August 31st, 2010 § §
- Jersey Dress: Even via Off 5th
- Scarf: ?
- Turquoise Shoes: Sam Edelman via Off 5th
- Necklace and bracelet: family
Please forgive my bland backdrop. I have just completed two days of new faculty orientation and am now heading into three straight days of full faculty meetings, so unpacking and decorating my new apartment have both been put on the back burner for now. I wore this outfit to my new bosses house for dinner tonight, and I have to say, it hit just the right note. The headmaster held a lovely dinner at his house to welcome us newbies into the community, so I wanted to be dressed up enough for the occasion of being invited to the Head’s house, but also casual enough to survive the 90 degree weather and end-of-summer vibe. Over the last two days I have consciously calculated my outfits to ease my colleagues into my style (i.e., I’ve been holding back on the full-on belting everything that I usually enjoy, and I’ve scaled down the accessorizing to a minimum). In fact, I didn’t even end up wearing the floral skirt I showed last week because, as many of you commented, it was a little too youthful for my first impression at a new job. Granted this has been a tricky time to broker, but I’ve still held to my mantra that over-dressing is better than under-dressing. This midnight blue jersey dress is perfect for the dog days of summer because it gives me full coverage while also being breathable.
I decided to embellish the built-in waistband with a little pop of color and then matched my turquoise faux snakeskin flats to the turquoise, purple, and green scarf. Because this was a somewhat celebratory dinner I also put on two of my favorite pieces of jewelry – my grandmother’s ultra-modern style turquoise bracelet and my Pisces zodiac charm necklace – both of which were handed down in my family.
This bracelet is definitely a powerful piece for me, and I think the lightening bolt zigzag makes me feel a little bit like Wonder Woman, which was just what I needed when I was seated next to the Headmaster at dinner! What power-pieces do you have in your jewelry box?
Category: Dresses for Day, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Teaching Outfits
Tags: blue > blue and turquoise > L. > scarf > scarf belt > turquoise > turquoise shoes
August 29th, 2010 § §
- Black Shirt Dress – BR Outlet
- Belt – BR Outlet
- Red Flats – Target
- Earrings – Gift from A2
- Bangles – Gift from S.
With a little encouragement from E. and L., I purchased this black shirt dress from BR Outlet towards the beginning of the summer. I love the wrap top, full skirt, and of course, the pockets!
I was dying to wear it all summer but never had the right occasion in the right weather, so it made it’s premier at our department start of the year breakfast. These events can be tricky to dress for because you are asked to mingle with faculty, staff, and other students, meet new students, listen to announcements, conduct beginning of the year business, and what ever else your department chair might throw your way, all while awkwarly balancing a bad cup of coffee and a less-than-stellar pastry.
I, per usual, was one of the more dressed up graduate students, but I felt comfortable and confident – what more could you ask for?
It was at this department breakfast meeting 5 years ago that I first met E. We both often tell this story of quickly picking each other out of the crowd, as we were the only two people in skirts that day. After the breakfast we decided to go buy our books together and the rest is history. I’m glad that E.’s first impression of me was of a fashionable nerd!
Category: Dresses for Day, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware
Tags: A. > belted > black > first impressions > pockets > shirt dress
August 27th, 2010 § §
- Shirt: Merona via Target
- Belt: American Apparel
- Skirt: White Rice
- Shoes: Penny Loves Kenny via Macy’s
- Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs
- Slip (below): Lord & Taylor
I’ve been busy this week trying to figure out what I can wear to my first round of faculty meetings next week. Like E noted, it can be tricky to strike the proper balance between formal and casual in this liminal space between summer and fall, vacation and school, student and faculty. I want to look like an adult, but in this setting I would look silly wearing my version of the traditional power-suit, a well tailored button down with a pencil skirt. The “dress code” only specifies “summer attire” but my standard summer attire of shorts and tanks is a little less formal than I’d like to be when I meet ALL of my new colleagues. This skirt is a recent boutique purchase and the bright busy print stands out in my wardrobe. I love the different fabric around the bottom and creamy lace edging.
This touch reminds me of E’s fantastic DIY grey skirt to which she added a similar bottom edge of a bright yellow fabric. A downside of this skirt is how very sheer it is, but I am a dedicated fan of slips and wear them often.
If you don’t already own a slip in a nude color and in black, invest now. My slips have saved me from embarrassing accidental flashes, showy underwear lines, and several skirt-sticking-to-tights-and-riding-up situations. I wanted to finish off this outfit with flat sandals of some kind since I’m sure that my new faculty orientation will involve at least a few campus tours. This is another example of my use of metallics as neutrals. These are my first and only foray into the gladiator fad, and I have to say I like the look of them.
The gold and silver together also allows for other accessories in either color. I’ve chosen not to wear necklaces or bracelets in order to keep this less formal and also because I think the bold print and shoes need the most attention in this get-up. What tricks to you have to make an outfit more casual?
Category: Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: belted > floral skirt > L. > sandals
August 26th, 2010 § §
- Mustard cardigan: Target
- Ruffle top: Target
- Belt: thrifted
- Earrings-turned-brooches: thrifted
- Ring: c/o Lala B
- Skirt: Banana Republic Factory
- Shoes: Lauren by Ralph Lauren, via Macy’s
Yesterday I led a question-and-answer session for new TA’s in the humanities at my university. I actually always find these beginning of the year, transitional summer-to-fall events difficult to dress for. I want to look competent but not stuffy, approachable but purposeful.
Ultimately, I ended up with an outfit comprised of pieces from multiple different “registers” of formality that — I think — still formed a coherent whole. I started out with my denim pencil skirt: a classic shape in a casual fabric. Then, I softened it up with a draping, ruffled top (originally used as a maternity top!). But then I added structure to the drape with a skinny belt that almost disappears in the gray froth and a cropped cardigan. I finished everything off with some “shiny” for polish: a chunky cocktail ring, enamel floral earrings used as mini brooches, and patent taupe wedges.
When I write it all out like that it sounds really complicated, but it actually came together very organically. That might be because in a lot of ways this is a reiteration of my monochrome olive outfit a few days ago. (I’m not concerned, though, since I’ve been steeping myself in critiques of the bourgeois notion of originality, ala Rosalind Krauss via Walter Benjamin. Ah, qualifying exams.) And besides, I’d call this a revision rather than an imitation.
Do you have a secret for stylish dressing in this transitional period between summer and fall?
Category: Color Combinations, Office Hours, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: denim pencil skirt > E.
August 25th, 2010 § §
- Dress – Marshalls
- Belt – BR Outlet
- Flats – Target
- Sunglasses – Marshalls
Well, summer officially comes to an end this week as the semester begins tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the Fall, but sure will miss the summer! I successfully started a veggie garden, clocked over 400 miles with a new running buddy, met up with old friends, convinced my advisor my dissertation topic is a worthy one, and of course GOT MARRIED!!
These are pictures taken a few weeks back, while on one of the many mini summer vacations we took to visit friends and family. This is the dress I bought to wear the night before my wedding, but knew it would get a good amount of wear. I added the woven leather belt and red flats to dress in down enough for brunch and a walk around town.
Check back later this week to see what ensemble I pull together for the first day of the semester!
Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Our Best Flatware, Sabbatical, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > belted > blue > blue and red > red > summer style > two-thirds color combination
August 23rd, 2010 § §
- Top: Target
- Necklace: Forever 21
- Belt: thrifted
- Skirt: Banana Republic Factory
- Wedges: thrifted
Like A. and L., I had to let our color challenge spill over into the following week. I just wasn’t feeling a monochromatic look last week. But, never fear, I have prevailed. And with green, no less.
I usually wouldn’t wear a chunky necklace with a top that already has neckline details, like this one. One of the benefits of a monochromatic color scheme, however, is that it lets you play a little more with the “more is more” concept. Layering a yellow-green statement necklace over olive ruffles adds some textural interest within a limited color palette. (I also could have added baby e.’s yellow-green sippy cup to the mix, but I figured I already had enough going on.)
Also, I didn’t tuck in my top. Given my propensity for high-waisted everything, this is a departure for me. Granted, I’m still defining my waist — and adding some lovely drape and blousing — with a skinny belt, but the overall effect of a peplum of sorts is fetching, and it still keeps my never-ending torso in check. One of my fall style resolutions is to play more with drape and volume, and this is a good start, albeit a baby step.
Do you have any fall style resolutions?
Category: Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue
Tags: E. > jewelry > monochrome > ruffles > ruffles with necklace > statement necklace
August 23rd, 2010 § §
- Blue Tank – Banana Republic
- Red-Orange Belt – BR Outlet
- Yellow-Orange Flower – Blue Onion Marketplace
- White Skirt – score form clothing swap
- Sandals – Charlotte Russe
- Earrings – Gift from A2
Like L., I failed to get my last color-challenge outfit in last week, but here it is – a split complementary using two shades of orange! I really wanted to push myself with this go at the Fashion 101 on color mixing. I already tried out this red-orange shade in my monochromatic look, but this time I took it a bit further by incorporating it into a split complementary. As E. explained quite well last week, a split complementary has you start with a color on the color wheel (in my case blue) find its compliment (orange) and then the two colors on either side of that complement (red-orange and yellow-orange). If orange is a daring color choice for me, yellow-orange is flat out radical! This fabric flower brooch from Blue Onion Marketplace is the only yellow-orange thing I own, and in the past I have only used it to adorn a summer bag or clutch. Today, I took a cue from S. and pined it up near my face.
I think the two shades of orange each pop off the deep blue tank and really help add the needed bunch to this otherwise simple ensemble of blue tank and white skirt. This skirt came from a small clothing swap E. and I recently went to (I also walked away with one of E.’s dresses and she left with one of my belts and a pair of my jeans). I have been looking for a fuller white skirt all summer and have even bought a few, only to return them later. This one might not be perfect, but its a fun summery piece that fits well enough considering its price tag. I love the scalloped hem and the embroidered and eyelet detailing.
Two things both the color challenge and the clothing swap had in common: the chance to reassess my closet and the chance to create new ensembles for free!
Have you ever been to a clothing swap? Did you walk away with a bunch of great new items? How was it organized? Was it just free for all or where there rules? I’d love to know the best way to host one.
Category: Academichic Product Review, Color Combinations, Fashion 101, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: A. > brooch > flowers > orange > split complementary colors > white skirt
August 23rd, 2010 § §
- T-shirt: American Apparel
- Skirt: Calvin Klein Outlet
- Belt: Old Navy Outlet
- Shoes: Madden Girl via DSW
One final post regarding our color wheel challenge. Since I had been putting this outfit together in my head for days, I wanted to share my monochrome blue-green ensemble. This outfit is very simple, but with the addition of a belt and heeled shoes it manages to look polished despite the easy T and skirt combo. This is another one of my super girl-y feeling skirts because it moves so well. It is surprisingly heavy since the pleating hides where several panels of material are added and you can’t see the many inner layers that help give it such a swishing motion. I was determined to get a picture of this skirt in mid-twirl, and I seriously almost fell over from dizziness at the end of this photo series! Oh, the things we do for Academichic.
The belt you might recognize as the same as E’s and A’s (although hers is teal) and it is one of the workhorses of my wardrobe. I wear a lot of grey and grey goes with everything, so the purchase of a stretchy grey belt was a necessity for me. I used to be very wary of mixing neutrals including metallics, so the brass buckle made me a little anxious. However, thanks to my co-bloggers I’ve realized that things like that don’t matter very much and I can still wear silver jewelry despite the color of my buckle. These shoes were also a major addition to my wardrobe this year and have proven very useful. I like the small heel because they are comfy enough that I can wear them all day, but give me a little height and my legs a little length.
It has taken some adjustment, but I’m getting used to how delightfully cool the weather can be in New England even in summer – I’ve taken to carrying a light cardigan with me and don’t have to wear tanks all the time. Lately it’s not only been cool, but also quite rainy, which somewhat inspired this marine blue pairing. If I’d had my whole wardrobe at my disposal, I would have tossed on my grey cardi or my navy blazer from Ann Taylor Loft (not the same as A’s, but similar!). As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve just moved into my new apartment, but I’m still bouncing around New England visiting relatives and friends, and hence, I don’t have access to my whole closet all the time. I have really enjoyed color wheeling for the last four weeks, and I do think it will make me think more about my options when it comes to colors and combinations. However, I’m looking forward to school starting so I can share my daily teaching outfits with you all. This week I’ll be deciding what to wear for my first day of faculty meetings – exciting!
Category: Color Combinations, Fashion 101, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: belted > full skirt > grey > L. > monochrome > teal
August 20th, 2010 § §
- Blue dress: Banana Republic Outlet
- Orange-yellow scarf: Ferragamo via Filene’s Basement
- Orange-yellow Bling: gifts
- Purple belt: American Apparel
- Purple flip-flops: Nine West
First, I wanted to voice how much I will miss S! She, E, and A, have worked very hard on Academichic and I am so happy to be a part of this fine group of women!
The title of this post comes from the catcalls of the street vendors in Florence who would entice the foreign students to buy umbrellas, pashminas, or anything with the David on it by yelling “Heyyyyy Miss Bling Bling” as we walked by on our way to school. Somehow I managed to leave Florence with only one pashmina, one umbrella and an apron with David emblazoned across it – all of which have since been lost – but “Heyyyyy Miss Bling Bling” remains my favorite attention getting phrase. This has been a hectic week since I’ve recently moved into my new apartment and have been busy unpacking, assembling furniture, and generally nesting. Despite the inevitable stress of a move it does present an opportunity to assess what things you have and what things you can give up – this orange-yellow rhinestone S-shaped pin was a definite keeper worthy of “Miss Bling Bling” distinction and deserving of a prominent place in my next outfit. It also perfectly matched this citrine ring.
Additionally, orange-yellow has split complements of blue and purple, both of which are easier colors for me. This blue dress is probably too short to be work appropriate, but hey, it’s still summer where I am, and I don’t start work officially until August 30th! I have paired this bright blue primarily with black in the past, but that’s the great thing about the color wheel challenge – it has really made me expand the range of colors I’m wiling to combine and to think far outside the safe confines of a neutral pallet with occasional splashes of color. It seems to me that this whole exercise has been one in basically just going with it – “it” being showy, close, or seemingly opposite color pairings. Rather than the neat and clean matching with which I was brought up, the last four weeks have been dedicated to pushing myself to be a little off-kilter, break with the usual and do something on the edge.
For some reason the idea of a slant-rhyme comes to mind as an example of something that takes reading aloud, speaking and articulating the words, to really make sense and function as a rhyme. Likewise these outfits needed to be aired, tried out, messed around with in order to broaden my horizons more generally. I think after this I’ll be more likely to think of these kinds of complements and pairings in my everyday attire. But back to this outfit. Once I’d found the pin I knew that I wanted to wear it with this orange-yellow scarf and purple was brought in with the belt and shoes to complete the split complement.
As reader GingerR asked after E’s post from August 16th, “I noticed that your outfit contains a very small percent of the start color. Any thoughts about how the proportions of color should be balanced and what that does to the quirky effect?” I think personally I’ve been more obvious in my blocks of colors because of this challenge, and so for the sake of fulfilling the color wheel module of the week some of my outfits have had bigger color elements than they might otherwise. If I were to do a redux of this outfit I’d probably ditch the scarf and showcase the pin — maybe placing it directly on the belt for maximum contrast or string it on a simple chain to wear as a necklace. I loved the scarf and pin together, but I would likely wear those two with more neutrals in order for them to have the most pop. I think the proportion of colors should be one or two as dominant and one as accent – mostly because it is hard to equally incorporate that many colors into one outfit without looking like a Kandinsky painting run amok. But that being said, it’s really up to you and what you’re comfortable with or what effect you are trying to achieve. What are your thoughts on proportions of colors? Has this challenge made you think differently about unusual color combinations? What pairings have you come up with?
Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Fashion 101
Tags: blue > blue and yellow > brooch > L. > purple > sandals > scarf > yellow
August 19th, 2010 § §
- Blue-green top – Target
- Green-gray skirt – H&M in Austria years ago
- Silver flats – Target
- Necklace – Big Lots years ago
- Puzzle piece bracelet – gift from cousin in Romania
So I did get my act together and compose one outfit for our color module this week: monochromatic green. While I couldn’t for the life of me make one work on Tuesday, this combination just jumped out at me on Wednesday morning. I paired a teal (blue-green) top with a green-gray skirt and used silver for my remaining items. Silver flats; silver bracelet; silver necklace. Although I’m dressed head-to-toe in shades of green, I think this works because they’re variations of the crayon box green that are more subtle and soft. I think there is no right or wrong way to do monochrome; use as much and as bold of a color as suits your style and aesthetic. While some may feel more comfortable mixing in a good dose of neutrals, others may revel in a full-on color explosion. To me, the queen of fabulous and bold monochromatic outfits is the lovely Katie of What Katie Wore in the UK:
How bold do you go when you go monochromatic?
That much on colors and my outfit for today.
The other thing that needs to be addressed (and I’ve been putting it off because it’s no pleasant post to write) is my coming departure from academichic for a while. As I alluded to in my last post, I’ve been struggling with dressing for myself vs. dressing for others for a while now. On some days it’s less pronounced than on others; but it’s a feeling that’s been consistently there for a while now. To explain – when I first began blogging on academichic, I knew nothing of color theory, I was still finding my style as a young academic professional, and I was blown away by the plethora of awesome blogs and fashion resources on the internet. I discovered Flickr, wardrobe_remix, style blogs, the awesome Sal of Already Pretty, feminist fashionistas, and other academics on the same style quest as me. And I found the inflow of inspiration and feedback from other bloggers and readers to be astounding and tremendously rewarding.
I blogged through a semester of teaching, I blogged about planning a small wedding on a small budget, and I blogged during an entire year of living abroad and – more or less – out of two suitcases. I blogged about my packing plan for that capsule wardrobe and, to my surprise, was contacted by a former (and much beloved) student who had found my packing posts while she was researching how to pack for a year abroad herself. I gained so much from other bloggers and my co-bloggers that it was wonderful to hear of my posts being of use to someone else. This example encapsulates what I’ve found to be the much rewarding essence of blogging – the free and voluntary sharing of information, support, creativity, and inspiration.
While I would love to continue being a weekly presence on academichic, life changes have shifted my focus and I now feel content leaving the style blogging to others. I feel like I have answered some of those initial questions I had about how to present myself professionally and I have explored pattern, color, functionality, and professionalism to the extent that I feel pretty comfortable with how I present my academic persona at this point.
As I have alluded to, I have left my graduate institution to live with my husband (if you read regularly, you know that we were long distance for a long time) and to finish my dissertation away from campus. I was extremely fortunate to find a position as a lecturer at my husband’s university so I am now – somewhat unexpectedly and much sooner than anticipated – beginning my career as faculty.
This recent move in my professional and personal life has led me to reassess my time commitments and has forced me to pare down my calendar of activities. I love to take on more than I can handle, but I’m forcing myself to be realistic and do less but do it well. This all to try to articulate why I will be stepping down as a regular contributor to academichic and will be leaving the regular posts to my wonderful co-bloggers. I might still pop in and say hello when I can and I will always be on the watch for great fodder for fashion/feminism/academia posts, but I will be turning my primary attention to my teaching commitments, my dissertation, and my husband for now.
I will still be present on the interwebs over on Simply Bike, which allows me to lurk far more behind the camera and to explore more in text than in pictures what advocacy, healthy living, and bike commuting means to me. If you miss me terribly, you can always stop on by and say hello.
I cannot express enough how much your comments and readership has meant to me. And I will now assume the role of regular reader and commenter myself as I continue to draw inspiration from A., E., and L. I’m sorry this turned into such a long post but as I started writing, the words began pouring out, and I felt like I was writing a mournful goodbye letter to a long loved friend. This is how much I’ve cared about this project and have appreciated all of you who have been part of it, however vocal or silent. So this is goodbye for now and a big huge Thank You!
Category: Color Combinations, Sabbatical, Theoretical