4 March 2011 – Belt and Re-Belt

March 4th, 2011 § 10 comments §

Belt and Re-Belt – Wrapped, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Blazer: C&C
  • Dress: Olian, via consignment store
  • Obi belt: from another dress
  • Gold belt: thrifted
  • Scarf belt: Target
  • Tights: Target
  • Boots: Steven Madden Iriss, via eBay

End Notes:

When S. was visiting Academichic Central a couple of weekends ago, we made time to go to a local consignment shop that specializes in children’s clothing, toys, and maternity wear. S. walked away with a bundle of great finds that you’ll certainly see soon, and I happily paid a little extra for this Olian Maternity flower print dress. I love pretty much everything about this dress…the abstracted chrysanthemum motif, the color scheme, the surplice neckline, the slightly tulip rather than a-line skirt, its body versatility… In fact, the only thing I’m not crazy about is the attached sash.

Attached belt

I have a love-hate relationship with dresses with attached sashes. On the one hand, it’s nice to know it’s not going anywhere and to have built-in fit-enhancing capabilities. On the other hand, the attached sashes don’t always attach where I want them to, and they don’t always lend themselves well to layering. What to do?

I’m tempted to go ahead and cut this belt off and transform it into a wider (multi-strip) belt that’s tacked directly to the dress without any “tails” to get in the way. But, while I work up the courage, I tried to figure out how to best work with the situation and still use some of my own belts to add a little color.

I tried a skinny gold belt, sitting it right below the sash (tied in front). I think it’s too skinny, though, and to me it got a little lost amidst the print.

Belt and Re-Belt - Golden

Next, I thought I’d try my hand at pattern-mixing, and brought out this orange leaf-print scarf for some complementary color action. I wrapped the sashes around front, back, and front again, tied a knot, and tucked the ends in. Then, I wrapped the folded patterned scarf over the whole business, tied that in the back and tucked the ends in. It looked pretty gnarly in the back, but with a little blazer thrown over it you couldn’t really tell. While I liked this in theory, it didn’t quite do it for me this morning.

Belt and Re-Belt - Mixed Results
Pattern Mixing

Finally, as you see in the top look, I pulled back out the obi belt that I wore earlier this week. I know. It’s so soon. But look how nicely the softer salmon color plays with the blues of the dress and how the draped ties of the obi make the longer blue ties of the built-in sash seem more purposeful. I was sold.

Obi Belt

Do you have a preferred version? How do you handle dresses with attached sashes?

Category: Color Combinations, Dresses for Day, Layers Upon Layers, Maternity Style, Mixing Patterns, Our Best Flatware
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Tight Swap, Take Two

February 15th, 2011 § 51 comments §

Tight Swap - Gray

In last year’s Fashion 101 on tights, I offered an example of how merely switching out tights could change the entire appearance of an outfit. This year, I thought I’d try out the same idea again, but with a different dress and shoe combination.

(As an aside, I really love the substantial ponte knit and demure shape of this little gray sheath, but it’s significantly shorter than what I usually wear. I don’t think I’ll be teaching in this dress until I let the hem down, but even for running about town over the weekend I felt…abbreviated.)

In any case, onward. The photo above shows the gray dress paired with gray tights. The monochrome scheme does mitigate my hem length issues, and I love how the browns of the belt and boots warm everything up. A touch more interesting than wearing black tights, but still cool and simple.

Next up, patterned tights. Meh. This is probably my least favorite look, not because I don’t like my patterned tights, but because I think they were the wrong value for this medium gray sheath. I think a darker patterned tight would have worked a little better, no?

Tight Swap - Patterned

Given my love of grellow, I definitely wanted to try pairing this soft gray dress with punchier saffron tights. I love the idea of these tights in theory, but sometimes when I wear them I get a little self conscious about maybe looking like I have Muppet legs. Here, though, I think they work well with the warm cognac boots to create a little bit of punch without breaking up my leg line too harshly.

Tights Swap - Saffron

I think this gray and red combination is one of my favorite iterations. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m channeling some Tania from What Would a Nerd Wear and her “gred”. There’s something classic but fresh and the tights look purposeful, not like a tacked on afterthought.

Tight Swap - Red

Finally, blue tights. I was prepared to not like this…but I really do. I don’t usually think of cobalt as being a “spring” color, but there’s a lot of it around this year and I think it’s a little unexpected with the gray and navy.

Tight Swap - Royal Blue

Do you have a favorite?

Category: Dresses for Day, Our Best Flatware, Research Casual, Taking Notes, Teaching Moment
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Golden Girl

January 26th, 2011 § 24 comments §

Golden Girl, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Scarf: Chinatown, gift from SIL
  • Top: Banana Republic Factory
  • Skirt: Anthropologie, gift from sweet friend!
  • Navy tights: Banana Republic Factory
  • Boots: Steve Madden Iriss, via eBay

End Notes:

Guess what I got from Christmas as a joint gift from a sweet friend and my mother-in-law? Yup, the Field Skirt from Anthropologie…in gold! Many of you suggested this skirt when I was dreaming of winter-weight full skirts in December, and I have to say, you were right. This skirt is a great color, it has pockets, and it’s very easy to wear. It’s a little shorter than I usually wear my full skirts, but I think with the tights and boots it all works together and is still classroom appropriate.

I gravitated back to one of my favorite color combinations here: mustard with navy, green, and touches of cognac leather. I love how the patterning in the scarf seems even richer against the navy and gold. It’s a delicious palette for a chilly day and a little splash of color in the midst of all this snow!

I still have lots of ideas for wearing this skirt, so you’ll surely be seeing some remixing in the near future!

Category: Color Combinations, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
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15 November 2010 – Game Face

November 16th, 2010 § 31 comments §

15 November 2010 – Game Face, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Scarf: Ross
  • Sweater dress: Ann Taylor
  • Tights: gift from mother-in-law
  • Boots: Steve Madden
  • Angst: courtesy of my advisor

End Notes:

Yesterday was a pretty big academic milestone for me, as I sat for my major field qualifying exam. Although I know in my head that this is ultimately a hoop — albeit one with spikes and fire — to jump through, it still felt like a big deal and an occasion deserving of patterned tights. Sure, no one would actually see me since I was going to be locked in a windowless room for 6 hours with my computer, but still. Turns out I needed them, since my day ended up going something like this:

I woke up feeling ready but anxious to get going.

After arriving on campus, however, I was told that my advisor (currently out of the country) had not yet sent my exam question to our department admin.

So I waited. And waited. Had some tea. Twiddled my thumbs. Talked to a colleague. And…waited…until my question arrived an hour later.

Then I typed for 6 hours, and my brain felt like this:

Relief, originally uploaded by academichic.

I’ll find out in two weeks if my lucky tights paid off… In the meantime, thanks to all of you for the many well wishes!

Category: Beltless, Dresses for Day
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9 February 2009 – Neutral on Neutral

February 9th, 2009 § 3 comments §


9 February 2009 – Neutral on Neutral, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Gray cardi – Gap, remixed
  • Brown cotton skirt – BR Outlet, remixed
  • Navy graphic tee – Old Navy
  • Woven leather belt – Gap Outlet, remixed
  • Wooden hoop earrings – Wet Seal, remixed
  • Steve Madden Iriss Boots – hurray for eBay!

End Notes:

We’re making like Belgium and being neutral this week. I am much more of a “neutral with a pop” girl, so this outfit actually took some thought to put together. To complicate matters, I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon so I needed to make sure I had easy “belly access” for the Doppler and belly goo. Thankfully, it’s warm enough to wear a cotton skirt with an elastic waistband. I love it when form and function meet.


Iriss Boots, originally uploaded by academichic.

Category: Color Combinations, Layers Upon Layers, Maternity Style, Office Hours, Our Best Flatware, Pregnancy in Academia, Research Casual, Skirting the Issue
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