A Bunch of Beige and a Butt Shot

I interrupt IPF‘s regularly scheduled program of marking (or “grading,” as our American friends like to call it) papers to bring you the following update:

It is cold here, so I’ve moved inside for photos. Currently, however, I live in an as-yet-not-fully-furnished house (one of the many exciting and sort of overwhelming effects of buying a home after nearly 20 years of apartment living). In addition, the A-Dubs-Hubs and I work a collective one zillion hours a week, so we’ve not quite finished painting walls better colours than the one showcased below.

In fact, I wouldn’t post this teaching-day outfit at all if (a) the usually-camera-shy Fuzzy Roommate hadn’t photo-bombed, and (b) I hadn’t decided that this would be the last wearing of these boots for the season. I have worn these boots A LOT this term. It is time to take a break so they can feel special, again.


Cotton & silk blend turtleneck: Melanie Lyne (new to blog)
Leather belt: Nine West (new to blog)
Skirt: Take it Easy! (purchased in England with D-Med ages ago, remixed)
Boots: Miss Mooz (remixed)
Butt shot by FR: modelled for E-Jo











And here, because I have it, and because I am skillfully using my glasses as a prop for your entertainment, is another photo in which very little is going on, backdrop-wise:

I’m conference bound this weekend after which I will try to post a sartorial report.
(Once again, I shall be building all conference outfits around a single pair of boots.
Probably you are marvelling at my risk-takiness.)
What’s going on with you this weekend, StyleNation?

Boot Porn: IPF North edition

How I adore this part of the academic term! You know, the honeymoon period where students still have enough energy to get fired up about course material, and our classroom relationship is untainted by poorly constructed argumentation to which I’ve had to assign poor grades.

What I adore less (or not at all) are the giant piles of marking that begin pouring in about now and only gain momentum for the remainder of the term. But let’s not focus on the negative for this tiny moment. Because what’s also awesome about this time of year is boot wearing. I know you’ve been doing your part, StyleNation; and I’ve been doing mine:
Boot-based ensemble #1 – Black & Red for Teaching:

Khaki blazer with pleated collar detail:  (tag removed, via Value Village)
Black polyester jersey dress: Fylo by Nylon (via Winners, remixed)
Silk multi-colour pashmina: gifted from my mom
Black & grey leopard-print tights: Hue (via Winners)
Red leather buttoned boots: Miss Mooz (remixed)

Tights & Boot Porn close-up:

Bootage ensemble #2 – Giant flaming floral (for teaching):

Polyester faux-wrap jersey dress: Argenti (Canadian designer – hurrah!)
Nearly-invisible white cotton cami: H&M
Necklace: see below
Pewter patterned knee highs/bootliners: Hue (via The Bay)
Red leather buttoned boots: as above
Back of the dress – sort of the best part, yes?:
Jewellery close-up, just in case we care what $2 at Vallooo Villahhge gets us these days:
That’s all, Y’all. Except that I’m heading out asap to check out some more of your fall boot-wearing!
Have you any fun thrift finds this season, StyleNation?p.s. more gender-issues-in-academic-setting ranting coming up soon, so stay tuned

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!

Smell you later, February. Thank goddess you’re over.

My final week of this dark month was made slightly more bearable when, despite our pact to save for house buying and not travel this Reading Week, the Hubs and I folded and took our frozen butts south to hang with his snowbird parents in Florida. It was but a few short days of respite, but respite it was – despite our guilt about (a) not saving money, and (b) sending the Fuzzy Roommate to dog jail/the kennel.

March will be busy and depressing, to be sure, but at least it won’t be February. Perhaps its non-Februaryness will keep me from taking refuge, mid-week, in the following:

Fuschia pashmina: ? (Once again, I removed the tag. I hate tags on scarves)
Dress: Cleo (via Value Village, remixed)
Wool sweater:  Elisabetta (via Winners)
T-shirt: Kenneth Cole
Necklace: The Bay (remixed)
Leggings: Groggy (remixed)
Hegemony boots: Feet First (remixed)

In addition, I cannot wait to wear shoes instead of boots, especially with skirts like this one:

Top: Kenneth Cole (via Winners, remixed)
Cardigan: Zara
Invisible silver necklace: temporary swap with friend

Bangle: Le Chateau
Belt: Buffalo (via Winners, remixed)
Skirt: Olsen (via The Bay)
Tights: Hue
Boots: Rieker (via Shoe Heaven, remixed)

In short and to sum up: suck it, February. I’m glad you’re gone. 

OK, StyleNation, now it’s your turn: 
help us say good-bye to this heinous month. 
(Tell us what you won’t miss about February. Also, how do you plan to survive March?)

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?

Once More in Black & Red

In the spirit, once again, of E-Jo’s ongoing remix extravaganza, I present one top, two ways. There’s a chance I’m in need of a break from the black with red accents. But it’s just so easy and comfortable – and these are important qualities in end-of-term wear.

You know what else is easy? A black poly-blend top. Because it goes with EVERYTHING and doesn’t fade in the wash. Here’s this wardrobe workhorse  one way (with the oh-so-edgy mug-in-hand pose) back in September:

Poly-blend top: Anne Klein (via Winners)
Gray denim bubble skirt: Rita di Cesare (Canadian designer, yo! Purchased while skipping the morning panels with Rinty the Crusher at a conference in Janey-Em‘s O-town)
Belt: thrifted
Boots: Miss Mooz (remixed)
Knee-socks: black cotton (from wherever)

‘Stellar lighting, no? I am a genius with the camera.

And here’s the same top with the same colour scheme, combined to create a less casual look this morning:

Top: as above
Skirt: Ice (yes, it’s lined; via Winners)
Belt: Buffalo (via Winners)
Hose: Hue
Shoes: Clarks Artisan (remixed)

The belt would NOT stay put, so I used a hair elastic to keep it in place. This, however, seems awkward and un-profesh.  Tell me you’ve got a better solution, StyleNation.

What do you wear too much? 

If I take a break from black and red, will you break from your go-to combination/s, too?

One Dress Two Ways

I post today in support of E-Jo’s upcoming hard core 30 for 30 remixing. Even though I’m not participating in the challenge (this much planning stresses me out), I’m excited to see what she – and many of you – come up with this month. And I’m remixing this dress today in solidarity.

But first, a Brief Professorial Interlude: (scroll down for outfit post)
Like E-Jo, I also have only ten teaching days left in this term. That’s right, StyleNation, we’re entering the final countdown to at least two weeks of uninterrupted work on The Project That Will Not End. Sweet buckets of awesomeness!*

I usually feel the need to bring it, sartorially, in these final weeks as students are bleary-eyed and worn out from too much studying or too much partying (or both). It becomes necessary, therefore, to work a little harder – especially in my large Intro. course – to keep eyes open and focused on the front of the room.

But some students are panicking because they’re failing, and they’re looking for someone (else) to blame for their having slacked off all term. Which is a long way of saying that now is perhaps not the time for sartorial whimsy for woman-identified professors. Deep-seated cultural chauvinism (misogyny, even) hidden under politeness and political correctness at other times of the year seems to surface during these weeks. In other words, women beware.** My only protection against these kinds of threats – you know, aside from feminist anti-violence policy, research, and education – is to retain what professional presence I can in the classroom instead of relaxing into a more casual instructor-persona as I come to know many of the students in my classes.

Outfit post Resumes Here:
After today’s relatively whimsical ensembles, I will be working to strike a balance between bringing it interest-wise, and dialling it back in terms of whimsical details. But first, this is me taking Rad and D-Med’s long-ago-offered advice and wearing knee socks under boots:

Poly-blend microfibre dress: Cleo (thrifted)
Cardigan: Nygard (remixed)
Tank dress: Le Chateau
Necklace: mall anchor store (If this were high school, I’d be going steady with a LOT of people. That’s what a ring on a necklace means, right?)
Boots: Miss Mooz (remixed)
Socks:do we care? They’re black.

~ Trying a more boot-focussed pose. Huh. ‘Harder than it looks. Maybe I hate the magazine ads with scantilly-clad models wearing boots and sprawling on the floor with their feet in the air a little less. .  .

I thrifted this dress in August for $7 with its original tags in place. This is an important detail because these kinds of unnatural fibres tend over time to absorb and retain sweat smells; I prefer to smell only myself in my clothes. Also, the chain link pattern is awesome and will be fun to use as a backdrop for giant necklaces.

Warning: the next ensemble’s a wee bit wonky. Even my colleague who never wants to talk fashion noted that this was a “crazy outfit.” I blame Paula Reed’s Style Clinic for this bit of weirdness. This book told me to match my shoes to my tights, not my dress, to elongate my legs. I’m not sure this is what the guide had in mind:

Dress: as above
Cami: H&M (I’ll be eliminating the high-necked cami in future dress stylings. ‘Seems like overkill now that I see the photos)
Black ribbon & faux-silver necklace: mall anchor store
Cardigan: Kische (via Winners)
Tights: Hue
Faux-snakeskin wedges: Aerosoles

~ Sideways combination Wonder Woman & Not-at-all-ridiculous Back Stretch pose

Obligatory shoe close-up (extracted from another outfit):

What bits of style advice haven’t worked for you, StyleNation?

Also, how do you survive the final weeks of term?

* Other academics will know this already, but for our more well-adjusted readers I will note this enthusiasm is not ironic. Breaks between teaching assignments are not for making merry; they are for madly researching, writing, and planning future research and writing time/s.

** Research from a variety of sources suggests that deep-rooted cultural racism also surfaces during times of anxiety. So visible minorities, and persons who speak with an “other” accent are also subject to more intense scrutiny and pressure during such periods.

Gender Performance & the Assumptions of Others (Again)

I am repeatedly fascinated and provoked by the assumptions those ‘outside’ of Women’s and Gender Studies make about those of us on the ‘inside.’ While my femme styling certainly results in the occasional frustrating provocation within this small branch of the academic world, I often get the sense that my performance of femininity also complicates non-WGS people’s responses to me when they find out what I do and where I do it.

Though I’ve considered doing so, I’ve not yet changed the way I dress, wear make-up, or style my hair to mitigate responses to my appearance that reflect stereotypical assumptions about how a feminist looks. Furthermore, as this blog surely demonstrates, with the exception of formal professional settings, I do not reign in (all of) my goofiness, wry sarcasm, or (what I consider to be) wit, in part because I like how these elements of my personality undermine stereotyped understandings of feminists as intensely serious, humourless people. Occasionally, however, despite my credentials, either or both of these choices result in my being underestimated, or treated with disrespect. 
I can’t go into detail in this public forum, but I will say that I was recently and rather obviously underestimated in this way in a casual meeting with new colleagues. I wasn’t meeting with students that day, so I came to campus in a trouser-jean-based ‘business casual’ ensemble. And now I wonder if I could have prevented this error through sartorial means.

I am thus inspired to up the profesh-factor in my attire for each and every day on campus this term. And we’ll just see if I can change certain people’s responses to me through clothing alone.

Today, for example, I’ve come to campus to work in my office all day. I’ve no meetings, and I don’t teach. But I’m wearing this:

Black microfibre dress: Tristan & Iseut
Charcoal cotton ruffle-front cardigan: Coin 1804 (via Winners)
Belt: Mexx
Bracelets & watch: remixed
Red leather boots: Miss Mooz (remixed)

Wonder Woman pose: preview of coming conference attractions

 (D-Med: I know. No arm. It’s gone into the light.)

Really, the boots are this colour:

OK, so this ensemble could still read as “casual,” but it’s comfortable and is not trouser jeans. It’s a start.

Do you use clothing and/or accessories to mitigate others’ negative assumptions about you?
Are you making any resolutions this fall?