July 22nd, 2011 § §
- Dress: Motherhood Maternity
- Yellow pattern flats: Target, thrifted new
- Necklace: consignment store
- Fence chalkboard art: courtesy of little e. and his friends
I started teaching a summer class this week. At the beginning of the week there was a question as to whether or not the class could continue due to enrollment and my wardrobe choices reflected that uncertainty and the desire to establish myself as an instructor who could be taken seriously. That meant business casual separates: gray trousers, a gray skirt, my cropped navy blazer. (Of course, I didn’t stop wearing bright shoes. Pink, blue, and orange pumps all made appearances). But today, now that the class is assuredly moving forward and I’ve established a good rapport with my students, I got the itch to wear something a little more out of the box.
Whenever in wardrobe doubt, I call in reinforcements. That meant texting A. this morning: “Is it too early in the semester to wear my striped dress?”
“Nope,” she replied.
(Of course, A. is totally my stripe-enabler. I don’t know when she would tell me that stripes, in some form, would be inappropriate.)
So today is a wonky belly day, a little light-hearted reminder to have a bit of a fun at the end of an admittedly stressful week. I can’t look down without smiling.
Category: Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Teaching Outfits
Tags: E. > striped dress > striped maternity dress > yellow shoes
July 20th, 2011 § §
Dress – thrifted
Sandals – Target
Earrings – gift from A.
I hadn’t intended to post again as I’m less than a week before my due date and my mind’s on a million other things. I had my “Top Ten” post all ready for the other Chics to publish for me in case I wasn’t around to do it myself at the end of this month and, with that, I thought I had said my goodbyes.
But reading your comments has made me sad and unwilling to leave it quite at that. (Blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but you guys got me all choked up!) So I thought I’d pop back in just to say another resounding THANK YOU to all of you who have been reading, commenting on, recommending, questioning, challenging, and supporting our site.
In yesterday’s comments, one reader asked how much we attributed our style choices to this blog and how we anticipate our style changing in the absence of posting. I’m not sure how to answer that question because I’m sure that my style has been influenced by participating in this online ‘style blogging’ community, but more so than acquiring an eye for trends, participating in this community has very much affected my approach to many theoretical concepts…
How do I use clothing to present myself as an academic, to perform gender, to display/downplay my ethnicity, to support consumer culture, to NOT support consumer culture, and to make more self-conscious choices every time I open my wallet or my closet door.
It’s one thing when you ponder these things on your own and it’s something else entirely to put your thoughts into words for thousands of people to read in one day. It makes you extremely aware of the things you say (and think) and forces you to take a more critical eye to your own writing and thinking. As much as graduate school has challenged me in this way, I can honestly say that our readers have done so just as much. So thank you for such thought-provoking conversations and critical inquiries that have definitely altered and shaped my thinking and writing over the past two and a half years.
As already mentioned in yesterday’s post, I move into a new stage of my life that sees me mothering a girl. Our conversations here on gender roles, gendering, and feminism will undoubtedly influence how I raise her and the values I will seek to instill in her. Similarly, these regular conversations with you, our readers, and with my co-bloggers will leave a lasting mark on how I think about and put into words my thoughts on two gender focused projects I will be tackling this coming year; my dissertation and another writing project in the works.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that more than the visual appreciation for aesthetics and style that has been born of this project, I take with me a deeper appreciation for considering, critiquing, and questioning topics of gender and society in relation to the media and the fashion world at hand. If you’re a new-comer to our site, I urge you to take a look at those posts (housed in our Theoretical Archives) in particular and to not skip the comments, which add a richer and more complex take on each point we raised as well.
And for those of you who asked, yes, I will continue to be around on Simply Bike. The focus of that blog is different from this one but I always welcome your comments and visits and appreciate any drop-ins from those so inclined. S.
Category: Beltless, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pregnancy in Academia
Tags: maxi dress > paisley > S.
July 15th, 2011 § §
- Top: H&M
- Necklace: Fig & Ginger, Mothers Day gift from little e. and his dad
- Skirt: chopped from a thrifted maternity dress
- Belt: thrifted
- Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell
A couple of weeks ago a reader e-mailed us with this observation and question:
I realized that the cute pictures of pregnant women and bloggers and celebrities that we see are usually of the girls that look like twizzlers who swallowed a grape. The ones who don’t look pregnant from the back. And I started to wonder if, along with the movement toward pregnancy being beautiful, there is not now a huge amount of pressure to remain beautiful and cute while pregnant. Is it becoming unacceptable to gain a lot of weight and wear sweats and not bother with your hair?
I found this to be a really difficult question to answer. First off, what role DOES social pressure and the media plays in my self-image on a regular basis? I’ve always been the skinny flat-chested girl, but how much was my embrace of that body type motivated by an acceptance of social norms or was it more self-generated? I don’t know that I can really say for sure. And how about with a pregnant body? Certainly, descriptions of women’s obsession with not gaining weight during pregnancy appeared in Pregnancy Today and the New York Times. I don’t think that photos of skinny pregnant celebrities played a significant role in my past pregnancy or this one…but I’m certainly willing to admit that media influence is often a lot more subtle and seductive than we realize.
But besides social pressure, I also had to think about the particularities of my own body proportions, personal history, career path, and lifestyle. I don’t especially want to delve into my medical history here, but I will say that those specificities have powerfully shaped the way in which I understand my body and my pregnancy.
So here’s the thing. For me, the worst part of being pregnant is how my body has suddenly become grounds for public conversation and debate. Strangers and mere acquaintances frequently pass judgment at the grocery store, in the park, or at the library. “You’re too small to be seven and a half months pregnant. Are you eating enough?” “Oh, you’re only 5 months pregnant? That’s going to be a big baby!” “Wow, you’re carrying low. Is your cervix okay?” If I’m wearing a dress and cute shoes or deemed “too small,” I’m accused of being too vain and not taking adequate care of myself or my child. If I’m deemed “too big,” I’m still accused of not taking adequate care of myself or my child, hence the “excess” weight. A bit of an overwrought rant? Sure. But it is rather amazing to see how much public attitudes towards pregnancy have changed in the past several decades, from a “condition” that was not discussed in polite conversation to a free-for-all debate over health and responsibility.
Perhaps I am still just too close to the situation to answer this reader question adequately. Am I buying into a Hollywood myth of what pregnancy should look like by wearing a body-conscious striped dress? Or am I just having fun with an unfamiliar body? All that to say…I don’t particularly want to look like a twizzler that swallowed a grape. On the other hand, I’m not crazy about the hand and cheek bloat that comes with being pregnant in the middle of a hot summer. And finally, I’m sorry if I give a stand-offish vibe in the grocery store. I’m probably worried that you’re judging the fat content of the food in my cart. Because I can be anxious like that.
Just one last thing. S. and I have different bodies and have thus had different pregnancies. And, except for our overlapping love of the hippie mama look, we’ve dressed differently from each other to accomodate our own bodies, work habits, and family routines. So S., just so you know, I think you’ve looked beautiful this whole pregnancy. Good work and good luck.
Category: Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pregnancy in Academia, Skirting the Issue
Tags: black and white > E. > Jeffrey Campbell sandals > purple skirt
July 14th, 2011 § §
Tee – maternity shirt from Target
Skirt – thrifted
Sandals – AE years ago
Necklaces – two thrifted ones worn intertwined
Well, dear readers, it’s getting close. I’m almost 39 weeks now and expecting the arrival of my little one any day now. These days I’ve outgrown even most of my maternity clothes and am living in a few select tops and my super comfortable hippie skirts. Although I’m wary of spending money on anything new, I did stop by the local thrift store and was excited to come across this green and fuchsia paisley skirt. It’s not a maternity item (most of my clothing weren’t actually maternity, but just things bought a size or two up) but it’s the right size and it has a nice wide elastic waist panel, which makes it perfect for wearing under my belly.
I know that everyone is different when it comes to the waistband question during pregnancy. Some women really like the snug feel of the ‘full panel‘, which comes up and over your belly. I discovered that I hate the feel of anything clinging to my belly and have worn all my maternity items rolled under to fit underneath the ‘bump’. This has made it easy enough to convert non-maternity items into matenity items: I just shopped for things with an elastic waist or drawstring waist that fit snuggly enough over my hips and could sit rolled under my belly.
Which camp do you/did you fall into? The full panel or the low rise?
These days, I’m trying to get all those last minute things ready before baby comes. Last edits on my dissertation chapter, final touches on a birth plan, last must-do’s around the house… so you may be seeing less of me as I use my coming days (hopefully, not weeks) to take care of odds and ends and prepare for the little one’s arrival.
And yes, I’m still riding my bike in moderation. It’s been really nice to continue with a routine of prenatal yoga, cycling, and swimming until the end. If you want to read more about cycling (and excercising) while pregnant, you can find my entries on that topic here.
And in case we don’t ‘see’ each other before the birth, wish me luck!
Category: Beltless, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Skirting the Issue, Vélocouture
Tags: maternity skirt > orange sandals > paisley > S.
July 13th, 2011 § §
- Top: Forever 21
- Necklace: Tilly Bloom
- Belt: thrifted
- Skirt: chopped from a dress
- Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell via Gilt
My definition of a wardrobe “basic” rarely jives with the lists offered in women’s lifestyle magazines. When asked to designate the “workhorses” of my wardrobe last year, I picked my mustard blouson top and my navy jersey dress. I agree that black slacks and a white button down have their place in the fashion hall of fame for good reason, but I have always loved it when I can make a “basic” out of a garment that is anything but.
So it comes as little surprise, I suppose, that some of the wardrobe workhorses of this current pregnancy have been colored skirts, like my dusty purple one — cut from a thrifted maternity dress — that has featured in quite a few outfits this summer.
And now my new love is this BRIGHT red skirt. I’m envisioning it with purple, with gray, with olive, and even with aqua.
For someone who loves colorful clothes as much as I do, it hardly seems fair that in the midst of a style season punctuated with bright color blocking retailers of maternity clothes have tended towards a tasteful range of neutrals. I can’t say that I would necessarily be wearing coral chinos were they handed to me in maternity sizing…but I’ll be counting on this skirt to see me through the last month and a half with a good dose of hyper color cheer.
Are you wearing bright colors on the bottom this summer?
Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: E. > Jeffrey Campbell sandals > orange skirt > purple skirt > red skirt
July 6th, 2011 § §
White tank – BE Maternity
Aqua tank – thrifted
Skirt – Motherhood maternity, inherited from E. from her 1st pregnancy
Sandals – Target
Necklace – gift from Costa Rica
Bangle – thrifted
Sunnies – hand me downs from mom
At this point in my pregnancy, it’s all about the little things: stopping and smelling the flowers, taking everything in at a slightly slower pace, and appreciating the small moments that make each day special before my family’s life takes on a drastic change.
When it comes to getting dressed, the same approach applies: it’s all about the small things. While I’ve outgrown many of my clothes at this point (I’m 37 weeks along, now considered ‘full term’), I can still fit into the ‘small’ things that make up my jewelry box and accessories drawer. So on days when I do shed the yoga sweats and make a bit of an effort, I spruce up the simple outfits I can still create with pops of color from my jewelry and accessories stash.
This approach not only works well when you’re pregnant but also when traveling. It’s the same principle I apply to packing for a trip; grab a few simple garments and let the accessories do the talking. They take up very little room in a suitcase but can wholly alter the feel and register of an outfit.
And speaking of travel, make sure to check back on Friday for our awesome Tom Bihn Tri-Sta bag giveaway! ~ S.
Category: Beltless, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue, Vélocouture
Tags: maternity skirt > S.
July 4th, 2011 § §
Tank – Target Maternity
Skirt – free from clothing swap
Bangles – thrifted at various times
Necklace & Earrings – gifts
Happy 4th of July to our American readers!
This is what I wore to a ’4th of July party’ on the 2nd of July, the day that our founding fathers voted on the motion for independence. Our friends held a little backyard party and I pulled out my ‘hippie mama’ look for the occasion (not that hippie mama and independence day have any corelation).
I love the hippie mama look on pregnant women because it just looks so comfortable and relaxed and I love it on myself because it feels so comfortable and relaxed. E. has rocked this particular look while pregnant and it’s becoming my favorite way to dress up these days as my style choices are becoming increasingly limited.
E. worked the hippie mama look with the use of maxi dresses, weather on their own or layered underneath or over other garments. I don’t have any stretchy long dresses but I do have this fabulous printed skirt that I scored at a clothing swap last fall.
I paired it with a teal maternity tank to pull out the blues in the pattern and added a variety of orange, red, and teal bangles to compliment to overall color scheme.
Have you embraced the boho-hippie aesthetic? And why is it that it’s so much easier to create this kind of look in the summer than in the winter? Do you have any tips for pulling off a cold-weather version of this kind of style? Please share your tips in the comments!
Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Research Casual, Weekend Wear
Tags: boho chic > long skirt > pattern > S.
July 1st, 2011 § §
- Tank: Target
- Necklace: gift from husband
- Bracelets: bangles from Banana Republic Factory, cork bracelet from Honolulu swap meet
- Skirt: thrifted
- Belt: thrifted
- Wedges: Reaction by Kenneth Cole, via DSW
Can you Dress Your Best and give a round of applause to your familial heritage? Because that’s how I’m ending my DYB this year.
I’ve always taken great pride in the fact that I am hapa, half Japanese and half Caucasian. Because I grew up in a predominantly Asian culture, I perhaps feel more bonded to my Japanese heritage, but I’ve also come to cherish my Scottish and English roots and my old, old New England settler connections. To have two such different and unique histories wrapped up in my own family continues to be a fascinating thing for me.
But even though I may strongly conceive of myself as hapa, as mixed race, not everyone perceives me that way. Most people in Hawaii, many of whom are mixed race themselves, recognize me as being hapa, though they might jokingly give me a hard time for my paler skin or tall stature that makes me stick out amidst the predominantly tan, short population. Since moving to the mainland, however, I’ve found that such recognition is, ironically, more mixed. Some people recognize me as being “not white” and ask, “What are you?” Some people take guesses. I’ve been told that I look like Michelle Wie and Lucy Liu. Once, someone asked if I was part Mexican. Many people just assume that I’m full white.
All of this — the categorization that happens based on physical appearance, the notion that visible recognizability is a necessary part of assuming a particular identity, the very conception of “race” in general — is incredibly fraught and something that I wrestle through in my own academic work. But I know that, for me, my body plays an important role in reminding me of my heritage and seeing my future in the fat cheeks and flat nose of my son who, for all other intents and purposes, looks more like his Caucasian father.
So today I’m celebrating being hapa. I’m celebrating the height I got from 6’4″ father along with the freckles and big ears that are all from his side of the family. And I’m celebrating my big cheeks, dark hair, and yellowy undertones in my skin that come from my mother’s side. So hooray for shoes that are purple and tan even though the skirt is salmon and the shirt is navy. Hooray for a hot pink belt rather than a brown one. Hooray for silver and cork bracelets, worn together. The mixing is what makes it interesting.
Category: Color Combinations, Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: E. > midi skirt > navy > patterned shoes > pink > salmon skirt > wedges
June 29th, 2011 § §
- Top: Forever 21
- Shorts: maternity consignment store
- Tank: Old Navy (tall size)
- Necklace: Tilly Bloom
- Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell (I’m not tired of them yet…)
- Bikes: “Oliver,” a 2010 Raleigh One Way (for N.) and “Sammy,” a 1986 Schwinn Le Tour Mixte (for E.)
Over the weekend N. and I had the delightful gift of free babysitting (thanks, sister-in-law P.!) and the chance to go on a bike date picnic in a nearby park to watch the fireflies. (I’ll be sharing more about the date itself on S.’s bike blog in the near future.) It was a beautiful night and also a great reminder to me of why I should celebrate my legs during this year’s Dress Your Best.
My legs have always been “there” and I’ve rarely been that impressed with either their aesthetics or their extraordinary functionality. Unlike A., S., and L., I’m not a marathoner or a serious runner. I can’t say that my legs have carried me tremendous distances or that they’ve overcome great adversity. They’re kind of pale and kind of…normal.
But, since beginning biking last year, my legs have acquired greater value in my mind. It’s not because of their athletic prowess — because honestly I don’t really ride that far or that fast — but simply because they have allowed me to participate in an activity that my husband loves and that I, in turn, have come to really enjoy. My legs have taken me on many a bike date exploration of our city with N., with little e., and with visiting friends and relatives. It’s become our “thing” that we do…together. We bike to our respective jobs, to church, to the grocery store, to friends’ homes. And when I pulled out little e.’s trailer and hitched him up to my bike for a library run, all on my own accord, I think husband N. almost burst with pride.
So thanks, legs, for giving me the ability to spend a special kind of quality time with my family. You may not be hardcore or super long or super toned or super anything, but you’ve given me a great gift. And I’m celebrating you by wearing short shorts.
Category: Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Night Without Grading, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, The Short of It, Vélocouture
Tags: bike commute > E. > Jeffrey Campbell sandals > maternity shorts > shorts
June 28th, 2011 § §
T-shirt: Forever 21
Necklace: gift from husband
Skirt: test run from Megan Nielsen of an upcoming pattern for DIY Maternity!
Wedges: Naturalizer, via DSW
Today I’m celebrating a body part towards which I was quite ambivalent for many years: my butt, my tush, my rear, my okole. When I was a bony freshman in college, I realized that my jeans didn’t really fit the way that my hallmates’ did. Maybe it’s because I didn’t wear pants often enough as a teenager in Hawaii, but once I was on the mainland I suddenly became very self-conscious about my lack of a butt. I used to joke that I didn’t really have a butt per se, just an expanse of upper thigh.
Now, Internet, I’m letting you know that I have a butt.
Somewhere through the past ten years of gaining weight, getting older, running a little, starting to bike, and doing endless squats to pick up little e…I got a butt. I haven’t thought a whole lot about if it’s “cute” or “shapely” or “mom-ish” or any of those things. But I do know that I love the way it looks in a pencil skirt with a good pair of wedges.
Gaining an okole — and being okay with it — as I’ve grown older has been a good reminder of how our bodies are not static. There is not some ideal form that we pass through from ages 18-24 to which we should continually aspire. Do I like every change my body has undergone in the last ten years? Not really. But I’m learning to be more graceful in accepting these shifts, acknowledging how my embodied experiences leave corporeal traces and how those traces can themselves change what I value and why.
P.S. In less than two years, I’ll probably really regret tying my shirt like this. But all the cool kids are doing it now and it gave me the silhouette I wanted for this outfit. I’m such a sucker for a good silhouette.
Category: Beltless, Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: E. > maternity pencil skirt > red wedges