First Days: Dresses

Whew! September is flying  by, thank the gods. It’s always a full-on month-long scramble I can’t wait to be over, despite the piles of marking that arrive with October. Also, one of the courses I’m teaching this term is a 3-hour afternoon one I’ve not taught before. This means eons of prep time and a LOT of dashing around last minute, searching for books, making copies, and throwing tech into bags to haul to class just in case it’s needed.

All of this dashing and scrambling generally means I spend less time than I should planning outfits. Thus, there’ve been some misses of late, sartorially speaking. I offer the following for your consideration/commentary:

1. Dress that Hangs like a Bag

Purchased last year in a funky shop that makes me want to be as cool as it is. The dress/bag itself is made of summer weight wool and lycra, so it’s super-comfortable. I’m forced to admit, however, that it looks like a potato sack. Tits.

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Banana Blue Mauve/gray dress: new to blog; Black cotton T and leggings: ubiquitous on this blog; Beaded silver bracelets: remixed; Fly London Yayas in black: remixed

Here’s another iteration, equally unsuccessful:

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Dress: as above; Mexx long white linen cardigan: remixed; Stella & Dot silver bib necklace: remixed; “Silver” beaded bracelets: remixed; Mexx white camp: remixed; Ecco Silver leather sandals: new to blog

2. Summer-Sale Misfire

This dress is sort of insane; it has a LOT going on. Probably too much. I can see why it was in the sales, but it’s redonk comfortable, and I kind of dig the crazy. Also,  I think I can style it better than this. In short, I am keeping it but recognize that this first iteration leaves a lot to be desired:

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Kenneth Cole insane dress: new to blog (via Kenneth Cole online); Black cotton/lycra cropped cardigan: ?? (I cut out the itchy, itchy tag); Black bamboo capri leggings: Joe Fresh (technically pyjamas, purchase last year before we knew exactly how much Joe Fresh, the brand, sucketh); David Dixon embellished pewter “snakeskin” leather flats: remixed

And here it is from the back. I told you there’s a LOT going on:

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3. This One I Love

It’s got everything on my new work-dress checklist: high neckline? check; Heavy cotton jersey that doesn’t show my underwear line? check; Colour that is kind to my complexion? check. In other news, there’s no big dark wet patch on the right side. The camera put that there. Or maybe it’s a ghost.

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Neon Buddha steel-grey cotton jersey dress: new to blog; Loft cream cotton short-sleeved cropped cardigan: remixed; Necklace: remixed; Naturalizer nude-for-my-skin-tone leather wedge sandals: remixed

I’d love to stay and chat, but I need my hands for eating cake. The A-Dubs-Hubs is working late, so the dogs and I are having a picnic in bed.

Here’s a final question: is the dress I love too casual for work? Is it a going-to-yoga thing?

(I am easily seduced by yoga clothes.)

Trying to Try

Cheers, StyleNation, and welcome to the new academic year! Yes, almost everybody in the Northern (academic) hemisphere is back to class now, except for the lucky few – our own E-Jo, for example – who are excused from teaching and will thus spend the term engrossed in their research.

To be clear, gentle readers, for all my griping about prep and marking, I enjoy my time in the classroom. Generally, my students are great, and I LOVE the stuff I teach. But the balance is off lately, and I dream of months of uninterrupted research coupled with some respite from student demands. With almost 200 students this term and very little in the way of assistance with marking, I must (and will) rally. But I’m eligible for leave next year (hurrah!) and am counting down the days!

Professorial rant (scroll down for outfit post)

In the mean time, I have serious concerns about young feminists/feminism. I have this fantasy that this is only happening in my city, but regular (and VERY annoying) exposure (at conferences) to feminist and/or queer cultural studies suggests otherwise. Here’s the problem as I see it: gender-queer practices are the new (so-called) feminism, and the new (so-called) feminism tends to be anti-historical, intensely preoccupied with (Euro-North American) selfhood/identities, alarmingly elitist, and often misogynist. In short, gender-queer politics, at least in the incarnations in which I witness them, are not feminist at all. Instead, there’s an apparent “need” to eliminate the category of “woman” because it is, apparently, reprehensible and ostensibly irrecuperable. In this context, too, gender-queer’s preoccupation with a representative gender-neutral “personhood” seems to over-value a form of (relatively young) slightly re-fashioned masculinity. Gender-queer politics names this refashioned masculinity “androgyny.”

If this is actually a thing now, then, in my not-so-humble opinion, we’ve got a serious – and very tiresome – problem. For my part, I grow INTENSELY WEARY of the refusal, on the part of gender-queer critics, theorists, and students, to interrogate the assumptions underlying their politics.

How does this politics manifest in the undergraduate women’s studies classroom, the nerdier among you might ask? Currently, I am informed on a semi-regular basis, by 17-to-22-year-old persons with carefully-styled “androgynous” hair and clothing, that gender binaries must be disregarded to the point where any research or activism that acknowledges constructed genders is irrelevant.

How many times do we have to learn that socially constructed ideas have real effects, and that “refusing” to engage with a particular ideology does not, in fact, negate its effects in culture? Why can they not hear when a vast and diverse body of feminist cultural critics and theorists points out that even their gender-queer counter-culture defines itself in relation to mainstream gender ideals (i.e. gender-queer NEEDS normative gender constructions in order to understand what it is not)?

Moreover, I am sick and tired of research examining gender-based cultural belief systems that result, for example, in “women’s” starvation and death, or in infant mortality being disregarded and dismissed because those who wrote up the research failed to problematize the constructed categories of “man” and “woman,” or failed to account for a “woman”‘s personal agency when she “chose” to feed her husband and children before herself.

Here endeth my ranting. For now.

Outfit #1: First day of class

No, it’s not exciting, but I wasn’t excited to start teaching, again:

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Cardigan: M.A.K. (gifted from D-Med, remixed); Silk & lycra shell: Le Chateau (new to blog); Black cami: H&M (remixed); Linen trousers: H&M (remixed and redyed); Invisible black flats: MTNY (via Winners, new to blog)

Outfit #2: Teaching Day (today)

It’s chillier today. My classroom this morning was especially cold, so I lectured in this jacket:

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Cotton velvet blazer: RW & Co. (gifted from the A-Dubs-Hubs ages ago); Printed polyester tunic: Smart Set (new this season); Black leather belt: Mexx (remixed); Pleated black maxi skirt: Reitmans (end-of-season sales this summer); Trouser socks: Joe Fresh; Pewter faux-snakeskin flats with hardware: David Wilcox for Town Shoes (love these, bought ’em in gold, too)

Then, it warmed up, so I took off the jacket for my second class in the afternoon:

What’s up with you, StyleNation?

Also, am I being crazy about this gender-queer stuff?

NSFW: Summer Dress, or How to Make Everyone Uncomfortable

(scroll down for outfit post) 

I’m preparing another conference report. It was super hot and sweaty at this particular conference, however, so there are things I have to wash and iron before I can even consider donning them, again, for you, StyleNation. In the mean time, I offer the following.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year has proved exceptionally busy, if not particularly productive as yet, at least in terms of the multiple writing projects I’m meant to have on the go. I’ve travelled three times already, and I’ve got another trip this weekend. That said, it’s still  pleasant not to be teaching, and thus to have time to organize and prepare for what promises to be a frenzied and – I hope – invigorating summer of writing and getting things off my desk and onto the desks of others.

Even the student who skipped his deferred exam, emailed two days later to offer a weak and implausible excuse, then asked for another deferral really hasn’t phased me. Two months ago, this situation would have filled me with rage. But last week, I merrily denied his request, sent him back to his home faculty, and only bitched to D-Med about it for (what I recall as) a relatively short time last week.

Outfit Post: Live and Learn 

Recently, I wore a dress and took some photos of it so I can learn things. What I have learned is as follows:

1. The top of this dress is a little big for me, so it gapes in ways that are probably pretty uncomfortable for my students and colleagues. You know, unless they want to see my laundry-day bra and some blindingly white fleshy bits.

2. While the skirt is swirly, the pattern huge, and the colours pleasingly vibrant, the whole thing would, I think, be better on a woman a little older, and much darker-skinned than me. I think either a brown woman, or a very dark-skinned woman with a little more bosom, and a lot more experience and presence could do this baby more justice. Me, I feel like a ghost in it. A ghost whose boobs and armpit cleavage are occasionally on display if I do anything more than stand like this:

Crinkly summer dress: ?? (I cut out the scratchy tag. It is cotton and was on sale at one of those big discount department stores in Florida); “Snakeskin” gladiator sandals: Report (via Winners); Classy office boombox: bottom-of-the-line Canadian Tire, Baby

Sandal close-up. They are more comfortable than I expected. Like wear-around-all-day -in-the-heat-and-don’t-get-blisters comfortable.

And here, because I have it and was feeling frustrated about how awkward things were looking, is a super-unflattering image of me doing an angry high kick:

Now that I see it again, the kick’s not that high. Probably I should do some stretches.

What clothes have you bought for other women, StyleNation? 

Just how successful are we at shopping for the lives we have

(as Angie, at You Look Fab might say)?

Guest Lecture: Thirteen ways of looking at a black suit (plus or minus 10)

You know how Thursdays are awesome in the StyleNation? Some of us are done teaching for the week (oh, thank goddess), some of us are offering thrifting advice (or preparing to do so the next day ;), and most of us are perusing the extreme awesomeness that is Interrobangs Anonymous’s Thursday Links
Well hold on, StyleNation, because things are about to get almost unbearably awesome. Because here at In Professorial Fashion, 
we’ve got a Guest Speaker for this excellent Thursday!
Introducing janey emm, StyleNation member, author of the hilarious blog It’s So Involved Being Me, serious student of all things fashion, and a voice from that fashionable suit-wearing world that some of us in academia visit only occasionally. ALL of us at IPF, including regular Guest Lecturer, Kelly Bean, have shopped, played, studied, travelled, and/or danced in a bus-mo in Vegas with the hilarious Ms. em. 
Moreover, I, Academic Writer, have a special appreciation for her as she and I are exactly the same size, but with different enough body types that we can shop together, but never battle over clothes. If it’s a widener on me, it’s bound to look fantastic on em, and vice versa(ish). 
But I digress. Without further ado, here’s janey!
~~~~~~ 
Greetings, StyleNation! My name is janey emm, and I am delighted (if slightly intimidated) to be delivering a Guest Lecture here at IPF. 
First things first: I am not an academic, but don’t let that worry you. While I may have abandoned my dreams of a doctorate to work for The Man, I know your people and I understand your ways. More importantly, my fashion credentials are impeccable.
See?
Office Blazer: Tristan and America
Heels: gifted
Silver pantaloons: $5 bin in a Boxing Day sale (can you believe it?)
BlackBerry: The Man
Hooded wool romper:  a brave, unknown designer (via The Bay)
Giant rubber suit: Helly Hansen (via my dad, via Canadian Tire)
Hat: Tilley Endurables
Shoes: Pumas
Red boat: some guy’s driveway (via a classified ad in my dad’s local paper)
Ahem.
Today, I bring you my philosophy on suitin’ up. The way I see it, there are several upsides to the suit: it’s easy! It’s professional! It matches! However, there are a few downsides: it’s boring! It’s expensive! It sometimes makes me look like a rectangle, or possibly a middle-aged banker!
Well, yes. But it doesn’t have to. Below, you’ll find three takes on a basic black suit (Calvin Klein, via Filene’s Basement), all built around the same principle: let the suit do the work. When it comes to underneaths and accessories, I like to pick ‘em as if I’m going to take off my jacket and head straight out for dinner and drinks. It helps me walk the fine line between acceptable-for-work and fun-for-me, even when the only place I’ll be heading is straight for my couch and a can of Coke Zero.
1. there’s no such thing as too much neutral
Cream cami: Club Monaco
Obi: unknown (via local boutique)
Heels: Modern Vintage
Black pearls: gifted
BlackBerry: The Man
Rockband guitar: awesome
Studded snakeskin is a neutral, right?

2. hey, everyone!  Look at my neck!
Cowl-necked tank: Ann Taylor
Necklace: art shop in Barcelona
3. party on the top, Parisian cinq-a-sept down below
Ruffly tank: Anthropologie
Earrings: local boutique
Textured hose: Hue
Shoes: Calvin Klein
Pose: classic (with a kick)
Bottom line, StyleNation? Embrace The Rectangle. And if you happen to be oddly proportioned and freakishly long of limb, abandon all hope of pants and stick to the skirt suits. You’ll be a happier StyleCitizen (if colder in winter). Trust me.

Engagement Par-tay

As promised, here are pictures from the big engagement party that my parents threw for my youngest sister (along with her mother-in-law-to-be, whose house it was at). As any of you with divorced parents know, these kinds of events are fraught with all sorts of stresses and this one was certainly no exception. However, things worked out and the party was great — though it would have been better without my mom repeatedly telling me things that I should be doing according to some unwritten 1970s rules because I’m the maid of honor. Gah.
Photo courtesy of my sister’s boyfriend who’s a fantastic photographer. Faces are blurred rather than cropped to show more of the outfits. I have no idea where my sisters’ clothes are from.

My dress is actually a cheat bought during the 30 for 30. I needed a dress for the party and I ended up getting a great deal on this one. I was a little hesitant about it at first but I totally love it now. It’s a nice thick jersey so it’s super comfortable and hangs quite well. I even think I can make it work for teaching with different accessories. Ideally, I would have worn heels with it but because I was going to be setting things up and then walking around someone’s house for several hours, I went with the flats. Also, they were easier to fit into my over-packed suitcase.
Dress: Lane Bryant
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: Anthro
FYI, I love the mini-FR’s stare of deadly purpose in this picture.
I’m hesitantly posting this shot of the back of the dress because I think it’s kind of cool and pretty flattering.

Anyone got any other “maid of honor” rules I need to get in front of before July?

How’s everyone surviving being back to work? Managing the shift out of 24 hour yoga pants?

Faux Snakeskin for Paperwork

The weather today is intense, like orange sky, rolling thunder storms, tornado warnings intense. It’s a good thing I’m in the work groove and won’t be wandering around the city in search of excitement this eve. Instead, FR and I went to my office to deal with one final grade change from the winter term. This one for a student who missed the final exam due to “illness,” then skipped the deferred exam and emailed me two days later, begging for mercy, claiming to have “written the date down wrong.” As she hadn’t actually shown up on said wrong date, I ignored her last request and left her to the (lack of) mercy of the university.

Anyway, here’s what I wore to do that paperwork and to write up the minutes from Monday’s meeting (I REALLY hope I’ve not inherited the latter job indefinitely).

Faux snakeskin polyester/spandex jersey dress: Chapter One (via Winners)

Black cotton blend tank dress: Le Chateau

Jean jacket: Smart Set (remixed)

Black microfibre capri-leggings: ?? (via Winners)

Black & silver patent leather slingbacks: Un Tour en Ville: Chaussures

Moonstone pendant: gifted

The faux-snakeskin dress was an impulse purchase inspired by Style Underdog’s edgy-and-freaking-awesome pleather snakeskin leggings. And much thanks to Sal of Already Pretty for the tank-dress layering idea.

What’s your favourite thing to do with animal print? ‘Care to link us to some of your ensembles?