31 March 2010

March 31st, 2010 § 19 comments §

31 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Coral cardigan: Banana Republic Factory
  • Blue tank: Target
  • Cream skirt: Banana Republic Factory
  • Belt: Gap Outlet
  • T-strap sandals: Target.com clearance

End Notes:

Today was an absolutely gorgeous spring day, one of those where you just have to pull out an ode-to-spring outfit. Even though this full cream colored skirt made several appearances throughout the fall and winter, it’s really my spring and summer staple, all light and airy and swirly.

I was inspired to pair this cream with coral and a wide belt thanks in part to Kendi’s “Zooey” dress from Anthropologie. Except mine’s not a dress. And I inverted the colors. Also I’m wearing blue. And I don’t look anything like Zooey Deschanel. But I digress.

Does anyone else check out Pantone’s seasonal color forecasts? Among the color trends for Spring 2010 are classic spring colors like turquoise and violet. But the thing I love best about Pantone colors are the names that they saddle some of these swatches with. “Dried Herb.” “Aurora.” “Tomato Puree.” It makes feel a little bad about just calling my color combination today “coral” and “blue.” Can we come up with something better? I think that reds tend to be named after foods or flowers, while blues tend to be named with words associated with the sky, ocean, or precipitation. Okay. So…”poppy” and “sky”? “Rhubarb” and “splash”? “Ahi tuna” and “blizzard”? Heh.

31 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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Pre-Travels Belting

March 31st, 2010 § 23 comments §

Pre-Travles Belting, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Shirt Dress – Gap
  • Belt – Old Navy
  • Grey Flats – BR Outlet
  • Earrings – F21


Sorry for being MIA for quite some time now, but I just got back from an amazing 10 days in Europe and am now trying to play catch up.

I spend most of yesterday in my sweats and Michigan State T-Shirt (my alma-mater – Go Spartans!!), but I have a couple outfits from before I left that I  never got a chance to post.  I promise that once I catch up on some emails, grading, paper writing, meetings. readings, etc I will do a lengthy post on how I managed to pack for 10 days in 4 countries in one carry on.

Earrings, originally uploaded by academichic.

Now, on to belting.  Often I grab for a belt out of habit.  I love how belts hold shifting items in place, emphasize my waist, and add visual interest.  I’ll admit that sometimes I default to belting when it just isn’t necessary, but some days a belt is an absolute must!

I purchased this shirt dress on super sale a few weeks ago and had to buy a size up to make room for my hips and butt, which means it’s a little to large on top and especially around my waist.  With out a belt this dress looks like a sack:

Belt Needed, originally uploaded by academichic.

The addition of the teal belt makes this a more colorful and interesting ensemble but it also kept the dress from creeping up and changes the proportions of the dress significantly.  Belt nay-sayers, you have to agree with me on this one, right?

Belted, originally uploaded by academichic.
Pre-Travels Belting, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally
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31 March 2010

March 30th, 2010 § 27 comments §

31 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Red cardi – thriifted
  • Embellished tee – made by E.
  • Skinnies – S.Oliver
  • Silver flats – Target
  • Pale purple flower pin – Dulken & Derrick, via Blue Onion Marketplace


Day Three of my self-imposed red cardi challenge. Sorry if I look a bit dazed in these photos, I took them early this morning before I even had my first cup of coffee. I’m rarely this quick to get ready, but I guess there is something to be said about setting certain terms or criteria on your getting-dressed routine; it really cuts the decision time down when you know you have to wear a certain something. I grabbed the red cardi, my new pair of jeans, and just filled in the gaps around that. I guess therein lies the appeal of the uniform – less choice can also mean less deliberation time.

While I loved how the bright red popped again a white eyelet top yesterday, I decided to try  the cardi with a darker neutral today. This hand-embellished top E. made for me is of a dark gray, perhaps slate?, color and I love the way the darker neutral comes together with the bright red. I also played off the dark purple embellishments around the tee’s neckline and added this lilac Dulken & Derrick silk flower. Since the rest of the outfit is simple – dark wash jeans and silver flats – the embellished neckline will serve as the focal point of today’s look.

31 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Now, a brief rant before I go – I wanted to purchase another pair of skinny jeans since I practically live in my other pair. Since I’m on a student budget, I first went to all the discount shops like Zara and C&A (sorry, H&M, you’re still being boycotted) and I was absolutely horrified with my findings: either my derrière is much larger than I thought or those stores’ suppliers are skimping on fabric when it comes to making the top portion of their pants. Is anyone else so over the low-waist trend? I couldn’t sit down in any of those for fear of exposing half of my junkage.

So I had to bite the bullet and do what Stacy and Clinton forever preach on What Not To Wear and just go to the adults’ jean section to find a well fitting pair. The problem with the grown-up store is that they have grown-up prices. But I realized that in the end it’s well worth it to spend a bit more on a pair of jeans that don’t require me to be standing the entire time I wear them. Luckily, I found this amazing pair at s.Oliver on sale for 30 Euros down from 60 Euros and they have enough of a higher rise waist that I can sit or bend comfortably; they have a bit of stretch in them, which I think is a must for skinny jeans; and they fit my ‘womanly’ body like a dream. Does this mean I should stop shopping in the Juniors section at TJMaxx now too?

Do you, dear readers, find it equally bothersome that jeans seem to now be mostly made of two leg bits and almost no waist portion to speak of? How much are you willing to spend on a pair of jeans in exchange for perfect cut and fit? (For me, 30 Euros is probably the most I’ve even dropped on a pair). S.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual
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30 March 2010 – That Red Shoe

March 30th, 2010 § 23 comments §

30 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • White eyelet top – TJMaxx
  • Red cardi – thrifted
  • Skirt – Boden, thrifted
  • Necklace – Sigrid Olsen, thrifted
  • Red wedges – Etienne Aigner, thrifted
  • Earrings – my wedding earrings, local sidewalk sale


Another beautiful day here in Munich and so I’m once more happy to pull out Springy items like this floral skirt, a light-weight eyelet top, floral accessories, and – as promised – my red cardi. I did a long run this morning and enjoyed seeing so many people out on bikes, walking, lounging along the river, and basking in the sun. Please, please stay, weather!

Details, originally uploaded by academichic.
Wedding Earrings, originally uploaded by academichic.

So on a somewhat related tangent – I’m wearing these awesome red wedges today that I was lucky enough to thrift for a mere $3 last summer. There is something very sassy and emboldening about a red shoe, don’t you think? They also reminded me of something I’ve been wanting to bring to your attention. A while back, we put together a bibliography on fashion history and theory for you and you were so awesome to  add a bunch more great titles to that list. (Some of those I’ve since checked out and have used for my research, so thank you, again!)

Right after publishing that post, I was flying back from the US and came across this article in the US Airways Magazine. It is a short excerpt from Linda Grant’s upcoming book The Thoughtful Dresser. I read the excerpt and was absolutely sold on it; it’s beautifully written, provocative, thoughtful, and witty. This comes as no surprise since Grant is an award winning novelist. I was reminded of this today because the excerpt opens with a story about a “glorious, scarlet, insouciant” red high heeled shoe. So if you’re interested on exploring the topic of fashion, culture, and history some more, check out the excerpt from Grant’s book and see what you think. The book comes out in the US on April 20th, if you’re then moved to read the entire work. S.

IMG_8120, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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29 March 2010

March 29th, 2010 § 19 comments §

29 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Ruffled cardigan: Ann Taylor
  • Pale purple cami: Target
  • Khaki skirt: thrifted, The Limited
  • Wedges: thrifted
  • Cork bangle: don’t recall

End Notes:

I seem to be recently obsessed with soft neutrals. I mean, gray has been my favorite neutral for some time now, but I’m fine tuning this fascination even further as a new devotee of what I shall call “putty” (like this ruffled cardigan) and “smoke” (like the flowing top or color block skirt with purple undertones I wore recently). In my mind, both of these shades of gray have great potential as spring neutrals — they’re storm clouds, bare bark, fuzzy new leaf buds, and wet river rocks — as long as they’re paired judiciously.

I don’t know if I’ve paired gray and khaki together before. It’s not a natural neutral combination for me, and yet I think that this could be the key to enabling my participation in this season’s khaki trend.

Actually, can we talk about khaki for a moment here? It’s everywhere this season, in both safari and preppy incarnations. I still have vivid memories of those Gap ads in 1998 with the swing dancers wearing white tops and khaki pants. None of my friends in Hawaii wore khaki, but I remember buying a pair of khaki pants for a trip to visit mainland colleges as it somehow seemed essential to my social success. I don’t think I ended up wearing them very much, though, once I began undergrad.Then again, I wasn’t the most popular kid at college. Can I blame that on my inability to wear khaki pants seriously?

My point is, this is the first major trend repetition that I have self-consciously participated in and it’s kind of making me feel old and it’s reviving old uncertainties about the viability of khaki in my wardrobe. Except now, instead of worrying that I’ll look like a preppy high schooler I’ll worry that I look like a stereotypical suburban soccer mom. Am I the only one with such formative memories of khaki?

Anyway, while I continue to debate the merits of the new slimmer fitting, ubiquitously cuffed, repeatedly cargo-pocketed khaki pant of spring 2010, I’m counting on the classic shape of this thrifted pencil skirt to keep my neuroses at bay. It’s a tall order, but I think the gray cardigan will help.

29 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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29 March 2010 – A week of Red

March 29th, 2010 § 9 comments §

29 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Red cardi – thrifted
  • Dress as tunic – Target
  • Skinnies – thrifted
  • Flats – Palladium
  • Bag – Etienne Aigner
  • Bird Pin – Cocobeans on Etsy


After a week of jackets and blazers, I’m reaching once more for light cardis as the weather brightens. I’m more than ready for Spring. I also noticed that I’m being affected by Seasonal Color Syndrome – the brighter it’s getting outdoors, the bolder my color choices are want to be. While this bright red cardi lingered away for the duration of Winter, it’s now out along with this bold red and purple striped dress, eager to see the sun and annouce to the world how excited I am about nicer weather. This strapless dress may not be fit for wear on its own yet, but over skinny jeans and with the aid of a cardi, it can already enter circulation in my Spring time wardrobe.

21 June 2009 – MG road trip, originally uploaded by academichic.

Do you find yourself dressing seasonally as well? What colors or items are you excited to pull out this Spring? Any fun accessories that didn’t get much wear this winter that are now being pulled out?

Details, originally uploaded by academichic.

In celebration of Spring (which I’m really hoping will stick around), I will throw on this bold red cardi every day this week. It’s bright, it’s bold, it’s one of my favorite colors, and it’s making me excited for this new season. Do you want to play along by wearing one of your favorite spring time items more often than once this week? S.

29 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please
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26 March 2010 – Supermom Blazer

March 26th, 2010 § 21 comments §

26 March 2010 – Supermom Blazer, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Knit blazer: C&C
  • Embellished tank: JCrew
  • Ponte pants: Ann Taylor
  • Green sneakers: Payless

End Notes:

If I have any complaint about my main closet blazers, it’s that my arms’ range of motion is limited. I’ve always considered that to be part and parcel of blazer-wearing but my eyes (and arms) have recently been opened to a style innovation of epic proportions: the KNIT BLAZER. World of fashion, why did it take so long for us all to realize that stretchy fabric could be used to craft structured pieces? This knit blazer has great fit and, thanks in large part to the pieced back, holds it shape beautifully.

26 March 2010 – Supermom Blazer, originally uploaded by academichic.

And it’s machine washable. Gah. Extra mom points.

I used a gift card to purchase this relatively pricey C&C blazer, but affordable alternatives are currently on offer elsewhere. Gap has a two button knit blazer in black or heather gray, Forever 21 has a curvy black ponte blazer, and Modcloth has a beautiful knit jacket with gorgeous little details.

Today’s outfit was intended to go from a meeting on campus (I switched out the sneakers for heels) to a playdate for baby e. with some friends. Unfortunately, a very, very flat tire happened in between. But, in case you were wondering, there is enough stretch in this jacket to help your brother unscrew your extremely tight lug nuts. So, that’s empowering, right?

26 March 2010 – Supermom Blazer, originally uploaded by academichic.

Seriously, world, what other wardrobe staples can we start making in stretchy fabrics? I’m sold on structured but stretchy pants, and jersey dresses that have shape. What else could we do? A knit pencil skirt that isn’t clingy? A knit trench coat? What would you most like to see in stretch?

Category: Beltless, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual
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26 March 2010

March 26th, 2010 § 7 comments §

26 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Navy blazer – J.Crew
  • Patterned dress – Banana Republic
  • Black woven belt – thrifted
  • Knee high socks – J.Crew
  • Boots – Banana Republic
  • Tote – Kenneth Cole, via TJMaxx
  • Scarf – thrifted


When it comes to blazer and jackets, I find them easy enough to work in my everyday style but I noticed that I seem to often reach for pants or trousers when I do so. E.’s recent post, however, reminded me how well jackets work with skirts and even flowey jersey dresses and so I’m making a mental note to throw them on over a loose and casual dress more often. I think E’s right on the money with her supposition that the structured jacket is just the thing for a more flowey and unstructured dress – especially if you’re looking to hit that balance of casual yet still put together and somewhat professional.

So taking a cue from my stylish co-bloggers, I’m wearing this structured navy jacket over a swingy comfortable jersey dress. I like how the sharp lines of the jacket and boots give the casual dress a more formal feel and I could see this outfit working well on campus, on teaching days as well as days spent in the library working. It’s a great mix of comfort and professionalism, so thanks for the reminder, E & A!

26 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.
Scarf accessory, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Dresses for Day, It's in the Bag, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Teaching Outfits
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25 March 2010

March 25th, 2010 § 7 comments §

25 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Fuchsia top – Banana Republic
  • Pinstripe blazer – Gap, thrifted
  • Jeans – thrifted
  • Flats – Palladium
  • Purse – Liz Claiborne, thrifted
  • Coral bangle – J.Crew, thrifted
  • Scarf – J.Crew
  • Flower pin – H&M


When I found this pinstripe blazer at my local thrift store, I was at the end of my time on campus and ready to head out for my year-long research stint abroad. So this item that was meant to be a conference staple never got to live up to its destiny but it has surprisingly become a great alternate for the usual (rather predictable) cardigan paired with jeans.

E. has already shown how versatile the pinstripe blazer can be and how it can be worn in ways that don’t necessarily smack of stuffy professional engagements or work related formal events. I have also worn my pinstripe blazer in more casual ways than not. . .

I have paired the pinstripe blazer with jeans and dark cords; over a belted dress; with jean shorts (!); and, in an attempt to really dress it down, over a navy hoodie. Rolling and cuffing a blazer’s sleeves also makes for a more casual and every day effect, as does belting it, adding embellishments, or using it for some bold pattern mixing.

Flower and Pinstripes, originally uploaded by academichic.

But when I looked at these photos of my past stylings of this item, I noticed that I was in somewhat of a neutrals rut. While I have been comfortable pairing the pinstripe jacket with all sorts of quotidian garments, I was clearly nursing some kind of phobia when it came to wearing it with color. So I challenged myself to change that for today and pulled out some bright pinks and fuchsias to go with the blazer, worn-in jeans, and ballet flats. And just in time for spring, right?

Do you own a pinstripe blazer and, if so, how do you find ways to incorporate it into everyday wear? S .

25 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, It's in the Bag, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual
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24 March 2010

March 24th, 2010 § 23 comments §

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Turquoise blazer: thrifted
  • Patterned blouse: F21
  • Brown pencil skirt: NY & Co
  • Red Wedges: Naturalizers, via DSW
  • Necklace: vintage brooch, from grandmother

End Notes:

I usually expect blazers to be a neutral, and yet I couldn’t resist thrifting this turquoise velveteen blazer a couple of years ago, especially since it had elbow patches. How utterly professorial, right?

Perhaps because of its unusual color, I’ve tended to wear this blazer for more casual outfits, like jeans or bermuda shorts, never really considering it for more professional on-campus attire. But, I gave it a shot today, figuring that if anything was going to balance the stodgy-potential of a fuzzy, elbow patch jacket, it would be a slim pencil skirt and a blouse in an interesting pattern.

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

I do wish that a bit more of the blouse would have been visible, but I preferred the silhouette of the closed blazer better (though I did open the jacket when I sat down). Knowing that the mostly-hidden blouse wouldn’t be enough visual interest, I added a makeshift necklace, fashioned from one of my grandmother’s brooches, that echoed the swirls of the top’s pattern. And then I finished everything off with a kick of red in the shoe.

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Oh, how I wish I had something more interesting to add, but alas, I’m juggling too many research projects this week, and I’m trying to figure out how to organize a paper on consumption, class, and the exotic in Second Empire France. You can go ahead and tell me whether I should lead off with idea A or idea B, even though you have no idea what either of those ideas are.

Or actually, maybe you should just let me know if you, too, own a brightly colored blazer? What color? How do you style it?

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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