Wrapping Up

Oh, hi there, internet.  It’s been a while.  So, any theories on where the last six weeks have gone?  It seems as though I blinked and March and April disappeared.  I can’t even say that I’ve been grading the whole time as that was heavier in January and February for me — before next week’s onslaught of final papers.  March, at least, was filled with travel — for work and otherwise.  I spent a delightful week in Montreal with my sisters and their adorable, adorable progeny.  I was also in New York for a lightning fast conference trip — though I DID get to hang out with the delightful Susan and a host of other, non-blogging work friends.  Conferencing is such a mixed bag — it’s a great opportunity to see fun places, hang out with colleagues who are geographically distant, and get some new ideas/ book suggestions BUT it’s also a moment for a reminder of how obnoxious certain aspects of academia can be.  Old dude who tried to score cheap laughs at the expense of his undergraduates and dude grad students who think that my lady-brain can’t possibly match the awesome power of theirs, I’m looking at you.  But now I’m home (or, more accurately, I’ve been home for OVER A MONTH) and am in the dying days of the term.

Chambray: Gap; White v-neck: Old Navy; Pencil skirt: Target; Concrete wedges: Jessica Simpson

Chambray: Gap; White v-neck: Old Navy; Pencil skirt: Target; Concrete wedges: Jessica Simpson

One of the buildings I’m teaching in this term is a bit of a treacherous hike from my office — it’s sloping downward over very uneven pavement — so I haven’t worn heels to teach as that’s a recipe for disaster.  But, over the last two weeks, I’ve been meeting with my students to discuss their final papers, rather than holding class sessions, so I decided to break out the heels for those days where I was just in my office or only teaching in the building that doesn’t require risking life and limb to get to it.  This is also a new chambray shirt.  I’ve long had my eye on this one from the Gap — it’s got western detailing and pearl snaps, which appeals to my Prairie upbringing — so I snapped it up when it was on clearance.  I’m quite smitten with it and plan on wearing the crap out of it until it gets ludicrously hot here and sleeves become unviable.

Blazer & shell: Target; Jeggings: Gap; Suede Booties: Kenneth Cole

Blazer & shell: Target; Jeggings: Gap; Suede Booties: Kenneth Cole

These jeggings are another recent, Gap sale purchase, worn here on a day last week where I met with fifteen students to discuss their papers.  And then promptly passed out at home, never wanting to say another word.  I actually really love doing these paper conferences, as I both love talking about writing with students AND having a captive audience — and this was a day when some of my very favorite students of this term were scheduled.  But, man, by the end of the day, my brain was pretty fried.


How’s everyone doing?  Hanging in there?

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?

Day Zero

Tomorrow is the first day of classes for me (they officially begun today at my university).  Cue my requisite outrage at the sped up passage of time over the summer.  Anyhow, after a really busy summer, full of super casual and repeated outfits, I’m nerdily a little excited for the opportunity to wear real clothes — though, to be clear, my clothes have not been imaginary throughout the summer, however appealing in this heat.  Last week begun to ease me into the transition a bit as some department commitments began to kick in.

Cowl neck tank: Old Navy; Black tank: Target; Black skirt: Eddie Bauer; Black flats: Me Too

I wore this to our new graduate student orientation where I was tasked with convincing students to take my spring grad course.  The presentation, like the outfit, was intermittently successful, but didn’t entirely come together as I had envisioned.DSC_0018-004

This skirt — which I bought as an undergrad and is nearing its eleventh year in my possession, and thus the crown for the article of clothing I’ve owned the longest — is one that I almost never wear and which I have almost gotten rid of several times, only for it to be saved by the obvious versatility of a black jersey skirt.  The problem with it is twofold: I don’t wear a lot of black, generally, and it’s too long (I’ve got it hiked to high heaven here).  Also, it doesn’t really fit anymore.  So its problems are secretly threefold.  But, sometimes, I need a neutral skirt and so I pull this sucker into rotation.  Still, wearing something less than five times in five years would argue that I need to just find a neutral option that I like better.

Shirt & cargos: Old Navy; Sandals: Birkenstock

Shirt & cargos: Old Navy; Sandals: Birkenstock

This sucker I wore for the last official coffeeshop work day of the summer.  Y’know, to be followed by today’s first coffeeshop work day of the semester.  Spoiler alert: I’m basically wearing this outfit today as well.


While at the coffeeshop, I frantically worked to finish the draft of an in-progress article and to discuss the fate of the project that will not end with the cute barista.  I was also wearing it when I got home, immediately post this conversation, to get notice of the changed status of the project that will not end.  So good times all around.  Also, the mini-FR decided to join in the fun.

How’s the back-to-school season treating everyone?

Conference Recap

Well, it’s almost taken me two months to do this but here is my boot-centric conference wear from early October.  I know, I know.  You’ve been waiting with bated breath.

Day One: Eager Conference Attendee, Ready to Listen Attentively

Cardi: Old Navy; Dress: Lane Bryant; Tights: Hue; Boots: J. Simp

Cardi: Old Navy; Dress: Lane Bryant; Tights: Hue; Boots: J. Simp

This dress typically has a belt but I forgot to pack it.  I think it needs the belt to break up the pattern a bit, but, otherwise, this dress is an excellent conference powerhouse as it’s super comfortable.

Day Two: Presenter, Substantially Inferior Listener

Cardi: Old Navy; Dress: Target; Tights and Boots as before

Cardi: Old Navy; Dress: Target; Tights and Boots as before

So you’ll no doubt see that Team Color was very much making its presence known at this conference (which, incidentally, was pretty excellent).

Day Three: Conference had Half a Day*


Chambray Shirt & White T: Old Navy; Skirt: Target; Tights and Boots: Ibid.

This outfit also had a blazer but I’m too lazy to restage that part of the outfit.  Also, while it’s slightly more casual than I might typically wear for a conference, the day before a male academic at about the same career point as me was wearing what looked to be his house-painting clothes.  So, I decided to chambray it up.

The pillow you can see progressively more of in these pictures is this one.  It might be one of my favorite things I own.

Boot Close-ups:



*I can’t find the clip that goes with this but I’m pretty sure some of you out there get what I’m putting down here.

Anyone got any updates on current time machine science?  I’d be pretty interested in getting these last two months back as they’ve gone ridiculously fast…

Everything is Black and Gold

Yegads, StyleNation! Has it really been more than a month since we met? How’ve you been?

Things here are getting back into their usual October groove following the submission of a grant application that ate up most of August, all of September, and the first two weeks of October. It sort of feels as though said application left a gaping hole in my life that I’ve only just begun to fill, again. To make matters worse, there was some new-friend-related drama at pretty much the EXACT time that my grant-related anxiety had reached a fever pitch. In short, F&*K, that was awful. Also, I would NEVER have made it through if my research partner were not an intuitive and supportive friend as well as a ridiculously accomplished and prolific scholar.

In more directly blog-related news, I present the following combinations of black and gold for your consideration. The first I wore to a wedding of the A-Dubs-Hubs’s colleague, the second to teach last week.

#1. Wedding Guest Wear

For the late-afternoon wedding, I began with the following. The gold flats happened because (a) I wanted to make a shoe purchase count twice, and these can be worn for teaching, and (b) I have plantar fasciitis that makes high heel wearing too painful to contemplate:

Gold chandelier earrings: Le Chateau (remixed); Dress: BCBG Maxazria (remixed, purchased with janey_em during January 2011’s epic visit); Gold cuffs: Cousin’s shop and I forget (remixed); Invisible black silk clutch: was my maternal grandmother’s (loved her style, miss her a LOT); Gold faux-snakeskin embellished leather flats: David Dixon (via Town Shoes)

The wedding reception featured a series of increasingly ridiculous moments that lead me to self-medicate with wine in order to survive without imploding in rage. (This may have resulted in some drunken texting of E-Jo and janey_em from a bathroom stall. Probably I should not bring a phone to such events.) Over the course of the evening, a certain amount of outfit deconstruction occurred. This was the result:

This version of the ensemble facilitated the dancing which kept me from having to talk to the relative strangers whose every statement seemed either to offend and enrage or really, really bore me. (You know, because I’m incredibly evolved and self-important.)

#2. A-Dubs, if You Get Out of Bed, You Can Wear the Owl Belt

As the subtitle for this ensemble indicates, this was a reward I used to entice myself from under the covers the day after we submitted the grant application. Only the thought of a giant owl belt made of pleather and brass-like metal got me away from my beloved, under-used water pillow that morning.

Top: Vero Moda (new); Brass and pleather Owl belt: thrifted last summer (new to blog); Long patterned skirt: thrifted ages ago (remixed); Black leather “combat” boots: Ben Sherman (for men, new to blog, purchased on sale last spring); Photo-bomber: The Fuzzy Roommate’s Puppy (wearing her fall/winter blue paisley collar – isn’t she huge now?!)

Here’s a close-up of the owl:

Does anyone remember a Hallowe’en song called “Black and Gold”?: “Everything is black and gold, black and gold tonight! Yellow pumpkin, yellow moon, yellow candle light.” I’m pretty sure I sang something like this in Grade Two music class.

Also, what up, StyleNation?

New Guest Lecture Series: Professional Dressing (just) Outside the Academy

That’s right StyleNation. We’re introducing a new monthly Guest Lecture Series here at IPF, and we’re featuring none other than our stylish friend, partner in all great adventures, and Kelly‘s and my classmate from our M.A. years, janey_emm!! As always, we’re not quite organized enough to have a title for this new lecture series. Please feel free to make suggestions.

(We will, of course, feel free to use or not use said suggestions because we are awesome that way.

But we’ll credit you, if we use your words!)

Janey has lectured here before, of course, when we introduced her just over a year ago. I will, therefore, get out of the way so that janey can (re)introduce herself and get down to business(wear). Take it away, janey – and welcome (more permanently) aboard!:


Greetings, StyleNation! I’m janey_emm, and you may remember me from such guest lectures as 13 Ways of Looking at a Black Suit. If you don’t, you’re out of luck, ‘cause that’s the only one I did. But we press on.

I want to start this post off on the right foot by doing what I never did at the beginning of my M.A. thesis: thanking those who made this possible. I’m delighted to be here, IPFers; thanks for having me!

(Aside: was I really the only one who didn’t know that you were supposed to have an acknowledgements section? Why didn’t anyone tell me? I just launched right into my [tenuous] argument like I knew what I was doing, and no thanks to none of you for nothin’. That’s right: janey_emm, M.A. [with ingratitude].)

As I mentioned last time ‘round, I am not an academic. All the same, I like to think of myself as your sartorial sister. I don’t wear a uniform, but I don’t have a wardrobe of theory suits, either. I have to look both professional and personable. I understand that on any given day, my clothing choices signal my role, who I’m meeting with, and how cold it is in my office (VERY), so I think I get where you’re coming from. Also, I like boots and tights and excellent accessories. I’m pretty sure we’re going to get along.

With introductions out of the way, I want to get right to the clothes.

I’ve been following the Office Pajamas series with barely disguised naked envy over here at IPF DeskJob. My office environment is fairly conservative, which means that most days, I am being squeezed, smoothed, or otherwise jammed into some fairly uncomfy duds, except when I wear the wool pants that are far too big for me. (I refuse to give them up. See above, re: temperature of office.) The outfit below is the closest I get to living the Office PJ dream.


White blouse: 172 Grams; Sweater vest: H&M; Black pencil skirt: Michael Kors; Black tights: no clue; Black boots: pictured, Zara; actually worn at work and forgotten under desk, Kelsi Dagger’s Amarylis boot; Black pearls: remixed; BlackBerry: The Man; Pose: I-invited-my-friend-over-for-dinner-and-then-made-her-take-a-crazy-headless-pic-of-my-work-clothes (with a kick)


Postscript from A-Dubs: Watch for janey_emm’s posts here at IPF once a month from now on.

If you need a janey fix in between guest lectures, check her out at It’s So Involved Being Me.


What a day Stylenation. It’s been one of those days that is both crazy busy and personally unproductive. I met with a grad student to talk him through revisions of an article he’s doing for a special issue I’m co-editing for a journal. I taught. I met with a reading group to discuss a book I’d only partially read (ie. the introduction). I “impressed” the mini-FR with my musical stylings in the car by belting along to this and this repeatedly. It’s decided to return to the high 80s/low 30s. As a result I got very little of my own work done. Though as this mostly meant grading, I’m of two minds about this.
But, most importantly, I participated in one of my grad student’s defense of their comprehensive exams. This is the first time I’ve been on this side of it which, while infinitely better, was still pretty stressful. It’s the kind of moment where that good ol’ academic standby–the fraud complex–kicked in double-time. So, to counteract this, I was particularly conscious of my costuming. I wanted to perform “professor” with particular clarity today. This is what I ended up with (my apologies for the inferior picture quality–things just didn’t want to co-operate):
Faux-wrap top: Joe Fresh
White T-shirt: Gap Outlet
Grey, pin-striped pants: Target
Purple flats: Joe Fresh
Lucite necklace: Super sale at Anthropologie

Here are the accessories with a little more detail:

Is there any day that Stevie Nicks can’t make better, even just a little? How’s everyone else feeling about it being the end of October?

Competition: The Squeakquel*

A-Dub’s post of earlier this week has had me thinking about competition. One of the things I particularly dislike about the kind of rancorous competition she was talking about is the way the word “deserve” tends to get thrown about. We get competitive when someone gets something we think we “deserve.” People get competitive when we get something they think they “deserve.” All of which strikes me as a certain kind of entitlement. Particularly when we start talking about professional competition. When I got my job, a lot of people, on congratulating me, told me I deserved it. Yes and no. Yes, in that I had worked really hard to get my Ph.D & professionalize myself in ways that had an impact on my getting a job. No, in that I was not alone in this. I didn’t “deserve” this job any more than the other candidates or many of the other people who applied. I was lucky and in the right place at the right time (which is the sad reality of academic jobs). This language made me particularly uncomfortable as I had some very “deserving” friends who hadn’t gotten jobs yet. There are also some very “deserving” academics who will probably never get a job like I got (to say nothing of the many people who lead a much less privileged life than I, a straight, middle-class, able-bodied white woman). I didn’t do anything to deserve it any more or any less.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there are certain things we all “deserve:” shelter, food, safety, etc. But these are rights, it seems to me. And rights are political. Rights demand action–both by those who want them and by those who have them. And, this Stylenation, is the long, tortuous segue to my outfit. Today I wore purple for this reason. Because LGBTQ youth deserve more then they currently get.
Purple tunic: Old Navy
Skirt: Eddie Bauer (from AGES ago)
Belt: New York & Co.
Gold Flats: Nine West (remixed many times)

Anyone else using their clothes to make a point today?
*My apologies for the ridiculous title. But I wanted a frivolous title in the face of a not so frivolous post.

Competition, Outfits

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about competition between or among friends. Graduate school gave me both an excellent group of friends and an appetite for competition that I assume we all share to one degree or another. (We are academics, after all; and academics compete for jobs, grant money, and other forms of research-related prestige of one form or another from our first weeks of grad school onward.) And maybe we compete a teensy bit with one another on occasion; but we all work in such different fields that this does not seem to result in one of us hurting another in any real way.
Outside academic contexts, how much competition can a friendship bear? How much is too much? Is it possible to stop the contest when things get nasty, or is there a point of no return?   
That’s about as far as I’ve gotten with this topic. Let’s stop for now and talk about outfits. Here’s one from last week when it was still so strangely, deliciously warm here:
Cream tunic: Dalia Collection (via Winners)
Cream cami: Esprit
Black belt: Mexx (remixed)
Black cropped skinny pants: Mexx (remixed)
Red slingbacks: Moda (remixed)
I had no meetings of any kind on this day, but there was work to be done on campus. Plus I had this pirate-y bamboo tunic I was itching to wear. Can you imagine how totally pirate-like I’d be if I wore over-the-knee boots with this? 

Do you find tunics difficult to style? How do you they work best for you, if at all?

Also, how much competition is too much for one friendship to bear?