Black Cardigans Anonymous

My name is Dorky and I love black cardigans.
If Coco Chanel counsels that we should remove one item of jewellery before we leave the house, lest we seem overdressed, Dorky Medievalist counsels that we should slip into a black cardigan before we leave the house, lest we seem underdressed.
(What?  It’s not weird that I speak of myself in the third person.  It is, after all, only a persona.)

Black cardigans are the foundation and the signature of many of my outfits.  
Here is a tour of a few that I am currently rocking:

The Indispensable
This has a matching shell and skirt, which I wore for the second day of my interview for my current job.  The model might be wearing it better than I but would you trust her to teach you Middle English or make you a sandwich? 

( Hint: your answer should be “No.”)
Edgy Modernist in my department has the same twin set.  I would be lying if I said this didn’t make me feel just a little bit more awesome.
Black Cardigan: Comrags
Black Shell: Comrags

The Casual Acquaintance
Perfect three-quarter sleeves, cotton jersey and casual snaps.  
Snap indeed.  Black cardigan, you complete me.

Black Cardigan:  Cotton Ginny (from A-Dubs)
Graphic Tee: We walk

The Feminino
This was the first thing I ever bought from J. Crew, now in Canada.  
It pilled immediately after the first wearing; I’m underwhelmed, Jenna, underwhelmed.
Black Cardigan: J. Crew
Brown Tank: Jacob

The Twin Cherries
And I’m not talking about my boobs.  You didn’t know I was also a hipster, did you? 

Black Cardigan: Rock Steady
Grey-and-Black T-shirt: Gap

The Old Friend
This is a cashmere blend and cable-y.  
It is neither style-y nor shapely but someone always remarks on how great this sweater is.  
They are right.
Black Cardigan: Park Vogel
Top: Calvin Klein

The New Friend

A colleague of mine gave me this and she always notes how much she likes how I wear it when I wear it.
Black cardigans can make you friends.
Black Cardigan: Banana Republic, swapped
Turtleneck: Park Vogel
The Dark Horse
Or not-as-dark horse.  Baby steps, StyleNation, baby steps.
Grey Cardigan: Club Monaco
Pink Sweater: Banana Republic
Are you so freakishly loyal to a single item of clothing that you keep buying versions of it over and over again?  
Black cardigans are awesome, right?

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: 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?

NYC: First Day of School

Dress: Theory
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Bracelet: Tarina Tarantino
Essential Accessory: miraculous and packable cardi, Comrags (not pictured)
Bicycle Grease: Schwinn 5-Star Cruiser (not pictured)

I wore this outfit on the first day in the fall term, which is just about the only time that the weather (or I) permits sleevelessness in the classroom. I love this dress a) because it is not fussy but still interesting (I heart those pleats, which are also on the back of the dress, as does my dry cleaner) and b) because it was deeply discounted at an outlet in Vegas, baby. It also lends itself well to a myriad of accessories.

All of these shoes have danced with this dress at one time or another, though I wouldn’t wear the lace sling-backs to teach or conference in: London Sole, Topshop, Dune; Stuart Weitzman, Zinda; Nine West

Truth be told I don’t often wear this dress to teach in (though I have worn it a couple of times to conferences), or these shoes, but I still think of the first day of school as a kind of Sunday-go-to-meeting dressing opportunity. I accessorized this dress on the first day of school with some bicycle grease because, in a manner I should by now be accustomed to, my best laid plans to appear put together gang oft awry. My chain flew off when I flew over a pothole and I had to provide some roadside assistance to my ride.

What do you wear on the first day of school?

Paint It Black

In an effort to keep myself honest about posting outfits regularly, I am declaring this “New York Cool” week, which really just means that I will be trotting out all of my black teaching clothes for you to weigh in on. I seem to wear black a lot when I teach, mostly because it absorbs all manner of stains, but also because I think it lends me an air of seriousness that works against my teaching style. I’m serious about my work but I tap dance a lot at the front of the classroom to get apathetic and recalcitrant students to share my enthusiasm for the middle ages.

Here’s my proposal:
Monday: NYC: First Day of School
Tuesday: NYC: Jazz Hands
Wednesday: NYC: Le Rouge et Le Noir
Thursday: NYC: Rowr
Friday: NYC: A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter
Until tomorrow.
How awesome is this dress?
Photo Source:
Posted in NYC