S’s Top Ten for Year Three

July 25th, 2011 § 10 comments §

As our project here comes to an end and I’m prompted to reflect of the past three years (in outfits), I feel overwhelmed and at a loss for words. Maybe because the past three years have been so eventful. When we started academichic, I was not yet married and resided in a large Midwestern city. As the blog went on, so did my life: I got married, moved to the small college town where my husband was pursuing his PhD, moved again to Germany for a research year abroad, returned home and began my first faculty job, and most recently, became pregnant with our first child. So yes, it’s a bit daunting and overwhelming to think back to the beginning of this project and to try summing it up in a few succinct paragraphs. It’s equally tough for me to pull together a ‘top ten’ list spanning over such a broad time period that has seen me make so many geographical, personal, and physical changes.

So I decided to hone in on this past (not quite full) year. You can see my Year One Top Ten here and my Year Two Top Ten list here and I will just let those speak for the periods they represent. In terms of this past year of blogging, I have compiled my ten favorite outfits and some thoughts on why these stand out.

The first four pictures at the top where taken early on in my pregnancy and at the beginning of my second semester of teaching as faculty (and not grad. student). They are representative of my style when I feel comfortable and confident: bold colors, bright patterns, pattern mixing (see pic.3),  and a mix of romantic meets casual (polka dots and ruffled collars with jeans tucked into boots and plenty of button downs).

The next two images show the two oufits that were the most ‘subdued’ in terms of color in my ‘favorites’ pile, and even here, the bright orange dress with the colorful paisley design is barely being mitigated by the softer tan cardigan. What can I say? I love color and bright clothing. Although the top one of these two ‘softer’ outfits is decidedly tamer in hues than my usual fare, I loved it for it’s bohemian touch and it’s eclectic layering of lace, pearls, and eyelet. It also reminds me of the fun day that I got to spend with my co-bloggers and good friends, ‘playing dress-up’ at Banana Republic, sharing a fitting room and laughing over misguided attempts at an outfit, and feeling like teenagers at the mall again.

While this blog was in large part inspired by our desire to question fashion, gender assumptions, and modern notions of beauty, it also never ceased to be a project that brought the four of us together and reminded us how wonderful it is to share joys as simple as playing ‘dress up’ with your friends on a Spring afternoon. Academichic has always been something I’ve taken very seriously (especially when writing about matters such as coming out as an ally, navigating pregnancy in academia, dressing for a new faculty position, the importance we accredit to visible gendering, and what happens when something is perceived as ‘gender bending‘ in our culture). But it’s also been something that has brought me great joy and satisfaction on days when an outfit post was just an outfit post, when I could just pop over to the site and instantly ‘see’ my friends, and when it provided us with the perfect excuse and reason to go on a shopping spree together.

So for those days when an outfit post was just an outfit post, here is a style I really loved playing with over the dreary winter months: colorful and brightly patterned tights. Maybe because winter seemed to drag on forever and there was a general lack of color in my surroundings, I reached for outfit options that invoked that cheer and brightness I so love about Spring and Summer. And while not everyone’s cup of tea, I loved my thick damask printed tights and my collection of red, purple, layered and fishnetted, and even floral legwear (as captured on my commutes to work).

Lastly, summer came and with that my increased need for comfort and ease when getting dressed. As I finished teaching and entered my third trimester, my style took somewhat of a nose-dive. I stopped posting as much as many days were simply spent in sweats and my husband’s t-shirts, but I also had no qualms with embracing that much needed break in my routine. I needed to be able to relax and tend to my dissertation chapter, my garden, my yoga practice, and playtime with my dog. As much as we write about body image intersecting with style and fashion, we maybe don’t stress enough the importance of just feeling good in your skin no matter what you have on. It’s true that clothing communicates and that a grubby t-shirt and a pair of leggings doesn’t exactly convey the most inspiring of messages, but for certain times and contexts that’s ok.

On days I did dress up for meetings out of the house or visit with friends, I stuck to my usual go-to of dresses, bold hues, and not-too-subtle pattern. I’ve also embraced my inner hippie and have been wearing long skirts and flowey (shapeless?) dresses for more often than I care to admit. But it’s all been very satisfying and I’ve enjoyed having less expectations in terms of getting dressed during my last months of pregnancy. So here I am now, ready to give birth any day now and facing new style as well as life challenges ahead; that dreaded 4th trimester as your body once more changes and morphs post-baby, the unknown of life as a new mother, the undefinability of a year dedicated to finishing my dissertation writing while on teaching sabbatical, and the pure pleasure of embracing the leap into so many unknowns.

(On a side note: I’ve spent the last few days restlessly expecting to go into labor and ‘nesting’ away on Pinterest as a form of distraction. And I’ve noticed that the style pinboard I’m creating for my post-baby dressing inspiration is going in a whole different direction than what my style has been like in the past (or even as shown in this Top Ten post). I find myself drawn to much more muted tones, earthy colors, a hippie/boho/hipster aesthetic, and not that much floral anymore. Hmmm? The start of truly a new era for me? For those of you curious of how my post-baby style will evolve, you can always follow my style board on Pinterest or check in on my cycle chic set on Flickr).

And lastly, I just have to say once more that I will miss the thoughtful comments and interractions with you, our readers, greatly and I thank you for all your comments and input over the past three years. Thank you for being wonderful companions on this journey and for making this project such a rewarding one through your comments and input.

S. (and if you miss me terribly, come say hello at Simply Bike sometime).

Category: Uncategorized
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20 July 2011 – Thank you!

July 20th, 2011 § 10 comments §

20 July 2011


Dress – thrifted
Sandals – Target
Earrings – gift from A.


Dear readers,

I hadn’t intended to post again as I’m less than a week before my due date and my mind’s on a million other things. I had my “Top Ten” post all ready for the other Chics to publish for me in case I wasn’t around to do it myself at the end of this month and, with that, I thought I had said my goodbyes.

But reading your comments has made me sad and unwilling to leave it quite at that. (Blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but you guys got me all choked up!) So I thought I’d pop back in just to say another resounding THANK YOU to all of you who have been reading, commenting on, recommending, questioning, challenging, and supporting our site.

Thank you

In yesterday’s comments, one reader asked how much we attributed our style choices to this blog and how we anticipate our style changing in the absence of posting. I’m not sure how to answer that question because I’m sure that my style has been influenced by participating in this online ‘style blogging’ community, but more so than acquiring an eye for trends, participating in this community has very much affected my approach to many theoretical concepts…

How do I use clothing to present myself as an academic, to perform gender, to display/downplay my ethnicity, to support consumer culture, to NOT support consumer culture, and to make more self-conscious choices every time I open my wallet or my closet door.

It’s one thing when you ponder these things on your own and it’s something else entirely to put your thoughts into words for thousands of people to read in one day. It makes you extremely aware of the things you say (and think) and forces you to take a more critical eye to your own writing and thinking. As much as graduate school has challenged me in this way, I can honestly say that our readers have done so just as much. So thank you for such thought-provoking conversations and critical inquiries that have definitely altered and shaped my thinking and writing over the past two and a half years.

As already mentioned in yesterday’s post, I move into a new stage of my life that sees me mothering a girl. Our conversations here on gender roles, gendering, and feminism will undoubtedly influence how I raise her and the values I will seek to instill in her. Similarly, these regular conversations with you, our readers, and with my co-bloggers will leave a lasting mark on how I think about and put into words my thoughts on two gender focused projects I will be tackling this coming year; my dissertation and another writing project in the works.

20 July 2011 20 July 2011

So I guess what I am trying to say is that more than the visual appreciation for aesthetics and style that has been born of this project, I take with me a deeper appreciation for considering, critiquing, and questioning topics of gender and society in relation to the media and the fashion world at hand. If you’re a new-comer to our site, I urge you to take a look at those posts (housed in our Theoretical Archives) in particular and to not skip the comments, which add a richer and more complex take on each point we raised as well.

And for those of you who asked, yes, I will continue to be around on Simply Bike. The focus of that blog is different from this one but I always welcome your comments and visits and appreciate any drop-ins from those so inclined. S.

Farewell for now...

Category: Beltless, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pregnancy in Academia
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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.

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14 July 2011 – Almost there

July 14th, 2011 § 39 comments §

Summer time


Tee – maternity shirt from Target
Skirt – thrifted
Sandals – AE years ago
Necklaces – two thrifted ones worn intertwined


Well, dear readers, it’s getting close. I’m almost 39 weeks now and expecting the arrival of my little one any day now. These days I’ve outgrown even most of my maternity clothes and am living in a few select tops and my super comfortable hippie skirts. Although I’m wary of spending money on anything new, I did stop by the local thrift store and was excited to come across this green and fuchsia paisley skirt. It’s not a maternity item (most of my clothing weren’t actually maternity, but just things bought a size or two up) but it’s the right size and it has a nice wide elastic waist panel, which makes it perfect for wearing under my belly.

I know that everyone is different when it comes to the waistband question during pregnancy. Some women really like the snug feel of the ‘full panel‘, which comes up and over your belly. I discovered that I hate the feel of anything clinging to my belly and have worn all my maternity items rolled under to fit underneath the ‘bump’. This has made it easy enough to convert non-maternity items into matenity items: I just shopped for things with an elastic waist or drawstring waist that fit snuggly enough over my hips and could sit rolled under my belly.

Which camp do you/did you fall into? The full panel or the low rise?

Cycling with Baby

These days, I’m trying to get all those last minute things ready before baby comes. Last edits on my dissertation chapter, final touches on a birth plan, last must-do’s around the house… so you may be seeing less of me as I use my coming days (hopefully, not weeks) to take care of odds and ends and prepare for the little one’s arrival.

And yes, I’m still riding my bike in moderation. It’s been really nice to continue with a routine of prenatal yoga, cycling, and swimming until the end. If you want to read more about cycling (and excercising) while pregnant, you can find my entries on that topic here.

And in case we don’t ‘see’ each other before the birth, wish me luck!

Category: Beltless, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Skirting the Issue, Vélocouture
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6 July 2011 – Stop and smell the flowers

July 6th, 2011 § 5 comments §

Stop and smell the flowers


White tank – BE Maternity
Aqua tank – thrifted
Skirt – Motherhood maternity, inherited from E. from her 1st pregnancy
Sandals – Target
Necklace – gift from Costa Rica
Bangle – thrifted
Sunnies – hand me downs from mom


At this point in my pregnancy, it’s all about the little things: stopping and smelling the flowers, taking everything in at a slightly slower pace, and appreciating the small moments that make each day special before my family’s life takes on a drastic change.

When it comes to getting dressed, the same approach applies: it’s all about the small things. While I’ve outgrown many of my clothes at this point (I’m 37 weeks along, now considered ‘full term’), I can still fit into the ‘small’ things that make up my jewelry box and accessories drawer. So on days when I do shed the yoga sweats and make a bit of an effort, I spruce up the simple outfits I can still create with pops of color from my jewelry and accessories stash.


This approach not only works well when you’re pregnant but also when traveling. It’s the same principle I apply to packing for a trip; grab a few simple garments and let the accessories do the talking. They take up very little room in a suitcase but can wholly alter the feel and register of an outfit.

And speaking of travel, make sure to check back on Friday for our awesome Tom Bihn Tri-Sta bag giveaway! ~ S.

Summer Cycle Chic

Category: Beltless, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue, Vélocouture
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4 July 2011 – Hippie Mama

July 4th, 2011 § 10 comments §

 Hippie Mama


Tank – Target Maternity
Skirt – free from clothing swap
Bangles – thrifted at various times
Necklace & Earrings – gifts


Happy 4th of July to our American readers!

This is what I wore to a ’4th of July party’ on the 2nd of July, the day that our founding fathers voted on the motion for independence. Our friends held a little backyard party and I pulled out my ‘hippie mama’ look for the occasion (not that hippie mama and independence day have any corelation).

I love the hippie mama look on pregnant women because it just looks so comfortable and relaxed and I love it on myself because it feels so comfortable and relaxed. E. has rocked this particular look while pregnant and it’s becoming my favorite way to dress up these days as my style choices are becoming increasingly limited.

 Hippie Mama 6 May 2011 - Drive 13 June 2011 - Crossed Buns 21 May 2009 - Hippie Mama

E. worked the hippie mama look with the use of maxi dresses, weather on their own or layered underneath or over other garments. I don’t have any stretchy long dresses but I do have this fabulous printed skirt that I scored at a clothing swap last fall.

36 week belly

I paired it with a teal maternity tank to pull out the blues in the pattern and added a variety of orange, red, and teal bangles to compliment to overall color scheme.

Have you embraced the boho-hippie aesthetic? And why is it that it’s so much easier to create this kind of look in the summer than in the winter? Do you have any tips for pulling off a cold-weather version of this kind of style? Please share your tips in the comments!


Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Research Casual, Weekend Wear
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Dress Your Best: Taking a Wholistic Approach

June 27th, 2011 § 15 comments §

Dress Your Best Week



Dress – Banana Republic Outlet (pre-pregnancy worn here)
Tank – Maternity, Target
Sandals – Target
Necklace – AE, years and years ago
Bag – Dots, bought in high school
Wooden bangle – thrifted


In my last post, I embraced my pregnant belly as my ‘Best’ for Dress Your Best Week. But as I was trying to come up with my other ‘Bests’, I realized that I have to take a more wholistic approach this time around. Last year, when we picked our top five things to celebrate, I remember naming things like my legs, my hair, and my smallish chest. This time, those same aspects of myself have been distorted and changed by pregnancy.

My legs, which I loved for being shapely as well as toned and powerful from many miles of running, are still strong but no longer resemble the legs they used to be. I’ve gotten cellulite where there was none, they’ve been retaining water and looking and feeling puffy, and they no longer even accept the thought of being squeezed into heels. It’s all flats, all comfort these days.

My hair, which I always loved for being full and curly, is still full and curly but is now betraying me in that it’s gotten increasingly grey and I’m powerless to hide that. I started getting grey hair a few years ago and have consistently colored it as a way to hide that. Since being pregnant, I decided to skip the chemicals in hair dye and wait the nine months before getting another dye job. As those pesky wirey white hairs spring up all around my temples and forehead, I feel like I’m increasingly made to look older and more weathered than I am.

And, alas, that smallish chest that allowed me to easily fit into any top and not think twice about going on a run. Yeah…those changed about two months into the pregnancy and will likely continue to change (read: grow) as time goes on. Sigh.

Floral Dress Detail

I’ll spare you the laundry list of everything else that’s changed and will cut to the chase; perhaps this is what happens when you get older. Perhaps this is what happens to all women, regardless of whether you’re going through pregnancy or your body is just changing with the passing of time. Hopefully, as this happens, you realize that it’s not about pin-pointing that ‘perfect’ feature of your body but rather about embracing the whole and what it does for you. So I’m taking a much more wholistic approach here and celebrating my body in its entirety.

This same body that gives me a million and one reasons to feel frustrated also gives me just as many reasons to be happy and grateful. It’s been carrying my baby to almost full term now (and having had several friends for whom this has been a problem, I know not to take that for granted). It’s still propelling me forward on my bike, on walks, at yoga class, and in the pool. It’s healthy and resiliant and this, too, I know to value. And while it’s changing in many ways, in just as many ways, it’s still me. It’s still the same body that ran a marathon, that used to have a waistline, and that once long ago thought grey hairs and cellulite a thing of motherhood and adulthood. Well, here I am, on the threshhold of motherhood and certainly with both feet into adult life, so I might as well embrace all aspects of this stage. As my yoga instructor has us say at the end of each class, I bow down to the divine within me and I celebrate this body for all that it is.

Dress Your Best Week

Category: Beltless, Dress Your Best, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally
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23 June 2011 – Dressing My Best

June 23rd, 2011 § 13 comments §

Baby Shower Outfit at 34 weeks


Dress – thrifted
Earrings – made by me
Yellow flats – Target last summer

Maxi skirt – AE
Tank – Maternity, Target


For this take on Dress Your Best I am highlighting a body part that I would have never considered ‘my best’ in the past. In fact, I have written before about how my torso and midsection is what I tend to camouflage or visually alter through clever use of waistlines and belting. I do not have a naturally slender waistline and I spent many years feeling self-conscious about my midsection. But now that area has taken on new meaning as it’s been growing and housing a baby.

While dressing a pregnant body is not always as fun and ‘cute’ as the media and pop culture make it seem, it does offer a new way to approach getting dressed. Yes, clothes may not fit and finding something to wear may be somewhat of a challenge on most days, but the reason behind that are cause for celebration rather than mourning. So these past months, I’ve been embracing my midsection and celebrating my belly, not caring that it’s made my wardrobe shrink to a few viable dresses and tops at this point, nor that it obscures the view of my feet, nor that it causes endless challenges when looking for a comfortable position in bed. I love it for what it’s doing and what it represents to me now.

Dressing my Best

Of those few dresses that still fit me, I wore the one above to our baby shower this past weekend. It was a wonderful event and could have only been made better by having had more out of town guests able to attend. And notice those fun little tissue paper pompoms hanging from the tree? Long time readers may remember them from E’s baby shower with her first baby that A. and I co-threw with another friend. A. and I made those pompoms way back then and I was delighted to see them resurface in celebration of my upcoming baby (yes, they’re the very same ones, carefully saved and preserved by A.). If you want to see how we made them, check out our easy tutorial here.

There were many similarities between the shower we threw for E. and her husband N. two years ago and the one that was thrown for T. and I this past weekend. The main ingredients: a relaxed atmosphere, a co-ed group allowing us to celebrate with all of our friends and partners, easy but delicious backyard food, fresh flowers as decor, and small details that betayed the love and thought that went into the planning. If you want to read our tips on throwing a backyard baby shower, take a look at our post here.

Back Yard Baby Shower

Are you currently pregnant or have you been pregnant at one point? Would your belly have made it into a ‘Best Five’ list were you to Dress Your Best?

Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Dress Your Best, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally
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6 June 2011 – Trying a Triad

June 6th, 2011 § 19 comments §

6 June 2011 - Trying a Triad


  • Purple dress – thrifted
  • Tote – thrifted
  • Teal cami – BR Outlet
  • Belt – Gap Outlet
  • Sandals – Target
  • Necklace – Earring turned pendant
  • Bike – 1969 Raleigh Sports
  • Helmet – Giro


Remember our color modules? When I pulled this purple jersey dress off its hanger and added the orange skinny belt to it, I realized that I was one color away from creating a triad. So I reached for a teal (blue-green) camisole to complete the look. For any color theory purists out there, I realize that this isn’t a ‘true triad’ of purple, orange, and green, but it comes pretty close. And in fact, I’d say that near triads often end up looking just as bold and punchy but in a better, more subtle way. Take a look…

27 July 2009 19 November 2009
16 February 2009 16 May 2009

While straight-up oranges, purples, and greens can end up looking a bit Crayola, blue-greens, red-oranges, plums, and aubergines can make for a much richer or more sophisticated color palette. I kept the rest of the outfit simple in terms of color with a navy tote and silver sandals completing the look. (Silver, like navy, is a neutral in my book).

If you could pick any three colors, but only three colors, to wear for an entire month, what would they be? – S.

6 June 2011 - Trying a Triad

Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Teaching Outfits, Vélocouture
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30 May 2011- On Sharing (Maternity) Clothes

May 30th, 2011 § 10 comments §

Teal and Orange


Orange necklace- consignment store
Gray tank – BE Maternity
Teal top – inherited from E.
Skinnies – ON Maternity
Flats- Target
Bag – Kenneth Cole Reaction
Bike – 1969 Raleigh Sports


This is what I wore last Friday to meet a friend at a coffee shop for cappuccinos and some German conversation. I inherited this teal pregnancy top from E., who wore it during her first pregnancy. When she went through her pregnancy clothes for this time around, she purged some items that she knew she wouldn’t be wearing again, and I was lucky enough to inherit them. I have two thoughts on sharing and inheriting maternity items:

  • It’s great!
  • It can be a ‘false triumph’

1) The advantages:

It’s great if you have friends who can share their maternity items with you because it saves you from having to spend too much money on items that you’ll wear for a limited amount of time. I compiled the majority of my maternity wardrobe from thrift stores, consignment shops, hand me downs, and only a few actually new items (my maternity jeans and a few ‘workhorse’ layering tanks). It’s also a great thing if you have friends who share your sense of style and aesthetic and who will give you pieces that you would have likely bought for yourself.

2) The disadvantages:

It can trap you into wearing something that doesn’t work for you because it’s free, you feel guilty spending money on clothes that won’t get worn for too long, and you feel bad turning down a thoughtful friend. Don’t fall into this trap! If you’re not as lucky as I am to be inheriting clothing from someone as stylish as E., (or maybe the gift giver is stylish, but it’s just not your style), politely decline. Someone else may really appreciate the offerings, and it doesn’t have to be you. I often hear women say that they don’t care what they wear or how something fits when it comes to maternity clothes because it’s temporary and they already have misgivings about their changing and growing body that less than ideal outfits ranks low on their list. I think that particularly at this time, when you want to feel good about your body, you should ruthlessly cull things that don’t serve that purpose. It’s ok to rotate between the same five dresses or maternity tops if you feel truly great in them when you wear them. When it comes to maternity wardrobes, my take is that less (but great) really is more.

So if version #2 above best describes how you feel about maternity hand me downs, do yourself a favor and just say no.

Have you encountered this dilema with shared clothing or hand me downs in general? What have you done in those situations?

Teal and Orange Plaid flats

And on a non-related side note, I’ve received several questions about cycling while pregnant. I’m always happy to answers those questions directly within the comments on this site, but I also wanted to point out that I write more at length about this topic on my bike (and life) blog, Simply Bike. You can read my latest post on cycling into the third trimester here. ~S.


Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Lab Friendly, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual, Vélocouture
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