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.


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:


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:


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:


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.


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.)

End-of-term, or Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

Sweet End-of-term, how we’ve longed for you. How anxiously we’ve anticipated your exhausting-yet-somehow-still-invigorating conclusiveness.

That’s right fellow sufferers – where “sufferers” means “academics at certain universities and colleges in the northern parts of North America – relief is nigh! Here at IPF, Northern Division, a smidge of marking, two in-class exams, and the evaluation of two Honours theses stand between me and the time I so desperately need to research and write my paper for next week’s conference. Once again, End-of-term brings The Watch That Ends the Night before The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

In short, End-of-term constitutes the tippy-top of my Shōnagon-inspired list, Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster. (Stick around to help me finish that list, StyleNation!)

1. Also, this happened

Not as memorable as I’d hoped, but little is. It’s End-of-term.


Swingy sweater: BCBG Maxazria (new to blog); Tie-front blouse: Mexx (remixed); Pointe knit skirt: Calvin Klein (via Winners, new to blog); Tights: Hue; Boots: Fly London (remixed)

And here, just because I have it, is another poorly lit photo of the ensemble I thought was all that and a bag of chips:


Silver brooch-as-tie-pin: was my grandmother’s; Necklace: gifted from A-Dubs Hubs

I was trying to be cool(ish) to host yet another set of guest speakers who research awesome things. One of your blogs taught me this tie-pin-like thing. I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten which one – You Look Fab, maybe?; but thanks, whoever you are.

To conclude,

Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

5. Insultingly obvious plagiarism in student work

4. My upcoming ENTIRE YEAR off from teaching Intro (sweet goddess, I need it)

3. My pending summit with Janey Em and Kelly in one of Canada’s coolest villes bilingues (wooHOO!)

2. Anticipation of pending responses to two of the past year’s 4 grant applications

1. End-of-term! END-OF-TERM!!! Thanks the goddess, it’s End-of-term!!


What makes your heart beat faster, StyleNation? Share the love. 

Occasions That Induce Half-heartedness

It is a truth universally acknowledged that great stacks of papers appear at precisely the point when instructors are least able to muster the requisite energy to deal with them in an efficient and timely fashion. Sweet are the papers, then, that argue a clear, cogent, thesis that is (a) appropriate to the assignment, (b) well-researched, and (c) largely original. Harsh are those that are (a) craptacular and clearly produced by slackers, or (b) terribly written and/or offensive, despite students’ best efforts to the contrary.

The cumulative effects of the above, in concert with the various grant applications, administrative bullshit paperwork, conference proposal-and-paper-writing panic that make up the remainder of my working life during the winter term, tend to coalesce into generalized half-heartedness in relation to all work-related activities. This year, all is exacerbated by sleeplessness and winter’s stranglehold on this city, despite the change of season we are meant to be experiencing right effing now. (My weather-related feelings diverge in intensity from those work-related.)

Sadly for you and me, StyleNation, my efforts fashion-wise have also been half-hearted(ish). Each of the following began with (a) excitement about one specific piece, and (b) the best of intentions. Nonetheless, I fear the end result for each induces half-heartedness.

Outfit #1: Theory vs. Praxis – the sweater dress


Mexx silk/cotton sparkly sweater dress: new to blog; “Silver” snowflake brooch: gifted; Smart Set T-shirt; Beaded bracelets: from Michaels (that’s right: the craft store. But I saw them marked up approximately 400% in a local boutique. Is that even legal???!); Hue Tights; Fly London boots (new to blog, maybe? I’m too half-hearted to check)

So here’s the thing about sweater dresses: they’re clingy, and they show where one’s tights squeeze at one’s waist, even when one is not wearing control tops. On the model in the picture at the store, and on my bare legs in the changeroom, these problems were not apparent. If I weren’t preoccupied with weather-rage and work-half-heartedness, I’d be pissed about this.

Outfit #2: It’s all about the Necklace

In my mind, this was a great way to highlight the necklace my sister-in-law gave me for xmas. In reality, I’m not sure this does it justice:


Stella & Dot silver bib necklace: gifted (new to blog); DKNY polyester top: Winners (new to blog); Joe Fresh Shell (old); Black Lucky jeans (new to blog); Nine West black and silver belt: remixed (old); Rieker boots: remixed

Here’s close-up of the sweet neck decoration (thanks, again, DSW!):


Probably this was a little too casual for a teaching day. But I was tired and the prospect of wearing jeans was the only thing that got me out of bed that day. Later, a student who should know better remarked on the see-through blouse as soon as I walked into class, implying it was a risqué choice. If looks could make people do things, she’d be romancing her own sphinctral region even now. My half-heartedness does not extend to taking crap from students in non-textual life.

OK StyleNation, it’s list time.

Grading student work and wearing these outfits are 1 and 2 on my Shōnagon-inspired “Occasions that Induce Half-heartedness.” Other occasions include

3. Being facebook friends with my mother

4. Watching “kracken attack” videos with my nephew (to clarify: this induces a half-hearted effort to find my tablet when he insists we watch a kracken attack that has “a really nice tune”)

5. Contemplating the growing food museum in my fridge (produced via whole-hearted shopping for healthy things, then half-heartedly eating cereal and a smoothie for every meal)

What’ve you got, StyleNation?

I’m taking (a) further occasions inducing half-heartedness, or (b) suggestions for jazzier versions of the above ensembles. 

End-of-term, Awkwardness, Outfits

Sweet end-of-term, how I’ve anticipated your arrival. With just four classes left, I can sense your presence all around me – in students’ exhausted faces, in the reappearance in class of faces I’ve not seen for weeks, in the ever-lengthening coffee line-ups on campus, in the tense buzz of library study spaces, and in my own tendency to lose time staring vacantly at my computer screen or out my office window. End-of-term, you complete me. 

In just two short weeks, I will once again have great spaces of time in which to tackle my research, and coffee breaks on campus will feature some of my absolute favourite things about exam period: students gamely rushing the season, wearing flip-flops and shorts as soon as the temperature climbs a degree above zero, finding spaces to stretch out or to toss footballs between the remaining muddied-but-melting piles of snow and the still-brown and not-quite-thawed blades of grass. And let’s not forget the re-emergence of colleagues I’ve not seen for months, or the frenzied-but-sorta-fun preparation for all of those conferences it seemed such a good idea to apply to throughout the fall and winter. End-of-term, without you, this job would defeat me. 

In clothing related news, I offer the following:

1. A teaching outfit, worn because both the dress and cardigan are springy & cotton, and because it’s possible to wear shoes, again – if one jumps carefully from one patch of bare concrete to the next, avoiding the frozen puddles, and keeping a damp cloth in one’s office with which to wipe away the splatters.

Cardigan: house brand at The Bay
Dress: H&M
Belt: I forget (remixed)
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Aerosoles (remixed)

2. Next, a more casual outfit worn to chair an evening public panel with a guest lecturer I brought to the city and a faculty member from my institution whom I really hope to work with in future. I had planned to change before the event, but there was so much to do beforehand that I barely made it from campus to pick up the speaker at her hotel on time. So this was it. Panicked or no, I had to chair in jeggings.

Cardigan: Nygard (remixed)
Necklace: mall anchor store
Dress: Chapter One (remixed)
Belt: Mexx (remixed ad nauseum)
Jeggings: impulse purchase by the register (purchased after seeing how awesome Terri’s looked)
Boots: Rieker (remixed)

I also wore this for the painfully awkward dinner with the speakers and a couple of students before the panel. Why are academic dinners so awful? Awkwardness brings out the absolute worst in me; I always feel compelled to break the tension through jokes and silliness. The job market trained me out of these habits, or so I thought. I managed to hold it together this time, but I feel my patience with the strained silences and too-careful small talk waning. But maybe it’s just end-of-term.

How do you tackle the awkwardness, StyleNation? 
What strategies do you employ to keep the small talk flowing – but also to keep said talk from becoming painfully tiny and embarrassing?

Post-Spring Break Malaise

Sometimes there’s nothing worse than a break. Now this might seem like heresy but after a relaxing Spring Break — where I got significantly less work done than I really should have — it was SUPER difficult to make myself get out of bed this morning. It helps that there are only six weeks left in the term (and one week of that six, I’ve cancelled classes to hold student conferences — so really only five left). But I want it to be summer pretty bad right now. The generally lovely weather here (that feels like summer from where I’m from) doesn’t help either — for me or my students. It also means that I couldn’t face tubes of fabric on my legs today.
Dress & purple flats: Joe
Shirt: Target
Necklace: gifted
Tensor bandage: necessitated by my stupid dog tripping me. Jerk.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but you’ll notice that the mini FR is nude. That’s because when I came home from work today it was to discover that he’d trashed his harness over the course of the day. It’s now in several pieces. He’s nothing if not thorough. He too is clearly mourning the end of Spring Break when I was home constantly and, perhaps, more significantly he had a dog friend around.

(Sorry for the poor quality — this was taken on my iPhone.)

Got any tips for getting through the last bit of term?
My current plan is to drink more wine.

International Women’s Week

What’s up, StyleNation? How was your IWD (International Women’s Day)? At IPF Northern Division, we’re being treated to an entire week of celebratory feminist events. At a number of these events, reference has been made to IWW (International Women’s Week). So I thought it was a thing, a thing we’re all doing now.

But Google says no. Most of the world just gets IWD, apparently, then gets on with their lives. This is a sad thing, in my humble opinion. But I digress.

Thus far during my city and institution’s IWW, I have had the good fortune to experience the following:

a talk by an esteemed colleague whom various students have described as a “goddess”: she analyzed the under-representation of women in upper echelons of government-funded scientific research. I am not a scientist, but I am alarmed.

an inspirational feminist cabaret that included hilariously profane and perfectly choreographed radical feminist cheerleaders; fantastic cultural critique of racism & sexual ideology by an Aboriginal comedienne; a feminist utopian vision communicated via spoken word that lacked the earnest pretentiousness that too often characterizes this medium; and an educational song about the g-spot* accompanied by a moaning woman on the ukulele and sung by a woman wearing a quilted cloth vagina that squirted clear liquid by way of a “finale” 

*That’s right, porn seekers. Stumble across a bit of feminist sex talk right here at IPF North.

Phew! And it’s only Thursday.

Sadly, this week’s fashions have not attained the same level of excellence as the events to which they were worn. In fact, this has been a ‘learning’ week, fashion-wise. You’ve been warned.

1. First up: Monday’s non-teaching, non-campus-day ensemble in which I tried some of your suggestions (see comments section) for styling this sweater-tunic thingy:

Sweater-tunic: Groggy (remixed)
T-shirt: mall anchor store
Necklace: Jewellery Box (in Florida)
Leggings: Tahari (via Winners)
Boots: Fluevog Bondgirls (remixed)

 As much I luuurrve the Bondgirls, however, this (minus the hair that needs trimming and darkening – both of which happened on this day) is the only part of this outfit I might do again. The rest seems kind of blah to me. ‘Any ideas for improvement?

2. Then I tried styling this Bada$$ leather vest, but the pants part of things looked so bad that this is all I’m willing to show of the whole outfit:

Vest: Danier (gifted from sis-in-law)
Silk/cotton/lycra t-neck: Melanie Lyne
Terrible trousers: Tahari (via Winners)
Shoes: Who cares? The bad pants are way too distracting.

I’m more than willing, however, to offer this view of my favourite part of this ensemble. How great would this look with a grey or black wool pencil skirt, black tights, and Style Odyssey‘s sweet black Chie Mihara booties?

Necklace: The Bay
Exciting new prop: morning smoothie (soy milk, banana, frozen berries)
What did you do for IWD/IWW?

Studies in Grey

What’s up, fashionable people? It’s nice to be able to stop in to talk about clothes before digging back into tonight’s marking, lecture prep, and research planning. In addition, let the official record show that there is significantly more morning light these days (as V also recently noted). Somehow, for me, this makes everything more manageable.

Anyway, let’s talk about clothes already, before I succumb to the temptation to talk about sex instead.

1. First, there’s this grey sweater, purchased in Florida of all places, on a mini-break with Janey Emm a few years ago, and worn for a non-teaching, no meeting day on campus:

Wool/angora/nylon blend sweater: Shine New York
Necklace: January sale at The Bay
Cotton jersey dress: Kataya
Invisible grey leggings: Joe Fresh
Bootage: Rieker (gifted from stylish sis-in-law, remixed)

Then there was a boot switch, because I decided darker coloured boots would be better.

Mystery booties: ?? – it’s a mystery (via Winners, remixed)

2. Then, because E-Jo wore this (see second ensemble), and E of Academichic wore this, I was inspired to teach in this:

Necklace: awesome gift from Janey Emm
Cardigan: Smart Set
Shell: Alfani (remixed)
Trousers: Tahari (via Winners, remixed)
Belt: Winners
Invisible mystery booties: as above

And you’re probably excited to see that I struck an entirely different pose to better highlight this brilliant necklace:

That’s all I’ve got today. 

Who’s inspiring your sartorial choices of late? 

Also, northern hemisphere dwellers, are mornings getting easier for you, 
now that there’s a wee bit more light? 

No Repeats: Quick – Switch Lives with Me!

My brain is fried, even though it’s only Tuesday. My second grant application of the academic year went in Monday after a weekend of writing, revising, fretting, raging, and not sleeping. There was no extra sleep allowed, however, as my department is hosting a guest speaker this week, I taught something new this morning, and I’ve got two reference letters for students due for pick up tomorrow.

In short, I miss my bed, and I miss you, StyleNation. I dream of lying in bed and browsing your blogs. So, if anyone who’s relaxed, loving life, and living in a warm sunny climate wants to switch lives with me for the remainder of this week, I. Am. In. (if I can bring the Hubs and my dog)

This post concludes my participation in No Repeats, but I’m tempted to continue in Anne fashion, remixing, but not repeating a whole outfit, until the end of term. I’ll let you know next time if I’m going to do it. In the mean time, let’s get to it:

1. First up, welcome to bland. I was excited to wear this soft cashmere blend sweater, but I probably should have pushed myself to do something more interesting with it:

Pale green sweater: Moon (via The Bay)
Pin-striped trousers: Mexx (remixed – see below)
Necklace: The Bay (remixed – see 2nd outfit)
Bracelet: gifted from Designer Shoe Whore
Sensible shoes: Nine West (via eBay)
Men in Pants mug: gifted from Rinty the Crusher

2. Weekend low-key concert wear: a variation on Vegas concert wear. Also, I bumped into a student at this event. ‘Good thing I didn’t do the cleavage-baring. (p.s. I love Sarah Harmer. She is my new celebrity crush.)

Velvet blazer: Rubber Ducky (remixed)
Pleather studded top: Sejis (remixed – see 2nd outfit)
Skinny jeans: Revolt (remixed – see 3rd outfit)
Boots: Rieker (remixed)

3. Exhaustion-Monday ensemble. The Hubs gave me this blazer ages ago. I love the colour, and the cotton velveteen is magically combined with a teensy bit of lycra, so it feels great.

Blazer: RW & Co.
Jersey top: Max Studio (via Winners – the blue version of this one – see 2nd outfit)
Necklace: gifted & remixed (it’s better with darker colours, no?)
Trousers: Nine West
Shoes: close-up below

Shoes: Bobbi Blu (via Shoe Heaven)

4. Before and After. I started with this:

Cardigan: (via Winners)
Blouse: Moon (via The Bay)
Belt: Buffalo (remixed – see 2nd outfit)
Skirt: Jacob (remixed)
Tights: Hue
Boots: ?? (remixed)

But it just wasn’t working for me. So, I went a different way. Some would call this chickening out. They might be right. But that cardigan was squishing these sleeves against my wrists:
  Trousers: Mexx (as above)
 Thank-you, and goodnight! 
(As soon as Obama’s done addressing a good portion of the StyleNation, I’m hitting the sack.)

Oh, and which is better – the before or after?