27 January 2011 – Marooned

January 27th, 2011 § 18 comments §


  • Sweater Dress: Banana Republic Factory
  • Belt: Anthropologie
  • Tights: Italy
  • Shoes: BR
  • Blazer: Anne Taylor Loft
  • Scarf: thrifted
  • Bracelet: Accessorize

I’ve been on the hunt lately for dresses because life is so much easier when I can just match tights, belt, shoes and dress rather than several layers of separates. Basically, it’s the end of January and I’m feeling lazy! I scored this sweater dress (very similar to E.’s great burgundy dress) at the BR factory outlet recently and was trilled that it was on sale. I was a little worried that it was a tad short for teaching, but like E. said with her new yellow skirt, I decided that with tights it was fine. Even as a petite woman I’ve been finding it really hard lately to find dresses or skirts (that aren’t pencil skirts) that come to an inch or two above my knee rather than three or four inches above my knee. Is anyone else having that problem? I thought I’d treat maroon as a neutral and pair it with navy blue and brown (a combination with which E. has also dabbled). I added the blazer because it’s still freezing out.

This scarf is something that I thrifted when I was 5. Yes, you read that correctly. I remember going to the church fair with my grandmother and picking this one out specifically because of the gold details and the brilliant blue and orange. I guess it was only a matter of time before a few of my friends asked me to join their style blog (wink wink). The combination of the diamond patterned tights and the more scrolling floral motif of the scarf also counts towards my new quest to mix patterns!

It has languished in my dress-up box since I was about 10, but I recently was digging through the attic at home and salvaged a few items (including this costume jewelry pin) from my treasure trove. What items do you still have in your wardrobe from when you were a kid?


Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Mixing Patterns, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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20 December 2010 – It’s in the Bag!

December 19th, 2010 § 9 comments §

Crystalyn Kae Bag side, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Bag: Crystalyn Kae
  • Shirt: Splendid via Filene’s Basement
  • Sweater: Zen Cashmere via Filene’s Basement
  • Belt: Anthropologie
  • Skinny Pants: Banana Republic
  • Shoes: BR
  • Necklace: made by me!

Winter break is finally here. With the students all home and most of the faculty departing as well, I’m taking the opportunity to snap a few photographs outside before I duck out too. I have to admit that this outfit was actually worn last week, but not photographed due to end of term craziness, so I’ve re-staged it. I built this look around my new Crystalyn Kaematinee messenger” bag. You probably recognize the name because both A. and S. have reviewed other styles of bags by her. The one I picked to review is black tweed slashed with a pale green, blue, brown, and grey printed fabric, and I’ve been using it as a purse for about two weeks.

Crystalyn Kae Bag, originally uploaded by academichic.

I wanted to pull the blues and greens out so I decided on this turquoise top. Thanks to the plummeting temps I decided that a grey-brown cardigan would be a necessity and also play nicely with the color palette of the bag. Finally, black pants and grey felt heels completed the outfit. But I wasn’t satisfied with just one blue-green piece, and I wanted more of the blues to pop out. Also, the sweater is pretty cropped and I thought it looked funny on me since my trousers weren’t as high waisted as they might have been. I solved this dilemma by wearing my stretchy blue and brown belt a little above the waistband of my trousers, and thus visually extended the top. I also added a turquoise beaded torsade that I’d made this summer, which is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

But back to the bag. It happens to be the perfect size for me as a purse and easily fits my phone, camera, iPod (yes, I carry all three of those things separately because I do not yet have an iPhone!), keys, a moleskin notebook, pens, and a small paperback… and today my favorite on–the-go game Bananagrams!

Bananagrams!, originally uploaded by academichic.

The inside pockets help keep those things organized and the top closes with a single magnetic snap. I also like that the strap is adjustable so I can wear it long as an across-the-chest messenger bag or shorter as a shoulder bag. I think this Crystalyn Kae bag is going to come into some heavy rotation during winter break, so you’ll no doubt see it again! We often have readers ask about what bags we carry, but I wanted to turn that question back to you all. What types of bags do you like the most right now? Have you found one that fits all your schoolbooks and looks stylish too? What about on days off or smaller bags? (yes, I’m mid-slip in this photo, hence the awkward pose!)

Crystalyn Kae Bag front, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Academichic Product Review, It's in the Bag, Pants Please, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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12 November 2010 – Fall or Summer?

November 12th, 2010 § 4 comments §

Summer or Fall?, originally uploaded by academichic.


Similarly warm weather has swept all the way from Academichic Central up to New England and the temps are reaching the low 60s again after several days of bitterly cold rain. I welcomed this change and took advantage of it by wearing this breezy, cotton summer (or fall?) outfit. The brown skirt is something I traded with A. last summer since I had the exact same one in white! This skirt has narrow pintucks that create a subtle herringbone of “V”s all over. Hers was too short for her taller frame, but mine was just the right length for her. I replaced my white one with this skirt from BR and A. had another brown skirt as well. All in all a perfect trade. Anyway, I thought the brown skirt and shoes balanced the brighter bursts of color from the floral patterned shirt and blue belt.

Summer or Fall (close), originally uploaded by academichic.

The shirt is another vintage find from the attic, and the Peter Pan collar and delicate flowery design are definitely a throw back. To accessorize this outfit I chose a piece of jewelry I picked up this summer when I was visiting the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams, MA. Museum gift shops are often a treasure trove of interesting and unique (and occasionally handcrafted) jewelry. This leather cuff is soft to the touch and the narrow incised lines and punched holes create a subtle geometric design.

Zalud Leather Cuff, originally uploaded by academichic.

I thought that the leather and wool of my accessories played off of the soft cotton and cheerful patterning of the rest of my ensemble. A balance, like the weather, of summer and fall.

Category: Our Best Flatware, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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5 August 2010

August 5th, 2010 § 16 comments §

5 August 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Flutter Tank – J Crew
  • Black Pencil Skirt – Banana Republic
  • Black Pumps – DSW
  • Necklace – made from a gifted earring


I don’t know if the color of this top is exactly a neutral – its a kind of putty color that sometimes looks olive. J Crew calls it “mink.”  I’m a sucker for all the lovely shades of grey J Crew has invented but “mink” is less than helpful as a color description.  But, I’m using it as a neutral and considering this a mix of black and brown.  I wore this top with navy last time, but I think the black makes the “mink” look so much richer.

The top came with a thin waist-creating tie which I removed for this iteration. I tucked the base of the top into my high-waisted skirt and let the flutters drape over the top.  I think it makes this otherwise sweat detail a little more dramatic, even edgy.  I usually think of mixed neutrals as creating a generally soft look or sometimes a very polished professional look, but in this third stab at the color wheel challenge, I wanted to push my use of neutrals into a new kind of look.   I think “edgy mink” is definitely new for me!

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Fashion 101, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue
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3 August 2010

August 3rd, 2010 § 13 comments §

3 August 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Skirt – Gap
  • Tank- H & M
  • Belt – BR Outlet
  • Shoes – Banana Republic
  • Necklace – gift
  • Earrings – island souvenir
  • Cardigan – Banana Republic


Like E. and S. both said themselves, mixing neutrals is no real challenge for me.  I love my neutrals and love to mix them and was in fact crowned “our neutral-on-neutral queen” by E. last fall.  I’ve never shied away from black and brown, wearing it for both casual days and teaching days, and frequently pair navy with brown, with grey, or cream.  But, I think my favorite neutrals palate involves mixing shades of grey, brown, and beige as I have done many, many, many, times before.

3 August 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

I like that nothing in this ensemble exactly matches.  With the cardigan on I am wearing at least 6 different shades or either brown or grey (including beige).  The cardigan spent the entire day in my bag because it is ridiculously hot here in Academichic Central – so hot, even the over-air-conditioned campus buildings didn’t require an extra layer.

My favorite part of this outfit is hands down my new suede shoes!  I have been watching these shoes at Banana Republic since early this Spring, waiting for them to go on sale.  By the time they were within my price range, my size was gone (online and at the three stores withing driving distance from me) so I added them to my ebay search but had pretty much given up on them.  Then I got a text from L. last week telling me she had found them in my size on super sale!  She picked them up for me and gave them to me when we saw each other in NYC last week. I couldn’t wait to get home and build an outfit around them.  These shoes might just give the beloved brown wedges a run for their money as most worn shoes this fall!

Grey Suede Shoes, originally uploaded by academichic.

I often see things for E. S. or L. when out shopping and once in a while have even just picked an item up for one of them on occasion. It’s so much fun to have three other shoppers out there who know my style (and size and proportions) so well, but also a bit dangerous for the wallet!

Do you have anyone out there with an eye out for clothes or shoes you will love?  A.

3 August 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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9 July 2010

July 9th, 2010 § 12 comments §

9 July 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Leaf pendant: c/o Vintage Threadz
  • Top: Banana Republic Factory
  • Belt: from another dress
  • Skirt: ages old, from Ross
  • Bracelet: gift from Anna
  • Turquoise pumps: Steve Madden, gift from MIL

End Notes:

Today I got to do one of my favorite things: teach a class with A.! We had a “focus” day on Manet’s infamous painting Olympia and talked through — and demonstrated — a range of methodologies that have been applied to this well-known work. The fact that you can approach a single work of art in so many different ways is one of those nerdy delights that cements my certainty that I am an art historian at heart.

Turquoise Steve Madden Ulltra Pumps, originally uploaded by academichic.

A not-quite-as-nerdy delight? Pairing these bright turquoise pumps with an otherwise neutral outfit. All hail, the pop of color heel. Since I wasn’t going to be by baby e. in this outfit, I decided to accessorize a little more than I have lately, using blue green and green jewelry to tie the outfit together a bit more. And, oh yes, I’m pattern mixing my florals in the top and the bracelet. It’s wild, really.

Bracelet, originally uploaded by academichic.

I’ve been flipping through old outfits, imagining what they might look like with a turquoise shoe and getting excited about the possibilities. I think it might be time to return to the color wheel for another round…

9 July 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Mixing Patterns, Proportionally, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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17 May 2010 – The 3 R’s

May 17th, 2010 § 22 comments §

17 May 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Yellow cardigan: Banana Republic Factory
  • Saffron tank: Banana Republic Factory
  • Olive belt: thrifted
  • Skirt: Banana Republic factory
  • Patterned wedges: Kenneth Cole Reaction, via DSW

End Notes:

It’s been raining for days on end at Academichic Central, so today I decided to make my own sunshine and bring back out the yellow that I gushed about on my final day of Dress Your Best week.

(Speaking of, we have a series of round-up posts from DYB week coming soon! We continue to be so delighted by how many folks participated, but next year I want to hire a work study student to do all this data organization for us. Ha!)

As I put this outfit together today, I started humming Jack Johnson’s little ditty “Reduce, Reuse Recycle.” Indeed, I did reduce outfit-making anxiety by reusing and recycling items and combinations from previous outfits. This whole silhouette, for example, is very close indeed to the turquoise top, woven belt, and cream skirt that I wore last week. (Yup, I do own the same skirt in two different colors!) And I’ve worn these patterned wedges with this very skirt and saffron top combination. And, yes, I’ve paired this yellow cardigan and saffron top together before as well. Not so many originality points today.

Wedges, originally uploaded by academichic.

Then again, perhaps I could argue that the privileging of originality is a western construct linked with the masculine notion of the male genius and that by foregrounding the repetition and derivation within my wardrobe choices I am inhabiting a third space of style consciousness. Whee! Can you tell my semester is over and I’m on my one week break?!

What role does “originality” play when you’re putting together an outfit? Do you feel guilty reusing past combinations or do you embrace it?

17 May 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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24 March 2010

March 24th, 2010 § 23 comments §

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Turquoise blazer: thrifted
  • Patterned blouse: F21
  • Brown pencil skirt: NY & Co
  • Red Wedges: Naturalizers, via DSW
  • Necklace: vintage brooch, from grandmother

End Notes:

I usually expect blazers to be a neutral, and yet I couldn’t resist thrifting this turquoise velveteen blazer a couple of years ago, especially since it had elbow patches. How utterly professorial, right?

Perhaps because of its unusual color, I’ve tended to wear this blazer for more casual outfits, like jeans or bermuda shorts, never really considering it for more professional on-campus attire. But, I gave it a shot today, figuring that if anything was going to balance the stodgy-potential of a fuzzy, elbow patch jacket, it would be a slim pencil skirt and a blouse in an interesting pattern.

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

I do wish that a bit more of the blouse would have been visible, but I preferred the silhouette of the closed blazer better (though I did open the jacket when I sat down). Knowing that the mostly-hidden blouse wouldn’t be enough visual interest, I added a makeshift necklace, fashioned from one of my grandmother’s brooches, that echoed the swirls of the top’s pattern. And then I finished everything off with a kick of red in the shoe.

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Oh, how I wish I had something more interesting to add, but alas, I’m juggling too many research projects this week, and I’m trying to figure out how to organize a paper on consumption, class, and the exotic in Second Empire France. You can go ahead and tell me whether I should lead off with idea A or idea B, even though you have no idea what either of those ideas are.

Or actually, maybe you should just let me know if you, too, own a brightly colored blazer? What color? How do you style it?

24 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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28 February 2010

February 28th, 2010 § 11 comments §

28 February 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Scarf – courtesy of echo
  • Brown tank – Old Navy
  • Cardi – J.Jill
  • Brown cords – Ann Taylor Loft
  • Boots – Dillards
  • Yellow bag – vintage, garage sale find


For a last nod to our scarf month, I’m excited to showcase my new Echo scarf that I received courtesy of Echo Design. A. and E. already showed off their beautiful new Echo scarves, wearing them as a belt and as an Ascot tie respectively. I tied mine in the European knot and wore it loosely as a pop of silvery-blue with this brown and chartreuse outfit. I love how light and breezy it is and how the slight crinkled effect and unfinished edges gives it a casual and worn-in look.

Echo scarf, originally uploaded by academichic.

Echo Design generously sent us a last scarf for a reader giveaway, which we will offer in a last scarf month giveaway post this coming week, so stay tuned for that! We also have new themes coming for the month of March, more Fashion 101s, and more DIY posts, so check back tomorrow to find out what’s to come in the new month. Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying the weekend and having a great Sunday. S.

28 February 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Academichic Product Review, Beltless, Color Combinations, It's in the Bag, Office Hours, Pants Please, Research Casual, Teaching Outfits, Weekend Wear
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3 November 2009 – NaNoWriMoWear

November 4th, 2009 § 20 comments §

3 November 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


All remixed:


Yesterday’s outfit turned out to be a pretty perfect NaNoWriMo one, although my main thought when putting it together was that I hadn’t worn blue and brown together in a while and that needed remedying. Blue and brown is a wonderful color combination and seems to work in any season, don’t you think?

Brown and Blues, originally uploaded by academichic.

After mixing some blues with a good dose of brown, throwing a bit of gray in for good measure, and finishing with a pop of red in the earrings, I was set to start writing for the day.

We all know that boots and a scarf are a perfect cold-day remedy, but I’m now adding a jersey dress to that list as well. I think my perfect writing uniform for a cool fall day (if we’re taking pajamas off the list here) would include a comfortable pair of boots, a cozy pashmina scarf, and a soft pajama-ish textured jersey dress. Thus equipped, I was able to hit my day’s word count and spare time for some pesky dissertation work. Thanks, outfit!

Earrings detail, originally uploaded by academichic.

And on a related note, I’ve recently come across this wonderful post by writer Natalie Whipple on Tips for First Drafting. If you’re NaNoing along, you might also find it useful. I find her entire blog, Between Fact and Fiction, to be extremely charming and full of lovely advice and insights into the craft of writing. So if writing’s your thing, be sure to check it out! S.

Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Office Hours, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
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