As our project here comes to an end and I’m prompted to reflect of the past three years (in outfits), I feel overwhelmed and at a loss for words. Maybe because the past three years have been so eventful. When we started academichic, I was not yet married and resided in a large Midwestern city. As the blog went on, so did my life: I got married, moved to the small college town where my husband was pursuing his PhD, moved again to Germany for a research year abroad, returned home and began my first faculty job, and most recently, became pregnant with our first child. So yes, it’s a bit daunting and overwhelming to think back to the beginning of this project and to try summing it up in a few succinct paragraphs. It’s equally tough for me to pull together a ‘top ten’ list spanning over such a broad time period that has seen me make so many geographical, personal, and physical changes.
So I decided to hone in on this past (not quite full) year. You can see my Year One Top Ten here and my Year Two Top Ten list here and I will just let those speak for the periods they represent. In terms of this past year of blogging, I have compiled my ten favorite outfits and some thoughts on why these stand out.
The first four pictures at the top where taken early on in my pregnancy and at the beginning of my second semester of teaching as faculty (and not grad. student). They are representative of my style when I feel comfortable and confident: bold colors, bright patterns, pattern mixing (see pic.3), and a mix of romantic meets casual (polka dots and ruffled collars with jeans tucked into boots and plenty of button downs).
The next two images show the two oufits that were the most ‘subdued’ in terms of color in my ‘favorites’ pile, and even here, the bright orange dress with the colorful paisley design is barely being mitigated by the softer tan cardigan. What can I say? I love color and bright clothing. Although the top one of these two ‘softer’ outfits is decidedly tamer in hues than my usual fare, I loved it for it’s bohemian touch and it’s eclectic layering of lace, pearls, and eyelet. It also reminds me of the fun day that I got to spend with my co-bloggers and good friends, ‘playing dress-up’ at Banana Republic, sharing a fitting room and laughing over misguided attempts at an outfit, and feeling like teenagers at the mall again.
While this blog was in large part inspired by our desire to question fashion, gender assumptions, and modern notions of beauty, it also never ceased to be a project that brought the four of us together and reminded us how wonderful it is to share joys as simple as playing ‘dress up’ with your friends on a Spring afternoon. Academichic has always been something I’ve taken very seriously (especially when writing about matters such as coming out as an ally, navigating pregnancy in academia, dressing for a new faculty position, the importance we accredit to visible gendering, and what happens when something is perceived as ‘gender bending‘ in our culture). But it’s also been something that has brought me great joy and satisfaction on days when an outfit post was just an outfit post, when I could just pop over to the site and instantly ‘see’ my friends, and when it provided us with the perfect excuse and reason to go on a shopping spree together.
So for those days when an outfit post was just an outfit post, here is a style I really loved playing with over the dreary winter months: colorful and brightly patterned tights. Maybe because winter seemed to drag on forever and there was a general lack of color in my surroundings, I reached for outfit options that invoked that cheer and brightness I so love about Spring and Summer. And while not everyone’s cup of tea, I loved my thick damask printed tights and my collection of red, purple, layered and fishnetted, and even floral legwear (as captured on my commutes to work).
Lastly, summer came and with that my increased need for comfort and ease when getting dressed. As I finished teaching and entered my third trimester, my style took somewhat of a nose-dive. I stopped posting as much as many days were simply spent in sweats and my husband’s t-shirts, but I also had no qualms with embracing that much needed break in my routine. I needed to be able to relax and tend to my dissertation chapter, my garden, my yoga practice, and playtime with my dog. As much as we write about body image intersecting with style and fashion, we maybe don’t stress enough the importance of just feeling good in your skin no matter what you have on. It’s true that clothing communicates and that a grubby t-shirt and a pair of leggings doesn’t exactly convey the most inspiring of messages, but for certain times and contexts that’s ok.
On days I did dress up for meetings out of the house or visit with friends, I stuck to my usual go-to of dresses, bold hues, and not-too-subtle pattern. I’ve also embraced my inner hippie and have been wearing long skirts and flowey (shapeless?) dresses for more often than I care to admit. But it’s all been very satisfying and I’ve enjoyed having less expectations in terms of getting dressed during my last months of pregnancy. So here I am now, ready to give birth any day now and facing new style as well as life challenges ahead; that dreaded 4th trimester as your body once more changes and morphs post-baby, the unknown of life as a new mother, the undefinability of a year dedicated to finishing my dissertation writing while on teaching sabbatical, and the pure pleasure of embracing the leap into so many unknowns.
(On a side note: I’ve spent the last few days restlessly expecting to go into labor and ‘nesting’ away on Pinterest as a form of distraction. And I’ve noticed that the style pinboard I’m creating for my post-baby dressing inspiration is going in a whole different direction than what my style has been like in the past (or even as shown in this Top Ten post). I find myself drawn to much more muted tones, earthy colors, a hippie/boho/hipster aesthetic, and not that much floral anymore. Hmmm? The start of truly a new era for me? For those of you curious of how my post-baby style will evolve, you can always follow my style board on Pinterest or check in on my cycle chic set on Flickr).
And lastly, I just have to say once more that I will miss the thoughtful comments and interractions with you, our readers, greatly and I thank you for all your comments and input over the past three years. Thank you for being wonderful companions on this journey and for making this project such a rewarding one through your comments and input.
S. (and if you miss me terribly, come say hello at Simply Bike sometime).