E.’s Top Ten, Year Three

July 27th, 2011 § 66 comments §

I hate writing conclusions. When I was writing my MA thesis I panicked over my conclusion for a couple of weeks and then purposefully went to bed stressing out about it in the hope that my subconscious could work through it for me. (It did, actually, and I woke up and scribbled down my dream conclusion the next morning.) I’ve yet to have a similar fit of inspiration for writing out my concluding thoughts for a project that has been so meaningful and serves as a reminder of how much I — and my life — has changed over the past two and a half years. (In fact, if you want to see how my style has evolved through this blog, you can check out my Top Ten from Year One and my Top Ten from Year Two.)

I’ve transitioned from full-time grad student to full-time grad student and full-time mom. When we started this blog I was just barely into my second trimester of pregnancy with baby e. Now he’s an active, inquisitive toddler who can say “dissertation.” I’ve transitioned from coursework to being ABD (that’s “all but dissertation” for those of you with normal jobs). I tackled my comprehensive exams, wrote and defended a dissertation prospectus, and even turned in my first chapter draft. I’ve also transitioned from someone who worried quite a bit about how others in academia would perceive me to being someone who is much more confident in her own mind, her academic project, and her personal commitments. And, finally, I’m about to transition from being a mother of one to a mother of two. (And yes, I’ll come back to let you know that baby #2 has arrived.)

Perhaps this increased confidence can be seen in the outfits that have been my favorites from the past year. Half of my top ten are unapologetically bold in their color combinations. Gold and peacock; almost neon coral and purple; hot pink, mustard, and purple; magenta and coral. My personality is not naturally outgoing, bubbly, or bright, and wearing these colors does not make me confident. But they do serve to remind me that I can be mighty, not meek.

I think I also took more risks this year, breaking “rules” that had somehow embedded themselves in my psyche. Like…no flowers before February. Or horizontal stripes make you look wider. Or horizontal and vertical stripes should not be worn simultaneously. I love these outfits not only for their aesthetics, but because they represent me pushing myself to try new things…and then wear it in public.

I echo much of what S. wrote: some days this was a repository for thoughts and discussions that would have had few other outlets. On other days, it was just about wearing something that made me smile. And some days it was about trying out a trend, like tying a t-shirt into a knot or wearing a midi-length skirt. I actually have deep misgivings about experimenting with fashion trends…I worry that it breeds even more consumerist tendencies or that it makes me seem frivolous or too focused on fleeting ephemera rather than Very Important Academic Things. And while those concerns might be valid on some level, sometimes, for me, trying a trend — particularly when it just involves tweaking something I already own or thrifting a $3 skirt — is a playful gesture that can be healthy and even a tiny bit subversive in my Very Intellectual Life. Bet you didn’t know there was so much riding on that midi skirt, huh?

My final choice is less about the outfit itself and more about the motivation behind it and the discussion it prompted. Calling attention to something I’m highly self-conscious about — my asymmetrical face — opened up quite a floodgate of responses from you all. And I loved it. I loved how being honest with you about my insecurities could prompt some of you to reconsider your own perceived flaws. I loved stories of other asymmetrical faces, crooked fingers, bent noses, and two-tone eyes. Letting you see my weakness was, in the end, an incredibly empowering thing. It’s moments like those, when theory, practice, and faith intersect in meaningful ways, that have meant the most to me on this blog.

So thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for being patient with how long it takes us to answer questions sometimes. Thank you for rejoicing with me in big life milestones, both personal and professional. Thank you for letting us know that you’ve tried out a new color combination for the first time or bought your first pair of brightly colored shoes or mixed patterns or developed a passion for belting. Thank you for being willing to engage in hard questions and in complicated issues.

And thank you, especially, to A., S., and L. for their friendship and collaboration over the past few years. The ability to work with you and to make something we’re proud of, together, has been a source of great joy.

- E.

P.S. For those who’ve asked, here’s what my wedding dress looked like. And yes, I look “so young” because this was, in fact, six and a half years ago.

P.P.S. My name is Elissa.

Category: Resources
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E.’s Principles For Maternity and Nursing Wear

July 26th, 2011 § 9 comments §

Given how differently women’s bodies experience pregnancy, post-partum, and nursing, I’m always a little leery of offering lists of “must-haves” for any of these particular wardrobe situations. When I have pared down my wardrobe to essentials, I’ve tried to emphasize how these are my essentials, an extension of my personal style, tweaked for the circumstances at hand. I readily admit that a pair of orange pumps might not be on everyone’s “must have” list. (But wouldn’t it be fun if it was?)

That said, a lot of you have asked for tips on dressing through pregnancy and nursing. I would like to recap a few principles, if you will, that have guided me in building my own wardrobe for those particular demands. How you translate them is entirely up to you…


E.’s Maternity Wardrobe Principles:


1. Be yourself. Find items that make you feel like you

6 July 2009

This was perhaps my primary guiding principle for my first pregnancy. I still love the outfit above because it just feels like “me.” Bright color combinations, interesting but not breakable jewelry, pop-of-color shoes…these are all things I love when I’m not pregnant, too. Together, they let me feel like “me,” even though I’m so-and-so-many pounds heavier, a bit puffier, and noticeably slower.

2. Challenge yourself. Experiment with items that play with the particularity of your pregnant shape

22 April 2011 - Pop

24 June 2011

This might sound like the exact opposite advice of the first point, but stick with me here. As important as it is to perpetuate aspects of your signature style through the pregnancy — whether in color mixing, pattern, jewelry, or overall “feel” — I’ve realized this time around that it’s also important to embrace your changing body by trying out silhouettes and patterns that you might have passed by in your pre-pregnancy days. I will probably not be wearing a form-fitting, wide horizontal striped dress post-pregnancy. But for this final trimester I’ve reveled in how particular and perfect this dress is for my body right now.

3. Do it yourself. Learn when to buy “maternity”…and when not to

9 May 2009 - Evening Shower

This is also related to the first two points. Sometimes maternity clothing retailers are simply not going to make the things that you want to wear. I wanted bright skirts this summer and all Gap maternity gave me was some putty colored neutrals. A thrifted peach midi-skirt and a dress cut into a skirt were both improvised measures. Or, during my first pregnancy, I refashioned a maxi dress into a drapey, punchy knee-length number because I wanted something bold and a wee bit sexy to wear.

20 April 2009

On the other hand, I said “yes” to maternity pants and bottoms. I carry very low when pregnant, and while some of my friends can wear their regular pants throughout the pregnancy using the rubber band through the button hole trick, my pants are the first things to stop fitting. Sometimes there’s this weird pressure to proclaim, “I did it all without buying maternity clothes!” as if it’s a sign of just how creative and adaptable you are. But I’m just letting you know, I bought maternity pants. I bought maternity shorts. And I’m really, really glad that I did.

4. Laugh at yourself. Sometimes it helps to have a little bit of a sense of humor.

29 April 2011 - Happy Last Day of Classes

Hey there, inner disco ball.


E.’s Nursing Wardrobe Principles:

If you decide to breastfeed after the baby arrives, your wardrobe will again have to meet some extraordinary demands. How do you adequately cover an expanded bust while still, well, being able to easily uncover said bust when necessary? Frankly, a lot of this depends on the particulars of your own anatomy and on your baby. Generally, though, you’ll need to be able to have access from either below, above, or the side. Access from below — i.e., lifting up my top — never really worked for me. I was pretty much a top and side kind of lady an

1. If you find something that works, buy multiples.

7 September 2009 19 August 2009 - Superhero Split

I loved how these nursing tanks from Old Navy worked (and I’m sad that there’s nothing being sold like them now) and I wish I had bought more. I got a LOT of mileage out of these two colors.

2. Button-downs aren’t only for shirts.

25 August 2009 - Shifty

Obviously, button-down shirts are among the easiest breastfeeding solutions. I’m not much of a button-down shirt wearer usually, but I did develop a deep love for button-down shirt dresses, especially since they proved to be eminently remixable.

5 November 2009 - Take One 20 January 2010 - First Day of School

3. Elastic and surplice necklines can be your friends.

25 February 2010 1 September 2009

This may be an obvious point, but looking for these necklines when thrifting and shopping let me bust out of a nursing tank and cami rut.

4. But, a cardigan might be the very best friend.

21 August 2009 - Sundance 16 September 2009 - Mom Uniform

Oh, my cardigan collection. My “new mom” uniform became an elastic waist skirt (to mitigate the post-partum belly), a nursing camisole, and a cardigan. Good thing I had a lot of colors to choose from. In fact, I started carrying an extra cardigan around with me in the diaper bag in case of disastrous spit-up situations.

I hope that those of you who have asked for maternity and nursing wear tips find these principles useful. In the end, they’re really not that different from the principles that guide my regular wardrobe-building mantra: dress the body you have in clothes that you love…and can throw in the washing machine.

Category: Resources
Tags: > >

22 July 2011 – A Little Bit Light-Hearted

July 22nd, 2011 § 6 comments §

Stripes Again


  • Dress: Motherhood Maternity
  • Yellow pattern flats: Target, thrifted new
  • Necklace: consignment store
  • Fence chalkboard art: courtesy of little e. and his friends

End Notes:

I started teaching a summer class this week. At the beginning of the week there was a question as to whether or not the class could continue due to enrollment and my wardrobe choices reflected that uncertainty and the desire to establish myself as an instructor who could be taken seriously. That meant business casual separates: gray trousers, a gray skirt, my cropped navy blazer. (Of course, I didn’t stop wearing bright shoes. Pink, blue, and orange pumps all made appearances). But today, now that the class is assuredly moving forward and I’ve established a good rapport with my students, I got the itch to wear something a little more out of the box.

Whenever in wardrobe doubt, I call in reinforcements. That meant texting A. this morning: “Is it too early in the semester to wear my striped dress?”

“Nope,” she replied.

(Of course, A. is totally my stripe-enabler. I don’t know when she would tell me that stripes, in some form, would be inappropriate.)

So today is a wonky belly day, a little light-hearted reminder to have a bit of a fun at the end of an admittedly stressful week. I can’t look down without smiling.

Stripes Again


Category: Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Teaching Outfits
Tags: > > >

E. On A Lot and A Little

July 21st, 2011 § 9 comments §

Dolce Vita Pumps

In response to some of your “final, burning questions,” I wanted to reflect today on one of the biggest effects that style blogging has had on me: nurturing a desire to BUY less and DO more with what I already have in my wardrobe. Sometimes I’ve been more successful than others, but I want to celebrate the items that have been particularly and surprisingly remix-able as I’ve gone through several significant life and body changes.

Now, I obviously haven’t stopped shopping altogether since blogging. Still, I think that I’ve become a lot more self-conscious about where and how I acquire clothing since starting this blog. I’ve definitely continued my love of a good sale, but I’ve also rediscovered my love of thrifting and uncovered a penchant for refashioning existing garments and helping to organize clothing swaps. S., L., A., and I all have different personal convictions about where we shop and what brands we support, but I have always valued the thoughtful dialogue that comes along with the recognition that, on some level, the statement that you make through what you wear hinges not only on visual appearances but also sourcing and motivation.

That said, while I have made a self-conscious effort to do my research and try to thrift more frequently, I do still shop at a lot of big box stores. And I will admit frankly that limited time plays a big determining factor — some might argue that it is too big a factor — in how I shop. Thrifting or finding vintage treasures on eBay or sewing my own clothes or even hunting down independent boutiques takes a lot of time. And in certain seasons of my life….well, time is a very rare thing. I say this to be honest with you all and to acknowledge that tensions exist (and probably always will). I don’t want to paint myself as operating on a superior plane of enlightened clothes-purchasing. Sometimes I’m just a tired mom that orders things online from Old Navy at 11:00pm because I can get free shipping and simultaneously buy another bundle of socks for baby e.

BUT here’s where style blogging comes in. Because I have a visual record of what I’ve worn and because I have so much inspiration at my finger tips (thanks, Internet), I am more prone than ever to figure out a new way to wear something than go out and buy a new garment. I’ve already gushed about some of the wardrobe workhorses that I own (like my little navy dress and my mustard blouson top), but here are a few more garments that I’ve worn in all three years of our blogging career.


The Expected: Navy Three-Quarter Sleeve Blazer

26 May 2009 3 March 2009 17 March 2009 - Getting Closer 26 March 2009 - With Jacket

I bought this blazer expecting it to be a workhorse. I have not been disappointed.

15 April 2009 20 April 2009 1 September 2009 23 April 2010 - Faux Floral

16 October 2009 - Man Pants 8 March 2011 - Is It Spring Yet? 14 June 2010

7 April 2010 25 February 2010 21 September 2009


The Dark Horse: Dolman Cardigan

30 October 2009 - Slouchy 22 December 2009 24 November 2009

When my mother-in-law gifted me with this cardigan I was initially unsure what to do with those sleeves. But, it was so soft and warm that I kept wearing it…and wearing it…and wearing it…and figuring out different ways to do so along the way.

Unseasonable Slouchy Day Tilted


The All-Season Surprise: Full Cream Skirt

18 July 2009 - Neutrals with a Pop of Baby 13 August 2009 - ThisClose 21 August 2009 - Sundance

Oh, my floaty cream cotton skirt. I love it. I wear it in the spring. I wear it in the summer. Sometimes I wear it in February. This is one of the garments I miss the most when I’m pregnant.

31 September 2009 - Annie Get Yer Gun 10 February 2010 - Golden 16 February 2010

31 March 2010 23 April 2010 - Faux Floral 13 May 2010 - Cheeky

The Colorful: Purple Maxi Dress

The Chics 6 September 2010 - Max

I first wore this purple maxi dress to a baby shower when I was pregnant with little e. Then I let it sit in my closet for a while. And then…then I fell in love and decided it went with pretty much everything. And who doesn’t need a little more royal purple in their life?

Folky Blazer 24 November 2010 - Barefoot in the Kitchen

20 November 2010 - Poor Planning 1 November 2010 - Such Great Lengths

Hippie Dippie Trippie 6 May 2011 - Drive

13 June 2011 - Crossed Buns Garden Hat

It’s this aspect of style blogging — reimagining what I already own and feeling the freedom to occasionally get a little wacky in how I try to wear something — that I hope will remain with me. At the very least I know that I’ll be wearing that full cream skirt again, in some new iteration, just as soon as my post-baby belly allows…

P.S. You can see most of my outfits that utilized those orange shoes up top by clicking here.

Category: Resources, Teaching Moment, Theoretical
Tags: >

Up Next For the Chics

July 19th, 2011 § 185 comments §


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.

Category: Uncategorized
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15 July 2011 – Complex Title Goes Here

July 15th, 2011 § 29 comments §

15 July 2011


  • Top: H&M
  • Necklace: Fig & Ginger, Mothers Day gift from little e. and his dad
  • Skirt: chopped from a thrifted maternity dress
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell

End Notes:

A couple of weeks ago a reader e-mailed us with this observation and question:

I realized that the cute pictures of pregnant women and bloggers and celebrities that we see are usually of the girls that look like twizzlers who swallowed a grape. The ones who don’t look pregnant from the back. And I started to wonder if, along with the movement toward pregnancy being beautiful, there is not now a huge amount of pressure to remain beautiful and cute while pregnant. Is it becoming unacceptable to gain a lot of weight and wear sweats and not bother with your hair?

I found this to be a really difficult question to answer. First off, what role DOES social pressure and the media plays in my self-image on a regular basis? I’ve always been the skinny flat-chested girl, but how much was my embrace of that body type motivated by an acceptance of social norms or was it more self-generated? I don’t know that I can really say for sure. And how about with a pregnant body? Certainly, descriptions of women’s obsession with not gaining weight during pregnancy appeared in Pregnancy Today and the New York Times. I don’t think that photos of skinny pregnant celebrities played a significant role in my past pregnancy or this one…but I’m certainly willing to admit that media influence is often a lot more subtle and seductive than we realize.

But besides social pressure, I also had to think about the particularities of my own body proportions, personal history, career path, and lifestyle. I don’t especially want to delve into my medical history here, but I will say that those specificities have powerfully shaped the way in which I understand my body and my pregnancy.

15 July 2011

So here’s the thing. For me, the worst part of being pregnant is how my body has suddenly become grounds for public conversation and debate. Strangers and mere acquaintances frequently pass judgment at the grocery store, in the park, or at the library. “You’re too small to be seven and a half months pregnant. Are you eating enough?” “Oh, you’re only 5 months pregnant? That’s going to be a big baby!” “Wow, you’re carrying low. Is your cervix okay?” If I’m wearing a dress and cute shoes or deemed “too small,” I’m accused of being too vain and not taking adequate care of myself or my child. If I’m deemed “too big,” I’m still accused of not taking adequate care of myself or my child, hence the “excess” weight. A bit of an overwrought rant? Sure. But it is rather amazing to see how much public attitudes towards pregnancy have changed in the past several decades, from a “condition” that was not discussed in polite conversation to a free-for-all debate over health and responsibility.

Perhaps I am still just too close to the situation to answer this reader question adequately. Am I buying into a Hollywood myth of what pregnancy should look like by wearing a body-conscious striped dress? Or am I just having fun with an unfamiliar body? All that to say…I don’t particularly want to look like a twizzler that swallowed a grape. On the other hand, I’m not crazy about the hand and cheek bloat that comes with being pregnant in the middle of a hot summer. And finally, I’m sorry if I give a stand-offish vibe in the grocery store. I’m probably worried that you’re judging the fat content of the food in my cart. Because I can be anxious like that.

Just one last thing. S. and I have different bodies and have thus had different pregnancies. And, except for our overlapping love of the hippie mama look, we’ve dressed differently from each other to accomodate our own bodies, work habits, and family routines. So S., just so you know, I think you’ve looked beautiful this whole pregnancy. Good work and good luck.

Fig & Ginger Bird Necklace

15 July 2011

Category: Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pregnancy in Academia, Skirting the Issue
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13 July 2011 – A Not-So-Basic Basic

July 13th, 2011 § 9 comments §

12 July 2011 - A Not Basic Basic


  • Top: Forever 21
  • Necklace: Tilly Bloom
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Skirt: chopped from a dress
  • Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell via Gilt

End Notes:

My definition of a wardrobe “basic” rarely jives with the lists offered in women’s lifestyle magazines. When asked to designate the “workhorses” of my wardrobe last year, I picked my mustard blouson top and my navy jersey dress. I agree that black slacks and a white button down have their place in the fashion hall of fame for good reason, but I have always loved it when I can make a “basic” out of a garment that is anything but.

So it comes as little surprise, I suppose, that some of the wardrobe workhorses of this current pregnancy have been colored skirts, like my dusty purple one — cut from a thrifted maternity dress — that has featured in quite a few outfits this summer.

13 May 2011 - Book By Its Cover 23 May 2011 - Grape Blammo I Might Regret This Shortly

And now my new love is this BRIGHT red skirt. I’m envisioning it with purple, with gray, with olive, and even with aqua.

12 July 2011 - A Not Basic Basic

For someone who loves colorful clothes as much as I do, it hardly seems fair that in the midst of a style season punctuated with bright color blocking retailers of maternity clothes have tended towards a tasteful range of neutrals. I can’t say that I would necessarily be wearing coral chinos were they handed to me in maternity sizing…but I’ll be counting on this skirt to see me through the last month and a half with a good dose of hyper color cheer.

Are you wearing bright colors on the bottom this summer?

12 July 2011 - A Not Basic Basic

Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: > > > >

E. Travels: The Tom Bihn Tri-Star

July 5th, 2011 § 38 comments §

It’s been just about six years since my husband and I discovered Tom Bihn, a company making cleverly designed bags from US Ballistic nylon in Seattle, Washington. Since then, we’ve been devoted fans, especially of our carry-on Aeronaut bags.

But, as much as I love the maximal carry-on capacity of the Aeronaut, it’s a little bit too big for my two or three day conferences and research trips. So, I was thrilled when Tom Bihn offered to let me review their new(ish), slightly smaller carry-on bag, the Tri-Star. For short trips — particularly short trips when you need to hit the ground running off to a museum, archive, or auditorium — this bag is a great blend of briefcase and suitcase, small enough to fit easily in a locker but spacious enough to accomodate more than enough clothes and whatnot for a few days.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

Take, for example, my recent research trip to New York City. I needed to go directly from the airport to a museum archive. This meant bringing my luggage with me on a bus, train, and a brief walk to a building with not-generously sized lockers. Besides clothes and toiletries, I also needed to bring my laptop, some reading material, note-taking material, and folders to house my piles (we hope!) of research findings.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

(Did I mention that these bags come in fun color combinations? I have grellow luggage! At last!)

The Tri-Star is basically made of three compartments that can be further sub-divided as necessary. The center compartment is the perfect size for my laptop and other nerdy supplies. Plus, there’s still a little bit of room for a snack in there, too.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

The back compartment has nifty hold-down straps for clothing. I folded and strapped down a pair of knit pants, a cotton button-down, a thin tunic, two skirts, a jersey dress, and a knit blazer. My big soft tote bag fit easily on top of all of that without straining the compartment zipper.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

The front compartment is the one that got my compartmentalized packing self all excited. You could easily fit multiple configurations of packing cubes in there…

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

Or, you could choose to divide the compartment with the built-in zipper. Oh look, it’s the perfect place to stash shoes…

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

My remaining clothes (underwear, pajamas, camisoles, a skirt slip, and three knit tops) and toiletries all fit easily into another packing cube. Speaking of, Tom Bihn pretty much makes a little zippered pouch for anything you can imagine: jewelry, toothbrush, a chapter of your dissertation…the usual.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

The front of the Tri-Star has three tiered zippered pockets of varying depths. It’s the perfect place to put things that you need to access easily, like your passport, boarding passes, pens, earbuds, printed directions, phone, etc.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

And then, you could use the additional zippered pocket to tuck a few more sundry items or…you could use the nifty little snapping contraption to create the perfect little pouch for your water bottle or travel mug.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Review

As with the Aeronaut, the Tri-Star has easy-to-grip handles and can also convert into a backpack. The very comfortable shoulder strap can be purchased separately as well. I find the backpack orientation to be the easiest way to travel with this bag when I’m boarding an aircraft or rushing to catch a bus or train. Once I’m at my destination, it’s easy to switch to a briefcase carry.

Are these the most aesthetically stylish bags on the market? No. But it’s incredibly well-made, sturdy, smart, and worth the initial output of cash. And I like that in a bag. Oh, and, for you international travelers, the Tri-Star meets carry-on requirements for Europe and Australia as well, since it’s smaller than the Aeronaut.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, partly because I really, truly love Tom Bihn bags and have been on a crusade to convert as many family members and friends to them as possible. But also…we’ll be offering a chance for you to WIN a Tri-Star in Tom Bihn’s newest color of custom U.S. 1050d ballistic nylon: Forest. The giveaway starts on Friday, so be sure to check back for an opportunity to snag your very own Tri-Star in Forest/Ultraviolet. Start dreaming about what perfect little trip you could take…

Category: Academichic Product Review, It's in the Bag, Research Casual, Taking Notes
Tags: >

1 July 2011 – Family Matters

July 1st, 2011 § 16 comments §

1 July 2011 - Family Matters


  • Tank: Target
  • Necklace: gift from husband
  • Bracelets: bangles from Banana Republic Factory, cork bracelet from Honolulu swap meet
  • Skirt: thrifted
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Wedges: Reaction by Kenneth Cole, via DSW

End Notes:

Can you Dress Your Best and give a round of applause to your familial heritage? Because that’s how I’m ending my DYB this year.

I’ve always taken great pride in the fact that I am hapa, half Japanese and half Caucasian. Because I grew up in a predominantly Asian culture, I perhaps feel more bonded to my Japanese heritage, but I’ve also come to cherish my Scottish and English roots and my old, old New England settler connections. To have two such different and unique histories wrapped up in my own family continues to be a fascinating thing for me.

But even though I may strongly conceive of myself as hapa, as mixed race, not everyone perceives me that way. Most people in Hawaii, many of whom are mixed race themselves, recognize me as being hapa, though they might jokingly give me a hard time for my paler skin or tall stature that makes me stick out amidst the predominantly tan, short population. Since moving to the mainland, however, I’ve found that such recognition is, ironically, more mixed. Some people recognize me as being “not white” and ask, “What are you?” Some people take guesses. I’ve been told that I look like Michelle Wie and Lucy Liu. Once, someone asked if I was part Mexican. Many people just assume that I’m full white.

1 July 2011 - Family Matters

All of this — the categorization that happens based on physical appearance, the notion that visible recognizability is a necessary part of assuming a particular identity, the very conception of “race” in general — is incredibly fraught and something that I wrestle through in my own academic work. But I know that, for me, my body plays an important role in reminding me of my heritage and seeing my future in the fat cheeks and flat nose of my son who, for all other intents and purposes, looks more like his Caucasian father.

So today I’m celebrating being hapa. I’m celebrating the height I got from 6’4″ father along with the freckles and big ears that are all from his side of the family. And I’m celebrating my big cheeks, dark hair, and yellowy undertones in my skin that come from my mother’s side. So hooray for shoes that are purple and tan even though the skirt is salmon and the shirt is navy. Hooray for a hot pink belt rather than a brown one. Hooray for silver and cork bracelets, worn together. The mixing is what makes it interesting.

Bracelets and Belt

1 July 2011 - Family Matters

Category: Color Combinations, Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: > > > > > >

29 June 2011 – I Like the Way They Move

June 29th, 2011 § 10 comments §

Bike Date


  • Top: Forever 21
  • Shorts: maternity consignment store
  • Tank: Old Navy (tall size)
  • Necklace: Tilly Bloom
  • Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell (I’m not tired of them yet…)
  • Bikes: “Oliver,” a 2010 Raleigh One Way (for N.) and “Sammy,” a 1986 Schwinn Le Tour Mixte (for E.)

End Notes:

Over the weekend N. and I had the delightful gift of free babysitting (thanks, sister-in-law P.!) and the chance to go on a bike date picnic in a nearby park to watch the fireflies. (I’ll be sharing more about the date itself on S.’s bike blog in the near future.) It was a beautiful night and also a great reminder to me of why I should celebrate my legs during this year’s Dress Your Best.

My legs have always been “there” and I’ve rarely been that impressed with either their aesthetics or their extraordinary functionality. Unlike A., S., and L., I’m not a marathoner or a serious runner. I can’t say that my legs have carried me tremendous distances or that they’ve overcome great adversity. They’re kind of pale and kind of…normal.

Legs that Go

But, since beginning biking last year, my legs have acquired greater value in my mind. It’s not because of their athletic prowess — because honestly I don’t really ride that far or that fast — but simply because they have allowed me to participate in an activity that my husband loves and that I, in turn, have come to really enjoy. My legs have taken me on many a bike date exploration of our city with N., with little e., and with visiting friends and relatives. It’s become our “thing” that we do…together. We bike to our respective jobs, to church, to the grocery store, to friends’ homes. And when I pulled out little e.’s trailer and hitched him up to my bike for a library run, all on my own accord, I think husband N. almost burst with pride.

So thanks, legs, for giving me the ability to spend a special kind of quality time with my family. You may not be hardcore or super long or super toned or super anything, but you’ve given me a great gift. And I’m celebrating you by wearing short shorts.

Bike Date


Category: Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Night Without Grading, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, The Short of It, Vélocouture
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