First Two Weeks: Separates

Here are the final two outfits from my first two weeks of classes.  One of the difficult things about dressing for the beginning of the fall term here at IPF South is that we are still very much in the grip of summer — read: temperatures in the 90s/ high 30s.  This will typically last into October.  This means that some of the typical strategies for conveying authority in the classroom in the first few weeks become difficult.  Namely, I find that sleeves can only lead to heat stroke.  It’s tricky, then, to craft outfits that still convey the professionalism you might want, alongside things that are appropriate to the temperature.  It DOES help that my students are experiencing the same temperatures, and so they’re dressing proportionally more casually as well (though I do teach on a campus where students where university branded t-shirts & athletic shorts all year so they’re always super casual).

Top: Target; Skirt: Eddie Bauer; Sandals: Aerosoles; Necklace: RW & Co.

Top: Target; Skirt: Eddie Bauer; Sandals: Aerosoles; Necklace: RW & Co.

I wore this on the first day of classes.  This is the skirt that I’ve had for ages but, between this outfit and the one in the linked outfit, I’ve decided to cut it loose and it’s currently in my to-donate pile.  I’m taking A-Dubs’ advice and looking for one that is neither too long nor so swingy.


Also, while I love the bursts of cognac in the shoes and necklace, the coral top and black skirt are reading a bit Hallowe’en to me here.  But enough of what didn’t work well.  It was a comfortable outfit for the first day — and I’d forgotten about these shoes (which photograph horribly) which are great stomping around the classroom heels.

Top: Target; Skirt: Gap; Bronze Wedges: Etienne Aignier

Top: Target; Skirt: Gap; Bronze Wedges: Etienne Aignier

Here’s another great pair of class-stomping shoes that I haven’t worn in ages.  This semester both my classes are in the same building as my office, so it makes it much easier to teach in heels as I don’t need to traipse across campus with its ridiculously uneven pavement.  So you’ll notice far more of my heels being trotted out over the next couple of weeks.


I had a different outfit in mind with this top — I wanted to pair it with a pencil skirt — but it turned out to be a little too much for the classroom.  I’m slightly at a loss about what to pair it with now; I liked this pairing, but the proportions aren’t ideal.  It will work nicely with jeans on the weekend or non-teaching days, but I’m not sure beyond dress pants what to pair it with for the classroom.  That said, once it cools down enough to add a cardigan, I think the pencil skirt version of this outfit will work as it will seem less like I’m wearing a makeshift cocktail dress to class.

Anybody got some other suggestions for styling shirts with a peplum?


8 thoughts on “First Two Weeks: Separates

  1. Pingback: Halloween, Take Two | In Professorial Fashion

  2. So I have a couple of peplum dresses that I wear in the classroom, and I don’t think they look too evening gown-y. I think they are very business-y. Which is not my usually classroom attire, but certainly appropriate. So I think a pencil skirt would work. That said, I agree that the fuller skirt works, and that slim boot cuts would work as well.

    In my experience, the American south is also over air conditioned. To a crazy degree. In fact, a man who goes by “King of the [Grad Student] Lounge” at Grad School U, likes to comment that living in the New South will spoil you for the rest of the world, because the AC means you never really have to be hot and the lack of winter means you never really have to be cold.

    • Like I said to D-Med, there was something about this particular combination that just wouldn’t work in the classroom for me, not without the addition of another layer. The blousier fit of the coral peplum seems more workable to me in this combo. I definitely think a peplum dress is awesome and super appropriate for the classroom.

      Yeah, IPF South is definitely thoroughly air conditioned (I don’t find it overly so, but I tend to run warm) — but I’ve got to say I still definitely get to be really hot here, arctic AC or not.

      • Oh, I have considered the possibility of dying from heat prostration on my way across a parking lot. And I was in your neck of the woods for a couple of days this summer and I swear my eyeballs evaporated.

  3. Having spent five weeks this summer in a city built on a swamp where it was rarely below 40 during the day and rarely below 30 at night (seriously, who invented the weather?) I recently experienced the dilemma of dressing professionally-ish in inferno-like heat and humidity. The difference, it seems, is that everywhere indoors felt like a sub-zero, so I always needed a cardi of some kind. Isn’t IPF South over air-conditioned to Arctic standards too? Or is that some kind of Yankee overcompensation?

    Also, I don’t think the peplum-with-a-pencil is too much. What if it was one of your casually colourful pencil skirts? Worn with flats? But what do I know. I never wear bare arms in the classroom because I have somehow confused it with Catholic churches in a way I can’t shake. I also don’t do open-toed shoes. I have a lot of made-up rules that you are breaking beautifully here. Kudos.

    • Yeah. Five weeks of that weather is all too familiar. Try 3-4 months. Indoors is sub-zero here as well, so my office is freezing. But I find when I teach that I warm up pretty rapidly, regardless of how freezing the AC is. So I’m typically bundled in my office cardi up until I leave for class.

      I don’t, in general, think a peplum-with-a-pencil is too much. This particular shirt and the way that it fits me, in combination with my pencil skirts was too much. It was too dressy and, more importantly, too va-va-voom-y. The first outfit, for instance, would have been fine with a more pencil-y skirt, but the second outfit just wouldn’t work — especially with the bare arms.

      Also, gird your rule making loins for a later post of today’s outfit: I was wearing strappy sandals in class.

  4. Looking fabulous, Dr. E-Jo! Seriously, I see what you’re saying about how pencil skirts would work with both of the above, but I really like what you’ve done with the fuller skirts.

    As for the peplum styling, I’ve got nothing. I’ve had an alarmingly colourful (for me) jacket with a peplum for years that I can’t figure out how to wear. A peplum blouse extends beyond my skillset. Unless you do it with some slim boot-cut trousers in black, navy, or khaki green? Thoughts?

    Finally, ‘can’t wait to see whatever new skirt you acquire to replace the black one that bothers you!

    • Thanks dude. I was pleased with the fuller skirt on the second outfit — especially as it was a 7:30 am decision, which is rarely my finest hour. I like the idea of the slim boot-cut trousers with the top. My dress pants selection is perilously low, almost non-existent, at the moment so I really need to direct my shopping energies in that direction.

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