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.

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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:

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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.)

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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?

Belated Conference Report, Part 1

What is up, StyleNation? You are looking GOOD today. How DO you do it every time?
Let’s get right down to the posting, shall we? 

1. First, an Important Announcement: 

Congratulations to our illustrious Guest Lecturer  
Kelly Bean, Rogue Academic and now Mother of Two Gorgeous Kids! 
Visit Kelly in Beantown to check out the cherubic new Baby T. 
We love you, KB, and wish we could be there with you!

2. Next, a preamble:

In less exciting news, I’ve been holding out on the posting, having convinced myself that I need to take headsuit photos and a complete set of conference outfits pic’s before blogging, again. I’ve decided, however, that this is an unrealistic goal. Instead, things will have to get done in stages.

It is busy here. In the last two weeks I’ve:

* attended a conference (SO good – plus there was some wine drinking with a key contingent)
* visited all too briefly with Rinty the Crusher who lives too far away from me, which is stupid
* hosted my parental units and their dog for five days
* prepped for and attended a disciplinary meeting for a student plagiarist
* hired and started training two research assistants
* plowed through a good portion of The Project That Will Not End (end is in sight – hurrah!)
* looked at about seventy billion houses and put an offer on one (results pending)
* applied to another conference

Currently, there’s one huge and two smaller deadlines fast approaching, but I’m determined to get some blog-reading and posting done before I go back into the breach.

3. And now, the outfit post:

So, the plan to build all conference ensembles around my brown riding boots worked well. As did (IMHO) my effort to be comfortable and semi-professional every day of the conference. Here is Conference Outfit, Day One (a non-presentation day):

 

Tunic: Cha Cha Vente (via Winners)
Necklace: art show somewhere in southern Ontario
Leggings: Groggy (remixed ad nauseum on this blog)
Riding Boots: Aldo

Because the conference was on a university campus, not at a hotel, we all wore and/or carted around coats all day. For once, I managed to anticipate this important detail and planned all outfits to incorporate this spring coat. I wore this coat everyday, most of the time, because it was chilly indoors and out.

I forget what we call this style of jacket. Swing? Bracelet-length? Mostly I think of it as a necklace highlighter:

Jacket: (I forget but will update when I get home tonight)
I really wanted to style everything around this vintage double-breasted velvet trench, but it’s not a practical option for travelling. What if it gets even more crushed? It’s irreplaceable. So I include it here as the fantasy option. In reality, I wore the above-noted green cotton twill number.  
Trench: thrifted, then switched out gold brass buttons for these faux pewter ones
In closing, I offer the following awesome picture of the Fuzzy Roommate savaging his sock monkey on his new bed cover. My mother loves fabric stores; she shops for quilting materials. I enjoy the stores, too, but barely have time to blow my nose, so when I go to the stores with her, I try to avoid buying fabric for projects that I will never have time to undertake. But a pillow cover is an fast and totally easy thing to make – and who could resist this leopard print?
“Leopard print.” Do you see what I did there?
Conference Report, Part II to follow. 
In the mean time, tell us, all you professionals out there:
what do you do with your coat at professional events?
Wear it? Scrunch it into your bag? Hang it and hope no one swipes it?