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?

Things that Pass By Rapidly, or Summer in Review

What up, StyleNation?! Welcome to another academic term at IPF, Northern Division! While IPF South’s been in the classroom for weeks now, I only returned last Thursday. Before posting back-to-school photos, however, I hearken instead to the sun-drenched, research-and-wine-filled days of summer one last time.

Obvy, SUMMER tops my Sei Shōnagon-inspired list today (i.e. Things that Pass By Rapidly).

Like E-Jo, I spent much of June, July, and August wearing only-occasionally-remarkable attire, so I’ve very little to report, sartorially-speaking. The following saw me through some on-campus workshops and meetings with research assistants throughout the summer:

DSC_0028 2

Grey and black burnout cowl-neck top: ?? (I removed the tag, new to blog); Black cotton cami: mall anchor store (ubiquitous on this blog); Smart Set pull-on denim skirt: thrifted (new to blog); Fly London Yayas: remixed


Pistachio Cotton 3/4-sleeve Cardigan: ?? new to blog (via Winners, but I removed the tag); Navy/white Stripe Mexx cotton/linen Drop-waist Dress: new to blog (purchased 2 or 3 summers ago); White Hue Jegging Capris: new to blog (via The Bay – be honest: how do we really feel about white jeggings? I can’t decide); Yellow Mousse Fly London Yakin Ankle Strap Wedges: new to blog (via lovely shoe boutique around the corner)


DKYNY Studded Denim Blazer: remixed (via Winners); Necklace: remixed (gifted); Black Cotton T-shirt: H&M (remixed); Teal Smart Set Cotton Trousers: new to blog; Brown leather belt: remixed (ubiquitous on this blog); Nude-for-white-folks Naturalizer Leather Wedge Sandals: remixed


Linen J Crew Pineapple T-shirt: new to blog (summer 2013); Cotton Smart Set Pineapple(coloured) Trousers: new to blog (summer 2013); Silver Pleather Bangle: remixed; Sandals: as above

And now, to finish the list (and the summer):

Things That Pass By Rapidly

5. The period in one’s life when drink the night before has little negative effects the morning after

4. Puppyhood for my Fuzzy Roommate and his dog

3. Periods of extreme hilarity

2. Moments in which first impressions, personal or professional, are formed


What’s on your list, StyleNation?

Black Mirror

One of the best things my parents did was tell me consistently throughout my childhood and adolescence that I was beautiful. Whether or not it was true didn’t matter then, and it doesn’t matter now. Because deep down, despite my current age (40) and all the crazy things dominant culture tells me every day about my supposedly “failing” looks, I continue to believe I am good-looking. Because people who mattered to me during my formative years assured me of it ALL THE DAMN TIME.* (Case in point: my face looks AWFUL in most pictures. I look at these images, hear my father or mother’s voice exclaiming over how gorgeous I am, and I blame photography for not being able to capture my real face.)

UPDATE: I know I have to address race and body privilege as they relate to this issue. I know, too, that in doing so I must engage more directly with the influences of wider culture, not just parental/domestic training. I will do so in an upcoming post. Please stand by.

Feminism took over where my parents left off. Dominant culture tells me, “You’re getting wrinkles around your eyes and lips”; “There are grooves in your cheeks, and you’re starting to get jowls”; “Wrinkles are the worst, and you are not beautiful if you have them.” But feminism assures me that it’s perfectly natural to look older as I grow older; that it’s crazy to treat visible signs of aging like some kind of moral failure; that beauty is only one of the ways to evaluate my worth; and that beauty is not determined by lines – or lack thereof – on one’s face.

That said, as much as I love colour, I’ve learned I like my outfit photos best when I wear black. For whatever reason, I feel most myself, and most beautiful – however we interpret this politically loaded word – in black.

Black Outfit #1: Office Pyjamas

Worn on a cooler day to hole up in my office, slipping out occasionally to take advantage of the fantastically short coffee lines during The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.


Black cotton mesh-sleeve Mexx sweater/tunic: new to blog; Necklace: gifted (remixed); Joe Fresh cotton tank: new to blog; Black cotton leggings: remixed; Also brown leather riding boots: remixed a LOT on this blog

And here, because as you know, I am a genius with the camera, is a close-up of the mesh sleeves that make this sweater springy:


Black Outfit #2: Convocation

I wore this under my insufferably hot robes at convocation which I attended because, as noted previously, my favourite student graduated. Then I sat in my office trying to write things until I decided I had heat exhaustion and could, therefore, go home and watch the new season of Arrested Development. (My review: Meh, despite repeated ostrich appearances and Portia de Rossi’s cute haircut. I laughed out loud WAY LESS in this season than in others.)


H&M mesh/lace and lyocel t-shirt: new to blog; Green suede and silver metal belt: new to blog (via mall anchor store); Mexx black cotton (with a sheen) wide-leg trousers: new to blog; Fly London black leather Yayas: remixed

Is there a colour you feel best in, StyleNation?

Also, if you feel like sharing, how did your parental figures get it right or wrong

when it came to building your self-esteem?

Office Pyjamas: Summer Edition

Preamble (scroll down for outfit posts)

Because my PhD is in literature and cultural studies, and perhaps also because I’m a wee bit arrogant about these things, I feel like I can tell when books/authors have not been edited enough.

I’m an avid reader in and outside of my professional existence, and it is one of the banes of my reading life when authors who’ve published a number of excellent works of fiction seem no longer to get edited by their presses. I assume this happens – and I’m really only guessing here – because everyone who might otherwise edit or refine an established author’s next manuscript figures the book will sell with or without significant editing, so why not focus their limited time and money on helping their less experienced authors? This is my imagined explanation for novels written by some of my most beloved authors later in their careers seeming weaker overall, with too-long meandering storylines, under or over-developed characters, extraneous or unresolved subplots, and the like.

I’m also super disappointed by academic superstars who achieve a degree of success publishing utterly ground-breaking, intellectually challenging, and inspired work early in their careers, then proceed to publish the same collection of no-longer-new ideas under different titles for the remainder of their working lives. Why doesn’t their editor tell them to stop? Why tantalize and then disappoint instead?

In short, I value a good editorial process. Now that I’m involved in one myself, however, I get why some of the prestigious ones opt to skip it. That’s right: The Project that Will Not End is back on my desk for another go-’round. This time, it’s got a book contract attached, which is awesome, but it’s sooooo crazy-making to wade back into this work.

Outfit Post/Amble: Summer office pyjamas

Office pyjamas are but one of an array of de-crazifying tools I’m employing to get through this process, one more time (with feeling). We had a short stint of cooler weather last week, so I wore this. I added the bracelet to channel E-Jo’s mad colour-mixing skillz and to cut the pyjama-vibe (which I readily allow is still quite strong here):

Embroidered office pj tunic: Joe Fresh; Bracelet: Nordstrom; Cami: Joe Fresh; Leggings: ?, I cut out the scratchy tag (via Winners); Shoes: Fly London Yaya

It’s much hotter and humid today, so just looking at the layers, sleeves, and near-full-leg-and-foot coverage featured here is making me sweaty. The next version of these office pj’s will probably be pared down significantly. Also, OK. The tunic is ACTUAL pyjamas. As in, it came from the pj section of the shop. I’ve decided, however, that it’s way too pretty – and frankly, its polyester is too scratchy – to be worn to bed. It needs to go out into the world.

Who/what are you reading this summer, StyleNation?

Are they edited enough for you?

Back in black: summer meeting

I had my first lunch meeting as an official faculty member today, so I wanted to look the part. But it was lunch, and I wanted to minimize slop-related risks. In general, I average one major spill per day; when I am nervous, those numbers go up (way up). So white is really not my friend, especially when an outfit has to last me all day. Nonetheless, I took a risk and wore a white blazer. Really, dark colours and I are very friendly on meeting/interview days as they hide a multitude of sins/spills.
Also, despite the relative formality of the occasion, it’s summer and no one’s teaching; so I decided to go with bare legs and open-toed shoes. Because, as previously noted, I’m crazy that way. That’s right, I live way out on the edge.

White ¾ sleeve jacket: Olsen (via The Bay)
Black sleeveless top: Max Azria (via Winners)
Black cami: H&M
Black flower skirt: Point Zero
Silver circle necklace: gifted
Watch: grandpa’s Pulsar (remixed)
Pink t-strap platform/flats: Kenneth Cole (remixed)
And while we’re being all edgy, how do you like the placement of the big pink flower on this skirt? ‘Rather appropriately symbolic – in a second-wave sort of way – for a Women’s and Gender Studies person, don’t you think? (If you’re on the fence on this one, does it help if I tell you that my work centres on women’s sexuality?)

(This is the back.)
And here’s a bonus pic, because I’ve got it, of the top, purchased just last weekend. I’ve decided the ruffly layers mask potential rolls relatively effectively. In fact, I’m so sure of the roll-masking qualities of this top that I bought it in grey, too.

Anyway, open-toed shoes & bare legs in summer meetings: anyone care to discuss further?

Summer Black-out 2010 – Ensembles 1 & 2

For better or worse, I’m participating in Sal of Already Pretty’s Summer Black-out 2010 week (I’d put her Black-Out banner here, but everytime I do it, Blogger thinks it’s a mistake and I’m not enough of a techo-wizard to fix it). D-Med and I had a bit of chat about the excess black in our wardrobes and how, to borrow a phrase from our stylish friend, Kelly in Beantown, we rely on black to ground many of the brighter coloured pieces we own. Frankly, as much as I enjoy others’ colourful clothes, I’m more than a little intimidated by colour in my professional wardrobe. This may become evident this week, but I promise to TRY to cultivate at least a little more excitement than the following is bound to inspire.

Ensemble #1:Here’s what I wore to brunch yesterday with a local celebrity – she’s on city TV!Woman, I am hooked up.(Not really.She’s a friend of my sister-in-law’s who’s new to the city. So, it was sort of a blind friend date.)As noted below, white’s not my best colour. When I wear it, I try to add colour around my face so I don’t induce narcolepsy in either myself or others.

White eyelet dress: George (thrifted)

Jean jacket:DKNY (remixed)

Brown riding boots:Aldo (remixed)


Watch:Pulsar (Grandpa’s remixed)



(return of the Wonder Woman pose – what do you do with your arms in your close-ups? I’ll be paying attention!)

Side note:Academics, how much do you love/hate acclimatizing to a new city AND trying to make new friends?After grad school, a place that provides both immediate community and serious challenges that bonded at least some of us together, friend dating sucketh.After grad school, I think I may have forgotten how to be on my best behaviour in social situations.I can be good in professional settings—classrooms, meetings, libraries—but that’s not conducive to being fun with friends.

Thus as I meet new people and go for coffee, go for drinks, go to art shows, and try new restaurants, I have a good time, yes. And I get excited about potential new friendships. But I also try not to be an idiot, try not to say “mons” or “crotchal” (though apparently, I don’t hold myself to the same standards in all forums), and work to cultivate mutual interests when they may not be readily apparent. And I start to hate academia, just a little (more), for not letting me live near the friends I already know.

(Thus endeth the side note.)

In other news, today I wore this dress:

Brown linen dress:H&M

Brass & wood bangle*:Hudson’s Bay Co. (remixed)

Sparkly peach wedges:?? – my sweaty feet rubbed off the logo (remixed from Shoe Heaven)

*p.s. Isn’t this a creepy close-up of my hand? Somehow, the angle makes it look like a crawling crab. Blech.

This dress is relatively comfortable once it’s on, but it’s very cheap linen, so it takes the top layer of skin off my arms when I’m wrestling my way into it. And after the struggle, there’s rarely energy remaining for accessorizing.But Londyn at Blogfashion does some B.A. dress remixing. So maybe, if I get enough sleep the night before, some morning I’ll try to follow her lead.

NYC: Jazz Hands

As readers of this blog know, A-Dubs has a signature pose she calls “The Wonder Woman”; check it out here and here.

I’m working on one called “Jazz Hands.”

Pants: Monsoon; Turtleneck: Park Vogel; Cardi: Banana Republic (swapped); Inspiration: Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

I described this outfit before I knew how to work the timer on my camera.In my quest to wear my favourite sneakers to work, I put this together but I still think that the other shoe options shown here are more appropriate for the classroom. I have to be very engaging in lecture, however, if my students are going to discuss anything other than my magic heels. (Sneakers: Bensimon Flats: Dune Heels: United Nude)


The Vampire Cat, showing me how it’s done.


What do you think? Are clean, plain sneakers in the classroom, or in any professional space, too casual?

Are they really just pour le week-end?

NYC: Not-quite-jeans Just in Case

Remember the student who came to my office to yell about his midterm mark? You know, the one who tried to intimidate me into making special allowances for him in March? Well, he wants another meeting – this time so he can plead his case for a passing grade in the course.

I responded to this most recent request (made by email) with a firm explanation of how his final grade accurately reflects his poor performance in the course, and how there is absolutely no way I can find an extra 12% among the 4 (out of 6) assignments he actually chose to complete (3 of which he failed by a sizeable margin) to add to his existing grade. On the advice of a colleague, I made no apology and expressed no sympathy so that he would not misconstrue my tone and think that I’m open to further discussion/persuasion. Also on the advice of a colleague, I directed him to Student Advocacy to discuss any concerns he has about his academic standing (thus emphasizing his – not my – responsibility for his terrible grade).
And now, though it enrages me to do so, I worry that he’s going to show up in my office anyway. Or corner me on campus somewhere. I am, therefore, wearing flats with semi-professional outfits when I go in to campus. In addition, this week I’m wearing black as D-Med has declared this NYC week. Frankly, black goes with my mood of late, so I’m going all in.
Sidenote: Probably one of us should be doing the whole Dress Your Best thing that’s all the hap’s over at Academichic. I for one am too grumpy and exhausted to do so (see previous posts re: end-of-term), but I really like the idea – and so do the many, many other bloggers who are participating. (‘No pressure D-Med. NYC week fits us better this time of year, yes?)
Fortunately, I am just barely able to maintain my shoe love. And I can prove it: I love these flats – and my Foot Petals arch cookies almost make me feel like smiling. (Almost. But not quite. But it’s not their fault; it’s end-of-term.)
While these slim denim capris are a comfortable shoe-highlighting neutral, I’m significantly less enamoured with this blouse. I think it’s supposed to be a puffy, slightly tailored faux-artiste smock-type thing; and I keep hoping that one day I’ll get it right. But I’ve tried a few times, and I’m not convinced it’s ever really going to work. On the bright side, at least it’s long enough to hide the alarming split I found in the crotch of these pants after arriving on campus. ‘Thoughts (on the blouse, not the part about the crotch)?
Studded Distressed Blue Flats: Fugitive de Francesco Rossi
Denim Skinny Capris: Mexx (thrifted)
Tunic-ish Puffy-ish Black Blouse: Freeway
Black cami: Joe Fresh
Red Coral & Black Cord Necklace: Essentia Designs (now closed, formerly on Main St. West in Steeltown, Canada)
p.s. The coral in this necklace seems to be drying out. Two pieces have cracked, and one small piece broke off this morning. ‘Any suggestions for hydration/upkeep for this piece?

This week, In Hair

Strike two for Selena, the hair stylist. Having nodded sagely throughout my monologue re: what I want and do not want happening up top, she proceeded to leave a huge blob of pokey grays on my crown. Even though I emphasized this would be a problem area, but that others had found it was possible to tame (read: colour) those suckers.

Onward, then. I’ve been trying to watch for people with good hair, then ask where they get it done. But few non-student types have what I would call good hair, and I think it’s unprofessional to canvass students for these kinds of ideas. Bah!

And finally: what do with the February blahs? Throughout January, I used colourful outfits to lure myself out of bed most mornings. This month, I’m leaning toward the black. Today’s ensemble is no exception: black cashmere 3/4-sleeve sweater. Cropped gray dress pants. Black knee-high almond-toe leather boots. Brightened only by a sparkly turquoise and black brooch and some artful hair-braiding ending in a side-ponytail.

I had set out the fitted puff-sleeved red cotton/silk t-neck, to we worn with a fitted leather vest, black flat-front wool pants, and some rocker-chick jewellery. But somehow, it required too much energy to even think about that ensemble at 6:30am.

Why is colour – the thing that boosts a complexion like mine, especially in winter when I’m pale, pale, pale – so exhausting? Why does black seem such a refuge in the wee hours of February?