30 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 4

September 30th, 2010 § 24 comments §

30 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 4, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Cardigan: (worn backwards) Banana Republic, free from swap
  • Skirt: thrifted
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Necklace: Target
  • Shoes: Steve Madden, via Macys

End Notes:

E.’s black and white week, day four. Party in the back.

I once saw someone on wardrobe_remix wear her cardigan backwards. Sadly, I no longer remember who that was, but the idea has stuck with me and the pearl buttons on this cardigan seemed like they would make such a reversal look intentional.

Pearl Buttons, originally uploaded by academichic.

30 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 4, originally uploaded by academichic.

Necklace detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits, Wardrobe Challenge
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The Chics at A’s Wedding Celebration

September 29th, 2010 § 20 comments §

Academichic Partying, originally uploaded by academichic.

Sources (from left to right):
On J:

  • Chinos- Brooksbrothers
  • Shirt- Uniqlo
  • Bowtie- Jcrew
  • Navy Legacy Blazer- J.Crew
  • Shoes- Sperry

On S:

  • Dress – Laundry by Shelli Segal, via TJMaxx
  • Shoes – Antonio Melani, via Dillards

On A:

  • Dress – J Crew, customized by E.
  • Shoes – Off Broadway, customized by me
  • Bracelet – Gift from S.
  • Earrings – gift from A2
  • Necklace – pearls from my mom, my sisters, E. S. and L.

On E:

  • Dress – Forever 21, refashioned (twice) by E.
  • Necklace – Forever 21
  • Belt – Gap Outlet
  • Shoes – Lauren by Ralph Lauren, via Macy’s

On L:

  • Dress – Max and Cleo, via Filene’s Basement
  • Shoes – vintage Calvin Klein that she had re-soled


When A2 and I decided to get married, we opted for a small ceremony in a special place with just our families.  We wouldn’t change a thing about it, but we knew from the start that this would mean following the wedding with a big party.  We wanted to celebrate with all of our incredible friends and extended family.  So this past Saturday, three months after our wedding, that is just what we did!

And of course, all the chics (J. is less than thrilled about this new title) were in attendance and dressed to the nines!

L. wore a smashing black cocktail dress with a full floral detail around the bottom.  My favorite part? It had pockets!  She finished the look with a pair of vintage satin Calvin Klein kitten heals that she had re-soled.

As to be expected, this was a party full of fabulous footwear!

OMGshoes, originally uploaded by academichic.

S. actually wore the shoes she wore for her own wedding last summer.  They were the perfect sparkly addition to her sparkle-topped halter dress in my favorite color.

I also wore the shoes from my wedding ceremony – one of my favorite parts of my wedding ensemble and the inspiration for the party dress.

Cheap Custom Wedding Shoes, originally uploaded by academichic.

While not rocking party shoes, J. snazzed it up with a stylish and playful bow tie.  His slacks and blazer hit the perfect note for this semi-formal event.

J’s Bow Tie, originally uploaded by academichic.

E. looked radiant in her bright orange dress. I think that is exactly how I described her the first time she wore this dress, which she has now refashioned twice. I enlisted E.s refashioning skills for my own custom party dress.

I considered wearing the dress I wore for the wedding ceremony, because I loved it and felt beautiful in it, but in the end decided I wanted more of a party dress for this event.  I still wanted to wear my shoes and the pearls (see the story here) and to keep with my grey color scheme AND didn’t have much money to spend on it.  I found this dress at J Crew and loved the color, the full skirt, and the price (I ended up paying $35 for it).  It started as a halter dress, which seemed a little less formal than I was going for and was not fitting me perfectly in the bodice.  I showed the dress to E. and she quickly came up with the idea of using the halter ties as straps and adding an off-white ribbon around my waist to draw in the shoes and the pearls.  The crossed straps added visual interest to the back and allowed us to raise the neckline some.

So thanks to E. I got wear a custom dress with my custom shoes and jewelry!

CustomDress – Thanks E.!, originally uploaded by academichic.
The party was wonderful and A2 and I just kept saying how lucky we felt to be surrounded by so many people we love and who love us.  We have so many incredible friends and we loved sharing this milestone in our lives with them.

A. & S., originally uploaded by academichic.

A2 & L., originally uploaded by academichic.
I am particularly lucky to be able to count this stylish bunch among my closest friends.  J. S. E. and L. each played such a huge role in the wedding and party preparations and I can’t thank them enough. We couldn’t have had our dream wedding or thrown such a perfect party without them!  I don’t know when we will all be in the same place at the same time again, but I am so grateful it happened on this one wonderful night!
J. S. E. and L. – A2 and I love each of you so much! Thank you!
The Chics!, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Dresses for Evening, Night Without Grading, Reaching New Heights
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29 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 3

September 29th, 2010 § 4 comments §

29 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 3, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Top: Old Navy
  • Skirt: thrifted
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Shoes: Madden Girl, via DSW

End Notes:

E.’s black and white week, day three. Stripes + florals.

Black on Black Pattern, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Mixing Patterns, Office Hours, Skirting the Issue, Wardrobe Challenge
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28 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 2

September 28th, 2010 § 5 comments §

28 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 2, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Blazer: Ann Taylor
  • Top: Forever 21
  • Pants: Ann Taylor
  • Shoes: Steve Madden, via Macy’s

End Notes:

E.’s black and white week, day two. Ruffle out, buttons up.

Blazer Detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

Lace Neckline, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Pants Please, Teaching Outfits, Wardrobe Challenge
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28 September 2010

September 28th, 2010 § 15 comments §

28 September 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Cardigan – Banana Republic
  • Brown Tee – H & M
  • Orange Skirt – J Crew (via clothes swap)
  • Circle Scarf – American Eagle
  • Flats – DSW
  • Earrings – Banana Republic


Have I mentioned that I love Fall?  And that it has everything to do with red and orange leaves on the ground, boots, blazers, scarves, pumpkin spiced lattes, and brisk morning runs?  Well, I love Fall!  And, it might also have something to do with mixing earth tones, corduroy, pumpkin flavored everything, and my birthday!

The weather in Academichic Central has been beautiful, ideal really, for the past few days and this week’s forecast looks equally lovely.  Many people reach for boots the moment temperatures break 70, others go for tench coats or long cardigans.  You will not be surprised, that I gleefully run for my scarf collection.

This lose-knit floppy circle scarf is a recent addition, purchased on super sale over the summer. I couldn’t be more excited to pull it out this morning for its long-awaited premier!

circle scarf, originally uploaded by academichic.
Bakelite Earrings, originally uploaded by academichic.
I also, like that this scarf allows for a reprise of my summer obsession of red with white and blue stripes.  Swapping out the red for this corally-orange and the white for cream gives the mix a decidedly more autumnal feel.
Have you pulled out the scarves yet?  The boots?  What is the first seasonal piece to emerge after a summer hibernation in your closet?   A.

28 September 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue

27 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 1

September 27th, 2010 § 11 comments §

27 September 2010 – Black and White Week, Day 1, originally uploaded by academichic.


Cardigan: Banana Republic, free from clothing swap
Top: Forever 21
Belt: Target
Skirt: thrifted
Shoes: Madden Girl, via DSW

End Notes:

E.’s black and white week, day one.

Lace Neckline, originally uploaded by academichic.

Pearl Buttons, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Mixing Patterns, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits, Wardrobe Challenge
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E.’s Black and White Week

September 27th, 2010 § 8 comments §

E.’s Black and White Week, originally uploaded by academichic.

I (E.) have a couple of really intense academic weeks coming up, so I decided that this week I would go minimal in both my wardrobe and my posts (and thus will not currently be commenting on the conversation L. started about dress codes, modesty, and high schoolers). I thought that the best strategy for getting dressed this week would be limiting my options. And, because I do my best work under pressure, I figured that I might as well get around to experimenting with the creative possibilities of black and white clothes, a palette that I don’t wear that often.

I picked five black and white garments that (mostly) had some kind of visual or textural interest:

  • A white blouse with a ruffled hem and lace neckline, from Forever 21
  • A thrifted pleated pencil skirt, with a black on black abstracted floral pattern
  • Slim black pointe pants from Ann Taylor (my one real “basic” in the mix)
  • A mini-tweed three-button blazer from Ann Taylor
  • A striped tee from Old Navy
  • A black cardigan with pearl buttons, originally from Banana Republic, but obtained through a free clothes swap

I’m sure that colorful shoes will show up this week, but mostly it will probably end up being enforced pattern mixing. My hope is to post text-free for the week, simply showing you what combinations I end up. I don’t think I’m going to blow your mind with super-fantastic combinations, nor is this as ambitious as Kendi’s 30 for 30 challenges but it might keep me a little more sane this week. (But don’t despair, colorphiles. We have a fun surprise post this week in which my deep love of saturated color is on full display.)

Black on Black Pattern, originally uploaded by academichic.

Blazer Detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Wardrobe Challenge

27 September 2010 – Dress Code Blues

September 26th, 2010 § 73 comments §

Dress Code Blues, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Top: Banana Republic
  • Belt: Banana Republic Outlet
  • Pants: Banana Republic
  • Shoes: Ciao Bella via DSW
  • Fire Opal Necklace: my design
  • Silver Bracelets and Ring: gifts

End Notes:
Following close on the heels of E’s recent post about skinny trousers, here I am wearing my go-to skinny black pants. Like many of you, I am apprehensive about the whole “jeggings” trend. I agree with E’s statement that I have no problem wearing skinnies on my own time, but I do question how professional it is in front of a classroom of impressionable youths. Dress code at my school is something that definitely needs work, and I find myself on a daily basis rolling my eyes at the distasteful ways in which these teen-age girls are parading their bodies around for all to see (please see my addendum and the comments on this post for an apology for this phrasing and further clarification and thoughts on this). I guess I am more old school than I thought, but I have strong opinions about what is proper and what is improper school attire. For me what it comes down to is material. I too have the ponte pants that E was wearing, but because the cut and material are clingier on me, I feel uncomfortable wearing those to school, but I frequently wear them for traveling because of their flexibility and weight. However, the pants I have on here have even more structure at the bottom to avoid a comparison with leggings, and the thicker fabric also helps to combat the nearly-naked feeling of the leggings, spandex, and even tights that some of my students chose to wear. While I am not a huge fan of the whole leggings-uggs-tunic ensemble, for me tightness is less of an issue than length. The skirt length my students seem to favor is about 1” below the behind, which I think is appallingly too short. However, my rant against skirt length is for another day. Today I’d like to talk about tightness.

Dress Code Blues, originally uploaded by academichic.

What is too tight? As one reader noted, pencil skirts are just as snug, but seem infinitely more work appropriate. Likewise, well-fitted tops and tailored trousers are certainly acceptable. So why the rage against the skinny? I guess what it comes down to for me is trendiness. There is a fine line between looking nice and looking like you’re ready for a night out on the town. Especially when it comes to black pants, I’d like to avoid seeming like I’m ready to hit the clubs at a moment’s notice. I agree that there are ways to play down the tightness of a pair of pants – either with a longer shirt or some layering on top to balance – but for me the litmus test is: If I’d wear it out for dancing, I will not wear it to school. Perhaps harsh, and certainly there are pieces that can span a transition between work and drinks or a nice dinner, but on the whole, if it looks too evening chic, I leave it for after 6:00pm. To make this outfit Friday-night worthy I would have opted for my wide patent leather belt, patent leather wedges and some sparklier jewelry. As it was, I went for a matte black woven belt, my black flowered flats, silver jewelry and a necklace made from an Australian fire opal pendant that I picked up when I was there in 2005.

Black Belt and Silver, originally uploaded by academichic.

Opal Necklace, originally uploaded by academichic.

Now that I’m writing this I’m realizing what a fine line this is in my own head. I guess the answer is really “to each her own.” As for me, I’m more comfortable professionally wearing tight pants than I ever will be wearing a short skirt. I’m proud of my body, and I love my athletic curves. I do not think that tight clothes are the sole realm of those who are stick figures. Seeing as how E, A and I all shopped for the same Anne Taylor skinnies together, I’m interested to see what A has to say on this matter. You’ve probably noticed that all of us at Academichic have different opinions on these things and these kinds of questions are exactly the way in which sartorial choices can spark debate. Do you feel differently about tightness versus length? Which do you play with more?

Author’s Note:I apologize for not choosing my words more carefully and appreciate those who commented in response to this post. I can see how the phrase “parading their bodies around for all to see” could be interpreted, and I’d like to clarify my point. First, I am a feminist. I also teach in a secondary school (grades 9 – 12) and think that young people, girls and boys, should learn what is appropriate to wear in certain situations and what is not appropriate. The boys too need to learn things like taking off hats indoors, wearing dress shoes instead of athletic gear, and the value of tucking in their button down shirts. This does not mean that I am not a good feminist. Women and men should be allowed to wear what they would like. HOWEVER, and this is where my old-school side kicks in, I also believe that there are situations in which a very short skirt or a baseball hat are not appropriate and school is one such situation. Like it or not, what you wear dictates a great deal about how you are received. As our guest poster Sally McGraw of Already Pretty put it, “although we flex our creativity through our choices, we still dress within the bounds of social acceptability.” I would never pass judgment on a student’s character or intelligence or anything else about her based on what she was wearing, but I do find it within my boarding school teaching duties to help educate students about appropriate ways/times for self expression when operating within a school community. Because this is a residential school, the faculty technically act in loco parentis for these students. If these were my children of course I would want them to love their bodies, be unselfconscious, and express themselves as they so chose. However, I would also teach them when it is the right time and place to wear certain kinds of dress and when it is not. I see these same students day-in and day-out and what I am talking about here is just during the class day. Despite the fact that we are all on campus all the time, I don’t care what they are wearing on Saturday night, or at dinner, or over the weekend, or before breakfast. I also dress down at these times, and they see me wearing jeans, hooded sweatshirts, Ts, flip flops and any number of other casual elements. However, when the class day begins at 8:00am, I expect that they will be wearing clothing that is appropriate for the classroom and not distracting to themselves or others. I am not advocating repression, but I am proposing that certain guidelines should be followed in an academic setting.

~ L.

Category: Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Teaching Outfits, Theoretical
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24 September 2010

September 24th, 2010 § 56 comments §

24 September 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Blazer: Gap, gift from MIL
  • Top: Target
  • Belt: (in picture below) thrifted
  • Ponte pants: Ann Taylor
  • Pumps: Madden Girl, via DSW

End Notes:

I think all of you had great thoughts for L. yesterday regarding her colleagues’ responses to her “dressing up.” In preparation for an upcoming series of posts, I’ve been reading a lot of older articles from the Chronicle of Higher Ed regarding academia and sartorial choices. While it seems that many people are willing to admit that it is unfair to equate care for one’s appearance with a lack of intellectual rigor, the actual advice dispensed tends to accept this state of affairs as normative: “Don’t look like you’re trying too hard but don’t look like you didn’t try at all.” Not so helpful.

My favorite quote from a 1998 article on professorial fashion comes from Nell Painter, then-professor of history at Princeton.

“There are prejudices against people who look too Jewish, too working-class, too Italian, too black, or too much of anything different.” She adds, however, that “if you look too WASPish, that’s probably all right.”

All of this has very little to do with my outfit today, except for this one question: are skinny or slim cut pants appropriate for the classroom and/or office?

I love these straight leg black ponte pants from Ann Taylor, but, as I am today, I have tended to wear them only for more casual outfits that I would not consider teaching appropriate. Weirdly, though, I always seem to wear them with a blazer. I’ve been happy to let these pants exist in my casual-but-not-too-casual register of wardrobe-dom, but now that even Ann Taylor is styling “work looks” with skinny black pants, I’m wondering if skinnies are mainstreamed, demystified, desexified, or de-whatevered enough to be considered professional garb?

But did you get what just happened there? For a garment to become “appropriate” for teaching or the office, I implied that it has to achieve some sort of vaguely defined neutral status as not “too anything.” But who is making that judgment? Is there really a “neutral” category for clothes (or how people wear them)?

What do you think? Are skinny pants appropriate office or teaching wear? In what scenarios? If you think they’re okay now, would you have thought that two or three years ago? If you think they’re inappropriate, what are your reasons?

And here I am, thoughtfully contemplating this question:

24 September 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Pants Please, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Theoretical
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23 September 2010 – Jackie O?

September 23rd, 2010 § 41 comments §

2010 Academichic – Jackie O, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Tank top: Banana Republic
  • Shrug: Cable & Gauge via Marshalls
  • Skirt: Grace Elements via Filene’s Basement
  • Shoes: Banana Republic
  • Necklace: gift

End Notes:
The day I wore this combo I had 8:00am chapel, seated family-style lunch, and all four of my classes to teach. I needed something that was going to last through the very busy day as well as keep me motivated. I find that I often use clothing as a way to control my behavior. For instance, the fitted, high-waisted skirt with fun built-in belting element that I am wearing here always helps me stand up straight, and my high heels make me walk with purpose (and considerable noise on the hardwood floors of the main building). I also love wearing my big opal-glass necklace because the iridescent luminosity of the beads seems to radiate power and the cool glass and weight of the necklace help to hit a few calming pressure points.

Built in Belt, originally uploaded by academichic.

Opal-glass Beads, originally uploaded by academichic.

On a more psychological level, if I am happy with what I’m wearing, I gain confidence from knowing that I look sharp. As I joked to a colleague earlier this week, the more dressed up I am, the more I’m trying to make myself feel ready for a class that I didn’t have time to prepare for as much as I would have liked. However, the flip side is that while this ruse works on my students, I sometimes feel like the other faculty note my clothing and comment negatively about it. It seems like especially because I am young, the fact that I care about how I look makes me appear to have my priorities out of line. What is it about being put together and stylish that appears to be in direct odds with being intelligent and talented? Why does the model of the absent-minded professor with baggy tweed jacket, mussed up hair, ill-fitting corduroys, and old shoes exude “scholar” to us?

2010 Academichic – Jackie O, originally uploaded by academichic.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was trying to ease my colleagues into my style during faculty meetings, but now that the year has begun I haven’t been tempering my outfit choices at all. As a result, I had a colleague from the science department come up to me when I was in this outfit and say, “You look all Jackie O. You need to stop dressing up so much because you’re making the rest of us look bad!” I was certainly flattered by the comparison, and she might have been saying this in jest, but behind every joke is an element of truth, right? How have you combated or avoided stereotypes about dressing well?

Category: Beltless, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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