Weekend Workshop: From Day to Date

April 30th, 2011 § 6 comments §

When I get the rare chance for a week-night date I take it!  Even if that means busting it home from wherever I am and switching gears from day to date in only a few minutes.  I often find myself sprucing up a day outfit to make it more date-ready so I though I would share a few of my strategies in today’s Weekend Workshop.


Usually it doesn’t take much for me to feel a little more evening appropriate, a little more fun, and very far from campus.  A quick switch of shoes, scarf, and bag and the addition on some jewelry can make all the difference.  During the day, the realities of running around campus and carrying a all my daily needs, mean I often opt for flats or boots and a large tote bag (usually my beloved Trubador tote from Crystalyn Kae):


So, to easily take this outfit up a few notches, I slip on my crinkled patten pumps, add a sparkly necklace, and freshen up my make up.  I also usually spruce up my hair a bit too.


Finally, I add a pashmina and a swap out the large tote for a sparkly clutch, just big enough for the evening essentials, and I’m ready to go!

Sometimes your daytime activity is just too different from your evening plans to make a these simple switches possible but for a quick transition, swapping and or adding accessories can easily take most ensembles from day to date-ready.

The easiest and most common switch for me is  a shoe switch.  While I do have a few pairs of go-to heels (and wedges) that I will wear to campus I’m never one to pick heels for a day or errands or for a non-teaching day on campus.  I think this makes slipping those heels on in the evening have a greater effect on transitioning my mood to date-ready.

Lucky Jeans w/ Boots As Luck Would Have It...

Switching out my scarf is another common swap for me.  This is mostly because I have a large scarf collection and it’s an easy way to change the look of a outfit built of simple basics (my usual). For a transition from babysitting to a casual date, I traded my wellies for olive pumps, buttoned up my cardigan, added big earrings, and swapped out a bulky playful scarf for a dressier (but still bright and fun) silk scarf.

16 November 2010 - Day to Evening 16 November 2010 - Day to Evening
I hope you enjoyed these simple tips for quickly switching up your looks in order to leave your day behind you and enjoy an evening out.  As always, we would love to hear how your tips for transition from day to date too!

Category: Night Without Grading, Weekend Workshops
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29 April 2011 – Happy Last Day of Classes

April 29th, 2011 § 19 comments §

29 April 2011 - Happy Last Day of Classes


  • Sequin sweater: DKNY via Beacon’s Closet
  • Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft Outlet
  • Jeans: Old Navy Maternity
  • Shoes: AM via DSW

End Notes:

First off, my prayers and thoughts are with the thousands of people affected by the tornadoes down South, especially in Alabama and in the Tennessee Valley, near my alma mater. My sisters-in-law are having to cut their semester short because of the damage, but I am so thankful that they are safe.

That in and of itself is a reason to celebrate and added an extra degree of joyful sincerity to my welcoming of my own last day of teaching yesterday. I elected to commemorate the day by dressing down and rocking my disco mama shirt. I think few things say, “Students, I’ve enjoyed teaching you this semester. Best wishes on the final exam,” like a striped sequined shirt. Plus, I was like a mobile dance party any time the sun hit my sparkles just right. It was a big hit with my students…and with little e.

Little E. At the Mama Disco

As S. expressed earlier this week, sometimes it’s hard to remain inspired when it comes to dressing a changing body while also juggling a host of other commitments and expectations. I definitely slipped into style doldrums on occasion during my first pregnancy, and this time around I’m trying to have a really good sense of humor about dressing a body that seems to be different every single day (or at different points during a given day). Case in point, I embraced my inner disco ball, emphasizing the bump with shimmering horizontal stripes and accepting the fact that I would call attention to myself all day. After all, one does not frequently see a glittering ball of a pregnant woman on a university campus.

Do you express a playful or humorous side of yourself on occasion through your wardrobe? How do you do so?

Mirror Ball

29 April 2011 - Happy Last Day of Classes

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please
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28 April 2011

April 28th, 2011 § 17 comments §

28 April 2011


  • Dress – Banana Republic
  • Tank – J Crew
  • Necklace – made from an earring bought in China Town, SF
  • Earrings – Banana Republic
  • Wedges – Kenneth Cole Reaction, via DSW


The sun has finally come out for more than an hour!  I’m celebrating with open toed shoes! It’s still very humid but I’ll take it.

I bought this dress on super sale in the Fall and have worn it several times, but just never managed to capture a picture of it.  It’s a great simple dress in a lovely shade of grey.  Jersey dresses make life easier.  They are comfortable AND polished and they make getting dressed in the morning quick and painless – just add shoes and accessories.  That being said, not all jersey dresses work for me and I won’t wear any jersey dress with out wearing my spanx.  In comment on one of E.’s jersey dress posts reader Holly asked about our use of shapewear when wearing jersey.   I can’t speak for the other chics, but I love my spanx and my knock-off spanx and am not comfortable in a jersey dress without them.  Jersey shows everything!  For this dress I wore my thicker knock-off spanx I purchased at Target a few years ago because I really wanted a smooth line but wasn’t worried about the dress being too tight.    What about you?  What kind of shapewear do you use and with what garments?

Earring turned necklace

For my little pop of color in this neutral palette I wore my neck jade-colored pendant.  I bought this pair of jade earrings from a street vendor just outside China Town in San Francisco.  I loved the shape and color and thought they would be a great addition to my short-hair earring collection.  Unfortunately, they are way too heavy – they stretch my earlobes (which I’m worried could have permanent effects).   So, I just removed the earring hook and strong the pendant on a silver chain…voila I have a new statement necklace!

Ok, one more day of classes!  I can do it!  Hope the semester is wrapping up nicely for all of you!

28 April 2011

Category: Dresses for Day, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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28 April 2011 – Stretched

April 28th, 2011 § 8 comments §



  • Dress: J. Crew (thrifted)
  • Sweater: Zen via Filene’s Basement
  • Belt: Anthropologie
  • Shoes: Tahari via endless.com
  • Necklace: gift

I’ve worn this dress a lot since I bought it at a consignment shop this winter (same place that A. picked up her fab new blouse!), and I’ve consistently struggled with what to do about the ruffle around the neckline.

Ruffles and Pearls

Well, genius that I am, I decided at 7:00am yesterday morning that the back part of the ruffle had got to go, so I took out my trusty scissors and happily took out the stitching holding on the back half. Why I hadn’t done this earlier, I’m not sure. Why I chose to do it at 7:00am in the morning while still a little delirious, I’m also not sure about. Regardless of the mysterious ways my addled morning-brain works, I’m happy with the results.


I’ve also had this sweater for a while and it was just about to go in the “swap-heap” before it was rescued for this outfit. It seemed good in theory to have a lightweight, cashmere, mushroom-brown cropped sweater, but in practice it has proven less practical. I’m not sure that this one outfit will totally redeem it, but it will at least survive until next fall because (drum roll) I’m packing up my winter clothes this weekend! I’m doing this in preparation both for spring (to finally arrive) and for a clothing swap I’m organizing next week. No better time than a season shift to clean out the old closet! A. and E. are hosting a swap soon as well, so keep your eyes out for some upcoming weekend workshops on the topic!

Stretch Stretch Belt

Finally, getting to the title of my post – I know I wear belts a lot, and I completely blame A. for this habit. I told you during belt week that belting is the gateway drug to becoming style obsessed (in a non-self destructive, good kind of way). However, my waist is not always happy being squished, and depending on how much I’ve consumed, my belts can get a little bit tight — until I found this belt on clearance at Anthropologie when A. and I were shopping in Boston. I know that plastic is generally not good for the environment, but stretchy, forgiving materials are very good for my post-winter but pre-spring training body, and this belt is plenty stretchy and very comfy.

Does your body noticeably change over the course of some seasons?

Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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27 on the 27th: preparing for the home stretch

April 27th, 2011 § 26 comments §

27 April 2011


Blazer – JCrew, inherited from mom
Tank – BE Maternity
White top – thrifted
Skirt – Motherhood Maternity, inherited from E.
Wedges – Report
Necklace – thrifted
Tote – Kenneth Cole, via TJMaxx


I’m 27 weeks now, and depending on what source you go with, I’m either in the last week of my second trimester or the first week of my third trimester. Either way, I’m getting into the home stretch of this pregnancy. While I don’t mind being pregnant most of the time, I can’t wait to be done as T. and I are sooo impatient and excited to have our little girl already born and out in the world with us. Every time I see a baby these days, I get more excited about meeting my own.

As for dressing my ’2/3 there’ body … it’s been challenging lately. Mostly because the weather has been so inconsistent and I keep having to revert to colder temperatures clothing, which I’ve either already outgrown or have worn so much that I’m thoroughly bored with it. Thus, I’ve been lacking in inspiration and just admiring how beautiful E. looks and how effortless she makes this whole thing look. I’ve also been incredibly busy with the semester coming to an end, and with a deadline to turn in a completed chapter draft to my dissertation advisor, which has also left me with little interest in anything but looking presentable and getting out the door quickly in the mornings.

27 April 2011

Enter my fail proof go-to outfit… I’ve worn iterations of this combo many times but just haven’t had a chance to record it. The basic premise is pairing a comfortable maternity skirt (this one is inherited from E’s last pregnancy) with some kind of top that still fits me, and then adding the two magic ingredients:  This structured navy JCrew blazer and my most comfortable Report wedges. Both these items add a dash of polish and professionalism to an otherwise casual look of maternity skirt+top combo. It’s not the most exciting outfit in the world, but it gets the job done. Incidentally, when E. wore and documented this skirt during her first pregnancy, she also paired it with a structured navy blazer, although she kept things more casual with colorful flats…

17 March 2009 - Getting Closer 27 April 2011

(Thanks, E, for a great maternity skirt!)

This week is our last week of classes and after Thursday, I will just have final grades to turn in. Although I’ve somewhat lost my mojo in the fashion department, I can look back on this year and feel really good about everything else that got done. I taught my first ever 5 course load, designed my own syllabus for one of those classes, managed to write 1.5 chapters of my dissertation, co-advised a student group, and still found time to cook more, learn to bake bread, ride my bike, take my dog on walks, and spend quality time with my husband. Oh yeah, and I’ve been growing a baby for much of this time. So I’m ok with having been less innovative in the ‘getting dressed’ department. It was just one of those things that became less important to me as these other things took precedence.

As we enter into warmer summer weather and I enter my third trimester, I’m hopeful that some of my fashion mojo might come back for that last stretch of pregnancy. I’m looking forward to having summer dresses, casual sandals, and more time at my disposal. As for the next academic year? I’m taking the Fall semester off to be at home with the baby and then will possibly teach in the Spring if the dissertation fellowship I applied for doesn’t pan out. But either way, it looks like I have a long stretch of working from home while caring for a baby ahead of me. So I’d love to hear it from those other moms out there – how do you manage to get work done while at home with a little one? What are some strategies that have helped you stay productive if you work from home and have kids to take care of? Please share! ~ S.

Category: Maternity Style, Pregnancy in Academia, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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27 April 2011 – Diaphanous

April 27th, 2011 § 11 comments §

27 April 2011 - Diaphanous


  • Jacket: Banana Republic Factory
  • Necklace: Tilly Bloom
  • Tank: Target
  • Belt: from another dress
  • Skirt: thrifted
  • Shoes: Ralph Lauren, via Macy’s

End Notes:

Remember this thrifted midi-length skirt? I am really, truly in love with it now. Really, there’s something about the diaphanous nature of this skirt that makes walking seem inadequate. I wanted to glide, to float, to skip, or to twirl.

27 April 2011 - Diaphanous

But, since today was a teaching day and twirling needed to be tempered with some authority, I grounded the outfit with a structured jacket and architectural platform wedges. Then, as a sly wink to my students, I added in my little Victorian-cat-in-a-dress necklace. It is, after all, the end of the semester.

Midi-length skirts are legendary for being “difficult to wear.” I’m not an expert on different body shapes, and I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of “rules” that limit the kinds of silhouettes I “should” wear. What I do know, though, is that when I wear this skirt it feels like a playful vintage throwback and it has significant mood-lifting capabilities. I can do that.

For those who might be toying with the idea of trying a midi skirt, the prevailing advice relating to wearing midi’s is to pair them with tall shoes. I have to say that, thus far, I agree with this general rule of thumb as it helps prevent visual stumpage (though I can also imagine wearing this skirt with flat boots as a transitional outfit into fall). To this wisdom, I would add that drapier, floatier materials, like this one, also seem like a wise choice, not only because they make for better twirling, but because the lightness of the fabric balances the overall volume at hand. I think that a hem length like this is the kind of thing where you just have to try something on at different lengths and with different shoes, while being willing to surrender the idea that this is going to make you look as tall as you can possibly be.

And, you know, if it doesn’t work out, then you won’t have to avert your eyes when, in ten years, the above and below photos stand a good chance of looking utterly dated and ridiculous. Ah, an ephemeral AND diaphanous skirt. Fitting.

27 April 2011 - Diaphanous

Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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26 April 2011

April 26th, 2011 § 13 comments §

26 April 2011


  • Cardigan – Banana Republic
  • Scarf – H & M
  • Belt – SF Boutique
  • Skirt – Banana Republic
  • Wellies – Banana Republic
  • Earrings – souvenir from Cayman Islands
  • Bangles – gift from S.


Like many places it seems, Academichic Central is in danger of being washed away with all this rain!

Multiple days of heavy rain mean to things: my wellies are getting a workout and my hair is ridiculously curly. I’ve been trying to take advantage of the short breaks in the rain to fit in a run, plant something, or do other outside projects.  I keep reminding myself that all this rain is good for my new plants, my compost, and my lawn.  Plus, I feel really “hard-core” when I start my run in the sun and finish it in a down pour or when I have to slip on my wellies to slop through the muddy lawn to my compost bin.

26 April 2011

But, this means when I finally get cleaned up to head to campus, I don’t want to look like I am wearing my rain gear.  The rain was too persistent (and my trek through campus too long) to wear regular shoes, so I opted for my secret wellies (people often can’t tell they are rubber instead of leather).  Like L., instead of using bright colors, I found other things in my closet to make me think of spring.  I chose this light gauzy scarf and wooden accessories – items that make me think of sunny islands rather than rainy cities.

Come on May flowers!

26 April 2011

Category: Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Skirting the Issue
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Rain, rain, go away…

April 25th, 2011 § 8 comments §



  • Sweater: Cable & Gauge via Marshalls
  • Tank: Banana Republic
  • Belt: BR
  • Skirt: Gap
  • Shoes: Madden Girl via DSW
  • Necklace: gift

Spring is taking its sweet time coming to my neck-of-the-woods, and in the meantime it’s been grey and rainy for what feels like months (real time: probably only a few days out of each week for the last few weeks). I’m not sure about you, but my mood is more than a little influenced by the weather, so all these cloudy, chilly days have not been making me too happy. However, I am happy that April is national poetry month! Today especially, I’m reminded of T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and some of the most famous lines in all of poetry:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

After a rain soaked weekend, I decided to dress like the spring rain and dull roots and don blue and grey. This is basically another version of a monochrome outfit I put together last summer for our Color Wheel Challenge. As for memory and desire, well, the memory of past summers is the only thing making me smile in this picture.

2011 Academichic - Monochrome

The subtle embroidered flowers on the skirt and my flower belt also perked me up a bit, and I wore my green torsade in an effort to convince myself that all the rain really was bringing new, fresh, green things into the world. Usually I try to wear bright colors on days when I’m feeling low or the weather is bad, but today it was wearing little hints of spring that me happier. What are your tricks for changing your mood or combating a dreary climate?

Green torsade

Category: Color Combinations, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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25 April 2011 – New to Me

April 25th, 2011 § 17 comments §

25 April 2011


  • Blouse – Thrifted
  • Skirt – from L.
  • Boots- Steve Madden Intyce
  • Earrings – hand-me-down from sister M.
  • Bracelet – gift from S.’s mom
  • Denim Jacket – Gap
  • Bag – Crystalyn Kae
  • Aviators – Banana Republic


While visiting L. last weekend (so we could watch a friend run the Boston Marathon) I scored several new-to-me items.  L. was in the process of cleaning out her closet to get ready for a clothing swap she is organizing, but she let me have first dibs!  I came home with a few great things including this beautiful black pencil skirt.  I was running out of light when I took these pictures so you can’t see its lovely texture or the great kick pleat in the back.  The skirt was too long on L. but is the perfect length on me.

25 April 2011

This fun patterned blouse is also new-to-me.  I picked it up at a consignment shop in Boston (the one purchase I allowed myself to make, despite the many tempting shops L. and I wondered into).  It’s not at all my typical style: it has a bold (non-stripe) pattern, puffed sleeves, a tie at the neck, little bead buttons on the shoulder, and a bib front.  But, for some reason I was really drawn to it.  I like the funky modern pattern mixed with a more vintage cut.  Both L. and E. agree with me that this has quite an S. vibe

Shirt/Earring Detail

And, as I’m a rediscovering my collection of large earrings, I emphasized the drama of the graphic pattern with these big cut-out black earrings – a hand-me-down from my little sister.  This outfit gave me a much-needed boost of confidence for some not-so-pleasant meetings on campus.

25 April 2011 - Outer wear

I like that the blouse is a bit playful even with its more severe and formal cut.  I emphasized the playful/casual side by choosing boots instead of pumps and my denim jacket instead of a trench.
I have always loved hand-me-downs!  When I was little my mom used to come home with bags full of clothes from a friend at work who had two girls, each just a year older than my older sister and I.  We were always so excited to dig through the clothes and pick out what we wanted.  Their clothes were always much trendier than what my mom bought (which had to be timeless enough to pass through 5 girls).  I didn’t even mind hand-me-downs from my sister since she was older and cooler (plus, as I’m the second oldest, my hand-me-downs only came through one sister).  I still love getting my friends and sister’s unwanted items.
What about you?  Where you a hand-me-down kid?  Are you still?

25 April 2011 - Outer wear

Category: It's in the Bag, Office Hours, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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Our Giveaway Winner Goes on a Shopping Spree

April 23rd, 2011 § 8 comments §

Remember our Karen Kane giveaway from last month? Kate was the lucky winner of the $200 shopping spree at Karen Kane, which included a consultation with a personal stylist in the store.

Kate met with stylist Tracey at a Minneapolis based Karen Kane shop. The two looked for comfortable and easy pieces that Kate could take on her backpacking trip to Europe. Kate was also trying to add more rich and colorful pieces to her closet full of black and neutrals. We were excited to see some shots from Kate’s shopping day at Karen Kane (and thought we’d share them with you too) and to hear that the event was a success. Tracey loved working with Kate and we heard that Kate left thrilled with her new purchases. (And on a side note, doesn’t Kate have the best haircut?) Below are some of the items Kate tried on…

Karen Kane Shopping Spree Karen Kane Shopping Spree

Karen Kane Shopping Spree

Karen Kane Shopping Spree Karen Kane Shopping Spree

Karen Kane Shopping Spree

Thanks, Karen Kane, for hosting this giveaway and congratulations, Kate,  on your win! And we wish you a fabulous time on your trip through Europe this summer!

Stay tuned for more giveaways on academichic in the future!

Category: Spotlight Series, Visiting Lecturer