixed

This week, while perusing the blogosphere, I found out about NaNoWriMo on Madame Owl’s site. For those of you who, like me, have never heard of this before, it’s National Novel Writing Month. Except that it’s quite international and participants from all over the world join the fun (or madness – depending on how you look at it). The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.

Well, as if writing a dissertation wasn’t enough, I decided rather impulsively (this is a pattern for me) to sign myself up! But I have good (to me) reasons for this:

As an academic, I am NEVER told: “Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing.” This from the official NaNoWriMo website. Also from the project’s ‘rules’: “Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality.”

I have been shamelessly seduced by the idea of writing something for the sake of quantity and mass output at a time in my life when every word is weighed and scrutinized and quality and succinct writing is key. (Here I’m referring to my dissertation proposal, over which I have been laboring since this summer, and which can be described as the antithesis to the NaNoWriMo project).

I have also decided to embark on this writing marathon, because I liked what writer and blogger Andrea wrote about this process: “One of Nanowrimo’s many benefits is that it prepares you for a steady, productive writing life, and reinforces the fact that doing some writing every day will eventually produce a novel.” I like to think that this steady daily writing will also reinforce the fact that someday I will produce a dissertation.

I am also curious to see how simultaneously working on a work of fiction and one of fact, research, and theory will influence either writing process and whether I can come out sane at the end of the month. Who knows? Maybe I’ll discover a hidden passion or I will be damn glad to return to “just” my dissertation when November is over. And whatever happens, no one has to see this “novel” but myself, there is no NaNoWriMo reading committee waiting at the end, no degree riding on this, and no hope of tenure or a decent job attached to the pressure. Sounds like a cinch.

I will not be blogging about this here or disclosing my story, but I wanted to let you know about this because it will surely affect my state of mind over the next month and might even be reflected in my outfits (what’s a go-to crazy writer uniform?) I am also hoping that I might entice some of you to be impulsive and to join me on this crazy journey…right…are you with me….? Let’s Go NaNoWriMo!

Proportions, originally uploaded by academichic.

And a last note on today’s outfit – it was an exercise in proportions as well as in colors. One of my favorite color combinations is neutrals with a pop, especially a pop of pink! And whenever I wear this swingy cropped jacket, I look to pair it with a more fitted and structured bottom section. I also only recently came around to wearing cropped jackets since I am short-waisted and thought they would stump my torso even more. I have discovered, however, that cropped jackets work for us short-waisted ladies as well when worn with a longer – elongating! – top underneath. If the underneath layer hits about mid-hip, it created the illusion of a longer waist, allowing the cropped jacket to indeed appear cropped. Sounds simple, right? S.

Ok, now once more, let’s go NaNoWriMo! S.

Pink!, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: > > > >

18 October 2009

October 21st, 2009 § 16 comments §

18 October 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.
  • Cardigan – Banana Republic
  • Corduroys – Gap Outlet
  • Scarf – H & M
  • Belt – Ann Taylor
  • Clogs – Dansko
  • Earrings – F21
It’s still on the warmer side here today, quite a change from the crisp fall weather we enjoyed this past weekend. I’m working from home and running a few errands and am wearing a variation on the denim skirt and tee look I have posted again and again.  So, instead, I’m sharing my outfit from Sunday, when it was sunny, cool, and lovely.

I wore my Dansko clogs with cords and a cardigan, but to make it a bit more interesting, I added a scarf, which I then belted.  I’ve seen this belted scarf thing in the pages of J Crew and on a few store mannequins and keep meaning to try it.  The models wear it without looping the scarf around the neck, but this scarf was just too long for that.  I think I’ll try it again with a shorter scarf!

I love scarves and like to play around with them, tying them in different ways, tucking them into jackets, and letting them hang loose around my shoulders.  Perhaps we should try a scarf workshop to accompany the tights workshop suggested by E.  What do you think?


18 October 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Pants Please, Research Casual
Tags: > > > >

Reader Questions: Shoe Week!

October 21st, 2009 § 30 comments §

We’ve received several more shoe-related reader questions lately, so we’re making this week officially shoe week! To check out our post on chic yet comfortable shoes, click here, and also take a look at the really great comments full of more tips and reader recommendations on the topic.

Now, for a few more shoe-related inquiries:


One reader sent us the above picture accompanied by the following words:

I bought a pair of shoes that I love, but I’m not sure what color skirts/shirts to pair with them.They’re black and wine colored. The color wheel seems to tell me that the opposite would be a green – maybe like a forest green? Would that be a good combo? I’m stumped, and can only think of throwing them on as a pop of color with neutrals (blacks/greys/maroons). Hesitant to be too matchy-matchy. Help! Sarah (librarian at a midwest university)

Thanks for the email and picture, Sarah! Great shoe, we love the two-tone color and the elegant T-Strap and had fun thinking of some color choices for it. Here is what we would recommend:

Picture 4

You are quite right to think of dark forest green, which would provide a complement to the maroon of the shoe. While red and green scream Christmas and Santa’s elves, a subtle variation on the crayon box version makes for warmth and sophistication while allowing for both colors to ‘pop’ against the other. An item such as the above sweater (found at Banana Republic) would look great with a pencil skirt in any neutral color and your maroon and black shoes.

Picture 6

Or you could go for a subtler color mix by pairing something plum or deep purple with the black and maroon shoes, thus creating an analogous color combo. The above dress from Target could serve as an inspiration point for an analogous pairing, or at $18.99, could make its way into your closet should you want this very one!

Picture 7

Lastly, you could play the monochromatic card by adding more shades of red to join the maroon of the shoe. Don’t try to find the exact shade of ‘wine’ of your pump, but rather experiment with other variations on red to create a soft monochrome color mix. Pairing a dark pink ruffle top blouse (such as the one found at Anthropologie above) with a black or gray skirt would recreate the color pairings in your shoe with your garments, using varying shades of the colors found at your feet.

Overall, don’t be afraid to experiment with your new shoes. While they certainly will make a great pop of color and could work with any combination of neutrals, don’t hesitate to mix them with non-neutrals as well. And as always, dear readers, your input is greatly appreciated! What would you suggest Sarah pair with these lovely wine and black pumps?

Meanwhile, reader Courtney sent us this question:


I love your blog, and I’ve watched all summer as you have all worn beautiful flat after wonderful wedge, all seemingly without socks of any kind or problems. How do you do it? When I try that, I end up a soggy mess with accompanying blisters. Am I missing something important here?

You’re not missing anything! Breaking in new shoes without socks or hose is a tricky business and is better left not tried. Broken in shoes, however, should be able to function without socks or tights without causing blisters and chafing.

New summer shoes, however, can’t always be broken in with socks or hose. And even broken in shoes sometimes revert to a previous stiffness when not worn for a while. In those cases, here are some tricks that should make the breaking in process a little easier on your feet…

  • Use any petroleum product to run along the chaffing parts of the shoe, making for less friction with the skin (runner’s glide, anti-blister stick, petroleum jelly, deodorant… any of those should work)
  • Carry band-aids and a little purse-sized petroleum jelly jar  (or above product of your choice) with you to touch up as you spend the day walking around!
  • Locate the source of chaffing or blistering and try to discern what it may indicate about your feet – high vs. low arches, narrow vs. wide feet, etc – and look for shoes catering to those concerns when purchasing new pairs

If you, our readers, have more handy tricks to add to this list, don’t hesitate to let us and Courtney know by leaving us a comment!

From reader Marjorie, we received the following note:

Picture 3

I have bad feet that hurt if I don’t wear shoes with a lot of arch support, which can make looking stylish a little difficult… I have a pair of cognac colored Birkenstock clogs that I want to incorporate into my work wear, since I walk there (about 2 miles each way) and don’t always like to change my shoes. I intern in a federal agency where the look is professional, but not exactly corporate level attire. I usually wear cardigans, slacks and skirts. Do you think I could dress them up or is the look way too frumpy for a cubicle?

This is a tricky question. On the whole, we would tend to say that Birkenstocks are too casual for a professional environment. However, if clogs are your preferred form of footwear, there are other brands like Clarks or Dansko that have options with comfortable (thick or wedged) heels and less bulky shape. Generally, our style aesthetics are such that we would recommend wearing clogs with pants that are long enough to conceal the open heel, thus giving the appearance of a heeled shoe.

A. and S. both own Dansko clogs that they swear by in terms of comfort. Although they tend to wear them with jeans for a more casual ensemble, S. has worn this exact “professional” look with her black Danskos and felt confident with the resulting mix of clogs and dress pants. The added bonus: Danskos come both in a narrow or wide style, thus addressing the concern expressed by some of you in our previous shoe post. And if you’re concerned about arch support, Danskos will likely suit your needs. Having high arches and a need for arch support herself, S. appreciated the extra cushioning in her Danskos.

As for our readers who share Courtney’s concern of needing arch support or who prefer a clog for a daily professional look, please share any brands or tips you’ve come to appreciate! Thank you!

Category: Color Combinations, Our Best Flatware, Q&A, Reaching New Heights

20 October 2009 – The Way of Gray

October 21st, 2009 § 12 comments §

20 October 2009 – S1 Goes to Class, originally uploaded by academichic.


S1 (above):

  • White button down – J.Jill, remixed
  • Gray sweater – Merona (Target brand), thrifted, remixed
  • Black woven belt – thrifted, remixed
  • Black skinnies – Younique Jeans capris tucked into knee socks and worn as “long” pants, remixed
  • Boots – Banana Republic, remixed
  • Scarf – recently thrifted in Munich
  • Dog – Taygee, my temporary compnion

S2 (below):

  • Gray belted jacket – Orsay
  • Teal button down – Orsay
  • Gray trousers – bought in Sibiu, Romania a while ago
  • Maryjanes – Deichmann
  • Necklace – gift from M., S2′s significant other


Once more S2 and I color-matched our outfits. (Is it in the water we’re drinking?) Today’s color palette of choice was (almost) monochromatic gray. I say almost because S2 did break up her gray suit separates with a wonderfully bold teal top, while I merely added a little color-infused scarf to break up the monotony of my outfit.

20 October 2009 – S2 Goes to Work, originally uploaded by academichic.
Lapels and Neckline detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

Although S2′s outfit conforms to the business professional attire she has to don for work, her quirky and fun personality shines through some of the details: the bold teal button-down with a unique neckline, the tri-colored Maryjanes (concealed by her pants here), and the wonderfully unique lapel cutouts that give this blazer an edgier feel.

As for me, there was nothing edgy about my look, unless you count the fact that I am tricking you into thinking I’m wearing black skinny jeans when I’m actually wearing capris tucked into knee-socks to give them a winter shelf life.

I do, however, feel very “German” in this outfit. It’s the neckscarf. Everyone* wears neckscarves** around here, and I even thrifted this little silk gem at a second hand store here in Munich (my only thrifted purchase since arriving). But although I like the scarf and like all the components of this outfit individually, I’m not sure I love this look as it came together. It’s somewhat stiff. Taygee agrees. Oh well, you win some, you lose some…. S.

Scarf detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

* Gross exaggeration for the sake of making a point.
**According to my observations, the Germans (or at least Bavarians) are highly evolved creatures when it comes to accessorizing with little square scarves. I never thought a little square piece of fabric could add so much to an outfit, but I have been shown otherwise.

Category: Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Visiting Lecturer

20 October 2009 – Secrets Revealed

October 20th, 2009 § 19 comments §

20 October 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Sleeve-less White Shirt – Gap
  • White Tee – H & M
  • Blue V-Neck – H & M
  • Black Pencil Skirt – Banana Republic
  • Brown Belt – Ann Taylor
  • Brown Wedges – Kenneth Cole Reaction
  • Silver Hoops – Banana Republic
  • Necklace – Gift from A2


Here at Academichic Central, we had a bit of a heat wave today.  While I was happily settling into my fall wardrobe, it’s nice to be able to wear my favorite wedges with bare legs (perhaps one last time).

New Shoes!, originally uploaded by academichic.
As I got dressed this morning, I thought of E.’s earlier post on the “surface spectacle,” in which she describes a process of tucking and securing that is eventually hidden by a seemingly seamless surface layer.  I am all about layering!  I consider my self a bit of an expert at it, actually.  I love the look of visible layers like the tuxedo pleats under my sweater, but am also a seasoned user of the invisible layers.
I have layered this sleeveless tuxedo shirt under many a things, but it certainly works better under some items than others.  Because it is a square cut (all wrong for my proportions) and not all that long, under a shape-hugging sweater like this, it needs to be held in place.   So, I wore a white tee-shirt over the sleeveless shirt and then tucked both into my secret weapon…
Layers, originally uploaded by academichic.
Now, as you well know, I love pencil skirts and have found them to be rather flattering for me.  This black pocketed beauty is the one I was pining over last month when I praised the pencil skirt.  While the cut of the pencil skirt works well for me, anything that fits my lower body closely poses a problem.  I have hips and thighs and they are NOT all muscle!  My secret solution – SPANX!  That’s right, I wear spanx and I love them.  The way I see it, I am not trying to change my body with this little garment (they are extremely comfy, by the way), rather, the smooth surface spanks create, allow me to embrace my hourglass/pear figure and flaunt those hips!

So what’s your secret?


Belted pencil, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Layers Upon Layers, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: > > > > > > > >

20 October 2009 – Degas Cool

October 20th, 2009 § 14 comments §

20 October 2009 – Degas Cool, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Purple cardi: Gap Outlet
  • Belt: from another dress
  • Gray nursing cami: Target
  • Brown skirt: BR Outlet
  • Blue-gray tights: Target
  • Brown wedges: thrifted

End Notes:

For whatever reason, this morning I felt like wearing this new pair of blueish-greyish-purplish tights. And then, once I had them on, inspiration sort of left. I wasn’t completely sure what colors to pair with them, and I felt like I should be heading off to ballet class.

So, I decided to run with the ballet class notion and riff a little off of Degas’s Blue Dancers from 1890 with an analogous color scheme of blues and purples and a full skirt. I’m an art history grad student, after all.


If this outfit looks familiar…well, it should. It is essentially the “mom uniform” I blogged about a month ago. But wouldn’t you agree that the addition of tights and the tight blue-purple color combination give it an entirely different feel than the more punchy red wedges I wore back then? I think this little comparison suggests a fruitful avenue for a future academichic workshop on how tights can change an outfit, particularly during transitional weather. What do you say?

20 October 2009 – Degas Cool, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits

Monthly Roundtable: October 2009

October 20th, 2009 § 16 comments §

When we introduced this “roundtable” series to you last month, we received this reader comment urging us to open up a relevant academia/style question for discussion:

How about a brown bag about proper attire for an on campus T-T job interview? (They’re coming up in the next three months!)

one key question: wedding ring on, or off?

T-T interviews, for those of you not campus situated, are “tenure track” interviews, offering the most coveted of all academic jobs to those embarking on the job market. So, naturally, a key question is What To Wear? How to best present oneself to these potential employers?

Our approach would be to mix and match suit separates and ‘dressier’ pieces to create a look that is simultaneously professional and still personal and representative of our style personalities. As for the wedding ring question…we’ve already put in our two cents when this topic surfaced a while ago, but we would happily reopen this ever present dilemma for discussion.

So we open the forum to the rest of you, in true brown bag fashion, to engage in a dialogue what will hopefully provide our readers with many great ideas. And good luck to all of you interviewing this fall!

Category: Monthly Roundtable, Q&A, Theoretical
Tags: > > > >