First Quarter

How the heck is it February already?  Somehow we’re into the fourth week of the term here, meaning that the term is a quarter over already.  For all the chaos that surrounds the beginning of the school year in September, I always find that the spring term feels link a non-stop sprint.  The spring is conference season for me so all of a sudden all the ideas that seemed so exciting in September now need to actually have some sort of concrete plan behind them.  I go up for tenure this summer/ fall, so I’m also in the midst of trying to put together anything and everything that can be sent out for a last minute CV boost.

Turtleneck & skirt: Target; Tights: I don't know, Hue probably; Boots: Jessica Simpson

Turtleneck & skirt: Target; Tights: I don’t know, Hue probably; Boots: Jessica Simpson

I haven’t worn too many pencil skirt centred outfits this school year.  Not entirely sure why.  Partly it’s that my collection of pencil skirts don’t really fit that well anymore and I haven’t replaced them in the seemingly continuous shopping I do.  Partly it’s that I’ve been really drawn to more neutral grounding pieces for my teaching outfits, so the bright colors aren’t always what I’m wanting first thing in the morning.


Blazer & Sweater: Target; Skinnies: Old Navy; Booties: Kenneth Cole; Lucite necklace: Anthropologie

You guys sick of this blazer yet?  ‘Cause I’m sure not.  So I broke out the teaching denim in the second week of term this year.  Craziness.  I know many of you feel strongly about the not-wearing of denim in the classroom, and certainly not early in the term.  But I’ve decided that I don’t.  I mean, I did dress it up more than I might later — though the necklace was as much about covering up the lowness of the v-neck as it was about dressing up the denim.  Students here are very attentive to authority (they ARE Southern) so it unexpectedly grants me a little flexibility in my performance of that authority.


Anyone else got any sartorial rules that they’ve decided they’re not actually concerned about?

5 thoughts on “First Quarter

  1. Looking sweet, E-Jo. I was wondering if we’d see a pencil skirt or two any time this term!

    Also, while I love (like, really, really enjoy) the second outfit, I’d never wear it to teach. Like Jess, I hold the line at denim. And my students are decidedly NOT southern in their consideration of authority in the classroom.

    I might wear some sort of denim to teach a grad class. Grad students are a bit more savvy when it comes to recognizing that we are not friends or colleagues. Sadly, however, I don’t get to teach grad classes right now; so no jeans for me.

    In other news, I’m totalz digging the cuffed jeans with booties as a look. You are rocking it – and teaching me things while you rock.

  2. Both of these outfits are great but I empathize with you on the pencil skirt fit issue… I feel like part of why I tend to gravitate toward the same silhouette over and over again is that it forgives my fluctuations in weight (to which I am prone).

    I’ve not yet worn denim in the classroom in my current position. I have worn corduroy late in the term, dressed up accordingly. But I too hold that arbitrary line about denim. Not sure why? I guess part of it is that I feel like my students are already overly casual with me (due to age and gender perceptions maybe?). And denim signals casual for the most part. But your denim look with the blazer and statement necklace mitigates things nicely.

    Good luck with the tenure review preparation!

    • Thanks! This is totally the silhouette I tend to gravitate toward yet I’ve been mostly wearing dresses the last little bit so I haven’t changed out my separates to more accurate sizes. And, now, when I want to wear them, nothing quite fits as it should. I mean, these aren’t BAD problems to have, but are a reminder that I need to shop with more intentionality (on a variety of fronts) than I have been.

      I feel like the denim in the classroom issue is probably a locational thing, to some extent. My students are pretty casual with me, too (similar age & gender things as you) but, because they’re a population that has so intensely internalized deference to authority that it’s practically our school motto, they’re pretty ready to concede to my role as authority in the classroom. Weirdly, I actually think my casualness with them grants me a surprising amount of leeway that I wouldn’t have/ haven’t had elsewhere. I suppose it also reflects my changing seniority and sense of place in my department and the university. Anyhow, obviously, I’ve got LOTS of thoughts on this point!

  3. Ah yes, the red pencil skirt does appear to be a touch big. Terrible problem. I actually had all of my pencil skirts taken in once I was done losing weight, – perhaps you’ve considered that too, since you have such a cute collection? 🙂 If you do, you may also consider having them hemmed just a touch – I think something just above your knees would look super cute! Or mail them to me and I’ll get them tailored… for myself.

    Uh…. now that I’m done telling you what to do with all of your skirts..

    I DO like the red skirt with all neutrals. It’s a good way to play both sides – Team Color and Team Neutral. I agree, sometimes it’s hard to stomach a ton of bright colors (hence my dark, blah nails last week!). And the blazer ensemble does look work-appropriate to me, but then I work from home most of the time, and in a casual office the rest.

    • My plan is to get them tailored once I’m at the weight I want to be at — and I’m not there yet. But what I’m learning is that this is sort of stupid. I should at least get a few tailored to fit me now, instead of eternally deferring things and looking sloppier than I’d like. They def. need to get hemmed — I typically have them hiked to high heaven right now so a couple inches of the bottom is totally necessary.

      Also, I totally have dark nails this week so I definitely alternate on that point. But, not to worry, I was still wearing garishly bright lipstick. I mean, come on, right?

      I think the thing with the denim is that it, like Jess notes, reads casual even if the outfit isn’t really all that casual. It’s weird how one item of an outfit can alter your entire sense of its casualness or appropriateness. Though really I’m not sure why I’m hung up on this with this outfit. What made me seem less in charge in that class was when a student made me blush.

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