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.!)

Farewell

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§ 31 Responses to L.’s Farewell Top 10"

  1. this was wonderful to read, and i’m hugely flattered to be in your list of everyday reads. i, too, have admired many of your outfits from afar (the gray dress over button-up was a particular favorite) and i also admire your no-nonsense photographs, hair, and make-up because it reminds me (and others) that you are a real woman trying to fit this into her life, and not a model with professional photographs.
    i have been so impressed by how open to critique all the academichic bloggers are. i find that i do not blog about controversial topics, as often as i can help it, and that rarely do my posts encourage or invoke the lively and wonderful debates that yours do. (strangely, one of my favorite things about graduate school is the chance to debate ideas and i love to argue with other people and ideas, but when it comes to my blog–and not to the abstract classroom idea–i feel more shy because it feels so much more personal. i wish i could be more like you all in many ways, to take on my interest in conflict and violence-of-the-mind via blogging, as well as my scholarship…)
    i am also struck by your choice of career path, and have admired this, as well. the academic job market in english has been incredibly competitive in the past few years, and most people i know have not gotten an academic job. i have always advocated for people respecting their degree and doing with it what they want–and never, ever feeling like an academic job is the only suitable thing to do with an M.A. or PhD, and it’s been a joy to see the grace, curiosity, and intelligence with which you’ve taken on this post-graduating career.
    i’d love to stay in touch post-blog, if you’d like. you know where to find me, S.! XO

  2. Sandra says:

    I’ll miss you!

  3. Amy says:

    Hi L! (In my head you will still be that, although the name “Sam” fits you so well!)

    I’ve really enjoyed your contributions to this blog in the short time you’ve been here. I hope this doesn’t seem like a backhanded compliment, but in a lot of ways you were the most relatable of the Chics to me because your style was in development when you joined — I saw a lot of my own style journey in yours! Thanks for all the work you’ve put in on this project and best of luck in your future endeavors.

  4. MONKEYFACE says:

    Please consider this comment a giant “+1″ to everything Tania beautifully wrote. I’m so moved by your honesty and am just really, really glad that the experience was meaningful for you. I know you too, ya know, and you are that friend who has all the personal grace and poise (and grey cashmere) I strive for. You don’t need my best wishes but you’ve got them anyway.

  5. Kelly says:

    I actually laughed out loud at your very last line about there already being an S!

    I have only been a very occasional commenter, but I will admit to you now that my very favorite things about your posts are that they are in New England. I grew up in CT and I miss it very much.

    I also guessed you were about my height and so it’s good to know I was right; because that helps me to see the proportions of certain clothes.

    I’ll be sad to see the blog end but sometimes life changes necessitate that some good things end. Best wishes to all of you.

  6. s says:

    You could’ve been…S2? LOL I always wondered what the L. stood for…but you do look like a Sam to me :)

    I have enjoyed your posts! I’m similar to you in height and body type (except I’m more, uh, “soft-muscled” LOL) so it was great seeing your outfits! Bravo on your weight loss! You should feel proud of it. You worked hard, and you look great! I would love to slim down like you have!

    I loved seeing your blackboard background in your outfit posts, and I was always intrigued by the fact that you worked in a boarding school (maybe because they’re not common where I am). Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us, and best of luck to you!

  7. nicole says:

    Oh L, I am so going to miss you. You’re such a beautiful person inside and out (with a shoe collection to die for). Superficiality aside, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading your posts. I really felt like I could relate to you, sartorially, but also from the personal tidbits you have shared. I’m afraid I don’t know what else to say, but please know that you have a whole slew of readers who have appreciated your work on this project and are rooting for you in whatever new opportunities that may come your way.

  8. Jess says:

    Sam?! Throw me for a loop why don’t you! Although you’ve been around the shortest of all the Chics, one of the lasting images I will take away from this blog is you in one of your first outfits with all the outtakes of you trying to capture yourself midtwirl. That’s kind of how I feel about style blogging–getting caught midtwirl is like catching sunlight, like writing the perfect post, like having a brilliant outfit. & you’ve done it multiple times, which is an amazing gift. I’ve loved being able to watch your style grow and expand, hit bumps in the road and finally lift off. I think you’ve really been a relatable Chic, & all I can do now is wish you nothing but all the best in the world. Thank you for everything you’ve posted & good luck with running, teaching and drinking that coffee!

    PS. I love what you said about weight–spot on. Very well said.

  9. Laura says:

    Sam! I’ve been convinced this whole time you were a Laura like me. But somehow ‘Sam’ just fits more perfectly.

    I’d like to echo the comment that my favorite part of your posts were that they’re from New England. I’m New Yorker, so I know that real New Englanders don’t think I count as one of them, but I’m Upstate! Small towns, rock walls, gardens, little libraries… The logistics of your wardrobe matched my life more closely than the other chics. Spring? What spring, we’re still bundled up! I adored the ways your sartorial choices helped me make my own. Spring is hard when it seems like the rest of the world is already in sundresses and sandals and I’m still dodging snow flurries and frozen mud.

    But also, we’re pretty close in height, and though I love the other chics like crazy, your footwear choices are rather closer to my own. I’d like to be the kind of lady that wears heels all the time, but I can’t do it realistically. Because of my wonky knees and genetically mucked up ankles, flats are my best option for pain avoidance. And I’m all about pain avoidance. So seeing the proportions you played with, and the lengths of skirts that work best with y/our height and with flats… It was so helpful.

    Also, you allusions to weight loss really resonated with me. I lose weight too easily. Most people respond to that statement with comments like, “I wish *I* had that problem.” If they understood the ramifications of it, they wouldn’t be so quick to tell me I should just count myself lucky. In my case, it’s a metabolic problem we can’t find an explanation for. After tons of blood work, multiple CT scans, multiple doctors in two different states… the official answer is, “We don’t know. That’s so weird.” I’m at the low end of my weight spectrum right now, down almost fifteen pounds from where I was just over a month ago (I had strep, so I couldn’t swallow much in terms of food, and then I spent two weeks in a very high stress environment with really dubious food options). Since I’m at the low end of what’s ‘normal’ for me, I’m at the “Where is my butt?! I want it back! My clothes look terrible on me!” place. But seeing your blog posts and understanding that you too were dressing a body that wasn’t really what you were used to really helped me get over some of the angst and find outfits that look good even when I don’t feel that good.

    So even though you were hesitant to mention it, I thank you for sharing that information anyway. It’s not easy dressing a body that changes on you, so knowing I’m not the only one has been wonderful.

    I wish you the best, and if you ever start another blog, I hope you’ll let us know so we can follow you to it!

    Laura

  10. Shannah says:

    L-Sam-I appreciate the work you’ve put in on this blog! It’s not the length of time, but the thoughtfulness and effort that matter. And your careful choices, open musings about your own choices and motivations, were quite meaningful to me. I wish you nothing but the best, applaud your career choices, and certainly echo those who’d love to hear more from you in the future!

  11. jentine says:

    It was interesting to hear some more of your back story. I remember the outcry over your post on young women… I think sometimes we tend to jump on things on the internet because we hide behind the safety of a computer. I think style blogging for 2 years has made me very reluctant to post anything controversial… which is sad occasioanlly but also part of keeping your private life private.
    Thanks for your contribution! all the best in your future!

  12. Jessica says:

    Sam! It’s wonderful to be able to think of you along with your name, and like others said, I think you look just like a Sam!

    It is hard to say anything that other commenters haven’t already said better, but I wanted to say how grateful I am for you sharing your year with us. It was great to see your style evolve over the months, and it made me really empathize with you as someone who was growing along with you.

    I’ve been reading this blog for 2.5 years, and though I feel very close to A, E, and S, I always felt a little awed and cowed by their style. They have become these smart style-goddesses in my mind, and sort of unattainable. I find that to be true about many of the people of the fashion blogs I read. But I love that you are so human. Thank you so much, Sam! You have a marvelous voice, and thank you again for sharing it!

  13. Laura says:

    Sam,

    I love your style, I love your writing, I love your running outfit pic, and I LOVE your honesty. I will miss you! Blogging seems very hard to me . . . how to be authentic, interesting and even challenging while still protecting yourself and maintaining privacy? I think it was very brave of you to join Academichic! I have really enjoyed the variety you have contributed to the blog- I am the same height as you and not an academic, so I really loved seeing your use of proportions and hearing about your work.
    Also, although I know that there were those who took offense at your phrasing regarding the teenage girls’ clothing, I also think that the intersection of modesty, “sexy” dress, and age is a really interesting topic. Even though it was controversial, you were reflecting your personal experience; and my favorite part of reading blogs is hearing about the personal experiences of others.
    Enjoy the rest of your summer, and congratulations on starting your second year of teaching!

  14. lemonade says:

    Hi. I think i’ve never commented here before. I just want to say thanks for sharing your story. I wish you could have done so earlier. but I understand why you didn’t. I also recently have lost a lot of weight due to health reasons, and have had trouble accepting it, and dealing with it. Especially with peoples comments. Everytime someone said something about my weight it was just a reminder of my health, and how I had no control over what was happening to my body. a disconcerting experience indeed.
    I wish I had a larger budget like you because I know it would help me feel better about my body if my clothes fit better ( i dropped from a size ten to a 4), but slowly i’m getting some basics together. it really helps me feel so much better.
    anyway, thanks for sharing your story :)

  15. Morgen says:

    I wish I had the chance to, er, “get to know you” better (that sounds a little creepy, but it’s not. Promise.) because it is posts like this that make me realize that all four of you have something to offer every reader of this blog. E.(lissa) inspires me to DIY, A. rocks fabulous dresses that make me want to expand my collection, My wardrobe itself could almost be interchangeable with S.’s (so seeing how she remixes garments is extra inspiring, since I usually have similar items to do the same), and now I know that you have been faced with the same issue as myself this past year: learning how to dress a body that has not grown, but has gotten smaller. And believe me, you’re not the only one in the world who has trouble saying “None of my clothes fit because I’ve lost weight!”. I went from small, to tiny (I got sick, it was not deliberate!), so complaining about how none of my clothes fit, when I was thin to begin with, only seems to make women hate me. But really, when my BELTED pants fall down, something has got to give!
    Anyway, best of luck out there, Sam! I was nice knowing you even if it was only for a short time.

  16. Jane says:

    Lovely to get to know you at long last Sam. Have fun with whatever you do. It’s been nice knowing you.

  17. Hannie says:

    I always loved your shoes. To be honest I often was a bit jealous when I looked at all the nice flats, heels and wedges that completed your outfits. You and S styles are most similar to my own style. In the winter I tend to wear more preppy clothes and in summertime I like to go wild on flowers. So both of you were my academic chic inspiration. I will miss you all. I will miss getting myself a cup of coffee and browsing to academic chic to see what other academics around the world are wearing, before starting to work on manuscripts, papers and exams.

    I was an academic chic fan from the start and I really appreciate how your suggestions affected my own wardrobe choices. I tend to layer more, combine patterns and sometimes even dare to go beyond my “matchy” comfort zone. One of the most important things learned at this page is that I am not the only academic who is trying to look good, watches what others wear, plans outfits etc.

    I always thought L stood for Leanne. But Sam fits you perfectly!

  18. Tanya says:

    Sam…what a lovely name and it just suits you. I’ve enjoyed your posts and fantastic shoes! I teach middle school so I think I understand where you were coming from in the post about teenage girls’ clothing. You handled the outcry with such graceful introspection.

    I wish you the very best of luck as you enter your second year of teaching. You really were a great addition to Academichic.

    Cheers,

    Tanya

  19. Claire says:

    Hi L/Sam -

    Just to echo Amy above, “in a lot of ways you were the most relatable of the Chics to me”! Maybe because my dad taught at a boarding school – as did I, for a year – & my brother & I attended [Canadian] private schools, so I could picture exactly your work environment; but also because I think our styles are most alike, and I took the most inspiration from your choices but also your style adventures. I’m going to really miss reading from you and this blog. Thank you so much for all your posts over the past year. Best of luck in the future!

  20. Erin says:

    Hi Sam, and thanks for your part in this wonderful blog. I haven’t commented much before, but became a regular reader about a year ago, apparently just as you were introduced–so you’ve always been a chic to me! As a finishing grad student in New England considering all kinds of career paths, I’ve enjoyed the small glimpses into boarding school life through your posts. I’d love to hear more about your experience since I have some big decisions coming up soon, if you wouldn’t mind connecting over email…
    Best of luck in your second year, and take care!

  21. Mia says:

    Sam! I love learning everyone’s real names. You were in great company when you were introduced, and I think you really proved yourself to be as awesome a chic as anybody could hope for! I’m still pretty new to Academichic, so I’m glad I’ll have the resource and fun of going back through your archives for style inspiration and food for thought–I don’t think you ever need to regret starting a conversation, even if people don’t agree with you, because it can really show you some new perspectives. It takes guts to put yourself out there, and you’ve got ‘em. Thank you for your contributions to this site, and tally-ho for the future!

  22. Erin says:

    Sam,

    Thank you for all your posts. As a short girl I’ve really appreciated seeing how well you rocked styles I thought only worked on tall girls! And I too lost weight this year (we have a similar body type but my mid-section isn’t as toned) and have felt weird saying “all of my clothes are too big!” I will def be coming back to the site for inspiration as I try to rebuild my wardrobe.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and good luck in everything you do!

    ~Erin

  23. Dee says:

    Hi Sam! Thanks for all the great outfit posts over the past year. I’m also in New England and it was great to see someone go through the same seasons and their sartorial challenges. Good luck with everything the future holds!

  24. What a sweet, moving and open post! It’s really a surprise to read that you felt the way you did (about not being chic enough, about being more reserved)–your posts totally didn’t reveal that, and to know that now makes me be even more in awe of you and your writing. (Plus, you have a great eye for patterns!)

    I’m also glad you addressed the weight loss so openly in this post! I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the last two years (50 pounds off a 5’1 frame–running and generally eating better) and it’s good to know that others face the same issues when it comes to talking about weight loss, because you’re right–we can talk about wanting to lose weight, but we somehow are thought of as vain or self-congratulatory if we address some of the issues that come with weight loss. I truly admire the way you phrased this so perfectly.

    Thank you for being a great Academic Chic and best of luck for the future! (And I hope you pop up in the blog world again!)

  25. N says:

    You do look like a Sam! I just want to thank you for your honesty in this post. I know it must have been intimidating joining a blog like this and I think you’ve done a great job.

    I also want to commiserate with your comments on losing weight. Now that I’m over 40, it’s less of an issue, but until a few years ago I was always a very thin woman who could drop ten or 15 pounds and one or two sizes in a stressful week. I’d so often hear, “Oh, you’ve lost weight!” like it was a huge accomplishment, but it was unhealthy, and I couldn’t afford to replace my clothes. I too felt societal pressure not to tell anyone that my losing weight was a problem, but now I make it a point to speak up for younger women in a similar position. So you have my sympathy, and my admiration for putting together a new wardrobe so quickly. Thank you so much for blogging on this.

    Wishing you luck with your next year of teaching and with your life, from yet another New Englander.

  26. Karen says:

    I’m really going to miss your posts! Though our body shapes have basically nothing in common, you had some of my absolute favorite outfits here. And boarding schools are inherently fascinating to me. If you wind up blogging somewhere else, please let us know; I’d love to read/see more from you!

  27. R says:

    Hi, Sam!!! Thank you so much for all the time devoted to the blog and the great outfits! Wishing you all the best!!

  28. admin says:

    Many thanks to all of you for your kind words and comments! It was a pleasure to be a part of this project and the blogging world in general, and I wish all of YOU the very best in whatever your future holds! I’ll be sure to let you know if my blogging life is going to continue anywhere else, but for now I’m closing the closet doors, as it were. I hope you’ll stop back occasionally to see our periodic updates.

    All the best,

    Sam (L.)

  29. Cranky Old Batt says:

    So what you are saying is that you spoke the truth and are no taking it back because someone’s feelings got hurt? Did you intend to be malicious or instructive? I think that should define your response, not political correctness.

    The truth sometimes hurts. Enabling is easy.

    As it is, my impression of you is that you are not a woman of her word.

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