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? 

This Year vs. Last Year

Tangential Musings (scroll down for outfits):

This time last year I was on the verge of leaving academia. After three years on the ridiculously gruelling academic job market, after multiple campus visits each of which required weeks of preparation, after months spent imagining myself taking up a variety of positions for which I’d interviewed only to be told “We liked all three candidates, but the one we chose was just a better fit for the department,” or “Could you wait another month while we negotiate with our first choice, just in case we need to default to you?” (they NEVER defaulted to me), or “The Committee went another way” (I later learned that last one was code in two separate instances for “we lost our funding and will therefore not be hiring anyone”), I was done. I’d decided that if I didn’t get this last job, I could NOT spend another year waiting for others to decide the shape and direction of my life. I was also dangerously disillusioned with academia and daydreaming of starting all over again with something entirely different.

This time last year I was waiting for one last hiring committee to reach a verdict. Time moved slowly as it always does in the academy, and I cried almost every day. Then my former supervisor phoned to say she’d been contacted for a reference and soon after, my fate was decided. Academia and I were going to stay together.

This year’s recovery from the autumn and winter teaching terms is not as dramatic as last year’s. I felt the need to remind myself of this simple, but important fact. Thanks, StyleNation, for tuning in.

I also feel the need to offer the following to those of you who are still looking for academic jobs. Here is what I learned from this always challenging, sometimes invigorating, often frustrating, and occasionally heartbreaking experience:

1. Know yourself well enough to anticipate how you will deal with both success and failure in any given search. Prepare accordingly.

For example, I discovered that I need to work to believe that Plan A, the actual getting of the job, could really happen. But I always need a Plan B, Plan C, and even sometimes a Plan D in place so that I know how to deal if I don’t get the job. For me, success is easy to deal with but sometimes difficult to imagine. Failure is easier to imagine and to deal with if I can map out ways to make myself believe failure in one venue is an opportunity in another.

2. Apply for every job for which your credentials make you a real candidate. Put most of your energy into these applications. Then apply for ALL other jobs that might be a bit of a stretch for you. Who knows? Once you stretch, you might find it was exceptionally worthwhile to do so.

For example, I stretched and now work in a department that seems to fit me and my work much better than I would initially have imagined possible. In fact, I can no longer imagine myself doing the work I first thought I wanted to do.

3. Decide how long you can stand to be on the job market, waiting for others to decide your fate. Add at least one more year, if your budget, brain, and body can afford it. Then think about the next item:

4. Remember that life exists outside of academia and that you might be happy out there. You might even be HAPPIER out there. And despite the specialization inherent to your degree, your PhD has also given you many transferable skills.

5. Choose and prepare your interview attire early in the job market season. It sucks to shop for clothes when you should be prepping your research talk and practicing answers to questions.

Outfit post begins here: 

I’m all typed out, so I’ll just note that this is what I wore for my last two days of contact with students this term. (E-Jo & are are doing an unintentional black-and-cream pattern theme week)

Cardigan: Kische (remixed)
Blouse: ?? (remixed)
Not-quite-discernable bracelet: gifted
Pleather pants: Tahari (remixed)
Boots: Fluevog (remixed from same post as pants)

Bare legs for the first time in 2011. Also, this is the last almost-picture of my too-light-for-this-time-of-year hair colour. This issue has now been remedied and I will report on same later:

Cardigan: Nygard (very old, remixed)
Necklace: crazy costume jewellery shop in Florida
Dress: Cleo (remixed)
Boots: Rieker (remixed)
Socks: who cares?
Is this spring better or worse than last spring for you? 
What were you doing last year at this time? (And what were you wearing, then?)

Concern, Clothes, Feminist Gate-keeping

There’s a lot to be concerned about of late. First and foremost, of course, is the ongoing fallout from the earthquake in Japan. Please consider donating. Then there’s the whole supposed ceasefire in Libya as we wait to see just how far Moammar Gadhafi and forces are willing to go to to put down the long-suffering rebels. And let’s not forget the Republicans’ attack on labour rights down in Wisconsin or, closer to home, the federal Conservatives’ determination to perpetuate state violence against people who are already at risk of extreme violence in so many other forums.

With all of this major stuff going on, the conclusion of a beloved style blog and a little misguided feminist gate-keeping are relatively minor issues. And yet, as many of us agonize, analyse, and strategize around the above-noted major events in numerous other forums, I cannot help but feel these relatively minor occurrences also need some attention paid.

First, then, here’s an outfit I’m calling Bruised Toughitude: A Sartorial Ode to Style Underdog, one of my absolute favourite bloggers. SU quietly concluded her fantastic blog earlier this week. Goddess, I’m going to miss her.

Shell: H&M
Sweater: Julie & Jack Cashmere (remixed)
Necklace: gifted from Janey_Em
Pleather legging/pant hybrids: Tahari (via Winners)
Boots: Fluevog (remixed)

I’ve got one more ensemble to post, but before we get there, my two cents on feminist gate-keeping. Here goes:

Feminists have a long and important tradition of gate-keeping. In fact, you could even say that gate-keeping is an important element of self-reflexivity (i.e. critiquing ourselves & each other so we can learn from our mistakes), another central tenet of feminism. After all, if we don’t watch the gate, then anti-feminist people like Sarah Palin sneak in and start messing with our things, undoing our good work (see the part in the 2nd paragraph on page 108, where bell hooks argues conservatism and feminism are diametrically opposed), and waving our flags around

But the best forms of feminist gate-keeping offer informed and respectful critique. Thus, for example, if one were going to critique a fashion blog’s virtual feminist conference, an informed and respectful feminist commenter would ensure s/he has read and understood all of the material in question. Moreover, an informed and respectful feminist commenter would acknowledge the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the piece s/he is critiquing.

S/he would also be very careful not to repeat old mistakes by smugly underestimating the people who have produced the cultural text in question. S/he would take care not to perpetuate politically damaging elitism by name-dropping for the sake of name-dropping, or gesturing vaguely toward the writings of well-known and widely-read critics in order to imply that s/he somehow knows and can apply the theories put forward in these other works more thoroughly and astutely than the cultural producers in question.

Finally, the writer of such a critique should be willing to sign her/his name to her/his work in order to facilitate further respectful, productive dialogue. Such owning of one’s work also eliminates the temptation to believe that one can launch such a critique on behalf of feminism as a whole instead of from one particular space in a vast and varied political terrain.

As feminists, we don’t have to be nice, or even friendly; we certainly know by now that we’re not all going to get along. But we need to value ourselves and others. We don’t always succeed – but we need to keep trying. If we don’t, how the hell are we going to form the personal, professional, and politically strategic alliances we need to make change happen?

That’s all on that front (for now).  Here’s that other outfit, worn to deliver a research talk at a campus institute earlier this week. In my head, it was MUCH more interesting than it is in real life. ‘Must get back into the habit of taking morning photos. Also, I think I’m finally convinced this skirt needs shortening. 

Cardigan: Kische (via Winners, remixed)
Top: Kenneth Cole (remixed)
Belt: Buffalo (via Winners, remixed)
Bracelet: The Bay
Skirt: (remixed)
Tights: Hue
Mystery booties: (via Winners, remixed)
Wine: a kiwi Marlborough

 And here, just because I have it, is a close-up of the bracelet, etc:

In other less overtly political or sartorial news, the Fuzzy Roommate has a new girlfriend. I could not be more excited that he has finally – after three years in this new city – made a friend. I really thought I’d broken him with this last move, but he’s having fun once again. Here he is with Abbie, his new favourite dog:


What say you, StyleNation? 
And SU, if you’re reading, we miss you already!