One Dress Two Ways

I post today in support of E-Jo’s upcoming hard core 30 for 30 remixing. Even though I’m not participating in the challenge (this much planning stresses me out), I’m excited to see what she – and many of you – come up with this month. And I’m remixing this dress today in solidarity.

But first, a Brief Professorial Interlude: (scroll down for outfit post)
Like E-Jo, I also have only ten teaching days left in this term. That’s right, StyleNation, we’re entering the final countdown to at least two weeks of uninterrupted work on The Project That Will Not End. Sweet buckets of awesomeness!*

I usually feel the need to bring it, sartorially, in these final weeks as students are bleary-eyed and worn out from too much studying or too much partying (or both). It becomes necessary, therefore, to work a little harder – especially in my large Intro. course – to keep eyes open and focused on the front of the room.

But some students are panicking because they’re failing, and they’re looking for someone (else) to blame for their having slacked off all term. Which is a long way of saying that now is perhaps not the time for sartorial whimsy for woman-identified professors. Deep-seated cultural chauvinism (misogyny, even) hidden under politeness and political correctness at other times of the year seems to surface during these weeks. In other words, women beware.** My only protection against these kinds of threats – you know, aside from feminist anti-violence policy, research, and education – is to retain what professional presence I can in the classroom instead of relaxing into a more casual instructor-persona as I come to know many of the students in my classes.

Outfit post Resumes Here:
After today’s relatively whimsical ensembles, I will be working to strike a balance between bringing it interest-wise, and dialling it back in terms of whimsical details. But first, this is me taking Rad and D-Med’s long-ago-offered advice and wearing knee socks under boots:

Poly-blend microfibre dress: Cleo (thrifted)
Cardigan: Nygard (remixed)
Tank dress: Le Chateau
Necklace: mall anchor store (If this were high school, I’d be going steady with a LOT of people. That’s what a ring on a necklace means, right?)
Boots: Miss Mooz (remixed)
Socks:do we care? They’re black.

~ Trying a more boot-focussed pose. Huh. ‘Harder than it looks. Maybe I hate the magazine ads with scantilly-clad models wearing boots and sprawling on the floor with their feet in the air a little less. .  .

I thrifted this dress in August for $7 with its original tags in place. This is an important detail because these kinds of unnatural fibres tend over time to absorb and retain sweat smells; I prefer to smell only myself in my clothes. Also, the chain link pattern is awesome and will be fun to use as a backdrop for giant necklaces.

Warning: the next ensemble’s a wee bit wonky. Even my colleague who never wants to talk fashion noted that this was a “crazy outfit.” I blame Paula Reed’s Style Clinic for this bit of weirdness. This book told me to match my shoes to my tights, not my dress, to elongate my legs. I’m not sure this is what the guide had in mind:

Dress: as above
Cami: H&M (I’ll be eliminating the high-necked cami in future dress stylings. ‘Seems like overkill now that I see the photos)
Black ribbon & faux-silver necklace: mall anchor store
Cardigan: Kische (via Winners)
Tights: Hue
Faux-snakeskin wedges: Aerosoles

~ Sideways combination Wonder Woman & Not-at-all-ridiculous Back Stretch pose

Obligatory shoe close-up (extracted from another outfit):



What bits of style advice haven’t worked for you, StyleNation?

Also, how do you survive the final weeks of term?

* Other academics will know this already, but for our more well-adjusted readers I will note this enthusiasm is not ironic. Breaks between teaching assignments are not for making merry; they are for madly researching, writing, and planning future research and writing time/s.

** Research from a variety of sources suggests that deep-rooted cultural racism also surfaces during times of anxiety. So visible minorities, and persons who speak with an “other” accent are also subject to more intense scrutiny and pressure during such periods.

33 thoughts on “One Dress Two Ways

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  5. *Jamie: Hmm, you may be onto something here. Perhaps a slight colour differential is what I need. Also, I hear you on the tall boots not working with the extra short skirts. I keep trying similar things, but I never make it out the door!*E-Jo: That's it! That's why the dress seemed so familiar and necessary for me! It's a bit of E-Jo in an E-Jo-less city. And I hear you on the belting. I thought I could get away without it (belts over sweaters always make me sweaty – especially when they're layered over unnatural fibres). But things are a kind of rectangular without the belting. Crap.*LHdM: Cross-dressing, eh? Do we get to see? Also, I love that you said "the cat's pj's." *D-Med: I need to see a picture of the purple shoes & tights combo at some point. NEED. Also, you may be right about the competing elements of the second outfit. But I like your suggestions, except for the Romulan ale. The ale part is an astoundingly cool piece of advice. Astoundingly cool. *SU: It's OK. You gave me a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Consider me medicated. Also, ha! This takes our online friendship to a whole new level, no? We are soooo new friends in real life now.

  6. Hmm. From what I can see, the matching tights/shoes DO elongate your legs … maybe picking that blue up somewhere else in the outfit would've made it seem more natural? I like both iterations. A lot!

  7. Thanks for this advice. Over on our blog I'm noting that I'll be playing it casual for student conferences this week, so this reminder that I may want to rev up the profesh factor when I'm back in the classroom thereafter is a very helpful one.I don't quite know what to make of the bright blueness going on in the second photo, but I do love those blue wedges!! And what a great dress, especially to find new at a thrift store. And my love for those red boots still has not quelled. : )

  8. OiB: I am thrilled to have my boots endorsed by such a shoe aficionado! Thanks!TIoBM: Holy crap! People don't take harassment seriously? That is alarming, and I'm sorry that you experience it at all, let alone on a regular basis. And it is unsettling (to say the least) when someone makes it clear that s/he doesn't respect you, even when you speak with the authority of the academic institution behind you. For that institution (or other representatives of the same) to refuse to back you up is appalling. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts.

  9. A-Dubs – it's very, very usual for our dept to be this challenging.Today I got to meet with people from another department and I was so shocked to see the cohesiveness between the faculty and staff for the good of the students. That's not how it is here. It was so refreshing to meet the other people and talk with them. Oh, and I think you all would dig the outfit. I bought trouser socks for the first time ever!

  10. OiB: I am thrilled to have my boots endorsed by such a shoe aficionado! Thanks!TIoBM: Holy crap! People don't take harassment seriously? That is alarming, and I'm sorry that you experience it at all, let alone on a regular basis. And it is unsettling (to say the least) when someone makes it clear that s/he doesn't respect you, even when you speak with the authority of the academic institution behind you. For that institution (or other representatives of the same) to refuse to back you up is appalling. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts.

  11. I'm interested in what you wrote here and in your referenced earlier post about dealing with panicking students.Even as staff (non-professors) we deal with the same things. Especially from the males of our species. About a year ago One of our more entitled students demanded to see an academic advisor, a specific one, before the other 15 students waiting quietly and patiently for their turn to see the same guy. When I told him no that he needed to wait he became condescending and arrogant. Not usually being in the position of receptionist, I, admittedly, lost it a little and told him that he need to either sign in and wait his turn or he could come back another day at an earlier time when there were fewer students. My tone was angry – I had dealt with him in the past and thought that our academic advisor seemed to show him a lot of favor (his sessions always took longer than other students and the advisor always closed his door when he came to see him. Later we told the advisor that it wasn't safe to do that). I had just had enough. The guy looks at me and says, "oh are you mad now? why are you mad?" My anger from this headband wearing 20 year old who thought himself king of our tiny department made me so nauseous that I had to leave the office. I couldn't believe he had gotten under my skin like he did, but I allowed it. I will have to say that every day I deal with really great students and some bad apples. I refuse to let the bad apples run me over. This has gotten me into trouble with some of our dept faculty because they believe that the student, especially the male students (ours is a male dominated dept/field, with many coming from backgrounds where women are lesser creatures then men). When I was sexually harassed two years ago by an applicant I was told to shrug it off and that I shouldn't have encouraged him by telling him that he needed to follow our instructions for submitting supporting documents. 1. Why would we want anyone in our department who is so nasty and rude and outright sexually harasses the female staff? 2. Why would anyone want a student who can't follow simple rules?It makes me really upset, even now, knowing that the higher ups didn't find the harassment as important as I did. In their eyes, it was my fault. The students are always right and the staff is always wrong. We have a code for when we have belligerent and violent students (some have threatened to break down doors, some have threatened in other ways) – we say, "I hear what your saying, let me just call Arnold and he will help."Arnold is code for Arnold Schwarzenegger and that whomever is calling for Arnold needs a rescue.We never close our doors. If we know that a problem student is coming in we always alert someone else to keep an ear out or pop in and make an excuse to check on us. Isn't that awful?I love your outfit. That dress is fabulous. Especially with the cardi and boots. The blue tights and shoes make an interesting outfit and I think you are bold to wear it and that you wear it very well! I need to try more bold outfits.

  12. I love this dress and I love this post – you demonstrate how versatile a great dress can be, because it looks equally fabulous with those blue tights as it does with those (gorgeous) boots. I love pieces of my own that are like that, and I want those boots!

  13. *Charlotte: I'm interested to hear more of your thoughts on this topic. I'm glad you like the blue shoes – they're remarkably comfortable, given the height of the heels!*BBSM: Thanks! And I agree that the first outfit works better than the second. I'll be revisiting the second outfit at a later date and taking everyone's critique into consideration!

  14. A-Dubs, you write about something I've noticed in my long academic career: the very worst time of the year is between November 1st and the end of the fall term. The same can't be said of the spring term–maybe the idea of release is too close at hand–but at the end of the fall term, things get ugly. What ISN'T ugly are your lovely outfits. Your inspiring blue shoes are a light in the wilderness.

  15. SFE: Thanks for the suggestion. And the bangs thing sounds terrible. Every few years, I'm tempted to do bangs. Usually I give in to the temptation, then regret it immediately. Good for you for resisting the badness, and for knowing what looks best on your head and face.

  16. I suggest adding a paisley blue scarf to outfit #2.But more importantly, what hasn't worked for me: the dumbass who told me that bangs would be a good idea. This was AGES ago, but it was still the worst advice ever. I have very intense eyes and eyebrows. And when I was younger my eyelashes and brows were nearly black and my hair was lighter brown. DISASTROUS! I now refuse to consider shorter layers that could be considered sideswept bangs. Too close for comfort.

  17. *Jamie: Hmm, you may be onto something here. Perhaps a slight colour differential is what I need. Also, I hear you on the tall boots not working with the extra short skirts. I keep trying similar things, but I never make it out the door!*E-Jo: That's it! That's why the dress seemed so familiar and necessary for me! It's a bit of E-Jo in an E-Jo-less city. And I hear you on the belting. I thought I could get away without it (belts over sweaters always make me sweaty – especially when they're layered over unnatural fibres). But things are a kind of rectangular without the belting. Crap.*LHdM: Cross-dressing, eh? Do we get to see? Also, I love that you said "the cat's pj's." *D-Med: I need to see a picture of the purple shoes & tights combo at some point. NEED. Also, you may be right about the competing elements of the second outfit. But I like your suggestions, except for the Romulan ale. The ale part is an astoundingly cool piece of advice. Astoundingly cool. *SU: It's OK. You gave me a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Consider me medicated. Also, ha! This takes our online friendship to a whole new level, no? We are soooo new friends in real life now.

  18. Mind you, I am drinking my Merlot right now, but, nope, don't like the bleu on bleu. If the shoe was more of a pump, not wedge, and the dress was a different print or a solid. Now, the whole Star Trek thing I see.The first outfit is wonderful.This is the first time I didn't like what you were wearing. Should I have left this comment? This is new territory….

  19. Also–and don't be overwhelmed by how totally cool I am–there is something distinctively Star Trek about the second iteration of this dress. It's very "smartly dressed civilian on the Starship Enterprise". You should be drinking some Romulan ale in this outfit. I'm a lot cooler than you thought I was, aren't I, StyleNation?

  20. I wore purple tights with purple shoes today! We are like this (doing finger-to-eye thing)! I wonder if the distinctive (and awesome) pattern of the dress with the superhero blue of the tights wasn't just too much awesomeness in one outfit. Maybe the blue shoes & tights combo would work better with a solid dark colour, like charcoal or black, so it can be the star of the show. I think the pattern and the tights are probably competing for attention. Then again, what do I know. I can barely dress myself at this point in the term.

  21. Those blue shoes are the cat's pjs, my dear! I will chime in and agree with some of the others that some more blue elements might give the outfit a more organic feel. Perhaps a blue scarf or a blue necklace…?I survived today by cross-dressing. Tomorrow, who knows? Perhaps a gym date with a friend and a couple of glasses of wine while grading will see me through. One day at a time.

  22. Love this dress. It reminds me of the dress I wore to your wedding, which I totally need to remix into teaching garb — after the next 30 days, though. I like the blue tights & shoes (and holy crap do I love those shoes) but agree with everyone else that you maybe need some blue up top. Maybe a blue necklace. I also wonder if belting the cardigan in both might not be a good idea? The shape of the dress gets a bit lost here underneath.

  23. What a great chainlink pattern on your dress. Chainlink seems to be an under-utilized pattern, in my opinion — timeless and interesting without being too busy. Hmm…the tights with coordinating shoes is an interesting concept. I find that look hard to pull off — perhaps different shades of the same color might work? I once read that a too-short skirt can be visually lengthened when paired with some tall boots, as less leg is displayed. I tried this look with a pair of low-heeled boots and still felt like I was working the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Needless to say, I didn't leave the house looking like that…

  24. Liz: Thanks for your comment. I checked out your post earlier today and am still thinking about it!Anne: Thanks for these ideas. I shall get to work on an improved mix.Rad: Perfect – I've got a blue scarf that just might work. Or a wide blue belt. I'll try 'em and see. Also, 'tis the season for the chatterboxes, it seems. As everyone gets to know each other better in my upper-year dialogue-rich classes, I'm facing some of the same problems. 'Looking forward to "militant serious Rad" at TCC!

  25. What a great thrift find. You're so right about the artificial fibers. I have a similar chain link design on a tunic that I'll wear during a casual day sometime soon. Awesome. I agree with a little more blue on top. Maybe a blue scarf?I totally need to step up the authority. I have a problem couple (two women) in my morning class, and I need to sharpen up sartorially to show them who's boss. I hate that I need to do that, but they are pretty disruptive (talking a lot, talking about non class stuff during group time). I think militant serious Rad will be making an appearance again soon.

  26. Thanks for this advice. Over on our blog I'm noting that I'll be playing it casual for student conferences this week, so this reminder that I may want to rev up the profesh factor when I'm back in the classroom thereafter is a very helpful one.I don't quite know what to make of the bright blueness going on in the second photo, but I do love those blue wedges!! And what a great dress, especially to find new at a thrift store. And my love for those red boots still has not quelled. : )

  27. You're so right, Sal and Anne. Next time, a belt and some blue elsewhere in the ensemble will be included. But you don't think the matching shoes and tights look weird, then? I don't look like I'm wearing bright blue hip waders?

  28. I actually really like the second outfit with the bold blue tights, though maybe not during the final countdown (I don't know why, but colored tights do strike me as a little whimsical). I think what's missing is that bright blue, or something close to it, elsewhere in your ensemble. Also, it looks better without the sweater because it lets us see the faux-wrap, which does create a waist. I think you need a waist to balance out that legginess, so maybe try adding a belt? Or something more structured than the cardigan?

  29. Hmm. From what I can see, the matching tights/shoes DO elongate your legs … maybe picking that blue up somewhere else in the outfit would've made it seem more natural? I like both iterations. A lot!

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