24 March 2011 – Flowers

March 24th, 2011 § 10 comments §

24 March 2011 - Flowers


  • Sweater: Banana Republic
  • Tunic: French Connection
  • Belt: BR
  • Skinnies: BR
  • Shoes: Frye

Can you tell how pleased I am with this outfit? For our first day back in classes I decided that despite the dusting of snow we got last night it is most definitely spring and therefore I will break out the florals! Of course, while this shirt has a pretty tropical motif, in reality it is still in the 30s and the sweater was a necessity rather than a choice.

{Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Hitentaisei Rikon (Li Gun: Chinese name) from the Shuihu zhuan, 1827-30}

This tunic is another birthday purchase from my sister (thank you C.!) and I fell in love with the bright florals, which seemed vaguely reminiscent of Japanese prints. (Thanks to reader Alison for the correction! This is a Japanese print of a Chinese story, not a Chinese print as I had earlier written. Alison says that “this is a classic example of the Japanese ukiyo-e style.”)

I didn’t even realize it at the time, but my new flower belt from BR is a perfect match! I really wanted more of this shirt to show, so I pulled my sweater to the sides. This also created a more pronounced hourglass shape with the belt pulling it all in at the waist. How do you fool the eye to accentuate different body parts?

24 March 2011 - Flowers


Category: Mixing Patterns, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Proportionally, Teaching Outfits
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7 February 2011 – Mirari

February 7th, 2011 § 14 comments §


  • Necklace: “Mirari” by Orno Jewelry
  • Bracelets: gift
  • Ring: gift
  • Sweater: Theory via Off 5th
  • Yellow tank: J. Crew
  • Blue dress (as skirt): Even via Off 5th
  • Belt: mom’s
  • Tights: Target
  • Boots: vintage Charles David

Hip hip hooray for jewelry week! I have been known to base whole outfits around a single piece of jewelry, wear my favorite pieces when I’m in an especially stressful situation, and to add serious bling to a summer dress. This outfit falls into the first category in that the colors were inspired by the Islamic mosaics and Moorish architecture that also inspire designer Carla Smiley in her Orno Jewelry line.

Smiley, originally from Lebanon, studied architecture in Canada before she designed her first line of silver jewelry. For this ensemble, I started with the necklace that my sister got me for Christmas and then built from there (pun intended). I first came to love these bright geometric mosaics when I encountered a mihrab niche in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC). The bright blues, turquoise, yellows and greens appealed to my eye. For this look I knew I wanted to wear multiple shades of blue and my yellow tank, but the layering that this outfit took on was unplanned. I put on my blue dress, then the tank over it, then tucked the tank into my obi belt so that the dress was now a skirt, and then put my sweater on top to hide the sleeve of the dress/tank and voila! The red tights also made a triad and I couldn’t resist. I actually got a “whow” on this in the dining hall today. I told the person I took that as a complement.

I finished off the outfit with two more pieces of jewelry that are vaguely architectonic. The bracelets, which look very modern in their stark lines and solid weight, are from Santa Fe. The ring, a gift from my sister, is from Peru.

As you can tell, I love jewelry and over the years have collected many necklaces, rings, bracelets, and recently pins. I also am a “beader” and have several necklaces that I strung myself. Be sure to come back on Friday for our give-away surprise and Saturday for my Weekend Workshop on how to make a necklace hanger! Check out more academichic baubles on Flickr. Enjoy the rest of jewelry week!

Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Teaching Outfits
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2 December 2010 – Drama Queen

December 2nd, 2010 § 8 comments §

2 December 2010 – Drama Queen, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Puff sleeve top: Target
  • Necklace: Forever 21
  • Cummerbund: thrifted
  • Skirt: Gap, hand me down from SIL
  • Tights (two pairs): Target
  • Booties: Steve Madden Ollie

End Notes:

Having just hurtled through another flaming hoop of academic rigamarole, today’s guiding principle when getting dressed was “drama.” Puffy sleeves? Check. Big necklace? Check. Satin cummerbund?. Got it.

Oh, right. And lace tights. A couple of days ago Elaine of Clothed Much posted an outfit with dramatic lacy tights from Target. This prompted me to remember that I had grabbed a pair of said tights on clearance at the end of tights season last year but had yet to break them out this year. It was too cold today to wear them alone, but, like L., I decided to layer two pairs of tights. My combination of lace over gray wasn’t as playful as her magenta and purple combination, but it got the job done and I’m looking forward to many further iterations (Black over peacock? Yes, please).

In the end, I’m not sure how dramatic I really ended up looking. Maybe striking a better pose, ala John Singer Sargent’s Madame X would help?

What do you wear when you want to be dramatic? I think I might need a bigger necklace.

Category: Layers Upon Layers, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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Fall Trend: Minimalism (and pink!)

October 28th, 2010 § 17 comments §

Minimalism – Pink Stripes, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Silk knit tank top: Banana Republic
  • Belt: Betsey Johnson via Filene’s Basement
  • Skirt: gift via London Fashion Week-end
  • Wedges: L’Autre Chose via London Fashion Week-end

This outfit is my first attempt at the fall trend of “Minimalism.” Strangely, when E., A., and I read that Minimalism was “in” for the fall, the three of us, who are all trained in art history, wondered what exactly Minimalism in the context of style meant? For some reason it just didn’t make sense. The definition of Minimalism we had come to know was closer to the Encyclopedia Britannica version which states that Minimalism is:

Chiefly an American movement in the visual arts and music originating in New York City in the late 1960s and characterized by extreme simplicity of form and a literal, objective approach… Use of the hard edge, the simple form, and the linear rather than painterly approach was intended to emphasize two-dimensionality and to allow the viewer an immediate, purely visual response. They turned for inspiration to the impassive, quiet works of Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt, exponents of the color-field branch of Abstract Expressionist painting.

Canto XIV, Barnett Newman, 1964, originally uploaded by academichic.

True to this definition Stylebakery.com defined Minimalism as having “clean lines, sleek silhouettes, a lack of embellishment… these are the hallmarks of this season’s minimalism trend. With looks so understated, perfect tailoring and quality fabrics are a must.”

Minimalism by InStyle, originally uploaded by academichic.

I decided I needed to take the plunge with Minimalism. I wanted to include pink for day 4 of Blogging for Breast Cancer aWEARness, but I tried to keep the outfit as simple as possible. Similar to E’s note that her potential interview outfit was influenced by a Marc Rothko painting, the double lines in this skirt have always reminded me of Barnett Newman paintings (one pictured above). I feel so confident when wearing this skirt that it was actually what I wore to a very important grad school interview in NYC. Maybe it’s because my sister bought it for me at London Fashion Week-end (a perk of having a sister who lives full time in London!), but I feel more sophisticated and fashionable when I put this skirt on. To complete the “Minimalist” look I decided on a simple silk knit top, and matching wide patent leather belt and wedges. I think wearing the belt officially disqualifies me from being 100% on trend, but I’m not the one walking down the catwalk, so I styled this outfit for me.

Black Wedges, originally uploaded by academichic.

I didn’t wear this to school, but I did wear it out on the town for one of my rare nights off. Where I am in private secondary school-land, we just finished up Parents’ Weekend, so I took the opportunity to go out to a nice dinner with some friends and eschew the dinning hall food for a night. I liked this look and will definitely make another more daytime appropriate attempt at Minimalism. I’m already envisioning my nude fishnets, nude leather shoes, and grey sheath dress…. with no belt!

Minimalism, originally uploaded by academichic.

Remember it is still Breast Cancer Awareness month. Please see the links below and remember to do a self-exam and encourage the women in your life to do so as well. Prevention and early detection are key!



BreastCancerAwearness, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Night Without Grading, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Wardrobe Challenge
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E: What I Might Wear

October 6th, 2010 § 34 comments §

In my dream world — the one where there are lots of academic jobs and a position at your ideal institution opens up right as you’re finishing your degree — I can imagine myself applying to at least two different kinds of college teaching jobs. I would be interested in teaching art history at an art school, and I would be interested in teaching at a small (likely faith-based) liberal arts college. Were I to land on-campus interviews in either of these scenarios, the type of school itself would certainly play a role in what I might choose to wear, with definite adjustments for the season, the geographic location, the “feel” of the school, etc.

As always, the usual caveats apply. This is meant to generate ideas, not offer didactic advice. Bodies are not neutral, so how your body is perceived socially will certainly impact how the clothes you put on them are received. And confidence is the best accessory, so if wearing a really sharp, tailored suit is what makes you feel polished and accomplished…then I say go for it. As I’ve already mentioned, I will most likely go suit shopping — at the very least for great, professional separates — if and when I go on the traditional job market.

But let’s indulge in a little make-believe and pretend that a) my dissertation has magically written itself; b) I suddenly have two interviews and I want to wear something besides the traditional pants suit; and 3) the hiring cycle fits with out current season. Let’s say that School #1 is an art school in the Midwest and School #2 is an evangelical liberal arts school on the East Coast.

For School #1 I might wear something like this:

Knit Blazer and Trousers, originally uploaded by academichic.

This is not a suit. It is, however, a professional-looking ensemble that is also eminently movable. While trapeze jackets might not be on-trend right now, I think they have a classic quality about them that plays nicely against the more structured trousers and fine gauge sweater. And, importantly, because it’s a ponte knit, it passes the arm swing test with flying colors. I imagine that this could be important since I definitely lecture with wild gesticulations. I like that this has some of the components of a pants suit, but there’s a little twist on proportions, shapes, and color that personalizes the outfit without being distracting.

Polished Garnet Necklace Detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

Speaking of colors, I love that the eggplant jacket and amber necklace warm up the otherwise harsh black. I kind of feel like a Rothko painting, and that seems appropriate for an art school setting without being (I hope) cliche. (On a more practical note, currently these pants are hemmed for sizable heels, but for a real on-campus interview, I would wear pants hemmed to wear with a lower black heel or wedge.)

For School #2 I might wear something like this:

Skirt and Blazer, originally uploaded by academichic.

Honestly, I would prefer to wear a skirt suit to an institution like this one, but a similar feeling can be created by wearing a blazer over a sheath dress. A benefit to this is that there are less pieces to mess with and no tucking issues to fret over. Despite my previously articulated misgivings about this blazer, I think it works out okay in this iteration since I’m visually raising my waist anyway with the dress. It’s a relatively classic — rather than trendy — cut, and it also adds some textural interest to the outfit overall. I kept my jewelry simpler: diamond studs and a jade ring worn as a pendant for a teeny little pop of color that is more in tune with my aesthetic than the brooches or scarves many advice columns suggest. And yes, I did roll up my sleeves. I think some of you will tell me this is a no-no, but I feel so much more like me and so much less liable to fidget. Hey, I know my weaknesses. (These shoes are not one of them. I’ve walked a mile straight in them without issue.) Overall, I feel really powerful in a great fitting dress and jacket, and a bold shoe only cements that confidence.

Knockout, originally uploaded by academichic.

Neither of these outfits are going to go down in the annals of Academichic as E.’s Best Look EVER. They aren’t fashion Statements with a capital S. But an interview outfit should make me the star, not my clothes, and I think that both of these remain true to my personal style while also being appropriate for their respective scenarios. After all, no one’s going to hire my closet.

Category: Color Combinations, Interview Attire, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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July 25th, 2010 § 39 comments §

We’re thrilled to welcome a new voice to Academichic in time for the upcoming academic year! “L.” was in the same department as A. and E., and recently completed her M.A. Now a new teacher in a new climate, she’s getting ready to tackle a particular set of wardrobe challenges while developing a post-grad school style that still incorporates her love of hot pink. We’re delighted to have her on board, so please give her a warm welcome!

2010 Academichic July 21 – 09, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Top: Banana Republic
  • Skirt: Banana Republic Outlet
  • Belt: American Apparel
  • Shoes: Tahari via DSW
  • Necklace: gift


Hello everyone and thank you E., S., and A. for inviting me to be a “post-doc” on Academichic! As E. mentioned I recently completed my M.A. and have departed the mid-west for the cooler climes of New England. Having come from extreme humidity it was refreshing to arrive in my new home and realize that come winter I will be able to layer, experiment with colorful sweaters, and show off my collection of tights. But back to right now…this summer look was inspired by a recent museum visit during which Little Dancer Age Fourteen by Edgar Degas was featured. Her proud stance, tight bodice, and knee-length tutu stood out in a room full of museumgoers in shorts and T’s. I know it is dangerous to dress-like-art (see Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress from 1965), but I went for it anyway.

I have been wearing this flowy white skirt all summer, but usually with slouchier more bohemian tops and a wide woven belt. However, this is my favorite combination yet, and the fitted top gives me definition that helps to offset the fullness of the skirt. I am happy that my stretchy purple/maroon belt creates an analogous color paring with the lilac tank, and the tiny ruched edge poking out above the belt adds to the ballet feel of this outfit.

originally uploaded by academichic.

I try to stay away from being too “match-y” but I could not resist wearing this amethyst necklace on a gold chain to help tie in my gold wedges. I am a big fan of metallic shoes (as regular readers will see in the future!), and I pare them with casual, formal, day, night, pants, and skirts — anything that needs a little shimmer! I love these wedges because they seem to be the perfect height to make my calves attain that long-lean-I-spend-2-hours-a-day-doing-pilates look (without actually doing the pilates). Also, being 5’3” it helps to boost me up a few inches.

originally uploaded by academichic.

originally uploaded by academichic.

That’s all for this post. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing more wardrobe ideas with you in the months to come!


Category: Color Combinations, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue
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10 June 2010 – Cluj, Romania

June 10th, 2010 § 10 comments §

10 June 2010 – Cluj, Romania, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Teal scarf – souvenir from Prague
  • Green top – Old Navy, thrifted
  • Skinnies – S. Oliver
  • Flats – Palladium
  • Shades – drug store


After the day in Sibiu, T. and I spent some time in Cluj, Romania. I continued my pattern of dressing comfortably for lots of walking and sightseeing. Wearing those flats was a good idea too since we ended up walking up a somewhat steep hill for this gorgeous view of the city. Coffees with a view – bliss.

To add a bit of interest to my outfit, I looped this teal and silver scarf around my neck, creating an analogous color mix with the green top. I used to think analogous color mixes to be a little ‘too close for comfort’ but after doing our Fashion 101 series on colors, I’ve become quite enamored with this subtle yet beautiful color combo. I picked up this teal scarf in a little shop in Prague on my recent trip there as a little keepsake from my travels and it was nice to already pull it out and enjoy it.

Analogous Color Mix, originally uploaded by academichic.

Yesterday, I noted how I often like to peek in thrift stores for some unique yet affordable souvenirs from my travel destinations. And just today, I came across this awesome post from the creative Tricia Royal, founder of wardrobe_remix and writer of Bits and Bobbins. Check out this cool collage she’s working on using the colorful price tags of thrift store items…

I wish I had kept all my tags over the years, especially since the collection would include pieces from all over Europe, Canada, and the US. Tricia is actually looking to collect more tags from all over the world if possible and is asking for anyone willing to send thrift tag donations her way. If you thrift often or on occasion and would like to support this art project, read the full details here on Bits and Bobbins. It looks like my tags will be making their way to New York to find stardom in the art world soon. S.

10 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.
Coffees in Cluj, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Sabbatical
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12 April 2010

April 12th, 2010 § 18 comments §

12 April 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Tie dye scarf: courtesy of Nepali by TMD Designs
  • Top: Old Navy
  • Skirt: self-fashioned from a pair of undergrad jeans
  • Belt: borrowed from another dress
  • Orange pumps: Dolce Vita, via solestruck.com

End Notes:

Today’s outfit was — I think — a good example of how little pops of color can liven up an otherwise neutral ensemble of basics. I borrowed this seafoam green belt from another dress, to break up the gray and denim, and then added two different shades of orange, a red orange for the shoe and a yellow orange with the scarf. At first I was so proud of myself for doing a split complementary color combination, but then I consulted my color wheel and realized that it’s not, really. Actually, it doesn’t fit that neatly into any of the color combination modules we explored before. It does, however, kind of remind me of a Cezanne landscape painting, and I can run with that.

(Paul Cezanne, The Bay from L’Estaque, c. 1886, oil on canvas)

And while the outfit still worked without the added swath of yellow-orange:

12 April 2010 – without the scarf, originally uploaded by academichic.

…I really do prefer it with this really lovely bamboo scarf that the generous folks over at Nepali by TDM Designs sent us. I’m loving the lightweight, organic bamboo fiber and the fresh citrus color that’s perfect for spring. Plus, as both Winona’s guest post and the most recent issue of Lucky Magazine showed, tie dye is another spring trend, and Nepali by TDM Designs continues to be spot on both in style and socially responsible business practices.

12 April 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

(We’ll have an opportunity for you to win your very own tie dyed bamboo scarf from Nepali by TDM Designs very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!)

You may be waiting for me to announce that I have yet another lingering high school misgiving about tie dye’s return to style but…surprise! I’m actually pretty excited. I have great memories of making shibori (basically Japanese tie dye) t-shirts at junior high sleep overs, and I’m tempted to see if my skills remain intact enough to make a shibori tank top or some other such garment. Yes, it’s my Japanese hippie side coming out to play.

12 April 2010 – back, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Academichic Product Review, Color Combinations, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
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