May 26th, 2011 § §
- Striped tank: Target
- Striped cardigan: Target
- Necklace: Tilly Bloom
- Jeans: Old Navy Maternity
- Flats: DSW
After days of warm weather, a band of thunderstorms and tornados swept through our area, leaving much cooler weather (and some hail, but thankfully no significant damage) in its wake. Since I wasn’t expecting this when I chose my list of 15 rotating garments, I made a game-day call, switching in my long striped cardigan. I actually think this could be a better choice anyway, since it adds some length to my otherwise cropped collection of top layers.
I always think of Tania, of What Would a Nerd Wear whenever I wear this red striped shirt. Actually, Tania, I think this could be a totally “you” outfit, if I had a big bun on top of my head (or if you had a bun in the oven). Oh, the punning!
In any case, it was a simple outfit for a quiet day of chapter writing. As I settle into a routine of writing consistently from home and continue to adjust to a changing body, I am growing to appreciate more sincerely the little touches of an outfit that can make me smile when I look up, bleary eyed, from a book. Stripes stretched across a bump makes me smile. A cat wearing a Victorian dress makes me smile. The fact that I’m pattern mixing when no one else — save all of you, I suppose — will see me, makes me smile.
I end with the words of the inimitable Jack Donaghy: “It’s called power clashing. And I do it because I can.”
Category: Beltless, Maternity Style, Mixing Patterns, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual
Tags: 15 for 15 > black flats > E. > grey and red > maternity jeans > striped top > stripes
May 12th, 2011 § §
- Dress: French Connection
- Shirt (under): Splendid via Nordstrom Rack
- Sweater: Banana Republic
- Pants: Anne Taylor Loft
- Shoes: Ciao Bella via DSW
I realize that this is extremely similar to the first way I styled this dress when I debuted it in London (it was a birthday gift from my fabulous sister). However, the addition of skinny black ponte pants underneath made the shorter hemline feel safer, and the shirt under and sweater over provided needed warmth.
The inspiration to tie the built-in belt from the dress on the outside of the cardigan is something that my co-bloggers have been perfecting for years. E. takes the ties on a solid color jersey dress to hold down a top layer consisting of an unbuttoned patterned shirt dress; S. takes a removable sash from a jersey dress to wrap around her outer layer; and A. uses the ties on a wrap dress to integrate her cardigan into her look. You can also use ties from blouses to hold down cardigans. If you want more ideas, check out A’s tutorial on how to use built in ties over cardigans.
Category: Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Teaching Outfits, Uncategorized
Tags: belted > black flats > cardigan > L. > pattern > patterned dress
May 3rd, 2011 § §
- Jersey Dress: 5/48 via Filene’s Basement
- Shirt: Bebe
- Camisole: Gap Outlet
- Belt: American Apparel
- Shoes: Ciao Bella via DSW
This is an example of how to convert a dress into a skirt by using a belt to hide the bottom of the shirt as if it were tucked in. I can’t wait for summer when I can wear this dress without anything over it, but for right now a little more coverage is needed. Like the dress I was wearing last week, this one is almost too short, but at this point in the year I’m so tired of my wardrobe that I’m starting to reach for things that I would otherwise hold off on wearing to school. I’ve been reaching more and more towards jersey materials and especially to jersey dresses for their comfortable fit and flexibility. Having a range of stretchy wide belts helps to accomplish tricks such as this one. Do you have any tricks for wearing specific clothing items to look like something else?
Category: Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Mixing Patterns, Our Best Flatware, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: belted > black and white > black flats > L. > pink
March 31st, 2011 § §
- Shirt: Banana Republic
- Blazer: BR
- Scarf: secondhand from mom
- Belt: Anthropologie
- Trousers: BR
- Shoes: Cole Haan via Filene’s Basement
I can’t stop pattern mixing! I’m totally addicted. I’m a little disappointed with myself for not wearing this adorable knit herringbone blazer more often this winter, but I’ve been given another chance since it’s in the 40s and going to snow tomorrow. Like my outfit on Monday, today I mixed patterns but stayed in the same color family – granted this one is not the most daring being a completely black, white, and grey palette, but stripes, herringbone and polka-dots are a big move for me.
Maybe I like this because they are all regular and geometric? But I loved the abstract floral and simple striped skirt on Monday. Hmmmm…
What’s been your most daring pattern mixing to date? What do you think is the most successful pairing?
(Apparently for some reason today I was only able to look to my right while I was taking pictures. Weird.)
Category: Mixing Patterns, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Teaching Outfits
Tags: black and white > black flats > blazer > L. > scarf > striped top
December 8th, 2010 § §
- All: Banana Republic
- Shoes: Ciao Bella via DSW
As I was typing up this post it became glaringly apparent how many of my clothes come from Banana Republic! I chalk it up to the fact that their petite sizes fit me perfectly and my aesthetic jibes well with theirs. Case-in-point, this fitted knit tweed jacket with shawl collar, pockets, and single button closure. I very rarely will spring for something that is a new item (and therefore full price) at BR and prefer to hit the sale and clearance racks even at the outlet. However, over the summer as I was envisioning my new teaching life come the fall, this jacket was too good to wait for (although, it is now on sale in both tweed and black versions) and to top it all off the style name is “Sabrina” which happens to be my favorite movie of all time. I snatched it up immediately, and with the help of their 40% off sale it was still expensive, but at least I could tell my self I hadn’t paid full price.
When styling this jacket I couldn’t help but imagine the gorgeous and impossibly skinny Audrey Hepburn in the classic black and white film Sabrina. In a pivotal scene near the end of the movie she shows up to Humphrey Bogart’s office wearing black capris and flats and proceeds to tie a dishtowel around her waist and cook dinner (start at 2:30 in this clip).
These black pants and ballet flats are my attempt to capture a tiny fraction of her style.
The ruffled top also has a story as it’s my first full-on embrace of the ruffles trend that has permeated fashion for several seasons now and which my co-bloggers wear with such panache. I also like the point that A. brought up yesterday about her cascade of ruffles reminding her of a gentleman’s shirt from the 17th century. This top was a final sale on the clearance rack because it had a stain on it. I thought that I could get it out and with a little cold water and some Woolite I had a $70 silk ruffled shell for $7! However, to extend the season of a sleeveless item like this I decided to try layering a long sleeved T-shirt under it since in all likelihood I wouldn’t be removing my jacket anyway. This worked like a charm, and I liked the little edge of black peeking out as well as how the ruffles popped out over the lapel of the jacket when it was buttoned.
Some questions for you all: I was really proud of myself for salvaging something that was “defective” according to the store – What pieces have you rescued and resuscitated from the sale racks? Have you cut down something that was too big? Shortened a skirt? Converted items from shirts to tanks? I’d love to hear some of your stories to inspire more saves like this one! Thanks!
Category: Beltless, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Teaching Outfits
Tags: audrey hepburn's style > black and white > black flats > black pants > black shoes > blazer > film > L. > ruffles > skinny pants
October 1st, 2010 § §
- Cardigan: Banana Republic, free from swap
- Pants: Ann Taylor
- Top: Old Navy
- Shoes: Target
E.’s black and white week, day five. Black and white goes casual. That’s all, folks.
Category: Color Combinations, Our Best Flatware, Wardrobe Challenge
Tags: black and white > black flats > black pants > black shoes > E. > ponte pants > striped top > stripes
September 26th, 2010 § §
- Top: Banana Republic
- Belt: Banana Republic Outlet
- Pants: Banana Republic
- Shoes: Ciao Bella via DSW
- Fire Opal Necklace: my design
- Silver Bracelets and Ring: gifts
Following close on the heels of E’s recent post about skinny trousers, here I am wearing my go-to skinny black pants. Like many of you, I am apprehensive about the whole “jeggings” trend. I agree with E’s statement that I have no problem wearing skinnies on my own time, but I do question how professional it is in front of a classroom of impressionable youths. Dress code at my school is something that definitely needs work, and I find myself on a daily basis rolling my eyes at the distasteful ways in which these teen-age girls are parading their bodies around for all to see (please see my addendum and the comments on this post for an apology for this phrasing and further clarification and thoughts on this). I guess I am more old school than I thought, but I have strong opinions about what is proper and what is improper school attire. For me what it comes down to is material. I too have the ponte pants that E was wearing, but because the cut and material are clingier on me, I feel uncomfortable wearing those to school, but I frequently wear them for traveling because of their flexibility and weight. However, the pants I have on here have even more structure at the bottom to avoid a comparison with leggings, and the thicker fabric also helps to combat the nearly-naked feeling of the leggings, spandex, and even tights that some of my students chose to wear. While I am not a huge fan of the whole leggings-uggs-tunic ensemble, for me tightness is less of an issue than length. The skirt length my students seem to favor is about 1” below the behind, which I think is appallingly too short. However, my rant against skirt length is for another day. Today I’d like to talk about tightness.
What is too tight? As one reader noted, pencil skirts are just as snug, but seem infinitely more work appropriate. Likewise, well-fitted tops and tailored trousers are certainly acceptable. So why the rage against the skinny? I guess what it comes down to for me is trendiness. There is a fine line between looking nice and looking like you’re ready for a night out on the town. Especially when it comes to black pants, I’d like to avoid seeming like I’m ready to hit the clubs at a moment’s notice. I agree that there are ways to play down the tightness of a pair of pants – either with a longer shirt or some layering on top to balance – but for me the litmus test is: If I’d wear it out for dancing, I will not wear it to school. Perhaps harsh, and certainly there are pieces that can span a transition between work and drinks or a nice dinner, but on the whole, if it looks too evening chic, I leave it for after 6:00pm. To make this outfit Friday-night worthy I would have opted for my wide patent leather belt, patent leather wedges and some sparklier jewelry. As it was, I went for a matte black woven belt, my black flowered flats, silver jewelry and a necklace made from an Australian fire opal pendant that I picked up when I was there in 2005.
Now that I’m writing this I’m realizing what a fine line this is in my own head. I guess the answer is really “to each her own.” As for me, I’m more comfortable professionally wearing tight pants than I ever will be wearing a short skirt. I’m proud of my body, and I love my athletic curves. I do not think that tight clothes are the sole realm of those who are stick figures. Seeing as how E, A and I all shopped for the same Anne Taylor skinnies together, I’m interested to see what A has to say on this matter. You’ve probably noticed that all of us at Academichic have different opinions on these things and these kinds of questions are exactly the way in which sartorial choices can spark debate. Do you feel differently about tightness versus length? Which do you play with more?
Author’s Note:I apologize for not choosing my words more carefully and appreciate those who commented in response to this post. I can see how the phrase “parading their bodies around for all to see” could be interpreted, and I’d like to clarify my point. First, I am a feminist. I also teach in a secondary school (grades 9 – 12) and think that young people, girls and boys, should learn what is appropriate to wear in certain situations and what is not appropriate. The boys too need to learn things like taking off hats indoors, wearing dress shoes instead of athletic gear, and the value of tucking in their button down shirts. This does not mean that I am not a good feminist. Women and men should be allowed to wear what they would like. HOWEVER, and this is where my old-school side kicks in, I also believe that there are situations in which a very short skirt or a baseball hat are not appropriate and school is one such situation. Like it or not, what you wear dictates a great deal about how you are received. As our guest poster Sally McGraw of Already Pretty put it, “although we flex our creativity through our choices, we still dress within the bounds of social acceptability.” I would never pass judgment on a student’s character or intelligence or anything else about her based on what she was wearing, but I do find it within my boarding school teaching duties to help educate students about appropriate ways/times for self expression when operating within a school community. Because this is a residential school, the faculty technically act in loco parentis for these students. If these were my children of course I would want them to love their bodies, be unselfconscious, and express themselves as they so chose. However, I would also teach them when it is the right time and place to wear certain kinds of dress and when it is not. I see these same students day-in and day-out and what I am talking about here is just during the class day. Despite the fact that we are all on campus all the time, I don’t care what they are wearing on Saturday night, or at dinner, or over the weekend, or before breakfast. I also dress down at these times, and they see me wearing jeans, hooded sweatshirts, Ts, flip flops and any number of other casual elements. However, when the class day begins at 8:00am, I expect that they will be wearing clothing that is appropriate for the classroom and not distracting to themselves or others. I am not advocating repression, but I am proposing that certain guidelines should be followed in an academic setting.
Category: Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Teaching Outfits, Theoretical
Tags: belted > black and blue > black flats > black pants > black shoes > blue > L.
August 8th, 2010 § §
- T-shirt: Banana Republic
- Belt: Leather Report (via Southern Vermont Art and Crafts Festival)
- Pants: Ann Taylor
- Shoes: Ciao Bella via DSW
- Sweater (below): Banana Republic
Along the same lines as the brown and black debate, I fully endorse black and dark blue pairings. I think the key to mixing your neutrals is doing so deliberately and with style. True, if you are wearing black leather shoes and a brown leather belt you will look mismatched if the rest of your outfit does not support these accoutrements. However, if you walk out the door in the morning with confidence and panache, your outfit is already a success in my book.
Yes, this pose sums up my “panache” for today! For this ensemble I took my favorite black skinny pants, a nice navy blue T-shirt, and my new oxblood red leather belt to set off this rather dark combination. My T-shirt is pretty standard BR and has been on sale in stores for a while now along with the tanks of the same style. I like the fabric because it is light without being sheer, and the bias cut emphasizes what little curves I have. This belt is a recent acquisition and was literally made for me. I was at a crafts fair this weekend and came across Leather Report, handmade leather goods by Bradley Barnes.
After I had selected this gorgeous oxblood skinny belt (the only one of this color that he had!) he marked the loosest that I’d wear it and the tightest, punched the holes according to my measurements, and trimmed off the tail to a perfect length. While I know that experiences like this can’t happen on every shopping outing, it was somehow really special to know that this belt fits me and only me. He doesn’t have a website (not surprising given the personal detail he puts into each piece) but he will be at the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival in early October if you’re in the NE area and are looking for some nicely tooled leather.
These are actually not the same pants that I wore to NYC, but are also Ann Taylor. I took the plunge as it were, into the skinny pant trend some time this spring. I was very apprehensive at first – How could they not make me look top heavy? Do I really want my hips so exposed? Aren’t these glorified leggings? However, I had so admired the combination of skinny black pants and cute flats as well as skinny jeans tucked into boots that I finally gave in and with the help of A. and E. purchased what have become a staple of my wardrobe. I have yet to find a pair of skinny jeans that I adore, but I’m working on it! As E. noted in her first post about these pants they are structured enough to hold their straight leg and give you fabulous line AND stretchy enough to allow for comfort and complete flexibility. Even more importantly for us petite women, they are exactly the perfect length!!! These are a 2 Petite and fit like a dream. I’ve found that Ann Taylor and Banana Republic petite sizing is pretty dead on for me at 5’3”. And finally shoes, which to me can really make or break an outfit.
These black flats are super comfy and the detailing of cut leather flowers and leaves takes them from plain to pretty. I love these flats, but for this outfit I would have really liked some navy blue heels. A. and I have often bemoaned the fact that navy shoes are hard to find and often associated with being a flight attendant. However, these blue suede shoes from Banana Republic have been singing their siren song to me for a few weeks. I’m almost tempted to cave and pay full price for them because I want them so badly, but I am forcing myself to hold out for a little longer to see if come fall/winter they will drop in price. Oh, how I want blue suede shoes! What pieces for Fall do you have your eye on? Have you adopted skinny pants?
Category: Color Combinations, Fashion 101, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual
Tags: belted > black and navy > black flats > black pants > black shoes > L.
May 26th, 2009 § §
This week, we’re trying to create lab friendly outfits to try to see what life is like for those of you in the Sciences. I’ve had a brief taste of this a few years ago as I worked at a summer job in a biology lab and I also know from my extremely stylish mother, who’s a chemist, how difficult it is to translate your personal style into lab appropriate attire. The lab in which I worked allowed cropped pants, so I spent most of the summer in either cropped chinos or jeans and my same old pair of Birkenstock clogs. My style has come a long way since that stint three years ago, and I’d like to think that were I working in a lab today, I would be more apt at looking stylish despite the strict dress code.
Shoes!, originally uploaded by academichic.
One thing I would do is swap the daily Birkenstocks for various colorful and fun flats. I love a boldly colored shoe or a fun patterned flat and could see having a variety of colorful yet comfortable footwear at my disposal making my daily lab get-up more enticing. (Pictured above are all my shoes with one inch heel or lower and you can find the sources for all of them listed here.)
Black flats, originally uploaded by academichic.
I realize that this cardi is less lab appropriate (unless you wear a lab coat and then it doesn’t matter what’s underneath), but we just got it on loan from the weardrobe closet and I was dying to try it on today. Yesterday, E. demonstrated the crazy shape of it, but that’s what makes it so fun – you can keep playing with it until you find a shape you like. (I had the same instinct as E. to pair this billowy and flowey cardigan with a fitted pant for contrasting proportions). And for a more lab appropriate look, you could wear this same outfit with a more fitted cardi like my yesterday’s tan one (keeping the same color scheme but avoiding the excess fabric), or with a fun colored cardi to contrast the otherwise neutral colors or the dark skinnies and black flats. S.
Category: Beltless, Lab Friendly, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Proportionally, Research Casual
Tags: academic fashion > black flats > black shoes > cuffed > possibilities cardigan > rushing > skinny jeans
May 20th, 2009 § §
This is a really new proportion for me — a long tunic over walking shorts — but I think it works with my 7 months worth of preggers bumpage. I’ve worn this tunic before, layered over a sweater or under a jacket, but this is the first time it’s been warm enough to wear it alone and show off the fun neckline and pleated detailing.
As for the shoes, I was skeptical of pointy-toe heels for a long time before becoming a convert to their leg-lengthening optical abilities. A pointy-toe flat functions in much the same way, but without having to negotiate a stiletto heel. I love how these pleated flats are a bit more edgy than a ballet slipper but are just as easy to run errands in, which is what I’m doing today.
Finally, let me gush to you briefly about my new haircut. Every once in a while I convince myself that I should let my hair grow out a bit. This time, I got it into my head that the almost inevitable preggers face-bloat necessitated a longer haircut. But, really, I’m a short hair girl at heart and this stacked bob with a dramatic swing in front gives me far more confidence and spunk than a longer ‘do would. My mother-in-law has a wonderful stylist in Houston whom I adore and who understands and loves the texture of my Japanese hair. As he vigorously razored my locks yesterday he kept telling me, “I don’t mess around. You are going to remember me for four months.” Oh, Long, I will remember you. There is nothing like an awesome haircut to make a preggers woman feel hip and chic again. Whew.
Category: Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Research Casual, The Short of It
Tags: Bermuda shorts > black flats > black shoes > E. > maternity shorts > tunic