A.’s Top Ten

July 29th, 2011 § 36 comments §

I had planned on doing an all-time best of post –-my top 10 looks from our three years of blogging.  See, I wanted to point back to the time I wore A2’s jeans and called them “girlfriend” jeans –both because it was one of the first times I took (what felt like) a real risk with my outfit and because I still think I’m pretty clever for my alternative to “boyfriend jeans.”

I wanted to remind you of my J-Crew inspired flower belt and my green dress worn with a tank over it – still two of my all time favorite outfits. I wanted to show off the many ways I wore my orange pencil skirt and maybe review my favorite analogous color combinations.  I wanted to look back at my foray into pattern mixing and my eventual full embrace of it.

I wanted to reminisce about S.’s wedding and then my own.

I wanted to show you first days of school and coffee shop favorites.  But, there was just too much!  I got overwhelmed and like E. and S., I decided I better stick to this last year of blogging instead (but see how I cheated there just a little bit?). For more reminiscing, you can see my top ten from year one and year two.

So, without further ado my top ten form year three:

I started the year with long hair and bright colors in a drab winter.  While I will always be a neutrals girl (especially mixed neutrals), I love looking back and seeing how many bright colors have worked their way into my daily wardrobe.  My timid love of color is thanks to our Fashion 101s on the color wheel and to the inspiration from my far more colorful co-bloggers, particularly the color master, E.

I’ve noticed that many of my favorite looks from this year are just new takes on much loved outfits from years past – funny how it looks so different with the short hair:

Earlier this year, I took a month off from blogging and returned with a new haircut.  It was so wonderful to reveal this physical change to all of you – your compliments and encouragement made me feel like cutting my hair was the best thing I’ve ever done.  While blogging can be hard on the self-esteem, it can also provide an incredible boost – so often your comments have made me feel beautiful and have empowered me to take style risks like cutting my hair and wearing 4-inch platform wedges despite the fact that they make me 6 feet tall.

Once again this year I renewed my love of stripes (particularly the blue and white stripes) and so it’s not surprising to me that half of my top ten outfits prominently feature stripes.  I like that each of my blue and white striped outfits is fairly different.  In one I bore my long pasty white legs in short shorts.  In another I emphasized my broad shoulders and big hips in a classic silhouette. In the last, I wore “a look” I have long appreciated on other people but believed could never look good on me. I think I did take more risks (and more successful risks, at that) this year while remaining true to what makes me feel comfortable – I’m willing to put something on that emphasizes a not-so-conventionally beautiful aspect f my body, or tryout a silhouette that traditional fashion advice would tell me to steer clear of, but I’m also willing to keep wearing the things that are not on trend but make me feel like me.

These last two picks are less about the outfits and more about the things in my life they represent and the discussion the posts generated:

I wore this black jersey dress and knotted cardigan the first time I bike-commuted to school.  Part of taking my break from bloging earlier this year and part of why it’s important for me to leave academichic now is that I’ve made a commitment to take care of myself, and to find balance in my life before I turn 30 (just a couple months away). I’m making more time for things that make me happy while simultaneously starting a big push to the finish line of my degree. Among the many things I have taken more time for is exercise and I started biking.

The purple and black outfit I wore to receive an award for my service and leadership in the LGBT community.  In this post I also wrote about issues of passing and the symbolism of my wedding band.  The posts in which I discussed my queer identity have been some of the most powerful for me.  I was a bit nervous (sadly!) to post about my wedding, but while I did get a few negative reactions, I mostly received an outpouring of love and support.   Similarly, my “coming-out” post will remain one of my favorites, because it stands as a reminder that what I do speaks volumes to others.

So, thanks you! Thank you for all of your thoughtful comments – especially the ones that helped me to love all of my body, the ones that challenged my thinking, and the ones that supported my work with LGBT students.

Thank you for letting me share with you the minutia of my daily life as well as the great milestones.

In the time since we started blogging, I have gotten married, taken and defended my comprehensive exams, written and defended my dissertation proposal, submitted the first chapter of my dissertation, learned to garden, taken up biking and sewing, run two marathons, built a patio, and made many incredible friends.  I’m now just a year away from finishing my degree and hopefully starting a new job, I’m making plans to start a family, and am about to turn 30. I promise to check in occasionally as I hit some of these new milestones – defend my dissertation, graduate, get a job, etc.

Like my co-bloggers have already expressed, I will miss the creative and critical outlet this blog has provided and I will miss the community of smart fashionable women it has introduced me to.

More than anything I will miss my collaboration with you, E. S. and L.  I will miss “seeing” your beautiful faces on a regular basis. Thank you for sharing in such an incredible journey, building this site from a half-cocked idea discussed over coffee years ago into something I will long be proud of.


Blue and White and Blue

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L.’s Farewell Top 10

July 28th, 2011 § 31 comments §

I have been blogging with academichic for just over one year (my anniversary was on July 25th), and of the chics you all have definitely seen and heard the least from me. So here is a little bit of my story – and I warn you, this is a pretty rambly way of reviewing my Top 10 from the last 6 months and saying goodbye). As I’ve said many times before, I was always impressed and inspired seeing what A. and E. wore to school, and after they told me about the blog I quickly read every previous post and chuckled to myself as I saw outfits that I’d actually seen them wearing and had thought at the time were something I’d like to try. I felt like a weird stalker when I’d mention something that they’d worn ages ago, but since reading blogs myself I’ve come to realize that is what happens – you begin to form attachments to people and feel like you know them (or at least the entire contents of their closets!). I was so excited and SO flattered when E., A., and S. proposed that I join the site last summer, and honestly felt like I was some “super fan” who had won a contest to be the next chic. I secretly congratulated myself on reaching their echelon of style. I felt like I’d arrived. Things like pattern mixing, layering, and working new trends in to my personal style (like my oxfords) are all things I learned from reading this blog myself.

During 2010 my body also went through some serious changes due to health reasons and because of my running. I went from a steady weight of 135lbs and size 6 to 120lbs and size 2. I’m a petite 5’3″ so I was still in a normal range, but the new slim body shape meant that my clothes were literally falling off me. I hinted at this in a Dress Your Best post, but why is it that I still feel bad telling you that I lost weight? We often find it much easier to talk about gaining weight, whether in pregnancy or otherwise, but it’s not as openly spoken of when it’s the other way. I’d feel like a jerk if I said to my friend, “my clothes are ALL too big”, but that was exactly the predicament I was in – and it was just as frustrating as when you gain a few pounds and suddenly things don’t fit you as well. I had always dressed nicely, but I’d never so totally and deliberately overhauled my wardrobe. Necessity coupled with a new interest in style meant that I was ready to shed some old clothes and get some new duds (like my fireworks skirt). I admit that I did purchase a lot of new items for myself – and obviously feel guilty admitting my personal consumption. I always shopped the sale and clearance racks (that’s how I scored my first piece of “mustard” colored clothing in honor of E.), but I certainly SHOPPED. I am fortunate in that I had the money to spend as I pleased, and I have since this binge definitely slowed down my purchasing and turned more and more to thrifted items, clothing swaps, and consignment stores (like my grey dress). For the staples though, especially fitted items – pencil skirts, sheath dresses, a cropped blazer, black dress slacks – I bought new.

Many of you are bloggers yourselves or have asked us questions about blogging. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to! I didn’t start reading any blogs until A. confessed to me about academichic, and even then I didn’t start regularly reading anyone’s blog until last fall. (Aside: That’s another thing people have asked us to discuss. What blogs to do we read? I can tell you that the ones I have bookmarked are What Would A Nerd Wear, The Other Emily, Narrowly Tailored, Already Pretty, Hello, Monkeyface!, and Between Laundry Days. There are many more sites that I’ve read casually and that do a very good job, but those are my regulars and the people I feel weirdly like I know even though I’ve never spoken a word to them.) I thought how easy it would be to take pictures because I’d be dressing up 6-days a week for my new job teaching in a boarding school. Wrong. Turns out taking pictures without anyone seeing you when you live at the place where you work is nearly impossible unless you wake up extremely early. So that’s what I did. I’m not a style blogger who also has an interest in photography, so my pictures have never been top quality. Nor have I ever really bothered doing much with my hair or putting on makeup, and blogging didn’t really change that much – although a little lip gloss, mascara, and powder can do wonders on camera. People have asked if our style will change once we’re not blogging anymore, and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll dress up quite to the degree that I did this year. I love looking good and dressing well, but for those mornings when I’m running late I’m going to spend more time drinking my coffee and less time throwing outfits on the floor of my bedroom. I always felt a little guilty, like I was cheating, on the days when I’d just toss on black pants and a top or a simple dress (like my grey cashmere, plaid shirt dress or black wrap dress) – but those days are what happens in real life and sometimes less is more.

I’m going to be really open with you – after the outcry over my post in which I wrote that girls at my school were “parading their bodies around for all to see” I learned that I really needed to watch what I wrote. I am very conscious in my “real” life not to say offensive things, to talk to others when they do, and to be sensitive to those around me. However, I didn’t think through the ramifications of that phrase and the judgements that it implied, and it was an eye opening experience to hear from so many people – truthfully, I was once-bitten-twice-shy for the rest of my blogging life. I stuck mostly to posting about how my outfits came together, what elements I liked, what didn’t work, and how I felt wearing each look. And I’m not gonna lie, I have a chip on my shoulder about my limited range of contributions and appreciate the complex topics about which S., E., and A. write so eloquently – and here’s where I start to tear up! – You all have been more influential in my life than you can possibly know, and being a part of this project with you has been an honor and a joy. And to YOU all, I thank you for calling me out, challenging me, and teaching in all your different comments as well as praising, commiserating, and making suggestions. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for asking questions. Thank you for posing ideas and informing us of your own style triumphs. Knowing that there are so many bright people on the other end reading this blog has made me a much more thoughtful person, both in real life and online.

Eye on the Prize

I think it’s funny that like E. one of my favorite posts has nothing to do with outfit and everything to do with how I present myself (if that makes any sense). I’m talking about my Dress Your Best post on my legs – and the running outfit I shared with you all. Even with all the hours spent dressing up, I still feel more like ‘myself’, more confident, and more attractive when I’m in my sweaty work-out clothes. While I’ll never be wearing those to class, I have in the process of changing my style and writing this blog discovered a whole lot of clothes that make me feel equally confident, strong, and most of all, happy.

L. (because there was already an S.!)


Category: Uncategorized
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To Chop or Not to Chop

July 28th, 2011 § 8 comments §

Plaid Skirt made from Dress



  • Skirt – chopped by me from thirfted dress
  • Blouse – Gap
  • Shoes – Kenneth Cole Reaction


  • Skirt – swapped dress chopped by me
  • Tank – J Crew
  • Belt – Old Navy
  • Necklace – gift from A2
  • Shoes – Banana Republic


I hope you don’t mind, but I decided to squeeze in one more post before my Top Ten/Goodbye post.  I wanted to fit this in because it answered some of the questions you all asked and because I’m kind of proud of my very minimal (but improving) DIY clothing skills (DIY house skills are another story).

As many of you noticed, I have chopped many a dresses into skirts. I’ve also worn a few dresses as skirts by layering a top over them.  So, how do I decided to chop something vs. leave it as a dress but layer over it?  Well I won’t chop it if I can see myself wearing it as a dress, even if that means always with a cardigan over it.  If the proportions of the garment as a dress work for me, I leave it as a dress.  Most of the dresses I have chopped into skirts had proportions that just didn’t work right for me. In the case of my full blue skirt and my white and black floral skirt, as dresses they had empire waists and were a little too short on me.  Chopping off the tops allowed me to lower the waist line and the hemline with minimal effort. In the case of my powder-blue midi skirt, it was an over-all unflattering fit with a smocked top and a skinny halter top, so I just chopped the very top off and use the smocking as anew fold-over waist band.  For the skirt above, I thrifted the dress very cheaply and while I thought it would work as a dress, I didn’t love the silhouette one I wore it out. So, I chopped the top off and left the elastic waist which now sits a bit lower (at my natural waist). 

Black dress chopped to skirt

With each of these, I simply took out a pair of scissors and chopped just above the original waist line.  The seem or elastic has then served as my we waist line, which sits where I want it to.  I left the tops unsewn – in part because I knew I would always wear a belt with the and in part because I had no idea how to even start finishing off the edges.I think this solution is a perfect one, and I’ll likely keep chopping old dresses or newly thrifted ones to make them work better in my wardrobe.

Plaid Skirt made from Dress

However, simply chopping and belting won’t work for every garment, so it was time to give the sewing machine a whirl!

Black dress chopped to skirt

I received  sewing machine for Christmas this past year (very much inspired by E. and all the other crafty blogers out there).  E. generously gave me a tutorial and even started me on my own tank-dress with pockets.  But then life got busy and we haven’t finished our lessons or my tank-dress. So, I decided I needed to just experimiment.  With the help of A2 I’ve started playing around and even managed to make baby e. (E.’s son) and little gift for his birthday. It was time to try the oh so intimidating clothing sew!  I grabbed a black sun dress from a clothing swap even though it was about 3 sizes too big for me not a style I could see myself wearing – it had potential.  This free item that I definitely wasn’t wearing as is, seemed like the perfect candidate for an experiment. I decided to turn it into a full black skirt.  I started by chopping off the top, but that left me with a skirt that was very a-line, didn’t fit my waist, and was several inches too long.  It had to be sewn!  So, I pulled out my limited sewing supplies (notice I used a permenent marker instead of a fabric pen/chalk) and measured an existing full skirt to figure out my length.  Since the bottom had a nice hem on it and the top needed to be changed in some way anyway, I took the length off by chopping more from the top.  This of course left me with an even bigger waist.
tank + chopped dresssupplies

But, this also meant I could make the skirt fuller.  So, I turned to E.’s tank-dress tutorial again and loosely followed her directions for gathering the skir and attaching a tank to it. Since I didn’t want this to be a a tank dress, I used an old tank that I don’t wear and choped it’s bottom off.  I used the bottom hem of the tank as the top of my new stretchy waistband

new waist band

Not the best sewing job, but good practice.  And, let’s be honest, I’m still always going to wear a belt with it!

I hope this has encouraged you to take a few risks and pull out you scissors one in awhile when that dress just isn’t working anymore!


Black dress chopped to skirt

Category: Independent Study (DIY), Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits, Weekend Wear
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Carmen: Karina Dress Review

July 27th, 2011 § 6 comments §

L.'s Karina Dress Review


  • Dress: c/o Karina
  • Shoes: Tahari via DSW

Like A., I was asked to review one of the dresses generously offered to us by the Brooklyn based designer Karina Cousineau from her eponymous dress line, Karina. I jumped at the chance after looking through their selection of high quality, easy-to-maintain, and totally flattering dresses for women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Something that I thought was really cool about this company is that these dresses fit such a variety of women AND they make small issues of each style in each color or print so that you really feel like you have a unique piece.

L.'s Karina Dress Review - closeup

Once we said we’d like to review something, we each answered the following questions and they chose the dress for us:

    1. What is your body type? — Petite (5’3″), curvy (??)
    2. What are your preferred dress styles? — Carmen, Megan, or Audrey
    3. What are your general preferences for color and/or pattern? — Blues, greens, and purples are my favorite colors, and I prefer geometric patterns.

So from that info they decided to send me their Carmen dress in a plum color with a coral, black, cream, and white print. They do say not to get too attached to a certain color or print since they use limited fabrics and change often!

L.'s Karina Dress Review - neckline

What attracted me especially to the Carmen was the rounded neckline, cap sleeves, and high waistband, but what kept me twirling around for several minutes was the fantastically fluttery skirt that comes to a perfect knee length. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I felt very good in this dress – comfortable, stylish, a little sexy (I love the neckline!), and totally at ease because it’s not clingy or short (which is incredibly hard to find these days!). I seriously wish I could get this in several colors, but like one commenter noted, I’ll have to save up since these are at the higher end of my price range.

L.'s Karina Dress Review - swish L.'s Karina Dress Review - swish

I second A. in her apprehension about the fabric at first, but the “imported microfiber blend with 4-way stretch” is very flattering and falls nicely. I wore a slip under my dress, but the fabric isn’t see-through, I just like slips. I’d say that this dress is a very good investment for the long-term, and I would definitely consider getting one of the other styles I liked as well, but probably in a solid color so that I could wear it more often. You can find Karina dresses online, on Facebook, and in boutiques around the country.

Happy twirling!

Category: Academichic Product Review, Dresses for Day

E.’s Top Ten, Year Three

July 27th, 2011 § 66 comments §

I hate writing conclusions. When I was writing my MA thesis I panicked over my conclusion for a couple of weeks and then purposefully went to bed stressing out about it in the hope that my subconscious could work through it for me. (It did, actually, and I woke up and scribbled down my dream conclusion the next morning.) I’ve yet to have a similar fit of inspiration for writing out my concluding thoughts for a project that has been so meaningful and serves as a reminder of how much I — and my life — has changed over the past two and a half years. (In fact, if you want to see how my style has evolved through this blog, you can check out my Top Ten from Year One and my Top Ten from Year Two.)

I’ve transitioned from full-time grad student to full-time grad student and full-time mom. When we started this blog I was just barely into my second trimester of pregnancy with baby e. Now he’s an active, inquisitive toddler who can say “dissertation.” I’ve transitioned from coursework to being ABD (that’s “all but dissertation” for those of you with normal jobs). I tackled my comprehensive exams, wrote and defended a dissertation prospectus, and even turned in my first chapter draft. I’ve also transitioned from someone who worried quite a bit about how others in academia would perceive me to being someone who is much more confident in her own mind, her academic project, and her personal commitments. And, finally, I’m about to transition from being a mother of one to a mother of two. (And yes, I’ll come back to let you know that baby #2 has arrived.)

Perhaps this increased confidence can be seen in the outfits that have been my favorites from the past year. Half of my top ten are unapologetically bold in their color combinations. Gold and peacock; almost neon coral and purple; hot pink, mustard, and purple; magenta and coral. My personality is not naturally outgoing, bubbly, or bright, and wearing these colors does not make me confident. But they do serve to remind me that I can be mighty, not meek.

I think I also took more risks this year, breaking “rules” that had somehow embedded themselves in my psyche. Like…no flowers before February. Or horizontal stripes make you look wider. Or horizontal and vertical stripes should not be worn simultaneously. I love these outfits not only for their aesthetics, but because they represent me pushing myself to try new things…and then wear it in public.

I echo much of what S. wrote: some days this was a repository for thoughts and discussions that would have had few other outlets. On other days, it was just about wearing something that made me smile. And some days it was about trying out a trend, like tying a t-shirt into a knot or wearing a midi-length skirt. I actually have deep misgivings about experimenting with fashion trends…I worry that it breeds even more consumerist tendencies or that it makes me seem frivolous or too focused on fleeting ephemera rather than Very Important Academic Things. And while those concerns might be valid on some level, sometimes, for me, trying a trend — particularly when it just involves tweaking something I already own or thrifting a $3 skirt — is a playful gesture that can be healthy and even a tiny bit subversive in my Very Intellectual Life. Bet you didn’t know there was so much riding on that midi skirt, huh?

My final choice is less about the outfit itself and more about the motivation behind it and the discussion it prompted. Calling attention to something I’m highly self-conscious about — my asymmetrical face — opened up quite a floodgate of responses from you all. And I loved it. I loved how being honest with you about my insecurities could prompt some of you to reconsider your own perceived flaws. I loved stories of other asymmetrical faces, crooked fingers, bent noses, and two-tone eyes. Letting you see my weakness was, in the end, an incredibly empowering thing. It’s moments like those, when theory, practice, and faith intersect in meaningful ways, that have meant the most to me on this blog.

So thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for being patient with how long it takes us to answer questions sometimes. Thank you for rejoicing with me in big life milestones, both personal and professional. Thank you for letting us know that you’ve tried out a new color combination for the first time or bought your first pair of brightly colored shoes or mixed patterns or developed a passion for belting. Thank you for being willing to engage in hard questions and in complicated issues.

And thank you, especially, to A., S., and L. for their friendship and collaboration over the past few years. The ability to work with you and to make something we’re proud of, together, has been a source of great joy.

- E.

P.S. For those who’ve asked, here’s what my wedding dress looked like. And yes, I look “so young” because this was, in fact, six and a half years ago.

P.P.S. My name is Elissa.

Category: Resources
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Resource File: Our Favorite DIYs and Weekend Workshops

July 27th, 2011 § 3 comments §

One of the great things about the internet and the blossoming of the blogosphere is the amount of information and inspiration that is now at our fingertips. We, in our little corner of the web, have over the years hopefully sparked some ideas for your own do-it-yourself projects. None of us are expert sewers or crafters, but we’ve still dabbled in creating or reimagining garments, crafting storage solutions, and making a few extra pretty things along the way. Beyond concrete DIY projects, we’ve also tried to be self-conscious about showing you our thought processes for more amorphous projects like “What do you pack for a research year abroad?” or “What do you wear to an academic conference?” Here we’ve compiled some of our personal favorites and hope you still find them as useful as we do!

Do It Yourself

19 April 2010 - A Pocket Full of Allergy Meds 9 May 2009 - Evening Shower

E. shows you how she made a tank dress — with pockets! and turns a maxi halter dress into a knee-length dress with draped kimono sleeves

Paper bag waist Target dress before

E.’s guide to re-fashioning existing garments

DIY Embellished Ts

DIY: cardigan embellished with Amy Butler fabric DIY Cardigan

E. embellishes a cardigan with applique and A. sews on some rosettes for a change

30 March 2011 - Maternity top 'After' picture 3 September 2009 - Independent Study

S. elasticizes the bottom of a shirt for maternity wear and E. shows us how to “skinny” your jeans

Home-made Bouquet
DIY: The Wedding Collection

DIY Jewelry Hanger - detail Paper Flowers

How to make a simple jewelry hanger and How to make tissue paper flowers

Weekend Workshops

How to re-purpose your jewelry

On the Road Again: Packing for Anything

Arty Top + Skinny Jeans24 April 2009 - Evening

Finding Wardrobe Inspiration

Skirts Dresses Sweaters and Cardis Tops Accessories

Capsule Wardrobe Roundup

Click here for a full listing of our How Tos and here for additional DIYs and look here for more Weekend Workshops!

Category: Independent Study (DIY), Resources, Taking Notes, Weekend Workshops

Resource File: Our Favorite Theoretical Excursions

July 26th, 2011 § 7 comments §


On Fashion and the Academy:

A roundtable discussion on style and academe

Maintaining a blog as a grad student

Skinny Pants or Not: What Does A Teacher Wear?

On Fashion and History:

Post-colonialism and ‘safari’ style

On Belting and Corseting

On Gender, Sexuality, and Self-Fashioning:

On subversion and self-disclosure

Dressing as daily drag

J. Crew and gender bending outcries

Gendering with Jewelry

Jewelry as Sign

On Ethnicity and Self-Fashioning:

Being unrecognizably mixed-race

Dressing for cultural inclusion

Bodies and Perceived Ethnicity

Appropriate vs. Appropriation?

Pregnancy, Parenting and the Academy:

Pregnancy in Academia

The (public) pregnant body

Sartorial Semantics: Fashion and Words

Discussing “feminine” vs. “masculine” clothing part 1

“Feminine” vs. “masculine” clothing part 2

Slogan Ts

And finally, our general bibliography on fashion history and clothing as discourse.

Category: Resources, Theoretical

E.’s Principles For Maternity and Nursing Wear

July 26th, 2011 § 9 comments §

Given how differently women’s bodies experience pregnancy, post-partum, and nursing, I’m always a little leery of offering lists of “must-haves” for any of these particular wardrobe situations. When I have pared down my wardrobe to essentials, I’ve tried to emphasize how these are my essentials, an extension of my personal style, tweaked for the circumstances at hand. I readily admit that a pair of orange pumps might not be on everyone’s “must have” list. (But wouldn’t it be fun if it was?)

That said, a lot of you have asked for tips on dressing through pregnancy and nursing. I would like to recap a few principles, if you will, that have guided me in building my own wardrobe for those particular demands. How you translate them is entirely up to you…


E.’s Maternity Wardrobe Principles:


1. Be yourself. Find items that make you feel like you

6 July 2009

This was perhaps my primary guiding principle for my first pregnancy. I still love the outfit above because it just feels like “me.” Bright color combinations, interesting but not breakable jewelry, pop-of-color shoes…these are all things I love when I’m not pregnant, too. Together, they let me feel like “me,” even though I’m so-and-so-many pounds heavier, a bit puffier, and noticeably slower.

2. Challenge yourself. Experiment with items that play with the particularity of your pregnant shape

22 April 2011 - Pop

24 June 2011

This might sound like the exact opposite advice of the first point, but stick with me here. As important as it is to perpetuate aspects of your signature style through the pregnancy — whether in color mixing, pattern, jewelry, or overall “feel” — I’ve realized this time around that it’s also important to embrace your changing body by trying out silhouettes and patterns that you might have passed by in your pre-pregnancy days. I will probably not be wearing a form-fitting, wide horizontal striped dress post-pregnancy. But for this final trimester I’ve reveled in how particular and perfect this dress is for my body right now.

3. Do it yourself. Learn when to buy “maternity”…and when not to

9 May 2009 - Evening Shower

This is also related to the first two points. Sometimes maternity clothing retailers are simply not going to make the things that you want to wear. I wanted bright skirts this summer and all Gap maternity gave me was some putty colored neutrals. A thrifted peach midi-skirt and a dress cut into a skirt were both improvised measures. Or, during my first pregnancy, I refashioned a maxi dress into a drapey, punchy knee-length number because I wanted something bold and a wee bit sexy to wear.

20 April 2009

On the other hand, I said “yes” to maternity pants and bottoms. I carry very low when pregnant, and while some of my friends can wear their regular pants throughout the pregnancy using the rubber band through the button hole trick, my pants are the first things to stop fitting. Sometimes there’s this weird pressure to proclaim, “I did it all without buying maternity clothes!” as if it’s a sign of just how creative and adaptable you are. But I’m just letting you know, I bought maternity pants. I bought maternity shorts. And I’m really, really glad that I did.

4. Laugh at yourself. Sometimes it helps to have a little bit of a sense of humor.

29 April 2011 - Happy Last Day of Classes

Hey there, inner disco ball.


E.’s Nursing Wardrobe Principles:

If you decide to breastfeed after the baby arrives, your wardrobe will again have to meet some extraordinary demands. How do you adequately cover an expanded bust while still, well, being able to easily uncover said bust when necessary? Frankly, a lot of this depends on the particulars of your own anatomy and on your baby. Generally, though, you’ll need to be able to have access from either below, above, or the side. Access from below — i.e., lifting up my top — never really worked for me. I was pretty much a top and side kind of lady an

1. If you find something that works, buy multiples.

7 September 2009 19 August 2009 - Superhero Split

I loved how these nursing tanks from Old Navy worked (and I’m sad that there’s nothing being sold like them now) and I wish I had bought more. I got a LOT of mileage out of these two colors.

2. Button-downs aren’t only for shirts.

25 August 2009 - Shifty

Obviously, button-down shirts are among the easiest breastfeeding solutions. I’m not much of a button-down shirt wearer usually, but I did develop a deep love for button-down shirt dresses, especially since they proved to be eminently remixable.

5 November 2009 - Take One 20 January 2010 - First Day of School

3. Elastic and surplice necklines can be your friends.

25 February 2010 1 September 2009

This may be an obvious point, but looking for these necklines when thrifting and shopping let me bust out of a nursing tank and cami rut.

4. But, a cardigan might be the very best friend.

21 August 2009 - Sundance 16 September 2009 - Mom Uniform

Oh, my cardigan collection. My “new mom” uniform became an elastic waist skirt (to mitigate the post-partum belly), a nursing camisole, and a cardigan. Good thing I had a lot of colors to choose from. In fact, I started carrying an extra cardigan around with me in the diaper bag in case of disastrous spit-up situations.

I hope that those of you who have asked for maternity and nursing wear tips find these principles useful. In the end, they’re really not that different from the principles that guide my regular wardrobe-building mantra: dress the body you have in clothes that you love…and can throw in the washing machine.

Category: Resources
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And the Winner Is…

July 26th, 2011 § 1 comment §

Comment # 63 – Kat

Congratulations Kat! Send us your contact information and we’ll get the necklace out to you as soon as possible!

And if you didn’t win, head over to Meenoo’s shop and take advantage of the special reader discount code (enter ACADEMICCHIC at checkout) for 10% off through the end of the week!

You can also check out Minou Bazaar on Facebook, where you can find special promotions, updates, and discount codes. Facebook fans also receive 10% off their first purchase (enter FACEBOOKFAN at checkout).

Category: Uncategorized

Karina Dresses

July 25th, 2011 § 10 comments §

Karina Dress Review


  • Dress – c/o Karina
  • Cami – Banana Republic
  • Shoes – Banana Republic
  • Hat – Banana Republic


One of the many things I will miss about blogging is getting to know some really great independent retailers including small online boutiques and etsy sellers like those featured in our Boutique Consortium.  If we weren’t closing up shop, Karina would certainly be a shop we would be interested in adding to our consortium.   Karina generously sent me this “Rita” dress to review. I love the color and can already image so many ways to wear it.  For its first outing, I paired it with heels and my straw hat for lunch with a friend.

Karina Dress Review

Before I tell you how I feel about this particular Karina dress, let me tell you a bit about the company.  Karina dresses are all made of heavy, stretchy microfiber that drapes beautifully, never wrinkles, and washes easily. Each dress is made in Brooklyn in a small batch - which means prints and colors come and go, so if you see one you like, don’t follow my usual shopping pattern!

My favorite part about Karina is their motto:

dresses for “every body” … celebrating women from 18 to 80 … easy wear, easy care … wear the love”

Karina is committed to making all woman look & feel  great, no matter what shape or size . They offer many different styles made for a variety of body types and lifestyles and many of the dresses are offered in sizes 0 through 20. I also love that they use women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to model their dresses!

Karina Dress Review

So, now about my dress – the “Rita.”  I can already tell this cap sleeved wrap dress is going to be very versatile.  I love the cut and the color and am quite happy with the fit. It’s a true wrap dress but has enough overlap to keep my legs covered.  The waist hits at the perfect place – often not the case for me with wrap dresses – and I think the tie could easily be tucked under a belt as a way of changing up the look.

I have to admit, I was surprised at first by the material, but am now a huge fan.  It really doesn’t wrinkle, making it perfect for traveling (both wearing on the plane and shoving in a bag) and super convenient if you just don’t have time to iron in the morning!  Also, the drape on it is much more flattering than jersey – I’m not even wearing spanx!  I also think the material could be dressed up more than jersey but can just as easily be worn with flats for an active day of errands.

If you want to know more about the dresses you can also check Karina out on Facebook!


Karina Dress Review

Category: Academichic Product Review, Dresses for Day, Dresses for Evening, Reaching New Heights
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