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)?

NSFW: What I’m not wearing to the Wedding of the Century

No, not that wedding.*  My mother is getting married in a couple of weeks and my brother and I have been conscripted to walk her down the aisle.  This means I have to wear something fabulous and flattering, not just because I will be on display for the event in a way I wish I weren’t but also because this Wedding of the Century is taking place in my backward hometown, a place I have not visited in many, many years and I am none the worse for it.  Until now.

I loved this dress on the model because, you know, she’s a model and that’s her job.
But it is doing me no favours.  Whoever said the wrap dress is universally flattering has never met me.

 And why does the skirt hit me at that oh-so-unflattering mid-calf point?  What is she, like, 9-feet tall?
Also, this dress makes me look like I have heaving alabaster bosoms.  And not in a good way.

Silk Chiffon Dress: Diane von Furstenberg
Chunky Beads: Tarina Tarantino
Frump Factor: Inexplicable

The colours of this dress are amazing.  The fabric is lovely and floaty and the dress is lined in thick silk and is comfortable, if slippery, to wear, but for the fact that I look like linebacker in it I should just wear it.  I won’t though.

And because I live in a shopping wasteland, I bought this dress on-line and now I have to sell it on-line.  Blergh.
I’m waiting until I get to the Big City to shop, days before the wedding.  This isn’t going to go well, is it?

I’d really love to wear something like this.  This exactly, actually.  
Substituting fabulous shoes for the sneakers and a fabulous headsuit for the hat, of course.

Why don’t I have anything in my closet that is lovely and that makes me feel lovely?  Am I a Shopping Failure

*How much did I love Pippa’s dress?  A lot.  How appropriate would it be for this Wedding of the Century?  Entirely.

On Shopping: Your M&S

So I’ve dropped the ball again.
This is Friday and remember how last Friday I was going to take part in Modly Chic’s Friend Friday Project? Well, I’m not doing that today. Modly Chic has come up with a series of very compelling questions about fashion and narcissism and blogging, but my brain just isn’t up to the task. Plus I sort of forgot it was Friday.
You should definitely check out Grit and Glamour and The Chotto Coquette who have very eloquently answered the challenge. And I think A-Dubs may take it up as well because she’s always got my back and she is a much more savvy and lucid cultural critic than I. Her work in cultural studies is brilliant.
But here is something related:
I’m going to London next week for a conference and some face time with old books but I’m most looking forward to my knickers pilgrimage to Marks & Sparks. They have the best cotton undies in the history of the world and I have never found the equivalent on this side of the pond.
Is blogging about my underwear narcissistic?

On Shopping: Getting the Size Right (follow up to Cowboy Crazy)

Yesterday I bought the wrong size jeans. On purpose. I refuse to let a little thing like “trends” get in the way of a look I am going for, yo.

Warning: this post contains some very unflattering photos.

At the store, yesterday:

GAP Employee: (looking me up and down, looking at the jeans, back at me) Did you try these on?

Me: Yep.

GE: (disbelieving) Do they fit you? I mean, are they snug?

Me: No, not snug but I want tapered jeans that aren’t skinny.These are okay with a belt and they fit the way I want them to in the leg.

GE: (looking incredulous) Our jeans stretch A LOT. (stretching butt of jeans dramatically to demonstrate) Are you sure these are the right size?

Me: Well, the 10 fit me like skinnies and I don’t want skinnies. I would have tried a 12, but you don’t have a 12, so I’m going with these.

GE: (speaking very slowly) Here’s what you should do.See this tag?

Me: (in my head) Gah, what am I? Blind?

GE: (ignoring my practiced “gah” face) Keep this tag on—this is very important.Wear your jeans with the tag on around the house for 2 hours.TWO hours.If they have stretched out too much in that time, you should bring them back.You have 30 days to bring things back in unworn condition, that’s why you have to keep the tag on.And keep your receipt.Here I’m putting it in the bag.(dropping receipt in the bag with a flourish).Thank you for shopping at the Gap.


On the phone with A-Dubs, this afternoon:

AW😦also incredulous) Dude, do those jeans even stay on?Why are you wearing a 14?Were you drunk shopping?Again?

Me: They’re fine.They’re super comfy.They sort of feel like track pants.

AW:You know what else feels like track pants?(dramatic pause) Track pants.

A-Dubs might have a point.

NYC: Mexx Ruffle-front Dress

Way back in the dark month of February, I celebrated – and second-guessed – this dress’s inaugural wearing. It made getting out of bed a little easier, but it also made gesturing towards slides during lecture somewhat challenging. Because it’s short (even shorter when I raise my arms!), and perhaps not quite classroom appropriate when styled this way.

Dress*: Mexx
Cardigan: Mac&Jac
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Moda
Bracelet: thrifted
* I would NEVER wear it to teach in without the cardi –
but I Wonder Womaned it up in front of the barbie so you could get a sense of its innate awesomeness (awesomeness that would, I freely admit, be more evident in better light & modelled by one who knows how to work her angles)
It also does that B.A. ‘exposed zipper’ element that all the cool kids are doing these days. Again, however, this is not a feature I’ll be “featuring” in the classroom anytime soon. This zipper will be covered by a cardi.
And I’m pretty sure these remarkably comfortable shoes are too sexy to wear with such a short skirt in the classroom. But I enjoy how ridiculously tall they make me (I’m 5’9″ without ’em. With ’em, I’m, like, Amazon-tall).
Also, I know: they’re weird. Once last year, I almost tripped down the stairs in a very steep lecture theatre because of these shoes. That elastic bit that goes around the heel is just a little too, um, boing-y. So, when my heel caught on the step, my foot kept going, and, well, I almost went a$$ over tea kettle.
But I have hope for this dress. I think it could have serious Bad A$$ professorial potential worn with thicker (and opaque) leggings, tall low-heeled boots, and a cardigan like this one. Or what if I wore it over slim black pants?
What do you think? And how short would/do you go, skirt-wise, for work? How about giving us a demo?

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?