February is Scarf Month!

January 31st, 2010 § 45 comments §

February is Scarf Month!, originally uploaded by academichic.

I can’t speak for S. and E., but I have a scarf addiction, its worse than even my bag addiction!  I can say that all three of us love scarves and have rather large collections of scarves in all shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, and material.  You will often find us sporting a scarf (or two) tied around our necks or used in place of a belt, as head protection, as faux-blouse, or as bag accessorizer.   We belt them, layer them, knot them, and pin them.  We probably love scarves as much as we love belts!
SCARVES!, originally uploaded by academichic.
So, we are declaring February “Scarf Month.”  We often get questions about how we tie our scarves or how we know when to add a scarf and in what colors.  For the next month we will be sharing all of our scarf tips, including great places to buy scarves, how to store your scarves, scarf tying how-tos, scarf DIYs, and a Fashion 101 on scarf styling.  Each Friday in February we will also be doing a scarf giveaway!
Let us know if there is anything in particular you would like to see us address in “Scarf Month” and don’t forget to check back this Friday for our first scarf giveaway!
too many?, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Spotlight Series, Wardrobe Challenge
Tags: >

29 January 2010

January 29th, 2010 § 17 comments §

29 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Button down: husband’s, thrifted
  • Navy blazer: Banana Republic Factory Store
  • Sweater for warmth (hidden): Forever 21
  • Black skinnies: Old Navy
  • Necklace: Target
  • Black crinkled patent pumps: Steve Madden Girl, via DSW

End Notes:

If you squint your eyes just a bit you may be able to catch on that today I’m tipping my metaphorical hat to the inimitable archibald maximillion who, while not a style blogger per se, is a style demigoddess in the wardrobe_remix community over on Flickr. She started documenting her daily outfits (and I do mean daily) around the same time that we did, so we got to be wardrobe_remix newbies together.

Archibald Maximillion (henceforth referred to as “Archie,” since that’s what I call her in my head) has one of the most unique and Fabulous-with-a-capital-F personal styles I’ve ever seen. She mixes high end designer pieces with thrifted gems, creating looks that are always stunning. She plays blithely with proportions and textures, pairing items that I would have never, ever considered as possible partners.


At first I was frankly overwhelmed by Archie’s style. After all, I think it is unlikely that I will ever own a pale pink Trelise Cooper blouse with three huge bows running down the front, much less pair it with a green jacket and gold floral skirtand pull it off. Eventually, however, I realized that I could pull valuable style cues from Archie’s looks and translate that into my own more conservative wardrobe.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the art of taming the poofy. One of Archibald Maximillion’s signature moves is to wear a structured piece — a cropped jacket or a little vest — over a voluminous blouse or dress. And that’s what I’m trying to emulate today. Without the little blazer over it, my husband’s shirt looks rather ridiculous and shapeless on me. But, ah, with a bit of structure, things are contained without being stuffy.

(Except for the unrolled cuff. I apparently need to work on my cuffing skills.)

As these tributes have hopefully demonstrated, there’s a lot to be gained by following style bloggers whose styles may not necessarily reflect our own. It becomes personal in translation and it’s folks like Archibald Maximillion that first inspired me to think outside my comfortable style box and to take more risks — and as a result, have more fun! — with my closet.

Necklace Detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

29 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Pants Please, Proportionally, Teaching Outfits

29 January 2010

January 29th, 2010 § 11 comments §

29 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Polka dot dress – Target
  • Navy cardi – vintage, my grandmother’s from the 60s
  • Purple tights – grocery store
  • Gray wedges – Report, via Solestruck.com
  • Necklace – Anthropologie
  • Book – A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian, Marina Lewycka (soo good!)


I’m wrapping up our Tribute Week with one more must-read blog: I think I noticed Andrea’s site right away because the name of it so stood out to me on other people’s blogrolls: A Cat of Impossible Colour. How can you not love a name like that? While the name drew me in, her gorgeous vintage outfits and her brilliantly written posts are what made me a regular reader. Andrea is a writer, which means that her site is a mix of outfit and writerly goodness. I found myself perusing her archives on writing advice more than once when I was trying my hand at NaNoWriMo and I find myself looking at her outfit shots any time I need some inspiration on pattern mixing, on dressing up, or on layering with elegance and polish. Andrea is also a girl after my own heart with her love of polka dots…

andrea 2

So for this Andrea inspired tribute post, I pulled out my black and white polka dot dress and added a vintage cardigan that has belonged to my grandmother since the 60s (this based on my mother saying she remembers it from when she was a little girl). Vintage-inspired shoes and accessories complete the look.

One other thing I loved about Andrea – and Sal of Already Pretty - is her/their magnanimous support of fellow bloggers. Andrea’s and Sal’s blogrolls were one of the very first to feature our name and it felt like such a huge deal when we got started. I know that there is some contention on the blogosphere about whether you should limit or restrict your blogroll to only reflect your favorites or your daily reads or blogs with a similar aesthetic to yours. While there is nothing wrong with structuring your blogroll like that, I think I will always be a loyal follower of A Cat of Impossible Colour and Already Pretty because they were some of my first blogger ‘friends’ who right away welcomed us aboard and added us to a list of other style bloggers, making me really feel like part of something. So thanks for that, ladies! S.

29 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Dresses for Day, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits

28 January 2010

January 28th, 2010 § 30 comments §

28 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Button down – vintage, thrifted in Germany
  • Skinnies – thrifted in Germany
  • Gray wedges – Report, via Solestruck.com
  • Purple cadi – H&M


This week we’re looking back to some of our first blogging inspirations. One of the first wardrobe_remixers I bookmarked was Future Lint. Here’s a girl who does not shy away from color, pattern, or from crazy vintage pieces… and I love that! I also happen to think that anyone who dresses up as a pregnant cheerleader is someone I’d like to hang out with. Future Lint describes herself as a lover of thrifting, biking, and DIY’ing, so she had me from the get-go. I used to be much more conservative in my thrifting approach, and as E. once mentioned, often looked for pieces that didn’t look thrifted. When I discovered Future Lint’s photostream, I realized how much fun thrifting and vintage shopping could be. Here was a girl with a wardrobe that just begged to be noticed: full of fun details, eye catching color combinations, awesome one-of-a-kind pieces, and overall cheerfulness that I found contagious.

future lint 8

So when I came across this crazy vintage shirt on my last thrifting expedition, I instantly thought of Future Lint. This seemed like the kind of shirt she’d wear and wear beautifully, but I found myself a bit intimidated by it. It’s just so colorful and loud and I was tempted to put it back. Only I couldn’t, I sort of fell in love with it and even found myself reasoning that this was something Anthropologie might sell…right? Do you see it?

Shirt detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

Well, I am so glad I had a Little Future Lint sitting on my shoulder and nudging me to buy it because I love this shirt. It makes me happy just to be in the same room with it. Stay tuned for lots more outfit combinations with this one. For starters, I let it take center stage with a pair of black skinny jeans and gray wedges. And the purple cardi is dark enough that it almost works like another neutral thrown over it.

It seems like my running theme of this week is ‘thrifted fabulosity’. All of my initial style blogger crushes have that one thing in common: they’re all thrift and vintage goddesses, making fabulous outfits out of previously loved clothing. I forgot about that for a while and it wasn’t until I came abroad and found myself on a really tight budget that I truly rediscovered my love of thirfting. In addition to thrifting, I also want to follow these ladies’ example in DIY’ing more this year. I’m going to attempt to be more handy with my own acquisitions, not letting slight alterations deter me from overlooking a great find. So thanks, ladies, for reminding me what got me so excited about blogging and participating in the style blog community when we first got started! I have one more vintage and thrift goddess to celebrate tomorrow, so check back for my conclusion of Tribute Week on Friday. S.

28 January 2010 – With Cardi, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Pants Please, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual
Tags: > > > >

27 January 2010

January 27th, 2010 § 18 comments §

27 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Blue ombre scarf: Chinatown, NYC
  • Blue green sweater: The Limited
  • Cream wool skirt: Isaac Hazan, vintage, thrifted
  • Herringbone tights: HUE, from TJ Maxx
  • Pumps: AM, from DSW
  • Gray gloves: gift from MIL, from Ann Taylor Loft

End Notes:

Like S., I am paying tribute to Jessica Schroeder of What I Wore with today’s outfit. I’ve been following Jessica’s blog literally for years and it has been exciting to watch her come into her own professionally and personally as her style has evolved. While S. cites Jess’s penchant for skinny jeans, I’m giving a nod to another facet of her style.


I love how Jessica wears skirts and dresses throughout the winter, adding scarves, playing with patterned and bright opaque tights, and donning gloves and little hats. Her penchant for vintage pieces frequently translates into sweet looks that have “lady” written all over them.

Vintage Flower Earrings, originally uploaded by academichic.

AM Ruffled Black Suede Pumps, originally uploaded by academichic.

I’m wearing a vintage cream wool pencil skirt — incidentally, Jessica was my initial inspiration for wearing winter white — with a simple blue-green sweater. My homage to What I Wore style comes with the soft blue scarf, long gray gloves, and herringbone tights. While my personal style may be different than Jess’s, I’m continually inspired by how she makes vintage and ladylike style an everyday possibility.

Patterned Tights, originally uploaded by academichic.

27 Janaury 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

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

27 January 2010

January 27th, 2010 § 26 comments §

27 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • White eyelet top – thrifted
  • Black skinny jeans – thrifted
  • Boots – Dillards
  • Earrings – gift from A.
  • Blue scarf – TJMaxx
  • Necklace – Anthropologie


I can’t do this Tribute Week without acknowledging one of the style blogging biggies who not surprisingly was one of my first online fashion reads when I discovered style blogs: Jessica of What I Wore. She graces the majority of blogrolls and she truly cannot be overlooked. When I first came across her site a little over a year ago, I was drawn in for many of the same reasons stated in my Ode to Renee post: Jess was similarly gifted at composing amazing outfits made of mostly thrifted pieces and was also unapologetically unique in her approach to style. While she’s turned away some from the all-thrifted, all-vintage look that used to be her signature style, she’s still extremely creative and a great source of outfit inspiration.

So here is my Jess inspired tribute outfit of the day: a thrifted eyelet top with thrifted skinny jeans, a scarf, and boots. If you know Jess, you know she has a fabulous boot collection, mile long legs for wearing skinnies, a knack for wearing scarves, pins, or other fun accessories, and (this I suspect) a penchant for white eyelet. Maybe it’s because I’ve become quite infatuated with eyelet myself that I’m so aware of it in her wardrobe, but it’s definitely there…

jess collage 2

When I recently found this top in the thrift shop here, I loved the fabric and overall look of it but thought that it just had too much sleeve. I felt a bit like a mariachi singer in it. I bought it thinking that I would go home and alter the sleeves, cutting some fabric off and just making there be less of them. But after putting it on to take some ‘before‘ pictures that night, I temporarily changed my mind. And I figured that especially a Jess tribute post required that I leave them on since Jess rocks those unique thrifted pieces with such aplomb. She’s not afraid to don a wild pattern or outrageous shape and she somehow always pulls it off. So in honor of unapologetic decadence, I left the puffy eyelet sleeves on and wore this shirt in its unadulterated state.

So what do you think? Less sleeves or leave it be? S.

Category: Beltless, Pants Please, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual

26 January 2010

January 26th, 2010 § 16 comments §

26 January 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Cardigan – Banana Republic
  • Black Jersey Dress – BR Outlet
  • Scarf – Gift from Kimberly
  • Teal Shoes – Seychelles, via Solestruck.com
  • Tights – Target
  • Belt – Sister M.’s
  • Bracelet – Gift from S.


Yesterday I did a tribute to Sara of Orchids in Buttonholes, and while she was certainly an early blog love for me and remains a favorite, the two blogs that first engaged me in style blog reading were Already Pretty and Fab Finds Under $50.  I think E. and S. found many style blogs appealing long before we started academichic, but I had a hard time getting into them and it wasn’t until I discovered Already Pretty and Fab Finds that I was able to embrace the genre and celebrate what all style blogs have the potential to contribute.  So why these two admittedly very different blogs?  Part of it is that I can image that I would like to hang out with both Sal and Kimberly in real life – turns out I do like the real Sal quite a bit – but more importantly is the focus on positive body image and body love.  I’ll save my Sal gushing (which always includes a mention of her Drag Queens Post) for another day, because this is a tribute to Kimberly!

Fab Finds 2
Kimberly’s style is approachable,  affordable, and academia appropriate – generally an all around A+!

When I first started thinking of how to put together a Kimberly outfit, I thought of these shoes and then built the outfit from there.  Kimberly has the most fabulous collection of shoes, which directly inspired me to pick out these shoes last Spring– I wanted a pair of statement shoes!

Packing Update!, originally uploaded by academichic.
I am always impressed with how Kimberly embellishes a few simple pieces with her use of accessories (shoes included).  I once called Kimberly a pattern-mixing goddess, but today I am celebrating her as accessory goddess.  I started with a simple black dress (Kimberly just recently did a post showing the many ways she has worn her little black dress) and then added a long cardigan – basic pieces, a blank canvas to accessorize.  I added the teal pumps and this beautifully patterned scarf (a gift from Kimberly) worn as a faux blouse.  My instinct was to pull out a simple black or brown leather belt but knew Kimberly would likely reach for a more bedazzled option, so I opted for this jeweled stretchy belt and then fished it all off with some jewelry.

Thanks for all the inspiration Kimberly, I feel Fab-Finds Fabulous today!   A.

Accessories, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
Tags: > > > > >

Guest Lecture: Winter Style Guide

January 26th, 2010 § 14 comments §

This week is Tribute Week here at academichic and we’re excitedly looking to some of our initial sources of inspiration. Enter the fabulous and creative Clare of Between Laundry Days. Clare’s blog is one of the first that all three of us tuned in to and became regular readers of. Since we’re all getting a little bored with winter weather, we turned to this self-described ‘survivor of three Chicago winters’ for some inspiration on how to beat the wardrobe winter blues. Thanks for some great tips, Clare!

Picture 2

Clare’s guide to keeping warm and staying cool

Okay, team, the gals here at academichic asked me to write a little post about staying stylish during these harsh winter months. I’m pretty psyched about this “assignment”, seeing as academichic is one of my favorite blogs. I also have not inconsiderable experience in the area of surviving winter weather, so I’m more than happy to share. This is my third winter in Chicago, and I spent the earlier years of my life surviving cold winters out west, so I think I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. Listen and learn…

1. Layer, layer, layer

Picture 3

I’m sure this isn’t exactly news to anyone, but the absolute key to staying warm in the winter is to layer. However, I think that people steer clear from the layering thing because all the added bulk gets pretty stiff and uncomfortable. And I jive with that, I do. I hate feeling like I can’t even bend my arm properly because I have so many layers of wool coating my arm. They key, I think, is light, thin layers. Invest in a pair of silk long underwear; that stuff is just a glorified, softer, second skin. It can be layered under anything. I also keep a pretty decent stash of high-quality but thin sweaters that provide warmth while easily layering over long underwear and under a blazer or other jacket. Also, never be afraid to layer to pairs of tights or legging. Sometimes, on the coldest days, I even layer my silk long underwear bottoms under my tights or leggings. I think the most important part is to be willing to invest in quality fabrics that don’t rely on bulk to keep you warm.

Picture 4

2. Keep it interesting!

Now, all those sweaters and jackets and pairs of long underwear can feel pretty bland, pretty boring. I’m a big fan of stocking up on colorful layers, but sometimes even that just feels stodgy. Because it’s winter, and you’re cold, and you’re not wearing that leopard-print sweater because it has leopard-print, you’re wearing it because it’s warm. So I always try to add an accessory or two to each outfit that has nothing to do with winter. A necklace, a headband, flouncy earrings, a cute belt, a silk scarf.None of these items has any inherent use in the winter, but it does make you feel fabulously stylish in the dead of the cold, dreary winter.

Picture 5

3. My secret weapon

I’ve mentioned this on my blog before, but I walk to work each morning. In January, this means icy sidewalks and frequent snow flurries. This also means that my typical walking shoes just don’t cut it. So I wear snow boots for my walk (no, that’s not my secret weapon), and heavy wool socks over whatever socks or tights I have on that day.

Picture 6

However, when I get to work I want to take off those snow boots and feel cute again. So I always bring a pair of work shoes that I change into when I get to my office. But no matter how warm my office is, my feet are always freezing in the winter, so wearing my work shoes with bare feet is highly unpleasant. To combat this, I wear nude socks (secret weapon alert!) on the days that I want to wear shoes that might show more of my foot. These secret weapon socks are slightly thicker, and therefore noticeably warmer, than tights or pantyhose, and they are far more stylish than a pair of white athletic socks. Now, I know it’s not groundbreaking news, nor will it solve the problems of the world, but my nude socks are a pretty important element of my arsenal of winter wardrobe essentials.

Picture 7

4. The Marshmallow coat

Obviously, the key to surviving winter is a decent outer layer. I had a plethora of heavy winter jackets growing up, but they somehow all got left behind when I moved to Chicago a few years ago. So I made it through my first two winters with a plaid wool peacoat. Now, I adore my plaid wool peacoat, but there is no way in hell that those things were designed to get you through a brutal Chicago winter.. For those of you who haven’t been to Chicago, it is damn cold. The city is filled with people in “marshmallow” coats. Those are the calf-length puffy down jackets that make their wearer look like a glorified version of the Michelin man. So I resisted the marshmallow coat for two winters, and then this year I finally buckled. I was cold and I buckled. And now I’m warm, and happy, and well padded. And the fur-lined hood is an added bonus (see tip #2!).

Picture 9

Thanks to S., A., and E. over at academichic for asking me to do this feature post! I hope I was able to shed some light (and maybe warmth) on the topic of dressing for winter weather for you all. Feel free to send me an email (clarebld@yahoo.com) if you have any questions (just FYI, I got my secret weapon socks at Target). And I hope you’ll swing over to my blog, Between Laundry Days, and check me out over there.

Category: Layers Upon Layers, Visiting Lecturer
Tags: >

DIY: Denim Cut-Off Shorts

January 26th, 2010 § 22 comments §

j crew shorts

Ah, the winter shorts. So contradictory and impractical of a trend that it’s spread like wildfire. Even J.Crew can’t help pairing their shorts with blazers, classic cardigans, or crisp button downs (just see above for proof). So who am I to fight it? I actually love the winter shorts trend because it’s just like wearing wool tights with skirts or dresses only better; No worrying about your skirt flying up in the wind or your dress static-clinging to your nyloned legs. You get the best of both worlds.

Since I’ve been getting so much mileage out of my recently purchased tweed shorts, I decided to take a pair of scissors to an old pair of jeans and gift myself a second pair of winter shorts. A denim cut-off pair. I think it was around the mid nineties that I last turned a pair of jeans into cut-offs, so I proceeded with caution and recorded the transformation for your benefit as well. In just a few easy steps, you too can be the proud owner of a pair of denim cut-offs…

» Read the rest of this entry «

Category: Independent Study (DIY), The Short of It

25 January 2010 – Simply

January 25th, 2010 § 22 comments §

25 January 2010 – Simply, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • White scarf: unknown origins
  • Gray sweater: Forever 21
  • Denim skirt: Banana Republic Factory
  • Red tights: Target
  • Gray socks: mom’s from college
  • Boots: Iriss by Steve Madden, via eBay

End Notes:

Last Halloween I bought this bright red pair of tights as part of a costume and they have since languished in my drawer. For more than a year I tried to think of a way to incorporate them into a daily outfit without looking like a Dr. Seuss character. I finally realized, however, that I was over thinking things and decided to take a cue from one of the first style bloggers I followed, Whitney Deal of Darling Dexter.


Whitney is a super-talented photographer, graphic designer, and budding fashion designer whose style, to me, epitomizes effortless chic. Whitney’s outfits are never labored or overdone. Instead, she plays with shapes and proportions quietly, creating looks that are memorable in their simplicity.

So rather than trying to match these red tights to a floral dress or doing a high-contrast color scheme, I’m following Whitney’s example by letting the tights be the single pop of color between neutrals on top and cognac boots. A soft white scarf adds a bit of balance and whimsy. Hopefully, this is a worthy tribute to a style blog that has always been a breath of fresh air and a reminder that simplicity can be a style statement!

25 January 2010 – Simply, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Office Hours, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue