28 February 2011 – Winter Remix

February 28th, 2011 § 8 comments §


  • Dress (as skirt): thrifted (J. Crew)
  • Shirt: Banana Republic
  • Scarf (as belt): thrifted (Smithsonian)
  • Tights: Target
  • Shoes: Ciao Bella via DSW
  • Necklace: gift

This is a variation on something I wore in early January and is an example of one of the amazing things that a belt can do: turn a dress into a skirt! I thrifted this grey J. Crew dress and thought that I wasn’t going to be able to wear it until the spring because it was a) short and b) the ruffle around the neck made it hard to wear anything over it. I decided that the short factor would be at least slightly mitigated by same color tights, but the ruffle was baffling me. I searched for something that had a big enough scoop neck that the ruffle, at least in front, could peek out and was loose enough in the back that the ruffle there wouldn’t look too weird. To make my dress into a skirt I tucked the loose ends of my shirt into a scarf I tied like an obi belt and voila!

I also liked how the teal necklace complemented the pink shirt, and the layering with the ruffle was definitely attention getting as I even got two compliments from colleagues! I had a lot going on up top so the all grey bottom and black flats were more muted.

I’m happy that this super comfy dress has the potential to be winterized. Next time I think I’ll try something under it to see if the jumper look works. With a fresh 4-inches of snow last night it doesn’t look like I’ll be breaking out the spring clothes for a while yet! How have you winterized more springy dresses?


Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Teaching Outfits
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28 February 2011 – Work With What You’ve Got, Take II

February 28th, 2011 § 12 comments §

28 February 2011


Button down – ON, thrifted
Cardigan – thrifted
Belt – thrifted
Tank top – BE Maternity, via Target
Skinnies – ON Maternity
Boots – Banana Republic
Elephant pendant – had since childhood
Bag – Vintage Sears bag, $1 garage sale find


Does this outfit look familiar? Well, if it doesn’t, let me just remind you of where you might have seen it last. I loved how E. took one of the looks she created with the items from Banana Republic’s Spring line and recreated it with garments from her own wardrobe. It got me wondering whether I could do the same. I figured that this look should be pretty easy to recreate seeing as how it’s composed of mostly pretty basic wardrobe pieces. So my plan was to go in my closet and look for…

A dark button down or tunic, dark skinny jeans, a brown leather belt, dark flats or dark boots, and a bright yellow bag. This last item wasn’t going to be a challenge for me since I already own the perfect bright yellow vintage bag, but if you were looking to recreate this look, I’d say that any bright color bag should do. The idea is to bring in that pop of color with an unexpected tote or purse.

As you can tell from the snow on the ground and from the fact that it’s snowing in these pictures, it’s nowhere near Spring where I live, so I opted for black boots over the dark flats and I also picked up a black cardigan for that extra warmth. And here is my version with items from my closet and slightly more winterized than the BR Spring line iteration…

28 February 2011

What do you think? I think it worked out perfectly for a casual Saturday outfit and I’m excited to retry this look come Spring without the cardigan, the sleeves rolled up, and a lightweight pair of flats.

On a related note – I’m wearing my newly thrifted belt, which I am just loving, and am offering you this item as a clue to what this week’s theme is going to be… Yup, you guessed it! It was only a matter of time before we did a Belts Week here at academichic, right? Hope you enjoy the rest of the posts to come on this topic! S.

28 February 2011

Category: It's in the Bag, Layers Upon Layers, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual, Weekend Wear
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Weekend Workshop: Translating Inspiration

February 26th, 2011 § 16 comments §

For most of us, daily outfit inspiration does not spring forth fully formed like Athena from Zeus’s head. So, where do they come from? And how do you translate a spark of inspiration into a pleasing, functional outfit created with garments from your own wardrobe? Of course, we frequently get outfit ideas from other style bloggers or street style blogs. That’s what this community is great for! But here are some other, clearly-sourced examples of daily outfits translated from a range of sources, both expected and…a little wacky.


So, it’s not a mind-blowingly surprising place to find inspiration, but that’s okay. E. has created many an outfit from looks seen in the pages of Lucky Magazine, including this “arty top + skinny jeans” outfit she wore a couple of years ago. But, she made a couple of obvious changes.

Arty Top + Skinny Jeans24 April 2009 - Evening

First, she accommodated the particularities of her preggers body, finding a top that would work with her bump rather than turning her torso into a tent. Second, she didn’t actually buy any of the recommended pieces in the article. Instead, she took the concept as a whole, purposefully shopped for a top that met her own purposes, and put the rest of the look together with staples from her closet. The result is a personalization of a “look” and an addition to her wardrobe that has subsequently seen a lot of use, even post-preggers.

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Category: Resources, Weekend Workshops

S: Color Me Coral

February 25th, 2011 § 7 comments §

S: Color Me Coral

So here is the last of my Banana Republic outfits – a casual yet fun look that I’d wear for drinks out with friends (were I not pregnant and able to drink…). This outfit started with those denim leggings I already raved about and an eye on this ruffle trimmed jacket. I knew I wanted a bright pop of color inbetween so I picked up this punchy coral top. I kept everything but the coral silk top in muted greens and blues and just let the coral do the talking. (This, by the way, is the same silk top that E. styled in navy here).

Layers detail

Although this outfit is pretty simple, I love all the details that make it special – the ruffle trim on the jacket, the lace trim on my cami, the darker silk trim on the coral top, and of course, the snakeskin clutch and awesome green leather platform wedges.

There is a lot of coral in Banana Republic’s Spring line and I for one love it. I bought the beautiful coral and navy scarf that A. styled in this outfit and have already worn it a bunch this week. I would have bought more from their Spring line if my body weren’t in a stage of (pregnancy) transition. As it is, it was fun to make outfits work for me in a non-maternity store despite my growing midsection. It’s how I’ve been approaching getting dressed with the things in my own closet – trying to make the most of non-maternity items by thinking creatively – and this experiment with a non-maternity capsule wardrobe at Banana Republic just served to remind me that I can do a lot with the things I already own at home from my pre-pregnancy days.

Here is where you can find the silk top, the jacket, the denim leggings, the t-strap wedges, and the clutch I wore.

S: Color Me Coral

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Maternity Style, Night Without Grading, Pants Please, Reaching New Heights
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And the winner is…

February 25th, 2011 § 0 comments §

The winner to our $50 Banana Republic gift card giveaway is Lynne, comment #346:

Congratulations to Lynne , please send us your name and contact information and we’ll get that out to you as soon as possible! And maybe you can apply that gift card to making the tie-back sheath dress your own!

Category: Uncategorized

A: To The Farmer’s Market

February 25th, 2011 § 4 comments §

/></a><br /> <br /><br /> <span style=A: To The Farmer’s Market, originally uploaded by academichic.
I think this last look was my second favorite outfit I styled at Banana Republic.  I loved the casual playful vibe of the whole look and could easily see every piece being used on a regular basis as part of my casual wardrobe.   I imagine this as the perfect outfit for those first visits of the season to the farmer’s market or taking the kids I watch to the zoo.
I loved the print, color, and the ruffles on this shirt but wasn’t crazy about the cut.  Many of the shirt at BR this season are empire waist/tunic tops which don’t work very well with my proportions.  So, I am now on the look out for a blue gingham shirt with a little something special (like a mock collar and ruffles).  I actually ended up purchasing the ruffled sweatshirt (I have quite the sweatshirt collection, which you all never really get to see) and the navy silver-studded flats and can’t wait to pull them out for my next trip to the zoo!
Which was your favorite of the four looks (pencil skirt and scarf, safari shirt dress, grey ruffle dress, or this one)?  Which look should I try to replicate in my own wardrobe?Will you be replicating any of them?
 /></a><br /> <br /><br /> <span style=A: To the Farmer’s Market, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Academichic Product Review, Color Combinations, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Proportionally, Research Casual, Weekend Wear
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25 February 2011 – Work With What You’ve Got

February 25th, 2011 § 17 comments §

Work With What You've Got


  • Cardigan: H&M, thrifted
  • Tunic: Tucker for Target
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Wedges: Lauren by Ralph Lauren

End Notes:

I didn’t come up with this outfit on my own. I really should have. After all, both this tunic and cardigan were in my 30 for 30 capsule wardrobe. Thankfully, the one-that-got-away was reeled back in once I looked at my wardrobe with fresh eyes, having “shopped” for ideas elsewhere. (And yes, I just used a fishing metaphor. I’m not sure why since I have no real point of reference for that.)

For me, playing with Banana Republic’s spring line was like getting to play in someone else’s closet. Someone who gets to wear a lot of silk. In that closet, it was a no-brainer to top off this ruffled, red-orange print top with a structured military jacket while keeping things sleek and simple on the bottom with jeans and statement heels.

Ruffles In Command


What made the outfit for me was the combination of voluminous ruffles under military structure, and I immediately started thinking about how I could translate to the clothes already in my closet.

Now, let’s be honest. My own jeans, though cheaper, are doing my legs lots of favors. That’s why I own them. As for the top, I knew I didn’t own something with such peplum-like ruffles at the bottom. But, I wondered if I could tweak this Tucker for Target tunic to mimic the effect. A hidden belt and some strategic blousing let me adjust the length of the tunic to the optimal hip-mitigating length. I think the trick here was making sure that the “blousing line” of the tunic was noticeably higher than the bottom edge of the cardigan, creating a play with proportions rather than a heavy horizontal line. And that’s the best thing about re-interpreting outside inspiration for the garments you already own! You already know that your pieces fit and flatter you or you know how to use them to their best advantage. I love it when an outfit comes together as a mix of new inspiration and old favorites.

Work With What You've Got DSC_9848

Thanks for indulging our dress-up this week. It was a treat to take a little bit of a week off from daily photos and to show you some of our inspiration for the coming season.

Category: Academichic Product Review, Color Combinations, Pants Please, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual
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L: Day to Night

February 24th, 2011 § 4 comments §

Flower Belt Take Two, originally uploaded by academichic.

The final two looks I prepared from the BR spring line fall neatly into the categories of “Teaching Outfit” and “Night without Grading” meaning, one of these I’d wear in my classroom and the other I’d wear when meeting my friends S., E., and A. out for drinks! The first look incorporates my two (new) favorite items: the stretchy flower belt and these little olive suede studded flats (neither of which is available online but this belt and these flats are similar, and these flats have the same flower as the belt on them, are equally adorable, and come in more colors in the store). The cropped jacket with a small ruffle and wider leg trousers dressed things up and the “Market Tote” was buttery soft and definitely could hold a day’s worth of books. I had first tried out the belting over a jacket look last week with a wide woven belt and blue blazer and I’m definitely a convert. I’d seen A., E., and S. do this before, but hadn’t tried it out myself until now.

Dinner Out?, originally uploaded by academichic.

This look, however, was fun, sleek, and definitely going-out-worthy. Had I not just recently stumbled into a few pairs of skinny jeans that I really like, I would have snapped these dark wash skinnies right up. The slight sparkle of the sweater (jacket?) and the skinny spike of these platform heels seemed evening appropriate and the soft silk edge of the tank and the cardigan played nicely off this bling-tastic necklace.

Sparkly!, originally uploaded by academichic.

So that’s it for my spring time inspirations from BR. A big thanks to the great sales people who allowed me to take photos in their store and helped me out! I know there has been some fruitful debate going on about this week of academichic playing dress-up with the BR spring line, and I hope that our readers have enjoyed seeing how we took new styles and brought our own aesthetic to some spring trends. Now we can rifle through our own closets with fresh eyes!

Category: Academichic Product Review, It's in the Bag, Night Without Grading, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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A: Dressing Down the Ruffle Dress

February 24th, 2011 § 2 comments §

 /></a><br /> <span style=A: Dressing Down the Ruffle Dress, originally uploaded by academichic.

I often draw inspiration from the outfits styled for clothing catalogs and retailer websites, so since I knew I wouldn’t be able to purchased all the fun items I tried on at Banana Republic, I decided I would use the experience to come up with inspiration for my existing wardrobe.  My first instinct with this ponte grey ruffle dress was to pair it with a pair of shinny heels, sparkly jewelry, and other evening accessories.  But, this cognac braided leather belt happened to be in the dressing room with me so I threw it on.  I liked the unexpected addition of the casual belt so ran with it.  I added orange and wood wedge sandals, gold hoop earrings, and this brown and black snake-print clutch.

Ruffles and Woven Brown Belt, originally uploaded by academichic.

I didn’t purchase any of these items (although I was really tempted by the dress, which is what I would put a $50 gift card towards).  Instead, I took home inspiration for a similar ensemble using pieces in my own wardrobe.  I love the navy ruffle dress I wore for S.’s wedding, but have been looking for ways to keep wearing it.  Thanks to this little experiment, I’m now planning to wear the dress with my cognac belt, brown wedges, and my woven straw clutch, for a more casual spring dinner date. Now, if only the weather would warm back up!

/></a></p> <p><span style=A: Dressing Down the Ruffle Dress, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Academichic Product Review, Color Combinations, Dresses for Evening, Reaching New Heights, Weekend Wear
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S: Pop of Sunshine

February 24th, 2011 § 28 comments §

S: Pop of Sunshine

Before I say something about the outfit, I just wanted to note that I’ve loved the discussion on the background of Banana Republic’s name and the cultural nostalgia imbued in the company’s campaign. Thanks to my co-blogger E, I’ve learned a few new things myself this week. And thanks to those of you who chimed in with comments and further suggested readings on the topic!

In addition to questions regarding our collaboration with a large retailer this week, we’ve received several comments and emails expressing surprise at our decision to take on sponsorship. As sponsorship seems to function in different ways on different blogs, it might help if we clarify what it is that we’re looking to do so that those concerned about the future of academichic may find their questions answered. Readers who have expressed apprehension at the possibility of us changing our styles to reflect a company or sponsoring retailer may rest assured that this is not what we are looking to do. We’re simply looking for sponsorship in the form of a small ad (as seen with the sample on our sidebar) that would allow us to incure a bit of monthly income to offset some of the costs of this blog…our Pro Flickr account, the shipping on the almost weekly giveaways we host, and some of our camera equipment and accessories.

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Category: It's in the Bag, Maternity Style, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual, Weekend Wear
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