16 November 2009

November 17th, 2009 § 19 comments

16 November 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Striped Cardigan – J Crew, birthday gift from mom
  • Long Black Tee – don’t remember
  • Grey Long-sleeve Tee (not seen) – Gap
  • Grey Cords – Banana Republic
  • Brown Boots – Banana Republic, via ebay
  • Scarf – China Town, NY
  • Silver Hoops – Banana Republic


Online shopping has long been one of  my favorite forms of procrastination.  Now, this online shopping rarely actually results in purchasing, but I do love to make mental wish lists, get ideas for how to style items I already own, and be reminded that there are things deep in my closet that are suddenly in style again.

I often clip photos of ensembles I like or new styling ideas I want to try out.  These images  most often come from J Crew — I think they offer really creative styling that I  wouldn’t think of myself, but can imagine recreating in some way.

Lately, I am also really liking Banana Republic styling too.  I loved this warm cozy layered look and decided I could recreate it with items I already own.  I swapped in my teal and grey floral scarf for the red plaid (although now I am pining for a large plaid scarf) and my brown boots for thee black (I wanted flats and my black boots have heels).

My cardigan is much thinner and shorter than the rather bulky sweater coat featured in the BR version and I  discovered that my bootleg grey cords are a little too bulky for tucking into boots, so now I may be adding skinny-leg cords to my Christmas wish list.

BR Inspiration, originally uploaded by academichic.
I loved the layering of the bright read plaid over the monochromatic stripes,  but I think the teal and grey, while a subtler use of color also makes for an interesting contrast.  I self-consciously avoid the terms “masculine” and “feminine” when describing the mixing of elements that seem to have different feels to them (ie stripes and flowers).  I haven’t come up with an alternative way of describing this contrast, but want to steer clear of the essentializing language we so often see in the marketing of clothing.

Interestingly enough, the gendering of clothing has come up in several of the student papers I am grading this week.  When attempting to do a visual analysis of a painting of an Italian nobleman, many students described his as effeminate because of the lace at his collar, the ring on his pinky, and the shinny black robe students misidentified as a dress.  In my comments, I am reminding them that: 1) they should be careful about making  essentialist generalizations about gender (their discussions went beyond the clothing) 2) they should remember that whether we consider clothing “masculine” or not is inextricably linked to culture, period, occupation, etc.

This reminded me of the great exercise reader N. uses in the classroom, in which she asks  students to do a visual analysis of her clothing and then followed this with a discussion about interpreting clothing.   I can’t wait to test this lesson out, but for now it’s back to grading for me.

Stripes and Flowers, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 19 Responses to 16 November 2009"

  1. A-C says:

    I love the contrast between the teal and gray scarf and your hair. You look super cute AND super comfy. :)

  2. Sally says:

    Ya know, I gravitate toward a sleek, modern version of “feminine” clothing – cinched waists, clean lines, bright colors but no ruffles or stilettos – and tend to shy away from looks that get the word “menswear” tacked on. But I never realized that part of my hesitation is actually gender related! I don’t WANT to wear something that’s deemed manly, because some small part of me thinks, “Someone could mistake me for a man.” Extremely unlikely, but there’s the power of labeling for you.

    That scarf is just gorgeous, and I like your interpretation better than its photographic inspiration. ;)

  3. Rose says:

    You look so cute in this! I love the scarf!
    I also wanted to let you know that NY&C has several colors of skinny cords in stock right now. They are also a pretty decent price. Something to think about if you are looking for a pair. I bought two pairs as my first attempt at the skinny pant. They also have a teal – greenish color, which I know is a favorite of yours.

  4. That is a gorgeous scarf! I actually tried to buy skinny cords a couple of weeks ago, but I noticed the pair I tried on had a loose button so I grabbed another pair. When I got home, I realized the cords I had grabbed weren’t skinny but bootcut. By the time I had a chance to return them to Filene’s they were out of my size. Gah! It sounds like I’ll have to try NY&C….

  5. Luinae says:

    This is inspiring- I was debating whether to tuck my own grey skinny jeans into dark brown riding boots. The descision is now yes!

  6. iris says:

    I think you need to be careful with the gray pants + brown flat boots. It’s making your legs look rather short. The heels may be necessary to lengthen them, or at least a color of boot closer to the gray pants.

    You can also get cheap skinny cords in multiple colors from Lands End. Look for the “Audrey” cut.

  7. Clare says:

    What a gorgeous scarf!

  8. I could not love this post more. Not only is your outfit gorgeous (and I love your hair curly), but I love your analysis of how commonly we apply adjectives like “masculine” or “feminine,” signifieds that are shaped by a social and historical context that is constantly in flux (okay, but you’ve done it with a lot less jargon and very persuasively).

    Plus, I also make a habit of copying j. crew’s styling in particular (I love how they mix colors and textures).

    Your posts are awesome.

  9. N. says:

    Hey there! Also, something to get your students thinking about cultural/historical trends in gender signification is showing them the opening scene (really, the credits) of “Dangerous Liaisons” (with Glenn Close and John Malkovich). Good fodder to talk about the “performance” of gender and persona– and what has or has not changed.

    Also, love the scarf! :)

  10. Evelyn says:

    What makes me wince is the use of “boyfriend blazer” and “boyfriend jeans” in marketing- as much as I dig a structured blazer and some slouchy jeans. I wish it could just be a “blazer”. How would the ladies of Academichic unpack that?

  11. Kelly says:

    RE: gender. I have no idea of the veracity of this, but I’d heard or read somewhere that while we use pink for girls and blue for boys, at one point it was the opposite. Apparently pink was used for boys because it was a shade of red, which was deemed a more masculine color than blue.

  12. AC says:

    Yes, Marjorie Garber discusses pink for boys and blue for girls in her book “Vested interests: Cross-dressing and cultural anxiety.” This is always a fascinating tidbit for students, because girl = pink seems so “natural” in our current era.

  13. I love those grey cords

    And girl doesn’t always = pink! :)

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love pink, but yellow seems to be a better colour suited for sunshine and girls :)

    Style on a String :: Because style has nothing to do with money.

  14. JBC says:

    I tend to try on all cuts no matter what the discription: boyfriend vs diva. You never know which may look best on you. As a straight haired girl, I love the wave/curl in your hair. I have started wearing gray with brown accessories since following your blog. THANKS!

  15. Nadine says:

    You look great! I love the scarf, and your hair is super-cute!

  16. [...] a different note, I was going to continue the discussion A. introduced yesterday on the gendering of clothes. I hate the use of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ to [...]

  17. [...] started this discussion yesterday because I wanted to talk about the combining of different aesthetics often labeled [...]

  18. AC says:

    Serena, I was suggesting that girl = pink is part of the current dominant cultural narrative: the connection is marketed for toys, clothes, furniture, bedding, school supplies, bikes, etc. to such a great extent that people typically no longer question it. I do not in any way support the notion that girl = pink :)!

  19. [...] certainly agree with A.’s assessment of the dangers of essentializing language when describing clothing as “m… but I think I’m more comfortable using those terms in the context of this blog to explain why [...]

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