30 May 2011 – Hot and Cold

May 30th, 2011 § 6 comments §

The weather swings in academichic central lately have been crazy, swinging up from the fifties to the nineties in a matter of a few days. Which means my wardrobe choices have been something like this:

Gred is Great

Just So You Know



  • Cardigan: Target
  • Tank: Old Navy Maternity
  • Skirt: Old Navy Maternity
  • Wedges: Naturalizers, via DSW


  • Hat: Banana Republic
  • Scarf: gift from S.
  • Top: thrifted (and worn backwards)
  • Shorts: consignment shop
  • Shoes: Target, thrifted new
  • Clutch: c/o Crystalyn Kae (don’t forget to check out Crystalyn and other independent boutiques through our boutique consortium!)

End Notes:

S.’s post on sharing — or not sharing — maternity clothes also brought to mind a recent reader question about what to bring to a clothing swap, that is, how do you decide what clothes to give away or exchange?

I love it when I go to a swap and people have brought clothing that is still a) in great condition, b) not obviously dated, and c) is accompanied with the giver’s desire to find someone who really looks GREAT in that article of clothing. When I’ve culled through my closet, either for swaps, for donations, or to simply pass along to a friend, I am pretty ruthless about putting anything that I haven’t worn within the past year into a “consideration” pile. If something is still essentially new — I bought it on clearance and wore it once but then never again — I might first consider putting that up on eBay to make a few bucks. But, most of the time it’s something that either doesn’t fit my body quite right or a different silhouette that I attempted to integrate into my wardrobe but just didn’t work out. In that sense, I guess I tend to think of clothes-swapping as an opportunity to right my past shopping wrongs, rather than simply a means of cleaning out my closet.

I was delighted to see S. wearing that turquoise top in her pictures! That top got the cut from my wardrobe because it was just wishful thinking and a lot of tugging that kept that empire waistline tucked below my bust. Since I knew that my torso length was unlikely to shorten during future pregnancies, it was time to let that top go. Now we both win! The deal is, clothes-swapping can actually be a humbling experience — to go back through your closet and acknowledge that you did not make the wisest choices. But it can also be incredibly fulfilling when you can be happy to see someone else looking like a million bucks in a garment that didn’t really do much for you.

Just So You Know

Ultimately, I think a lot of these questions relate back to the notion of building a versatile, workable wardrobe that does what you want and says what you want it to say. Although these hot and cold outfits are fairly different from each other, I do think that they give some insight into how my style has changed a little since my last pregnancy. I’m a bit more daring with trends — shorter shorts with a draped top, for example — and I’m finally on board with stripes. I’m a hat lady now, too. On the other hand, the brightly colored shoes are still a big part of my repertoire, and I don’t see myself swapping those out any time soon!

How do you decide what ends up in a swapping pile?

Gred is Great

Category: Academichic Sponsor, Beltless, Maternity Style, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue, The Short of It
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30 May 2011- On Sharing (Maternity) Clothes

May 30th, 2011 § 10 comments §

Teal and Orange


Orange necklace- consignment store
Gray tank – BE Maternity
Teal top – inherited from E.
Skinnies – ON Maternity
Flats- Target
Bag – Kenneth Cole Reaction
Bike – 1969 Raleigh Sports


This is what I wore last Friday to meet a friend at a coffee shop for cappuccinos and some German conversation. I inherited this teal pregnancy top from E., who wore it during her first pregnancy. When she went through her pregnancy clothes for this time around, she purged some items that she knew she wouldn’t be wearing again, and I was lucky enough to inherit them. I have two thoughts on sharing and inheriting maternity items:

  • It’s great!
  • It can be a ‘false triumph’

1) The advantages:

It’s great if you have friends who can share their maternity items with you because it saves you from having to spend too much money on items that you’ll wear for a limited amount of time. I compiled the majority of my maternity wardrobe from thrift stores, consignment shops, hand me downs, and only a few actually new items (my maternity jeans and a few ‘workhorse’ layering tanks). It’s also a great thing if you have friends who share your sense of style and aesthetic and who will give you pieces that you would have likely bought for yourself.

2) The disadvantages:

It can trap you into wearing something that doesn’t work for you because it’s free, you feel guilty spending money on clothes that won’t get worn for too long, and you feel bad turning down a thoughtful friend. Don’t fall into this trap! If you’re not as lucky as I am to be inheriting clothing from someone as stylish as E., (or maybe the gift giver is stylish, but it’s just not your style), politely decline. Someone else may really appreciate the offerings, and it doesn’t have to be you. I often hear women say that they don’t care what they wear or how something fits when it comes to maternity clothes because it’s temporary and they already have misgivings about their changing and growing body that less than ideal outfits ranks low on their list. I think that particularly at this time, when you want to feel good about your body, you should ruthlessly cull things that don’t serve that purpose. It’s ok to rotate between the same five dresses or maternity tops if you feel truly great in them when you wear them. When it comes to maternity wardrobes, my take is that less (but great) really is more.

So if version #2 above best describes how you feel about maternity hand me downs, do yourself a favor and just say no.

Have you encountered this dilema with shared clothing or hand me downs in general? What have you done in those situations?

Teal and Orange Plaid flats

And on a non-related side note, I’ve received several questions about cycling while pregnant. I’m always happy to answers those questions directly within the comments on this site, but I also wanted to point out that I write more at length about this topic on my bike (and life) blog, Simply Bike. You can read my latest post on cycling into the third trimester here. ~S.


Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Lab Friendly, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual, Vélocouture
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26 May 2011 – Change of Plans

May 26th, 2011 § 5 comments §

27 May 2011 - Stripe-a-palooza


  • Striped tank: Target
  • Striped cardigan: Target
  • Necklace: Tilly Bloom
  • Jeans: Old Navy Maternity
  • Flats: DSW

End Notes:

After days of warm weather, a band of thunderstorms and tornados swept through our area, leaving much cooler weather (and some hail, but thankfully no significant damage) in its wake. Since I wasn’t expecting this when I chose my list of 15 rotating garments, I made a game-day call, switching in my long striped cardigan. I actually think this could be a better choice anyway, since it adds some length to my otherwise cropped collection of top layers.

I always think of Tania, of What Would a Nerd Wear whenever I wear this red striped shirt. Actually, Tania, I think this could be a totally “you” outfit, if I had a big bun on top of my head (or if you had a bun in the oven). Oh, the punning!

In any case, it was a simple outfit for a quiet day of chapter writing. As I settle into a routine of writing consistently from home and continue to adjust to a changing body, I am growing to appreciate more sincerely the little touches of an outfit that can make me smile when I look up, bleary eyed, from a book. Stripes stretched across a bump makes me smile. A cat wearing a Victorian dress makes me smile. The fact that I’m pattern mixing when no one else — save all of you, I suppose — will see me, makes me smile.

I end with the words of the inimitable Jack Donaghy: “It’s called power clashing. And I do it because I can.”

Double Stripe

27 May 2011 - Stripe-a-palooza

Category: Beltless, Maternity Style, Mixing Patterns, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual
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26 May 2011 – Pumpkin Spice Spring?

May 26th, 2011 § 2 comments §

26 May 2011 - Pumpkin Spice


  • Sweater: Theory via Neiman Marcus Outlet
  • Patterned Tank: Banana Republic
  • White Tank (under): BR
  • Skirt: Gap (swapped with A.)
  • Belt: J. Crew
  • Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti via Filene’s Basement

All of the individual parts of this outfit are certainly springy, but the whole thing together reminds me of a late fall concoction of ripe pumpkins, rich browns, and golden leaves – in short, A. and J.’s favorite drink: a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I wanted to add a spring-y-er element, and I needed something to cover my shoulders, so I followed in A.’s footsteps and opted for my turquoise cardigan.

26 May 2011 - Pumpkin Spice with sweater

A. has done some fantastic pairing with her orange pencil skirt (of which I am insanely jealous!) and while my brown skirt and orange patterned top isn’t making the same splash, it is still a nice pop of complementary colors.

What summer items or combinations have you been sporting that you associate with other seasons?


Category: Color Combinations, Our Best Flatware, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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J’s Graduation

May 25th, 2011 § 13 comments §

J. the Graduate!


On J:

  • Academic Regailia – a Midwest University

On A:

  • Dress worn as skirt – Gap Outlet
  • Navy Ruffle Tank – Gap
  • Belt – Old Nanvy
  • Grey Pumps – Banana Republic Factory Store
  • Earrings – F21


Last week our Midwest University celebrated commencement and I was there to watch our special guest poster J. receive his masters.  J. has been a kind of little brother to me these past two years (he has also been called my adopted son) and so I was quite proud of him.  I’m very happy for his accomplishments but will miss him (and his fabulous style) terribly when he moves away from Academichic Central in a few short weeks.

Commencements can be a funny thing to dress for.  There are proud patents in their “Sunday best” and many students in casual duds.  It’s a formal celebratory event, but it takes place outside in the sun and, in our case, involved quite a bit of walking.  So, I opted  for a casual summer dress and my comfy suede peep-toes.  I dressed things up a bit  by layering a ruffly tank over the built-in tank of the dress. I was dressed up enough for the two ceremonies but cool and comfortable enough to walk across campus a couple times and downtown for a celebratory meal.

J. the Graduate!

J. had quite the snazzy outfit, as is to be expected.  Unfortunately, we didn’t really think to capture what was under his regalia.  He wore the pants and shirt from his Banana Republic interview suit with owl cuff-links and a purple and fuchsia bow tie, which happened to match his celebratory drink perfectly!

Cheers J!

Category: Dresses for Day, Reaching New Heights
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25 May 2011 – Blocked

May 25th, 2011 § 6 comments §



  • Dress: Ann Taylor Loft, lengthened by me
  • Obi belt: from another dress
  • Patterned wedges: Kenneth Cole, via DSW
  • Necklace: Figs and Ginger, Mothers Day gift

End Notes:

An extra look from the weekend, making a delayed appearance…

The last time I blogged this dress, it was a solid — and extremely comfortable — gray. Since then, I decided that I would get more wear out of it if I lengthened it a tad to make it more amenable to biking and sitting on the floor with my toddler. I had another jersey dress in my donate pile that thankfully had a similar skirt fullness, so I just cut off a good wide band from the purple dress and stitched it on to the bottom of my gray dress. As an added bonus, I get to claim that I’m participating in the world of color blocking.

Obi detail

And here is my super secret tip for making all jersey outfits feel more polished: accessorize or layer with a non-jersey fabric. Here, a raw silk obi helps elevate an otherwise shapeless and relatively plain dress. But adding a silk or woven cotton scarf, throwing on a structured jacket, or topping everything off with a woven vest could have a similar effect. I am all for as much jersey as possible, but sometimes, when I need that extra bit of put-togetherness, a non-jersey accessory offers a simple solution without compromising comfort. How do you dress up your jersey?



Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual
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24 May 2011

May 24th, 2011 § 21 comments §

24 May 2011 - Plaid side


  • Dress: Moulinette Soeurs via Anthropologie
  • Sweater: Gap outlet
  • Belt: Old Navy outlet
  • Camisole (under): Banana Republic outlet
  • Shoes: BR

I think S. brings up a great question: How do you best dress with stress? I had wondered at the beginning of this school year if during 9 months of dressing for classes 6 days a week there would come a point at which I absolutely could not stand to get dressed in the morning. For me getting dressed is fun. Obviously I enjoy it or else I wouldn’t bother playing around with what I wear, nor would I take the time to blog about it. Certainly in these last 9 months there have been days, or weeks even, when looking at my closet has inspired more dread than pleasure, but for the most part I’ve enjoyed starting my day playing “dress-up.” As I’ve said before, I use clothes to get me revved up, keep me motivated, and put on a brave front when I’m not feeling so tough inside.

24 May 2011 - Plaid back

However, in these last few weeks of school, as the weather has not warmed and the rain keeps falling, I have hit my wall. I have been going back to old, faithful staples that I’ve been wearing since I was in high school: corduroys and Birkenstocks. I haven’t blogged these outfits both because I feel “frumpy” in them and because it’s definitely not corduroy season in most of the country, so who cares how I styled a pair of cords in mid-May when really you want to know how to wear sundresses and straw hats?

24 May 2011 - Plaid

Anyway, today I was actually feeling motivated enough to pull on a dress, a belt, and some cute flats. Pretty good considering there is a 70% chance of rain. Oh well, it’s time for me to bundle up for another afternoon of coaching in the drizzle. I probably will change out of these super comfy flats in favor of some waterproof sneakers, but who wants to see pictures of those?

- L.

Olive Banana Republic Flats

Category: Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Teaching Outfits
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24 May 2011 – Flower Child

May 24th, 2011 § 13 comments §

24 May 2011 - Flower Child


Dress – thrifted
Yellow bag – vintage Sears, $1 garage sale find
Yellow flats – Target last summer
Heart pendant – gift from husband
Bike (below) – 1969 Raleigh Sports


After a weekend spent mostly in shorts and a tank, it was glorious to see the sun come out, to don a summer dress, and to bike to the library yesterday. Over the weekend, my in-laws were in town to help celebrate my husband’s birthday and to help us paint and get the baby room ready. It was so much fun and I’m getting increasingly excited for the arrival of our daughter (I’m now 31 weeks), and am just trying to squeeze as much out for my dissertation as possible before July.

Blue and Yellow

As I noted the last time I wrote, for me being productive and getting a lot of writing and nesting done means not having to get dressed if I don’t feel like it. It means being able to spend half the day in sweats or days in a row wearing iterations of the same tank + shorts combo. But on the occasion that I do want to look a little more presentable, my favorite way to do so quickly is by throwing on a sundress and some flats and leaving it at that. Not only are sundresses super comfortable while still looking nice, they’re also very welcoming of a bourgeoning baby belly. I already had a good collection of empire waist sundresses before I got pregnant and I’ve added a couple more as I’ve come across them at the thrift store these past few months, this blue floral number being one of them.

24 May 2011 - Flower Child
Bike Commute

I’ve always had hippie-ish tendencies when getting dressed but not having to teach and being pregnant has really brought those out in me: just give me a loose floral dress, some Birkenstocks, and let me braid my hair, and I’m a happy camper.

Meanwhile, I so admire how put together and polished E. continues to look throughout her pregnancy. It just goes to show how different all of our styles are here on the site. The same can be said about our approach to getting dressed; while E. thrives under the structure of wardrobe challenges, such as her current 15-for-15, I thrive most when I’m given free reign and can make decisions on the go. Having a wardrobe challenge in addition to being busy sounds really stressful to me, but to E, it represents a fruitful downsizing of options that allows her to thrive under pressure.

What’s your personal stress/style preference? Do you like self-imposed wardrobe challenges or do they feel overwhelming to you? When tackling a multitude of projects, do you prefer to let your fashion choices fall by the wayside or is that when it seems althemore important to look polished in order to feel organized and on top of things? Do share your take on this!


Category: Beltless, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pregnancy in Academia, Research Casual, Vélocouture
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23 May 2011 – Take Two

May 23rd, 2011 § 7 comments §

23 May 2011 - Grape


  • Olive top: thrifted
  • Feather necklace: Tilly Bloom
  • Belt: swapped
  • Skirt: thrifted dress, cut into a skirt
  • Flats: Target, thrifted new

End Notes:

(It’s day 2 of my 15 for at least 15 mini challenge.)

It’s rare that “what the models are wearing” and “what the pregnant work-from-home mom is wearing” ever coincides. And yet, as I continue to pursue my new fascination with midi-length skirts, I find out that Selita Ebanks and I were basically wardrobe twins in high-waisted, full knee-length skirts and drapey tops. Except, of course, I’m wearing mostly thrifted jersey pieces and flats and she is…not.

23 May 2011 - Grape

Fun fact. In the winter of 1970, Paris fashion shows emphasized midi-skirt lengths as a direct and dramatic move away from the mini skirt that had dominated the 1960s. This did not go over so well. In fact, Life Magazine published a cover story bemoaning the loss of youthfulness and sexual allure symbolized by the mini. Nicola White, in her book The Fashion Business: Theory, Practice, and Image, suggests that many American women saw the midi skirt as a symbol of fashion’s excesses and as a result largely disregarded Paris’s style decree. Other women the longer skirt decree — and its associated connotations as “more feminine,” “conservative,” or “demure,” — as an attempt to tamp down on the sexual freedom women were claiming at that time. Do you think that these associations still remain strong today? And how much does context (both of where we see it and whose body it’s on) play into that interpretation?

Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits, Theoretical
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E.’s 15 for at Least 15: The List

May 22nd, 2011 § 9 comments §

Just 15 garments? They go faster than you think…

Tops: (5)

4 May 2011 - Dear Posh Spice 20 May 2011 - One of Fifteen (or so) 27 April 2011 - Diaphanous

  • Olive t-shirt (thrifted)
  • White button-down tunic (thrifted)
  • Coral tank (Target)
  • Gray tank (Old Navy Maternity)
  • Striped tank (Target)

6 July 2009 10 March 2011 - Where's Waldo or, Geek Chic

Pants and Shorts: (2)

Work With What You've Got

  • Straight leg jeans (Old Navy Maternity)
  • Navy shorts (consignment store)

Skirts: (3)

13 May 2011 - Book By Its Cover 14 May 2009 14 September 2009 - Dressing Up Jersey

  • Purple jersey skirt (thrifted as a dress)
  • Denim pencil skirt (Old Navy Maternity)
  • Navy jersey skirt (Old Navy)

Dresses: (2)

6 July 2010

  • Gray jersey dress (Ann Taylor Loft)
  • To-be-determined…

Toppers: (3)

Soft with Structure 11 May 2011 - Almost Not Quite 23 March 2009 - With Jacket

  • Mustard cropped cardigan (Target)
  • Coral cropped cardigan (Banana Republic Factory)
  • Cropped trench (Forever 21)

And we’re off…

Category: Wardrobe Challenge
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