Things that are Especially Rare

To echo E-Jo, (belated) Happy New Year, StyleNation! Welcome to IPF 2014 and, more particularly, Research Leave at IPF North! That’s right. I get a break from teaching and service work for the next six months as I prepare to apply for tenure and promotion in the next year or so.

Today’s post, a bit of a catch-up from the end of last term, includes boots, bada$$ery, and a bit of a reveal. Here we go.

#1. Office Pyjamas as Teaching Wear

That’s right. I wore this to teach – but just in my 4th-year honours seminar – in late November. Because I couldn’t make myself care about wearing anything but this bada$$ ensemble.


Draped black wool/angora/acrylic turtleneck tunic thingy: gifted (from my elegant sis-in-law, Designer Shoe Whore); Stainless steel non-boob-wrangling necklace: gifted (from the A-Dubs-Hubs); Black pleather-front and pointe leggings: H&M (new to blog); Black leather buckled up winter boots: Cougar (new to blog, purchased in Canada’s most stylish ville with janey-em and kelly last spring

Here’s a better bootal view:


Remember when Cougar boots were those tan coloured lace-ups that we wore undone so the tongues would flap around and show the red cloth lining? It was the ’80s. Cougar’s changed things up a bit since, it seems.

#2. Holiday Party – New booties and a reveal

Both janey_em and Rinty the Crusher informed me that my search for kick-ass black pumps for the A-Dubs-Hubs’s work holiday party would be fruitless. They said I should relent and get some damn ankle booties already. So I did. Possibly I will never wear these again as I am supposed to be retired from high heels. But they were too hard core to pass up.

In other news, I am pregnant, so that’s why I have a different belly than usual in these pic’s:


Black polyester jersey and lace blazer: Thyme Maternity (new to blog); Black jersey and gold sequin short-sleeved maternity tunic/dress: Séraphine Luxe (new to blog); Black leather, gold metal, and crystal belt: gift with purchase of dress at local prego store; Black micro fibre leggings: remixed; Black leather and gold metal booties: Steve Madden (new to blog)


And now, to complete today’s Sei Shōnagon-inspired list,

Things that are Especially Rare

5. Blessed, blessed research leave

4. Wicked black pumps this winter

3. Regular posts on this blog (sorry!)

2. Holiday seasons during which I cannot consume booze (thank the goddess these are rare)

1. Canadian cities that are colder than mars

What’s especially rare in your life, StyleNation?

Also, is anyone else totally over booties, yet? 

Things that can be seen comfortably

Hi All! Who’s ready for end-of-term? Much as I’m enjoying my two courses this term, I cannot wait for this term to be over. Because then I’ll be on research leave for 6 months and can wear mostly real pyjamas – not office pyjamas – for much of the winter.

To pass the time until then, I offer two ensembles that can be seen comfortably. Mostly because of these new patent leather booties. With the platform, they’re barely high heels at all. This is good as I am trying to retire from wearing uncomfortable shoes. I’ve completely lost patience with footwear that hurts my feet, knees, hips, and back; and I’m no longer willing to tolerate shoes in which I can do little more than mince or tiptoe around.

1. Belting a Cardigan Like we Did Back in the Day (i.e. 2008)


Navy floral-printed draped cardigan: Melanie Lyne (remixed); Satine cotton cami: Jockey (via The Bay); Silver leather skinny belt: Smart Set; Black cotton twill pencil skirt (lined): Melanie Lyne; Tights: Hue; Black patent leather booties: Rockport (new to blog)


2. Black and Gold and Booties


Cream rayon knit t-neck: BCBG Maxazria; Black and gold dress: BCBG Maxazria (remixed); Leggings: Smart Set (remixed); Booties: as above


And finally, let’s finish today’s Sei Shōnagon-inspired list:

Things That Can be Seen Comfortably

1. These booties.

2. The first snow of the season (already happened here, fyi – probably you’re jealous)

3. Cherry blossoms anywhere (seriously: online, in visual media, in person – they’re always exquisite)

4. Puppies and kittens

5. Mannequins shaped like real women

What will you add to the list, StyleNation?

What visual things are comfortable for you to see?

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?

Things that are Distant though Near (also, Office Pyjamas)

Greetings, StyleNation, from this frigid and seemingly-eternally snowy northern city. How’ve you been?

Things here at IPF, Northern Division, have been redonk* busy. Having co-hosted a multi-day, multi-speaker festival in January, I’m now scrambling to write two grant proposals, keep up with teaching, and meet a March 1st deadline in my newly established academic writing group.

* redonk = the ridiculous way of typing/saying ridiculous

Other Stuff, Scroll Down for Outfit Post

In related news, the course on violence-against-women (and feminist analyses/responses to the same) I’m teaching this term has been unexpectedly exhausting, both intellectually and emotionally. More specifically, it has triggered a bunch of personal crap for me. Following last week’s discussion of the worldwide pervasiveness of sexual assault, for example, sleep between midnight and 3am was replaced by a memory loop of the sounds of my former roommate’s rape. Moreover, I am struggling to find and share appropriate support resources for my students, many of whom have written in their assignments – despite my repeated advisories that academic space is not necessarily safe space for such disclosure – about their experiences of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Once more, from a purely individual perspective, I feel like I am drowning and have had to engage in self-care, despite all pending deadlines.

Outfit #1: Office Pyjamas

Fortunately, Reading Week, the Canadian equivalent of Spring Break (woot!), happens very soon. In honour of such beautiful respite, my Sei Shōnagon-inspired list for today’s post is “Things That are Distant Though Near.”

Things that are Distant though Near: 

5. Reading Week

Sal’s post on accessorizing – specifically scarf-tying – is the partial inspiration for this outfit, designed as Office Pyjamas for a non-teaching day.

home office

Pj’s: Tall Girl; Robe: made and gifted by Mom; Velour slippers: Joe Fresh

Just kidding. Those are home office pyjamas, the combination I want to wear every day, especially when it’s cold, dark, and snowy. In reality, however, I wore this. Thanks to Sal, these pj’s are supplemented with a sparkly scarf – in honour of the very senior woman with whom I met this afternoon. We had  coffee and discussed tenure and promotion (i.e. my accomplishments to date, and my future in academia):


Chambray & linen tunic: DKNY (via Winners, remixed); Teal, purple, & silver poly-cotton & rayon scarf: Winners (no tag – I hate tags on scarves); Teal long-sleeve cotton T: Smart Set (remixed); “Silver” link bracelet: local gardening store (weird source, no? They’re also the only place selling Desigual designs in my city.); Brown cords/leggings: Smart Set; Brown leather boots: Rockport (old, re-soled – including addition of “winter tread” – multiple times because they are just that great)

Boot and pantal close-up (for what it’s worth, given my abysmal photography):


all stuff (all 2 things) as above

Things that are Distant though Near (cont’d):


4. Old friendships, especially for those who move between cities


2. Inverted poses in yoga (for me, at least)

1. The past/future


Have you anything to add, StyleNation?

What or who is simultaneously far away

and torturously close to you of late? 

Office Pyjamas: November Survival Edition

Greetings, StyleNation, from the Great White North. Congratulations to all for making it to the middle of November.

Office PJs are going to be key to my survival to the end of this term because if I stay home in my actual pyjamas, I’ll just go back to bed. I’m really feeling the weight of this term’s teaching load. Also, as previously noted, it is once again time to delineate clear professional boundaries: slacker students are about to re-emerge to submit crappy or plagiarized work, blame women and racial minority professors for their (the students’) failures, and generally get up in my business as they panic about bringing a term’s worth of terrible grades home at winter break.

Autumn Office PJs #1

I’ll be sneaking into my office today in something like this (worn for another non-teaching day in October):

Zipper-front dress: D.E.P.T. (new to blog); Cami: H&M (old); Necklace: gifted; Leggings: ??, I cut out the giant scratchy tag (via Cosco, in a 2-pack. Must quit that place); Boots: Ben Sherman (remixed)

Yes, I am taking a call during this photo. I am very busy and (self)important.


Autumn Office PJs #2

Recently, I taught in this. After reviewing the photos, I think probably it should be relegated to the pyjama category. Some mornings, one cannot face either pants or tights; leggings thus become the only real option, even if items that cover one’s butt are limited by one’s failure to do laundry on even a semi-regular basis.

Mullet dress/tunic-thingy: ?? (that tag was scratchy, too; new to blog from end-of-summer sales); Black T-shirt: Kenneth Cole (remixed); “Gold” kitteh brooch: thrifted (bought for D-Med, but kept because ended up seeming to cheap to gift. Also, D-Med said people should stop buying her cat things just because she likes cats.); Stack of sparkly bracelets: The Bay; Leggings & boots: as above

Return of the Wonder Woman pose! (Remember when we used to do that all the time? Remember when we had a WW pose conference? I miss when we all did that.)

What strategies will you be employing to survive November, StyleNation? 

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?

Decisions, Decisions

This outfit, from last week, is clearly my attempt at channeling A-Dubs’ and her wicked office pajamas.  I didn’t actually wear it to my office, but it did make an appearance at my office-away-from-office: Starbucks (there is a serious dearth of coffee shops in my college town — which is totally weird.  It makes me long for the coffee shop office in Steel Town).

Dress: Target; Belt: NY & Co.; Leggings: Lane Bryant; Blue shoes that read as black here: Jessica Simpson

I got this dress at Target last summer, inspired by Anne, but the lining of it shrunk after I washed it.  As a result, I haven’t worn it much because it feels too short with a good 3 inches of sheer, unlined skirt.  It’s been hanging in my closet, being all awesomely polka-dotted but unworn, when, finally, a lightbulb went on: leggings!  I think it’s going to get a lot more wear now as I’ve wanted to wear this exact outfit twice in the last week — though I’ve been foiled by laundry.

Semi-kicky pose: Inspired by A-Dubs

Also, I really needed a coffee mug in one of these pictures.

Finally, I need your help, Style Nation.  I’m trying to decide on shoes for Rinty the Crusher’s wedding.  I’m wearing this dress (the first one in the post).  I’ve bought the following shoes in both gold and bronze and can’t decide which ones to wear.

(The gold ones are shiner than this photo suggests.)


Office Pyjamas: Air of The Jedi

I feel like a Jedi in this ensemble. Not a master; more like the pre-Vadar Anakin Skywalker/Hayden Christensen. This pyjama-like combo carried me through an intense day of visiting speaker hosting and lecturing myself.

I know. Office pyjamas should, by definition, be worn exclusively for in-office days. But it’s March, the slackers have begun to torture me via inane and not-at-all persuasive reasons why they deserve to rewrite their terrible papers, and I recently got some very bad (personal) news (to be discussed here at a later date). More than ever, this month is about survival. Pyjama-like ensembles are key in this endeavour.

It’s a bonus if such clothes assist in battling metaphoric Sith:

Yes, I am eating breakfast in this photo. Somehow, I am always rushing through the morning meals.

Probably, you cannot see the floral pattern on the jedi cardigan, but this is not because I haven’t tried to photograph it. Someday, I’ll learn how to light and take photos, but that day is not today:

Draped jedi cardigan: Melanie Lyne (new to blog); Brushed silver necklace: Foxy (remixed, lengthened with another necklace at the top); Invisible black stretchy dress: Max Studio (new to blog, via Winners); Ubiquitous black pointe knit jedi leggings: Smart Set (remixed); Jedi bootage: Blondo (via Browns Shoes, remixed)

From One Extreme to Another

So, on Monday, we had D-Med’s thoughts on J.Crew cashmere, complete with photos of arm warmers.  Today, you have pictures of me, bare legged.  We like to cover all the bases here at IPF.

Down here at IPF South, we’re basically out of our 6 week winter (or what passes for such here) and are moving rapidly into the warm spring.  This means each day covers a wide spectrum of temperatures, with occasional torrential downpours.  Not helping matters, the various temperatures in university buildings vary widely so while my office is often on the cool side, the classroom I teach in is often boiling.  Layers have thus been a godsend.

In addition to constantly changeable weather, the approaching spring is making me desperately want color in my wardrobe options.  I’ve long been admiring various blogger’s colorful pencil skirts but have been unwilling to shell out the money for one.  Once again, Target comes to the rescue where I bought not 1 but 3 pencil skirts in veritable rainbow of colors.  They only had 3 colors; believe me, if there had been more options I probably would have bought them!

Cardigan & ruffly top: Gap Coral pencil skirt: Target Black flats: Me Too

Can you spot the mini-FR in this picture?  Even though this picture was taken later in the evening, its colors are definitely bright!  This may well be one of my favorite all-time outfits.  As a bonus, it gave me a chance to wear this yellow top which I got last fall at the outlets but have had trouble wearing.  This is, in part, because it’s made of rayon so just looking at it causes it to wrinkle; therefore, it really needs to be under something.  It’s also got a rounded neck, rather than my preferred v-neck, so it helps to pair it with this v-necked workhorse of a cardigan.

Black drapey cardigan, tank, and periwinkle pencil skirt: Target Belt: NY & Co. Nude flats: Me Too

Here’s the same skirt in a periwinkle blue (I also got a teal one but I haven’t worn it yet).  Both skirts are made out of my favorite ponte knit fabric so they’re super comfortable.  Combine that with this super soft, drape-y cardigan I bought with A-Dubs, and a cotton tank, and this is totally office pajamas.  Plus I even got my seemingly required pop of coral here in my nails!

How’s everyone managing the end of February?  As excited about March and the subsequent arrival of Spring Break as I am?

Office Pyjamas, the series: Part Two

Top 3 Things that suck in February:

1. It is freezing cold.

2. The (seemingly inevitable) young male student who waits after class to challenge me on central points from the lecture.

3. It is February.

Top 3 Things that are Awesome in February:

1. Canadian university equivalent to Spring Break, a.k.a. Reading Week.

2. The honeymoon period before the slackers realize they have no chance of passing their courses. Instead, they’re busy not attending class, emailing fantastic and hilariously detailed excuses for missing deadlines, and otherwise screwing the pooch in places that are not near me.

3. Office pyjamas.

Outfit Post: Office Pyjamas, the slinky knitted dress edition:

I wore this ridiculously comfortable dress to my office where I revised a paper for publication, got caught up on email, and take a REALLY exciting phone call from an editor at the press to which I submitted The Project That Would Not End. In short, it was an on-campus day with no direct student contact and lots of delicious, delicious caffeine.

And here, just because I got all crazy and took two equally poor photos (OK, maybe this one is slightly poorer, since it basically eliminates my neck), is another angle on the PJ’s:

Slinky knit dress: Max Studio (new to blog), Belt: Mexx (remixed), Nearly invisible black cami: H&M, Completely invisible black leggings: remixed ad nauseum on this blog, Lined cognac boots: Rieker (remixed)

What’s sucking and/or awesome in your February, StyleNation?