June 30th, 2010 § §
This past Saturday, after more than 10 years together, A2 and I got married! We traveled to one of our favorite places on earth, Northampton, MA, and had a small intimate wedding with just our immediate families. We have talked about marriage for years now, but started seriously discussing it after a few close friends, including S. and T., got married recently. We have always said we wanted an intimate ceremony but a big party and after being a part of S. and T.’s perfect little wedding and enjoying lots of friends and good music and another friend’s larger wedding, we knew we wanted both. So, we chose to do a small ceremony this past weekend which will be followed by a larger party this fall. It meant so much to us to be surrounded by our families as we declared our love and commitment and we can’t wait to celebrate that with the many important people in our lives in just a couple months.
- Dress – J Crew Cotton Candy Alexa in light pewter
- Shoes – Off Broadway, customized by me
- Pearls – borrowed from my mom, my sisters, and a couple friends
- Earrings – gift from A2
- Bracelet – gift from S.
- Bouquet – made by me
- Pinstriped Vest – J Crew
- Pinstriped Pants – J Crew
- Grey Shirt – Banana Republic
- Shoes – J Crew
- Corsage – made by me
Ever since J Crew came out with their bridal line, I have imagined myself in one of their dresses – turns out we were both meant to be J Crew brides! Many elements of my ensemble either came from J Crew or were inspired by their styling and the bulk of A2′s outfit is J Crew. We each wanted to wear something that felt like us, made us feel confident, comfortable, and radiantly beautiful. Our afternoon outdoor wedding, our personalities, and our thoughts on marriage all contributed to our sartorial choices, which in the end we couldn’t have been happier with.
We chose Northampton for the wedding, both because it is a place filled with wonderful memories for us and because it is in one of the few states where it is legal for us to marry. A little gazebo, in a little park, which we decorated with paper lanterns and potted lilies, proved the perfect setting for a little wedding. Along with a singer/guitar player and our officiant, our families piled into the quaint little structure for a short ceremony filled with many smiles and many tears (of joy of course)!
While, as I said, I had long pined after J Crew wedding dresses, when it came time to actually choose my dress, I decided I wasn’t comfortable with a long white wedding dress. It didn’t seem to fit my ideas of an afternoon ceremony in the woods or my ideas and beliefs about marriage, something A2 and I have spent a long time discussing. So, I turned to the bridesmaid section and was instantly drawn to this Cotton Candy Alexa dress. I knew the cut would be perfect for me and I adored its understated and sophisticated elegance. I also couldn’t resist a grey wedding dress with a built-in belt and pockets!
I love the idea of wearing something borrowed for a wedding and almost as soon as A2 and I announced our wedding plans to my family, I was struck with a bit of genius! I asked each of my four sisters and my mother if I could borrow their various strings of pearls to wear on my wedding day. The idea was partially inspired by the multi-strand pearls J Crew was selling for a while. I thought they were beautiful, but way to expensive and I couldn’t imagine when I would ever wear them. I think my wedding necklace turned out much more stunning and was much more meaningful. I wore my mother’s pearls as is, since they are the longest strand, and my youngest sister’s single pearl on a chain rested in the middle surrounded by pearls from my other three sisters, E. and another friend, and my own pair all attached to a white ribbon tied in a small bow at the nape of my neck. It was a bit of an experiment pulling them all together on the morning of the wedding (the first time I had all the pearls together in one place) but I couldn’t have been happier with the final result.
My shoes were another custom piece that I absolutely love! I spent an entire weekend in Chicago with my mother scouring Michigan avenue for the perfect pair of shoes. I wanted dark grey peep toes but not one store from Aldo’s to Barneys had what I was looking for. Given the insanely low price of my dress, my mother was willing to drop some significant money on the shoes (ok, maybe not Barneys’ prices, but well above my usual $60 threshold). But alas, I left Chicago empty handed. The next weekend I was shopping at the outlets with E. and another friend and we decided to stop in the discount shoe shop, Off Broadway, and there were these simple dark grey suede peep toes. They where comfortable, a beautiful color, and less than $40. To make them a bit more special and to tie them in with the dress more, I picked up two fabric flower hair pieces from J Crew and fashioned them into shoe clips. It’s a hard call, but they may have been my favorite part of the ensemble.
I also made my own bouquet and corsages for my bride and our mothers following the same steps S. and I used to make the bouquets for her wedding. The hydrangeas began to fade pretty quickly after the ceremony and picture taking was over, but they looked gorgeous when I need them to.
No matter what we were wearing, how well the flowers lasted, or how well my hair held up, we both felt radiant and so happy all day. It was such a wonderful day made so special by having our families there with us. We have been back in Academichic Central and back at work for a couple days now, but we can’t stop smiling at each other! Apparently, this is married bliss!
Tags: wedding > wedding DIY
June 29th, 2010 § §
- Tank: Target
- Belt: Gap Outlet
- Skirt: Ruche.com, lengthened by me
- Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell, gift from MIL via Rue La La
I’m sure it comes as little surprise to any of you that I am in love with light gray as my summer neutral of choice. Pairing light gray with a more acid yellow and white stripes, I’m all passing summer storms and rippling heat rolled into one. Or, at least, that’s how I felt.
When I wore this skirt earlier, I had some concerns over the length-to-fullness ratio. It seemed a bit too short to be so full, resulting in a silhouette that bordered on feeling too “young” for me and was absolutely useless in the wind. Since I live in the Midwest and ride a bicycle, the latter became kind of a big deal.
So, during my week of “vacation” when I refashioned that dress into a skirt, I also set about lengthening this skirt to a more flattering length. Using extra fabric from my self-made tank dress, I took advantage of the gray skirt’s stitched edge detail and used those existing lines of stitching to hide my own seam, attaching a faux layer of floral fabric. The result fits the skirt’s somewhat romantic aesthetic better than attaching a clean band to the very bottom edge. (Plus, since I seem to be of the opinion that yellow is a foundational slice of the color wheel, I’m not too worried about limiting my color combination options.)
Finally, three cheers for my new sandals, found on super sale at Rue La La and graciously gifted by my always-tasteful mother-in-law. I predict that you’ll be seeing a lot of these cut-out mini-wedges in the weeks to come!
Category: Color Combinations, Grants, Office Hours, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: E. > full skirt
June 28th, 2010 § §
- Pink eyelet dress – Ann Taylor, thrifted in San Fran
- Pink flower pin – H&M
- Yellow shoes – Gianni Bini
- Silver cuff – gift
- Gold clutch – BR, gift from mom
- Flower earrings – my wedding earrings, side walk sale
This past weekend, T. and I attended the wedding of two good friends of ours. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony in a park followed by a wonderful reception at a local restaurant. The couple looked gorgeous and the day couldn’t have been any nicer or more enjoyable. Everything was great, barring perhaps the insanely hot temperature – close to mid 90s during the outdoor ceremony part. I knew it was going to be sweltering and so I tried to dress accordingly.
I had initially planned on wearing this light and airy white dress (also thrifted) that has a tulip shape to the skirt and a deep V cut-out in the back. It’s also knee length and somewhat more formal than the pink cotton number I ended up wearing. I had envisioned adding the same flower brooch for that touch of summery flair and my red wedge sandals…
But after I brought up the discussion on wedding guest attire during my last wedding-related post, so many readers chimed in with emphatic protests to wearing white as a guest that I first wavered and then retreated entirely from said ensemble above.
Although I still don’t agree with the idea that certain colors (even white or black) should be taboo for a wedding, I couldn’t help but lose my resolve to wear what I wanted to wear because I realized how many people might read my choice as something other than what it was. I wanted to wear a dress that would be elegant yet summery and day-wear appropriate; light and breezy for the heat; and flattering on my body shape. I had no intentions of outshining the bride or diverting attention to myself. And while I know that, I decided that a sign is not only what you (the wearer) decide it is, but also what the other person – the receiver – reads it to be. So despite my best intentions, if the majority of readers (and by extension, perhaps the people attending this wedding?) would misinterpret my wearing of white (with polka-dots, mind you) to a friend’s wedding, then it would be a battle lost.
In the end, I was happy with the pink dress, I don’t think the bride would have cared either way about my choice, and I forgot all about my outfit once the celebration started and I enjoyed the time with my friends. But this incident just reminded me once more how powerful certain sartorial symbols are and how ingrained certain signs and signifiers continue to be. I’m appreciating that even when I don’t agree with said symbolisms and signs, I still cannot opt out of what they mean to others. S.
Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Dresses for Evening, Night Without Grading, Theoretical
Tags: pink > S. > taboo colors > wedding style
June 25th, 2010 § §
- Dress: Banana Republic Factory
- Belt: from another dress
- Hat: Banana Republic Factory
- Yellow sandals: Old Navy
As mentioned earlier, I am all about the embellished dress + belt + sandals + floppy hat combination for summer picnicking, and I think I found a winner in this putty brown dress with a macrame neckline paired with accessories in unexpected colors.
Certainly, being the mom of a grabby little boy has compelled me to temporarily retire many of my favorite accessories — especially necklaces and big earrings — and as a result I think I’ve become increasingly enamored with built-in accessories (like embellished necklines) or baby-safe accessories that pack a big punch (like a belt or bright shoes).
But let’s talk for a moment about sizing. I tried this dress on a month or two ago at a visit to the Banana Republic Factory store in my usual dress size and was really disappointed. The neckline did nothing flattering for my figure, the dress overall was too short, and the shape was neither structured enough to wear unbelted or flowing enough to be a “look.”
When I went back a few weeks later, the dress was on the clearance rack, but this color was only available in a large. S. has successfully purchased and styled a dress that was several sizes too big for her, and I’m so glad that I followed her example and tried on the large. The fuller cut let the neckline fall in a more flattering line and the resulting drape was far more conducive to belting (though I had to cut off the little threaded “belt loops”).
What do you think? Is buying several sizes up essentially another way of “altering” a garment? Or does it go against the notion of fit being key? What are some things to be aware of when buying “too big”?
Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Proportionally, Research Casual, Sabbatical
Tags: belted > E. > hat > jersey > jersey dress > sandals
June 25th, 2010 § §
It’s no secret that I harbor a slight bike obsession. My husband and I currently house eight bikes in our basement and we’re always up for renting bikes and exploring a place on two wheels when we’re traveling. Through this style blog, I’ve actually come across a number of really wonderful bike blogs and I’ve been contemplating for some time now how I can add to the bike discussion in said medium. Since our focus on academichic is on fashion, feminism, and academia, I have created a separate space dedicated to my love of bikes: Simply Bike.
I would like to invite anyone interested to check out Simply Bike and to read more about this project here. Fellow cycle enthusiasts, I look forward to seeing you there! S.
June 24th, 2010 § §
- Gray tank with ruffles – Filene’s basement
- Purple bubble dress – TJMaxx
- Pendant – Anthropologie
- Damask flats – Old Navy
- Silver cuff – gift from dad
- Bag – Etienne Aigner hand-me-down
- Helmet – Nutcase
- Bike – Electra Hawaii Cruiser (named Mojito)
And I’m back in the States. Boy, it’s good to be home. One of the first things I was really looking forward to doing was hopping on my newly acquired cruiser and taking it for a spin around town. It’s also so nice to finally feel like it’s summer after so much rain and cold in Germany over the last month. Hot weather calls for breezy dresses, so I donned a light and comfortable purple bubble dress paired with black and white damask flats. I added some silver jewelry, a slouchy bag, and my new powder blue Nutcase helmet (it’s so cute, I don’t even mind sporting a helmet)…
In Germany, I had a little vase with (fake) flowers on my desk and I decided to bring the flowers back with me to add to my bike basket as a little keepsake from my year in Munich. I was inspired by the Let’s Go Ride a Bike Summer Games challenge, which requires participants to decorate their bikes as one of the entries…
I like how this Electra bike basket just pops off and can be taken along once the bike is parked. I did just that as I went to the library and then a consignment shop downtown, where I couldn’t resist filling my basket with lovely books and an awesome thrift find. Incidentally, another task in the LGRAB Summer Games is to carry a load on your bike…
Well, that’s about it for my bike adventures. Now, for a less exciting task, I need to go tackle those suitcases needing to be unpacked. Anyone want to do it for me? S.
Category: Beltless, Dresses for Day, Our Best Flatware, Vélocouture
June 23rd, 2010 § §
- Tank – American Eagle
- Pants – Ann Taylor Loft
- Bag – Crystalyn Kae
- Flats – DSW
- Cuff – gift from S.’s mom
- White Shirt – Gap
- Yellow Stripe Skirt – H & M
- Scarf as Belt – thrifted gift from S.
- Sandals – Charlotte Russe
- Wooden Bangle – gift from S.
Not much time for details tonight, but here are a couple of outfits I have worn this week after a morning of teaching. The goal was to stay cool as I ran around town doing errands and the like.
I’m sorry for being MIA, but I promise I have a really really good excuse, which will be revealed very soon, so bear with me. I’ll be back in action next week. Until then, have a great weekend!
Category: It's in the Bag, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > black pants > scarf belt > striped top > stripes
June 23rd, 2010 § §
- Ridiculous hat: Target $1 aisle
- Jersey: US Soccer, gift from husband
- Belt: thrifted
- Skirt: Banana Republic Factory
- Wedges: Naturalizers, via DSW
I’m interrupting normal programming to show you this ridiculous outfit and gloat over the news that the US men’s soccer team has made it into the knockout round of the World Cup and are advancing first in their group.
That is all.
June 22nd, 2010 § §
Belt: vintage, my mom’s
Skirt: Banana Republic Factory
Patterned wedges: Kenneth Cole Reaction, via DSW
I just recently realized that I’ve worn this colorblock skirt, which falls somewhere between pale violet and gray (JCrew might call it “dove” or something else unhelpful), in many a different color combination. As a pair of grays with purple undertones, it has functioned beautifully as a pseudo-neutral that adds richness to otherwise simple color palettes. Let’s review, shall we?
When paired with a mustard yellow tank, the almost-lavender skirt creates a complementary color scheme that is soft rather than jarring.
The first time I blogged this skirt, I wore it with a brown sweater. Go neutrals (and pseudo-neutrals).
Then, a baby bump popped and this skirt had to be retired for a season. When I brought it out again post-baby, I used it to create a kind of extended analogous color palette of purple, blue, and green…
…and a true analogous combination of navy and purple. Though, if you think of navy and this purpley-gray as neutrals, this could also be an entirely neutral outfit with a pop of color in the shoe. Tricky.
I’ve also used the skirt in a monochrome purple look (and playing with a faux-drop waist). It’s like a dress fake-out. The subdued tones helpfully keep me from looking like a muppet, which is frequently my fear with monochromatic outfits.
I’m also particularly fond of this two-thirds combination (purple and orange) with a navy (neutral) jacket. After depending for so long on neutrals and cool tones to match this skirt, the warmer coral created a whole different affect that I really liked and that inspired today’s warm+cool combination of mustard and violet.
Next up, I’m thinking that I need to try this skirt out with wine or magenta up top, or maybe create a full triad with a green top and orange shoes. Any other suggestions? Maybe a split complementary?
Category: Color Combinations, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue
Tags: color block skirt > E. > full skirt > wedges
June 21st, 2010 § §
I’m now at the final countdown of my time in Germany. Over the course of this past year, I have received several questions regarding my packing to return home and my wardrobe changes after being here in general, so I will attempt to answer those in this recap of my travel wardrobe for this year abroad…
I can manage to take everything I’ve acquired back home with me because I’ve already sent my parents and my husband off with a load of clothes and books each (as they were just here visiting). I was determined not to mail anything and between their carrying help and my efforts to not acquire too many things this year, I will be returning with the same amount of luggage that I came with: two suitcases and one carry-on.
In terms of clothing purchases this year – I tried to curb my spending knowing full well that I would have to take everything back with me in limited luggage space. But I still couldn’t resist a few shopping trips here or there and I tried to make the most of my student budget by getting most of my souvenirs at thrift stores and consignment shops.
Thrifting allowed me to score a few really unique pieces, like this vintage Mod dress or this brocade blazer. It also made for some uniquely Bavarian acquisitions, like this little boy’s Tracht vest and a full Dirndl skirt yet to be revealed, at more affordable prices.
Some thrift finds were bought for their low price tag yet high potential; an eyelet top got a sleeve make-over, a $2.50 dress found in Romania got a good few inches chopped off and is now ready for wear, and one German army shirt got a complete overhaul in an attempt to flex some DIY muscles.
In addition to perusing thrift stores and the occasional fea market, I did buy a couple of new things this year. Most notably, my S. Oliver skinny jeans which have become my new BFF. Some things are just worth the extra buck. And like E. did during her pregnancy, I tried to make the most out of my few pairs of jeans that I had in circulation by changing their look with cuffing, rolling, tucking, or other similar tricks…
I also made a pair of black capris go all-season by tucking them into knee-socks come winter and wearing them with boots…
Other style-related results from a year spent in Germany – I branched out and tried a few new looks. I took comfort in being away from campus and from a very professional environment and experimented with more casual and out-of-my-comfort-zone styles. And I realized that I can do much more with so much less. Layering and creative remixing went a long way in making my limited wardrobe feel a lot more comprehensive. Here’s just an example using my brown patterned jersey dress…
This was also the case when it came to dressing up. I wore the same black dress and gray wedges all four times that I attended the opera here and just varied the look by pairing them with different accessories and color schemes…
Sure, there were moments when I felt like a pair of shoes or a top I’d left back home would have been a more fitting item for an outfit in question. (Several readers commented that the gray wedges didn’t quite suit my black dress + orange pashmina opera look and I would certainly agree). And had I been at home, I likely would have paired a pair of black heels with the black and orange look seen above. But I brought shoes and garments that would be the most versatile and that lent themselves to the most mixing possible, so a pair of heels that would have only come out for a few select events were not worth the suitcase space. And ultimately … does it really matter? Dare I say it? …There are worse things than not having the perfect pair of shoes to go with an evening dress.
So that is my ‘year abroad recap’ in a nutshell. Given that I already sent a good amount of my stuff home and that it’s raining and dreary here, I think it’s safe to say that I will continue to toss on jeans, some kind of top, and non-fussy flats each day. So I will spare you the photographic repetition and will likely recommence posting once I am back in sunnier places with a heftier wardrobe at my disposal. Until then, I’ll be enjoying my last few days here in gorgeous Munich, sadly saying my goodbyes, and getting ready for the next stage in my life. And it’s bound to bring new adventures and changes, so stay tuned! S.
Category: Q&A, Sabbatical
Tags: how to pack > S. > travel style > year abroad packing