July 28th, 2011 § §
I have been blogging with academichic for just over one year (my anniversary was on July 25th), and of the chics you all have definitely seen and heard the least from me. So here is a little bit of my story – and I warn you, this is a pretty rambly way of reviewing my Top 10 from the last 6 months and saying goodbye). As I’ve said many times before, I was always impressed and inspired seeing what A. and E. wore to school, and after they told me about the blog I quickly read every previous post and chuckled to myself as I saw outfits that I’d actually seen them wearing and had thought at the time were something I’d like to try. I felt like a weird stalker when I’d mention something that they’d worn ages ago, but since reading blogs myself I’ve come to realize that is what happens – you begin to form attachments to people and feel like you know them (or at least the entire contents of their closets!). I was so excited and SO flattered when E., A., and S. proposed that I join the site last summer, and honestly felt like I was some “super fan” who had won a contest to be the next chic. I secretly congratulated myself on reaching their echelon of style. I felt like I’d arrived. Things like pattern mixing, layering, and working new trends in to my personal style (like my oxfords) are all things I learned from reading this blog myself.
During 2010 my body also went through some serious changes due to health reasons and because of my running. I went from a steady weight of 135lbs and size 6 to 120lbs and size 2. I’m a petite 5’3″ so I was still in a normal range, but the new slim body shape meant that my clothes were literally falling off me. I hinted at this in a Dress Your Best post, but why is it that I still feel bad telling you that I lost weight? We often find it much easier to talk about gaining weight, whether in pregnancy or otherwise, but it’s not as openly spoken of when it’s the other way. I’d feel like a jerk if I said to my friend, “my clothes are ALL too big”, but that was exactly the predicament I was in – and it was just as frustrating as when you gain a few pounds and suddenly things don’t fit you as well. I had always dressed nicely, but I’d never so totally and deliberately overhauled my wardrobe. Necessity coupled with a new interest in style meant that I was ready to shed some old clothes and get some new duds (like my fireworks skirt). I admit that I did purchase a lot of new items for myself – and obviously feel guilty admitting my personal consumption. I always shopped the sale and clearance racks (that’s how I scored my first piece of “mustard” colored clothing in honor of E.), but I certainly SHOPPED. I am fortunate in that I had the money to spend as I pleased, and I have since this binge definitely slowed down my purchasing and turned more and more to thrifted items, clothing swaps, and consignment stores (like my grey dress). For the staples though, especially fitted items – pencil skirts, sheath dresses, a cropped blazer, black dress slacks – I bought new.
Many of you are bloggers yourselves or have asked us questions about blogging. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to! I didn’t start reading any blogs until A. confessed to me about academichic, and even then I didn’t start regularly reading anyone’s blog until last fall. (Aside: That’s another thing people have asked us to discuss. What blogs to do we read? I can tell you that the ones I have bookmarked are What Would A Nerd Wear, The Other Emily, Narrowly Tailored, Already Pretty, Hello, Monkeyface!, and Between Laundry Days. There are many more sites that I’ve read casually and that do a very good job, but those are my regulars and the people I feel weirdly like I know even though I’ve never spoken a word to them.) I thought how easy it would be to take pictures because I’d be dressing up 6-days a week for my new job teaching in a boarding school. Wrong. Turns out taking pictures without anyone seeing you when you live at the place where you work is nearly impossible unless you wake up extremely early. So that’s what I did. I’m not a style blogger who also has an interest in photography, so my pictures have never been top quality. Nor have I ever really bothered doing much with my hair or putting on makeup, and blogging didn’t really change that much – although a little lip gloss, mascara, and powder can do wonders on camera. People have asked if our style will change once we’re not blogging anymore, and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll dress up quite to the degree that I did this year. I love looking good and dressing well, but for those mornings when I’m running late I’m going to spend more time drinking my coffee and less time throwing outfits on the floor of my bedroom. I always felt a little guilty, like I was cheating, on the days when I’d just toss on black pants and a top or a simple dress (like my grey cashmere, plaid shirt dress or black wrap dress) – but those days are what happens in real life and sometimes less is more.
I’m going to be really open with you – after the outcry over my post in which I wrote that girls at my school were “parading their bodies around for all to see” I learned that I really needed to watch what I wrote. I am very conscious in my “real” life not to say offensive things, to talk to others when they do, and to be sensitive to those around me. However, I didn’t think through the ramifications of that phrase and the judgements that it implied, and it was an eye opening experience to hear from so many people – truthfully, I was once-bitten-twice-shy for the rest of my blogging life. I stuck mostly to posting about how my outfits came together, what elements I liked, what didn’t work, and how I felt wearing each look. And I’m not gonna lie, I have a chip on my shoulder about my limited range of contributions and appreciate the complex topics about which S., E., and A. write so eloquently – and here’s where I start to tear up! – You all have been more influential in my life than you can possibly know, and being a part of this project with you has been an honor and a joy. And to YOU all, I thank you for calling me out, challenging me, and teaching in all your different comments as well as praising, commiserating, and making suggestions. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for asking questions. Thank you for posing ideas and informing us of your own style triumphs. Knowing that there are so many bright people on the other end reading this blog has made me a much more thoughtful person, both in real life and online.
I think it’s funny that like E. one of my favorite posts has nothing to do with outfit and everything to do with how I present myself (if that makes any sense). I’m talking about my Dress Your Best post on my legs – and the running outfit I shared with you all. Even with all the hours spent dressing up, I still feel more like ‘myself’, more confident, and more attractive when I’m in my sweaty work-out clothes. While I’ll never be wearing those to class, I have in the process of changing my style and writing this blog discovered a whole lot of clothes that make me feel equally confident, strong, and most of all, happy.
L. (because there was already an S.!)
Tags: L. > top ten
July 27th, 2011 § §
- Dress: c/o Karina
- Shoes: Tahari via DSW
Like A., I was asked to review one of the dresses generously offered to us by the Brooklyn based designer Karina Cousineau from her eponymous dress line, Karina. I jumped at the chance after looking through their selection of high quality, easy-to-maintain, and totally flattering dresses for women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Something that I thought was really cool about this company is that these dresses fit such a variety of women AND they make small issues of each style in each color or print so that you really feel like you have a unique piece.
Once we said we’d like to review something, we each answered the following questions and they chose the dress for us:
1. What is your body type? — Petite (5’3″), curvy (??)
2. What are your preferred dress styles? — Carmen, Megan, or Audrey
3. What are your general preferences for color and/or pattern? — Blues, greens, and purples are my favorite colors, and I prefer geometric patterns.
So from that info they decided to send me their Carmen dress in a plum color with a coral, black, cream, and white print. They do say not to get too attached to a certain color or print since they use limited fabrics and change often!
What attracted me especially to the Carmen was the rounded neckline, cap sleeves, and high waistband, but what kept me twirling around for several minutes was the fantastically fluttery skirt that comes to a perfect knee length. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I felt very good in this dress – comfortable, stylish, a little sexy (I love the neckline!), and totally at ease because it’s not clingy or short (which is incredibly hard to find these days!). I seriously wish I could get this in several colors, but like one commenter noted, I’ll have to save up since these are at the higher end of my price range.
I second A. in her apprehension about the fabric at first, but the “imported microfiber blend with 4-way stretch” is very flattering and falls nicely. I wore a slip under my dress, but the fabric isn’t see-through, I just like slips. I’d say that this dress is a very good investment for the long-term, and I would definitely consider getting one of the other styles I liked as well, but probably in a solid color so that I could wear it more often. You can find Karina dresses online, on Facebook, and in boutiques around the country.
Category: Academichic Product Review, Dresses for Day
July 20th, 2011 § §
- Tank: Banana Republic
- Skirt: Gap Outlet
- Scarf: Filene’s Basement
- Shoes: Tahari via endless.com
- Necklace: Accessorize
- Tank: Splendid via Filene’s Basement
- Dress: Hourglass via Marshall’s
- Shoes: Gap Outlet
- Necklace: made by me
By now most of you probably have read that the chics of Academichic are closing up shop at the end of this month. While I’m certainly sad to see this project end, I’d like to echo S.’s words today and THANK YOU all for your comments (both kind and critical) as these have pushed me to think far beyond my wardrobe into more theoretical questions of femininity, feminism, gender, ethnicity, economics, politics, and culture. Like S. said, we’ll each have longer wrap-up posts to get into our favorite discussions and wardrobe decisions, so I’ll hold off on waxing poetic for this post!
I thought it was appropriate that one of my last posts is very reminiscent of my first post – nothing beats a swirly skirt and light tank in the summer heat! However, one thing that makes a swirly jersey skirt even better is one that can be both a skirt AND a dress. I nabbed this at the Gap Outlet clearance section in June and have been experimenting with it ever since. Around the same time I picked up the blue dress in the images below and have been remixing that into a skirt. I was totally inspired by A.’s recent post about turning a strapless summer dress into a shirtdress, and you guys know how much I love “convertible season.” So here are two ideas that I’ve come up with so far for this skirt as a dress: trying a scarf/sash around the top OR using a scarf to give a little more coverage over the shoulders.
For the blue strapless dress I wore it a few times alone, but one day didn’t feel like being so bare up top and opted for a tank underneath. By pulling the dress (now a skirt) up right below my chest I made a kind of empire waisted dress that fell just below my knee. While I’m not sure that the length is very flattering on me, I know that mid-length skirts are “in” and it is very comfy this way.
Finally, I wanted to show off one of my favorite pieces of jewelry, which dresses up any outfit. My sister brought these small “evil eyes” back to me from Turkey and I love how they look all together (pun intended). I also strung one on the back so I have an “eye in the back of my head” so to speak.
What are your best convertible pieces? How do you style a dress as skirt or vice versa?
Category: Beltless, Dresses for Day, Dresses for Evening, Layers Upon Layers, Our Best Flatware, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue
Tags: how to turn a dress into a skirt > jersey dress > L. > skirt length
July 19th, 2011 § §
All four of us at Academichic have some pretty big life changes up ahead.
- A. is about to begin a dissertation fellowship and is aiming to wrap up her degree in the next year.
- E. is about to become a mom of two. But before that happens she’s also teaching a summer class and moving her family into a new home.
- L. is embarking on her second year of teaching high school English with much more confidence in both her pedagogical abilities as well as her personal style.
- S. is about to welcome her daughter into the world any day now, and then she, too, is aiming to complete her degree over the next academic year.
That’s what we see ahead for ourselves in the coming months. What we don’t see, though, is the perpetuation of Academichic. After much thought and a little bit of angst, we’ve decided that this project has run its course for us and we’ll be closing up shop at the end of July. We’ll have a much longer, reflective post at that time, but for now we wanted to let you know where we’re heading. We want to leave this site here as a useful archive for everyone who has ever googled “feminism and fashion” or “what to wear to an academic conference” (which is really how this whole project started). To that end, we’ll be launching a series of wrap-up posts, pointing to our favorite past outfits, most enduring resources, most useful DIY projects, and most compelling theoretical posts.
But before we part ways, what do you want to know? Is there still some burning unanswered question you want answered? Let us know. We can’t promise we’ll get to all of them, but we’ll give it a shot.
Finally, thank you. We’ll express our gratitude to you, our readers, in a more extended format later, but for now know that we have treasured your questions, insights, debates, and feedback. We really do think that we have the most thoughtful and thought-provoking commenters out there.
Tags: A. > E. > L. > S.
July 16th, 2011 § §
What Do You Wear to a Wedding?
Ask this question and you’ll get about a hundred different answers: Don’t wear black, Don’t wear white, Don’t show too much skin, Don’t wear a pattern, Don’t wear something too tight, Don’t wear bright colors, AND no matter what, Don’t show up the bride!
Well, did any of those answers help you? With the exception of “don’t wear something too tight”, which is always a good piece of advice, none of those answers helped me either. Sometimes being a bridesmaid isn’t that bad – at least your dress is picked out for you in advance – even if it is pink, poofy, sparkly, or any other number of things, at least you don’t have to ask yourself, “What, oh what, will I wear to this wedding?!” In an effort to give just a small bit of guidance, we at Academichic wanted to provide you with a few ideas based on the many weddings we’ve attended (or hosted in the case of A. and S.).
Spring and Summer Weddings
A few summers ago we answered What to Wear to a Beach Wedding. We recommending things like: “Brighter colors and prints are more easily made beach appropriate but can just as easily become formal as black or grays” and “look for silk or chiffon blends. Try to avoid 100% cotton – it’s easier to dress down a silk-blend fabric than it is to dress up a cotton dress.” S. debated the taboo against certain colors and decided on a black dress for one wedding and a pink dress for another summer wedding last year. E. too opted for a bright hue for a Labor Day weekend wedding, and of course, A. wore a gorgeous sapphire colored sheath dress for S.’s wedding.
As it happens, I (L.) had the chance recently to put this advice to the test because prior to my departure for Peru, I had the pleasure of attending my best friend’s wedding on Cape Cod. The wedding was on the beach and the reception was under a tent on the lawn of her yacht club. I wanted to wear something dressier than a sundress, but not overly formal (or hot) for the beach. I knew Ab’s dress, from BCBG via Nordstrom, was long and flowy and had flowers on the skirt. My only restrictions were that I had to wear flats due to the sand and grass, and I wanted to stay away from blue since I knew that was what the bridesmaids were wearing. I settled on a bright, cheerful, printed, vintage Nicole Miller halter dress that I’d bought at a consignment shop two summers ago.
The wedding was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, and Ab looked amazing. After the ceremony they walked off together down the beach, happily ever after. Congratulations Ab and Eb!
Fall and Winter Weddings
While the majority of weddings are still probably in the spring and summer, there are more and more cropping up in the cooler months. E. and A. attended weddings in Colorado and Montana where the temperatures varied from the 50s to almost the 30s at night.
While some fall weddings are held outside, most winter weddings are indoor affairs and lend themselves to being a touch more formal. A. added some bling for another of her winter wedding outfits, and shoes are another way to dress up a look. For A. and A2′s wedding reception last fall, the Chics varied from black taffeta cocktail dress on L. to a red-orange jersey dress refashioned by E. The cooler temperatures can also mean layering more either on top with a wrap or sweater or under with tights like E. did for a wedding last fall.
Ultimately, what really matters in your wedding attire is that you feel beautiful and happy (and comfy enough to dance the night away!). Not all “rules” suit all people, and the only guidelines that you have to go by are your own. We hope that seeing some of our sartorial choices will inspire yours, but we, like you, are still figuring things out, one dress at a time. What will you be wearing to your next wedding?
Category: Dresses for Day, Dresses for Evening, Weekend Workshops
Tags: L. > wedding style
July 12th, 2011 § §
- Tank: Banana Republic
- Skirt: BR Outlet
- Belt: J. Crew
- Shoes: Gap Outlet
I’m a little late in finishing up my Dress Your Best picks, and today I’m giving three cheers to my waist, my nose, and my shoulders. It probably comes as no surprise that I’d pick my waist as a “best” because of my obsession with belts and belting. However, I didn’t even know I had a waist until last year. I have always had a butt thanks to sports, but my waist didn’t whittle down until I was well into my 20s during a time when several factors caused my body shape and weight to completely change. I found that defining my waist took advantage of my new shape, and now of course I find it very hard NOT to belt things! As for my nose, it’s a perfect combination of my mom’s and my dad’s. Depending on which parent I’m with, people will often remark, “oh, this MUST be your daughter!” It’s pretty hard to “dress” for your nose, but since it is right in the middle of my face, I’d say I dress for it everyday.
Finally my arms. They’ve always been strong and toned thanks to hours lifting weight for lacrosse and now thanks to hour spent running and cross-training. In fact, I’m the “friend” that A. was talking about last year in her post about her arms. I love showing them off when I can in the summer with tanks or halter tops.
I realized during the Dress Your Best challenge that I was already dressing to show off my best parts, and for some reason it makes me sound conceited to say that there are many more than five parts of myself that I love. I feel like I’m bragging by identifying myself as A.’s “super-armed” friend, but isn’t that what DYB is all about? I know that many blogs talk about the vicious circle of body-bashing that women can get in to, but why is it so hard to admit that I love my body? I always valued whatever it looked like because I knew it was allowing me to do things like play sports or climb mountains – Do I ever wish I had a bigger chest? Yes. Am I thankful that my chest is small and is easily contained in a sports bra? Yes. Do I sometimes wish my thighs were smaller? Certainly. Do I love seeing my quad muscles flex when I’m running or climbing or just walking up stairs? You betcha! I guess what I’ve learned from this exercise is that whether you struggle to find the parts you love or love all the parts you have, no one loves everything all the time BUT it’s not bragging to admit what you do love… that’s perfectly O.K too.
Category: Dress Your Best, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: belted > L. > metallic shoes > neutrals
July 8th, 2011 § §
Hello all – I’ve just returned from 10 days in Peru (hence the recent hiatus from posting), and I wanted to share a little glimpse of the amazing time I had traveling around with my friend from college, LJ. Since we’re doing our great Tom Bihn giveaway today, I thought I’d do a post more about travel and less about style. Our itinerary for the trip was varied. We planned on hiking part of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for four days and then flying to the Peruvian Amazon, where our lodge was about three hours upstream from Puerto Maldonado on the Tambopata River.
We would need to pack hiking clothes that would keep us warm in the highlands, which get down to 32 degrees fahrenheit at night this time of year, and then for the jungle climate of the Amazon, which gets up to 95 degrees fahrenheit. Moreover, there were weight restrictions for our luggage for both parts of our trip and we wanted to do carry-on for our long flight down to Peru. Backpacks it was, and we each managed to pack a sleepingbag as well as 10 days worth of clothes, both cold weather and warm weather, into each bag. Granted, we wore all our clothes more than once and did some hand-washing along the way. We also knew that we’d be taking infrequent and usually cold showers while traveling, so we were ready to be pretty dirty by the end.
Our packing lists ended up something like this:
Clothing (not all pictured):
long sleeve “safari” shirt
long sleeve quick dry shirt
light-weight fleece pullover
convertible hiking pants
base layer short spandex
pair of shorts
pair of boxer shorts
pair of flats
2 quick dry t-shirts
2 cotton t-shirts
2 cotton tanks
3 sports bra tops/sports bras
6 pairs of underwear
6 pairs Smartwool socks
Gear & Accessories:
backpack and daypack
sleeping bag and liner
headlamp and extra batteries
water purification tablets
Platypus 2L water system and 1L Nalgene
baseball hat and wide-brim hat
medications/first aid kit
camera and extra batteries
castile soap/hand sanitizer
And our bags ended up looking something like this:
LJ and I had a fantastic time despite the cold winds and rain that blew in from Argentina and Brazil which dropped the temperature around 15 – 20 degrees lower than normal for most of the trip. On the way from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo we had the opportunity to go to a remote mountain village where local women put on a display of their gorgeous handwoven goods. Along with two guides, 18 porters, and 11 other travelers, we successfully hiked the Inca Trail from kilometer 82 to the end at Machu Picchu and saw some amazing vistas of the craggy peaks in the Sacred Valley.
During our stay in the jungle we went on day and night hikes to see monkeys, parrots, macaws, alligators, snakes, tarantulas and many other birds and bugs. We also climbed up the 10-story canopy tower to catch a sunset.
LJ and I had joked at the beginning that this trip was really going to be a test of our friendship, and we definitely passed with flying colors. It was a fabulous trip overall and thanks to LJ for being a truly excellent traveling partner!
If you’d like more specific info about the trip please email us and I’ll get back to you. Please don’t forget to register for the Tom Bihn giveaway before midnight on Sunday!
Category: Sabbatical, Wardrobe Challenge
Tags: L. > travel
June 27th, 2011 § §
- Shirt: Splendid via Filene’s Basement
- Tank (under): Gap via thrift
- Skinnies: Anne Taylor Loft
- Shoes: Steve Madden via DSW
It might not be immediately obvious from this photo what exactly it is I’m dressing. Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with my hair. Instead of thinking about its tendency to poof out and curl in particularly annoying ways, I’m going to focus on the one thing that really makes it stand out: the color. I’ve been called everything from “copper top” to “fire bush” (by mean kids in high school) and my color has been described as anything from amber, auburn, red, or strawberry blonde all the way to chestnut and brown when it hasn’t gotten sun for a while. I like to showcase it off of turquoises, blues, and greens, which is why my striped turquoise shirt was perfect for this post.
My hair sticks out in my family too. I’m the only one with it in my immediate family, which was pretty confusing for my mom and dad when I was born, and to be totally honest, they still don’t really know where it came from. I’ve been teased for my hair and praised for my hair. I’ve never dyed it because I’ve always been afraid that it will grow back another color (crazy, I know). I avoided orange and red clothes for a long time because I was told they “clashed” with my hair. It wasn’t until I read Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins that I fully embraced my color as special. I actually get pretty defensive when people try to tell me I don’t have red hair. I’m positive I’m a redhead ;)
Robbins, also a redhead, has a character in this book who claims that “red hair is caused by sugar and lust.” He goes on to describe the flaming locks of the protagonist:
“…red being the color of emergency and roses; red being the prelate’s top and the baboon’s bottom; red being the blood’s color, jelly’s color; red maddening the bull, red bringing the bull down; red being the color of valentines, of left-handedness, and of a small princess’s new found guilty hobby. His hair was red, his cowboy boots muddy, his heart a hive of musical bees.”
Today I’m reveling in my color – whatever you call it, it’s mine.
Category: Dress Your Best, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual, Weekend Wear
Tags: black pants > hair > L. > patterned shoes > skinny pants > stripes > turquoise
June 23rd, 2011 § §
- Sports-bra Tank: Nike
- Shorts: Brooks
- Socks: Smart Wool
- Shoes: New Balance
- Watch: Timex Expedition
Today I am paying homage to my legs, and while I certainly like how they look when I’m wearing a skirt and heels, I absolutely, hands down, feel like I look my best when I’m in my sports clothes. I suppose it is because I’ve always been an athlete, and for most of my life I’ve been on a team. I played soccer and lacrosse through high school, lacrosse for two years in college, and on various adult league teams since I graduated. I feel comfortable and confident on a field, which (most of the time) translates to feeling confident in other arenas of my life. I’ve met some of my best friends through sports and even played co-ed flag football in grad school to meet people outside my department. Unfortunately, in 2008 I tore my ACL (a ligament in the knee) while playing flag football and had to have surgery to repair it. More than anything else I was terrified at the thought that I wouldn’t be able to play sports any more, or at least not to the level that I wanted. So my appreciation for my legs is three-fold. I love how they look, I love what they do, and I love what they represent – my ability to overcome adversity.
After about 9 months of rehab I began running again, and since then, with A.’s encouragement as a training partner, have completed a half marathon, full marathon, and most recently a 10k (with my friend J.W.). I’m aiming to run another half marathon in the fall. So, THANK YOU legs, for all that you have done and continue to do — and you look darn good while doing it, if I do say so myself!
Category: Dress Your Best, Weekend Wear
Tags: L. > running
June 16th, 2011 § §
- Swim suit: Banana Republic Outlet
- Sarong: NEPALI by TDM Design
- Sunglasses: Marc Jacobs
NEPALI by TDM Design is a company with which we have had a long relationship and whose products we have always enjoyed, so when they asked to be a part of our Boutique Consortium we were happy to have them! NEPALI was launched in 2007 with the mission of supporting Nepalese women through providing them above market compensation, access to healthcare and education, and at the same time presenting a line of accessories made from natural materials such as silk, cashmere, bamboo, modal and wool and eco-friendly azo-free dyes. As they state on their website “NEPALI by TDM Design’s accessories are eco-conscious, socially responsible and stylish at the same time.” We totally agree!
I had seen on their website recently that they were marketing a bamboo scarf as a sarong, so I thought I’d give that a try with my oversized square scarf from this winter. I could have easily done what the model is doing if I’d folded it in half, but I wanted to keep the length, so I just rolled over the top to secure it. I also could have added a pin for a more certain hold. It worked well as a by-the-pool accessory, and when I started to get too much sun, I spread it over my shoulders and it was lightweight and breathable. I had no idea that it would be so great for all seasons. I’ll leave you with a few of NEPALI’s other scarves as worn by my fellow academichic ladies (click on images for same or similar scarves). What’s the most creative way you’ve worn or would wear one of these scarves?
and of course, if there is any NEPALI scarf I could have I’d want their cashmere fishnet in mead yellow. Delicious!
Category: Academichic Sponsor, Resources, Weekend Wear
Tags: L. > scarf