S’s Top Ten for Year Three

July 25th, 2011 § 10 comments

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).

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§ 10 Responses to S’s Top Ten for Year Three"

  1. Wonderful and inspiring! I am still coming to terms with the end of Academichic :)

  2. Tanya says:

    The last week of Academichic:( Wonderful post and, boy, I still adore that dress over the mint blouse with the blue tights.

    Very best to you, S.

  3. Laura says:

    Yes, I will follow you to Simply Bike. I’ve been creeping on this site for a really hefty chunk of my Master’s degree (which I just got last weekend! The diploma is three feet from me! (I keep it close because I feel like it will run away if I turn my back for too long.)) because it’s been very important to me through my graduate work to make certain that I am never confronted with the idea that anything I have done was made easier for me by being cute or small or pretty or anything like that. “What does a pretty 23 year old wear to be taken seriously by academic peers her parents’ age?” I was very lucky in that the group of people I met and came to love through grad school really didn’t give a damn about my age or my body or anything of the sort. I was taken first and foremost as a fellow academic.

    But being able to float around here on Academichic and read about these same trials being faced (Is it appropriate to look pretty when discussing a thesis? What do you wear when the graduate course you’re teaching is being audited by faculty? If it’s a library research day or a coffee shop work day, does it matter if you really look ‘put together’? Will they take you seriously if you like your eyeliner and mascara?). The overarching education I’ve gotten on the subject is summarized simply by: if you take yourself seriously as an academic, so will they.

    Also, I wore gray slacks, a ruffled short sleeve blue/gray/white blouse, and taupe wedge heels to that lecture.

    I guess what I’m trying to say in all of my babbling is that this blog helped me feel more confident in academic situations, because I knew I wasn’t the only woman wrestling with the idea that you can be fashionable AND smart. I’ve been arguing for years that classes don’t have to be ‘hard’ to teach you a ton. They can be fun. They can be funny. They should be challenging. But they don’t have to be ‘hard.’ Learning should be a freaking blast. The same way I think you shouldn’t be afraid of education, I think you shouldn’t have to wear shoulder pads and hideous shoes to be taken seriously in a faculty meeting. You can have it both ways.

    And I want to thank you ladies so much for being a resource I could consistently rely on as I worked on my degree and confronted all of the challenges involved in finishing it.

    You’re the best!

  4. Morgen says:

    I StumbleUpon’d this blog about two years ago and I’ve been a daily reader ever since. Though my own personal style has a tendency to do its own thing (I went pseudo-punk for about a micro-second this past semester), as a whole my wardrobe seems to be very similar to your own and your style here on Academichic most influenced, or rather, refined mine. Two years ago I was a sophomore in my undergrad. Two years ago I had no idea what “layering” was (ok, I knew what it was but not how to pull it off in any capacity), and had no use for riding boots. Today, I sit here a senior, preparing for graduation and, most likely (fingers crossed) graduate school…and I’m just waiting for fall fashions to come into stores so I can pounce on a pair of brown boots- because who only wants riding boots in black?! I suppose what I’m attempting to say is that finding an academic whose personal style is very similar to mine helped me com into my own, and I now feel like I’ve bridged the (fashion) gap between my 21-year-old self and being taken seriously as a Historian and Linguist. In the past few years all 3 (and now 4!) of you have taught me that I can still have a youthful and fun wardrobe while being taken seriously by my peers and professors alike (as I feel that wardrobe choices DO have an effect on the amount of respect granted to me, especially as a 21-year-old at a notorious party school).

    In addition to that, S., your enthusiasm for cycling made the pain of my car dying far less, as I realized that commuting by bike not only gets me to class -faster- than by car, but it is also a fun and healthy way for me to spend time outdoors. I fell in love with bike commute, and though it is not always practical because of my southwestern location (and the fact that my university has the highest bike-theft rate in the country, which lost me not one but two bikes between February and May), it is something that I would like to continue.

    So there it is. My very long-winded and self-absorbed thank you, for helping me come into my own as a fashionable academic, as well as guiding me towards a lifestyle choice that is both fun and healthy. You can be also certain that I’ll continue lurking on SimplyBike.

    All the best to you and your family, especially as you welcome a little one into the world!

    -Morgen

  5. Petra' says:

    S.

    thanks a lot for coming back to academichic while preggers and sharing your style again. Seeing you and E. sharing your attempt to maternity clothing really helps me to figure out wearing while my body changes on a daily basis …

    Loved your hippie-mama styles. I’ll check back on simply bike how you’re doing.
    All the best!

  6. Laura says:

    I just wanted to thank you all for putting so much creativity, thought, and time into this blog. I’ve been inspired and challenged, not just by your clothing choices but by your insightful commentary. I wish all of you the best of luck with your families, careers, and adventures. Way to go women!
    Laura

  7. s says:

    I was sad when you left and glad when you came back! I loved how you combined colors and patterns, and following your posts from studying abroad! I’m happy that you have another blog and that I can continue to follow you there, so…see you there!

  8. Erin says:

    S,

    Thank you so much for the time and effort you (all) put into this blog. I will continue to follow you over on Simply Bike (and wish my city were bike friendly) so this isn’t completely a goodbye. I just wanted to say thank you to you wonderful ladies for inspiring me for the last couple of years. You and E have encouraged me not to be a lazy bum all the time during my next pregnancy.

    Thank you and congrats on the upcoming (or already happened!) arrival of baby c.

    ~Erin

  9. Dee says:

    Thank you so much for your inspirational contributions to this site! It’s been great to follow you through all of your life’s journeys. Of all the chics I really love your style the best. Good luck with everything! I am a fan of Simply Bike and will catch up there.

  10. Shannah says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, S! Here’s hoping baby C comes soon and that you’ll find much inspiration in her. I love your style very much and will enjoy seeing glimpses of it on Simply Bike.

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