July 29th, 2011 § §
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.
Tags: A. > top ten
July 28th, 2011 § §
- 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).
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.
However, simply chopping and belting won’t work for every garment, so it was time to give the sewing machine a whirl!
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.
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
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!
Category: Independent Study (DIY), Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > belted > full skirt
July 25th, 2011 § §
- 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.
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!
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!
Category: Academichic Product Review, Dresses for Day, Dresses for Evening, Reaching New Heights
Tags: A. > blue > hat > wrap dress
July 21st, 2011 § §
- Dress – Lands End Canvas
- Belt – from L.
- Bag – Old Navy
- Headband – J Crew
- Sandals – H & M
- Earrings – Banana Republic
Since this is not my last post, I’ll hold off on my goodbyes. I would like to start addressing some of the (thought provoking, as to be expected) questions you all raised. First, some thoughts on shopping. This dress is the only new thing I have purchased all summer. I spent $10 at Goodwill in May and I can’t remember the last time I purchased something before that. I have to admit that this isn’t typical for me. Being a grad student, I’m always on a budget, but my expected summer funding fell through so now I am on an extra tight – counting my iced coffees kind – of budget.
So, how did I come to purchase this dress for almost $40? Well, I got the Lands End canvas catalog in the mail back in April and loved this chambray dress. I showed it to my mom, my sister, friends, anyone who would look at it. I thought about it. I pulled it up online and looked at it there. I imagined the various situations for which I could wear. I looked at it online some more. It went on sale. I thought about it some more. I got a coupon in the mail. I got dressed several mornings and thought: “that dress would be perfect for today.” I told A2 I was thinking about ordering the dress online. I thought about it some more. Finally, three months after seeing the dress in the catalog, I broke down and bought it. And, don’t think I didn’t consider sending it back. So, yes this in an extreme version of my shopping neuroses, but not totally outside my norm. I tend to agonize over any purchase over $20 and am notorious for my buyers remorse which has me bring a third of what I purchase back to the store. Sorry, no great shopping strategies to share! But, don’t you feel like you know me a bit better now?
So what are your shopping neuroses?
On another note, I got my haircut again. A bit shorter this time. And, I’m wearing headbands again! Funny story: Years after S. and I had met and become close friends and well into this blog project, we were reminiscing about how we met and what drew us to each other. We both wore Dansko’s. I was a training for my second marathon and she had just started loving running. She was super out-going and I was trying my best to survive in a class for German scholars. And, apparently, she liked that I could pull off a headband! Back then my hair was fairly short and I wore headbands on a fairly regular basis. When S. told me this – probably just 6 month ago or so, I loved her that much more! I’m going to miss sharing this special project with these incredible women. Oops, I guess I’m getting all sad and nostalgic too.
Category: Dresses for Day, It's in the Bag, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > chambray dress > sandals > summer style
July 19th, 2011 § §
All four of us at Academichic have some pretty big life changes up ahead.
- A. is about to begin a dissertation fellowship and is aiming to wrap up her degree in the next year.
- E. is about to become a mom of two. But before that happens she’s also teaching a summer class and moving her family into a new home.
- L. is embarking on her second year of teaching high school English with much more confidence in both her pedagogical abilities as well as her personal style.
- S. is about to welcome her daughter into the world any day now, and then she, too, is aiming to complete her degree over the next academic year.
That’s what we see ahead for ourselves in the coming months. What we don’t see, though, is the perpetuation of Academichic. After much thought and a little bit of angst, we’ve decided that this project has run its course for us and we’ll be closing up shop at the end of July. We’ll have a much longer, reflective post at that time, but for now we wanted to let you know where we’re heading. We want to leave this site here as a useful archive for everyone who has ever googled “feminism and fashion” or “what to wear to an academic conference” (which is really how this whole project started). To that end, we’ll be launching a series of wrap-up posts, pointing to our favorite past outfits, most enduring resources, most useful DIY projects, and most compelling theoretical posts.
But before we part ways, what do you want to know? Is there still some burning unanswered question you want answered? Let us know. We can’t promise we’ll get to all of them, but we’ll give it a shot.
Finally, thank you. We’ll express our gratitude to you, our readers, in a more extended format later, but for now know that we have treasured your questions, insights, debates, and feedback. We really do think that we have the most thoughtful and thought-provoking commenters out there.
Tags: A. > E. > L. > S.
July 18th, 2011 § §
- Skirt – Old Navy Sundress chopped by me
- Tank – Ann Taylor Loft
- Belt – Small Store in SF
- Shoes – Kenneth Cole Reaction
- Necklace – a lonely earring on a chain
What they are saying on the news is true – IT’S HOT IN THE MIDWEST. So, you can expect to see lots of this straps, light skirts, and curly hair from me. I’ve mostly been wearing shorts and tanks these days (or my swimsuit) while playing with toddlers. So for a coffee/work date with a friend, I pulled out the heels.
This skirt used to be a dress, that just didn’t get enough use in it’s original state, so I chopped it. I’ve been getting more adventurous with my scissors lately (and working on my limited sewing skills) and chopped three other garments just over the weekend. I’ll try to post some results for my scissor session in the next couple weeks. I just figure if the are old and/or cheap and I’m not wearing them anyway, why not attempt to give them new life. The worst that could happen? I end up with scrap fabric for when I eventually do master my sewing machine.
What about you? Do you fearlessly chop? Are you make impulsive (yet fairly permanent) alterations?
Category: Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue
Tags: A. > belted > neutrals
July 12th, 2011 § §
- Shirt – Gap
- Dress – J Crew
- Flats – Target
- Earrings – Aldo
I promised there would be more blue and white stripes to come! I wore this nautical (/patriotic?) ensemble on a much-needed date this past weekend. We just went up to our local brewery for a casual dinner and some delicious beer and most people (including A2) were in shorts and a t-shirt. But, when a much-needed date comes around, you better believe I’m going to spruce it up a bit more than that.
I love summer dresses! They are perfect for many of my favorite summer activities: casual date nights, summer parties, outdoor brunch, picnics, BBQs, music in the park, and so on. I don’t have nearly enough casual summer dresses (I now have a decent selection for summer weddings), but also don’t have the money for any new ones at the moment. So, I decided to revisit my closet.
I have been particularly pining over summer shirt dresses with cap sleeves and popped collars – preferably in blue and white stripe pattern. I’ve long loved this dress from Shabby Apple and for some reason this weekend the inspiration struck to try and recreate a similar look with pieces in my closet. So I pulled out a very old strapless white seersucker dress from J. Crew and this blue and white striped button-down shirt and started playing around with it. I’m really happy with how the look came together and I think it approximates the Shabby Apple dress – full skirt, shirt collar, breast pockets, a tie at the waist, and of course, blue and white stripes.
I’m already thinking about other shirt + dress/skirt combinations that will give me a similar silhouette. How are you creatively working with a summer budget? A.
Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Evening, Layers Upon Layers, Night Without Grading, Our Best Flatware, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > blue and white > dress as skirt > red shoes > stripes > summer style > tied shirt
July 2nd, 2011 § §
- Tank – Banana Republic
- Skirt – Gap
- Necklace – Limited
- Shoes – Banana Republic
- Bangles – Gifts from S.
- Earrings – Island Souvenir
I’m making this my last official DYB post, though I do plan to continue to think about my body in these terms and to periodically reflect on what I love about my own body. So, since I only managed three posts before this, I needed to highlight two more of my five body parts and ended up picking three: my height, my muscular chest and shoulders, my eyes.
First, this outfit is all about the height. I’m tall. I’m 5’9 when standing in my bare (very flat) feet. I’ve been this tall since 7th grade. Over the past 15 + years I’ve mostly loved my height. I get it from my dad, it means I have long legs, I can reach most things others can’t. I have many positive height-related memories. I was the second tallest student when I graduated 8th grade (second to another girl) which meant I got to bring up the back of the processional line. As a lanky 13 year old, I thought that was pretty cool.
As an adult, I continue to be proud of my height and never shy away from fairly high heels (my love of flats is about comfort, not my own height). When I saw this super high (4″) wedges on sale I had to have them. I love them! But, the first time I wore them out about a month ago, I suddenly felt super self-conscious. I was taller then everyone I was with (men and women) by quite a bit and several people noted it. And, I got teased! And, it stung! I’m not sure why I bothered me, but it did. I found myself slouching or leaning against walls and bars to appear shorter. It kind of ruined my night. Thinking about it a few days later, I felt silly for letting it bother me and vowed to wear my heels with pride!
I’m also celebrating my muscular chest and shoulders. I love the way this tank top highlights both my shoulders and my the upper part of my chest. I’ve talked about liking my very pronounced collar bone before, but the other day a friend pointed out that I have well defined, tight pectoral muscles. Hmm, who knew? Well, now I can’t stop noticing them and I kind of love. Random, I know.
Finally, I’m celebrating my eyes. Since cutting my hair, I’ve been getting more and more compliments on my eyes. I love the color of my eyes, which changes from slate, to sky blue, to turquoise depending on what I’m wearing, and I love my long thick lashes.
So, there you have it my list of 5 + a bonus: body shape, hair, hands, height, shoulders/pecs, and eyes.
I hope that all of you who have participated in DYB 2011 have found the experience as rewarding as I have. Remember, it’s not too late to participate. Right now, sit back and close your eyes and list 5 things about your body that you love. Your list can be body parts, facial features, aspects of your build, skin or hair coloring. Your list could recall conventional beauty, personal stories, or be totally random. Just, please take the time to make the list for you!
Category: Dress Your Best, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > denim skirt > high heels > wedges
June 28th, 2011 § §
- Tank – Ann Taylor Loft
- Skirt – chopped from a J Crew Dress
- Leather Belt – from L.
- Stripped Belt – from another dress
- Sandals – H & M
- Pride Beads – Maui Street Fair
- Earrings – Gift from S.
I warned you that due to my little yoga mat exercise I would be highlighting some pretty random parts during this round of DYB. Today I’m showing my hands some love. I’ve always liked my hands, but would have never thought of them as something to celebrate on a style blog. See, my hands are anything but ladylike. They are large, tough, wrinkled, scarred, freckled. I’ve had my nails manicured fewer times then I can count on my long, but less than slender, fingers. I keep my nails super short and I often have dirt, compost, or paint under them. But, that’s just the way I like them!
I’ve never much cared for long nails and nail polish just doesn’t last on these busy hands. I have a big scar on my left hand that I have had since I was 9 or 10 and every summer more freckles seem to appear all over the tops of my hands. I have very deep creases in my palms, which sweat when I’m anxious. See, these are not the hands of a lady, but I love them just the same.
When I told A2 I was going to highlight my hands, she smiled and told me she loved my hands, especially my short well kept nails that always reveal what I’ve been up to that day. She said I needed to photograph my hands holding a coffee cup, because when she thinks of my hands, she thinks of them wrapped around a coffee mug.
Do any of your body parts carry stories, reveal your secrets, or specially mark you as you? Are you giving them a gold star this week?
By the way, I’m counting this as blue and white striped outfit #7 even though it’s a bit of a stetch. I do have a striped belt and a striped bag, but it’s not the outfit I had in mind. It’s just been too hot to pull out all my striped items. Don’t worry they will make it out eventually.
Category: Dress Your Best, It's in the Bag, Our Best Flatware, Skirting the Issue, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > belted > hands
June 25th, 2011 § §
- Striped Tee – American Eagle
- Black Ponte Pants – Ann Taylor
- Studded Flats – Banana Republic
- Necklace – gift from sister L.
- Earrings – gift from S.
- Bangles – gifts
For my first DYB contribution I celebrate my figure, my body shape. I proudly dressed my wide hips, broad shoulders, and tiny waist. However, after writing that post, I started to think about my laments about the J Crew models and the straight-line silhouette I couldn’t pull off. And I remembered, this project is about celebrating the body you have. So, here you go, I might not look like Audry Hepburn, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to stop me from borrowing her silhouette!
I love belts and any other clothing trick that shows everyone that my waist is smaller than my butt/hips region. But, I also like all-over stripes and stripes just can’t always be belted. I think sometimes I convince myself I am celebrating my waist when really I am desperately trying to mitigate and hide my hips/butt/thighs. I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with using clothes to accentuate your best and in the process down play your “problem spots” and I will likely be back to belting tomorrow. But, for today I am going belt-free and dressing my best differently.
I also want to give a shout-out to my hair. As I’ve written before, a good hair-day can make my day and a compliment on my hair will make you my new best friend. I put a fair amount of effort into my hair and if I get a quick glimpse of myself in the mirror, I’ll check my hair (rather than makeup, shifted necklines, etc). I’ve been loving my new haircut, but it is much less predictable than my straight bob. I have very little control over what it does. So, today I am cerebrating a good hair-day that I couldn’t recreate if I spent all morning trying. (Don’t you think it looks a bid edgier than usual?) A.
Category: Beltless, Dress Your Best, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Proportionally, Research Casual
Tags: A. > embellished flats > ponte pants > stripes