July 1st, 2011 § §
- 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
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.
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.
Category: Color Combinations, Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Reaching New Heights, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
Tags: E. > midi skirt > navy > patterned shoes > pink > salmon skirt > wedges
May 23rd, 2011 § §
- Olive top: thrifted
- Feather necklace: Tilly Bloom
- Belt: swapped
- Skirt: thrifted dress, cut into a skirt
- Flats: Target, thrifted new
(It’s day 2 of my 15 for at least 15 mini challenge.)
It’s rare that “what the models are wearing” and “what the pregnant work-from-home mom is wearing” ever coincides. And yet, as I continue to pursue my new fascination with midi-length skirts, I find out that Selita Ebanks and I were basically wardrobe twins in high-waisted, full knee-length skirts and drapey tops. Except, of course, I’m wearing mostly thrifted jersey pieces and flats and she is…not.
Fun fact. In the winter of 1970, Paris fashion shows emphasized midi-skirt lengths as a direct and dramatic move away from the mini skirt that had dominated the 1960s. This did not go over so well. In fact, Life Magazine published a cover story bemoaning the loss of youthfulness and sexual allure symbolized by the mini. Nicola White, in her book The Fashion Business: Theory, Practice, and Image, suggests that many American women saw the midi skirt as a symbol of fashion’s excesses and as a result largely disregarded Paris’s style decree. Other women the longer skirt decree — and its associated connotations as “more feminine,” “conservative,” or “demure,” — as an attempt to tamp down on the sexual freedom women were claiming at that time. Do you think that these associations still remain strong today? And how much does context (both of where we see it and whose body it’s on) play into that interpretation?
Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits, Theoretical
Tags: draped garments > E. > midi skirt > olive green > yellow shoes
April 27th, 2011 § §
- Jacket: Banana Republic Factory
- Necklace: Tilly Bloom
- Tank: Target
- Belt: from another dress
- Skirt: thrifted
- Shoes: Ralph Lauren, via Macy’s
Remember this thrifted midi-length skirt? I am really, truly in love with it now. Really, there’s something about the diaphanous nature of this skirt that makes walking seem inadequate. I wanted to glide, to float, to skip, or to twirl.
But, since today was a teaching day and twirling needed to be tempered with some authority, I grounded the outfit with a structured jacket and architectural platform wedges. Then, as a sly wink to my students, I added in my little Victorian-cat-in-a-dress necklace. It is, after all, the end of the semester.
Midi-length skirts are legendary for being “difficult to wear.” I’m not an expert on different body shapes, and I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of “rules” that limit the kinds of silhouettes I “should” wear. What I do know, though, is that when I wear this skirt it feels like a playful vintage throwback and it has significant mood-lifting capabilities. I can do that.
For those who might be toying with the idea of trying a midi skirt, the prevailing advice relating to wearing midi’s is to pair them with tall shoes. I have to say that, thus far, I agree with this general rule of thumb as it helps prevent visual stumpage (though I can also imagine wearing this skirt with flat boots as a transitional outfit into fall). To this wisdom, I would add that drapier, floatier materials, like this one, also seem like a wise choice, not only because they make for better twirling, but because the lightness of the fabric balances the overall volume at hand. I think that a hem length like this is the kind of thing where you just have to try something on at different lengths and with different shoes, while being willing to surrender the idea that this is going to make you look as tall as you can possibly be.
And, you know, if it doesn’t work out, then you won’t have to avert your eyes when, in ten years, the above and below photos stand a good chance of looking utterly dated and ridiculous. Ah, an ephemeral AND diaphanous skirt. Fitting.
Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: coral > coral skirt > E. > midi skirt > navy blazer > nude wedges
April 15th, 2011 § §
Top: Forever 21, consignment shop
Necklace: Tilly Bloom
Like Tania, I’ve been picking through my local thrift store for a midi-length skirt. I think there are a lot of “thriftable” trends this season, and the below-the-knee skirt is definitely among them. My search had to be extra particular, though, since I wanted something with an elastic waist and enough drape to accommodate my changing shape.
I think that this salmon colored skirt was originally an underskirt of some kind. It’s a really thin polyester with a super narrow hem. But, hey, for $2 it fit my purposes perfectly, and I’m already thinking of so many delicious color combinations based off of it.
This particular pairing came about as a springy reinterpretation of this February outfit, where I matched this navy batwing sleeve top with a winter white skirt and an orangey-pink floral necklace. I loved how the navy and salmon looked together then, and I still do now, even on this more dramatic scale. Plus, the drapey sleeves up top only help to emphasize that I do still have a waist — albeit a much higher one than usual — above the baby bump.
Finally, it seemed appropriate to pair a floaty, breezy skirt with my “Light As A…” necklace from Tilly Bloom. I really loved how this whole look came together, and I haven’t had this much fun in wind with a skirt for a while. Indulge me, okay, while I channel, in turn, Marilyn Monroe and Nike of Samothrace.
Category: Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Teaching Outfits
Tags: E. > midi skirt > navy > salmon skirt