End-of-term Countdown

It’s that time, again.

(Welcome back to work, U.S. members. How was your holiday?)

This time of year, as final papers and projects roll in, and my panic regarding the utter lack of time for my own research reaches a fever pitch once again, I begin to feel a little like this:

Tiniest Treadmill User Ever

As previously noted, now is the time for serious ensembles. While I have occasionally snuck into my office on non-teaching days wearing things like this:

Purple cashmere cardigan: Ricki’s (gifted from A-Dubs-Hubs); Blouse: Joe Fresh (new to blog via the grocery store); Cami: Smart Set (old); Cheetah necklace: Stella and Dot (remixed); Skinny trousers: Mexx (remixed); Lined cognac leather boots: Rieker (via Shoe Heaven, remixed)

Teaching days are all about authority colours and power clothes – well, power clothes for a Women’s and Gender Studies professor, at least:

Sleeveless printed wrap blouse: Mexx (new to blog); Cami: ?? (cut out the tag, via Winners); Necklace: Gifted; Charcoal cardigan: Smart Set (new to blog); Navy wool-mix trousers: Melanie Lyne (new to blog); Studded leather flats: Fugitive de Francesco Rossi (remixed)

Who’s got even better Final Countdown videos?

Will you share the titles?

(We’ll credit you when we use them!)

Conference Report: the gentle hands series

Good goddess, StyleNation. Where the hell did November go? How is it the end of the month already?! (Here’s hoping our American members enjoyed their long weekend.)

As I noted this time last year, I’ve learned to amplify the profesh in my on-campus ensembles as the term winds down. I need to bring what authority I can to in-office and classroom interactions, especially at this time in the term. Struggling and slacker students can get downright nasty as grades for their final assignments come in.

After this post, profesh is the word.

Today, I owe you a conference report. So, here goes.

Please note that the white walls in my new, as-yet-unfurnished home office are weird in photos. Thus, when I place my hands against the wall to hold myself up (or in a pose – I’m tippy), the walls disappear and it looks like I’m trying to be graceful, or gently balletic (yep. I’m calling “balletic” a word). I am not balletic or graceful; but I am tired (and lacking in camera know-how). And so, I offer the following “Gentle Hands Series”:

Day 1: Teaching & Mad Dash to Airport for Conference Travel

In retrospect, I don’t think I’d do the bow-belt on the dress, again. It seems a little girlish, no? Otherwise, the dress is perfect conference attire in that it’s polyester (read: non-wrinkling, even after hours in airports, planes, and trains), profesh without being overly polished (my field is not an especially formal one), densely printed (read: won’t show spills, even if they’re red wine), and mix-and-matchable. Also, it has pockets (read: options for hand placement that avoid awkwardness like that shown below).

Dress: Rachel Roy (via The Bay, new to blog)
Cotton t-shirt: mall anchor store (Smart Set, I think)
Leggings: Groggy (remixed ad nauseum on this blog)
Waterproof black knee-high winter boots: Blondo (via Browns Shoes)
Day 3: Dress Remixing, Non-presentation Day
Full disclosure: I actually wore the shorter cardigan (pictured in the bottom two images) at the conference. But when I saw that cardigan in pictures, it made the dress look babydollish and I wish I hadn’t worn it that way.
Here’s what I wish I’d worn. Also, I wore this ensemble to teach earlier this week, and then to speak at an event later that evening. I began the day with a wide black belt over the cardigan and dress, but things got waaayyy too sweaty, so the belt was discarded after my first class that morning. It’s still in my office (the belt, not the class), so it’s not pictured here.
Silver necklace: gifted from the Hubs (more on this later)
Long black cardigan: Nygard (remixed)
Day 2: First Day of Conference, & Day 4: Presentation Day

Originally, for my presentation on Day 4, I’d planned to wear this black wool dress with the pashmina pictured below, and the boots and leggings shown above. This more casual ensemble was meant to be worn on Day 2 only. But I’d forgotten about the extreme blond shagginess of the dog at my brother’s place – where I crashed for a portion of my stay. That huge, friendly dog leaves carpets of fur on everyone within a 2-mile radius. The black dress was impossible to wear under these circumstances.

Fortunately, I had these lycra-rich, skinny trousers on deck. Also a polyester blend, these babies don’t wrinkle at all (again, this is key for conference travel – who wants to iron when there are panels to attend first thing every morning?). Even more importantly in my case, dog fur doesn’t adhere to these unnatural tightly-woven fibres.

Grey-mix cardigan: ?? (remixed, via Winners, slightly better image below)
Black polyester jersey top: Anne Klein (via Winners, remixed)
Pashmina: gifted (remixed)
Skinny poly-lycra-rayon trousers: Mexx (new to blog)
Boots: as above

Here’s a better image of the trousers. Despite appearances, I am NOT gently stroking the leaf of that plant. The plant is well in the foreground, but the bloody white walls and poor lighting are throwing everything off kilter.

Overall, to me, the building of conference-wear around on pair of conference-friendly boots worked really well, again. The boots were foot-friendly – low-heeled, rubber-soled, warm without being too warm, and comfortable for hiking around the conference city and campus – and dressy enough for my sartorial tastes.
As an added bonus, these boots bring me one comfortable step closer to my professional goal of modelling good footwear “behaviour” for my students. Currently, I use my wearing of high heels to teach the concept of hegemony – what better way to illustrate my own consent to gender subordination?* Having taught this lesson numerous times to date, I hope, someday, to require a different illustrative example.
* Interesting side note: young women in one of this year’s classes were especially interested in promoting rather than discouraging my high heel wearing via multiple suggestions of “comfortable” or wedge heels as “cute and more comfortable than stilettos.” My suggestion that no wedge or exceptionally-well-padded high heel was as comfortable as any of my husband’s shoes was met with peels of laughter. 

NSFW: Le Rouge et le Noir

This is what I wore to the annual dinner and dance thrown by the university President over the holidays.
It was, predictably, freezing that night, so I went crazy and wore pants with my dress.

Cigarette Pants: Monsoon
Ruby Ballet Flats: Bloch London
Purse: unknown provenance, but it is the perfect size for relief flats except I was already wearing my relief flats
Finger Guns: Classic

The affair was held in the Athletic Centre, in the gym.  After the lukewarm buffet dinner I danced to Lady Gaga and Shania Twain (seriously) beneath the glow of the scoreboard and warmed by cheap red wine.  It was a magical night.

No really, it was.  I didn’t go to my high school formal but I’m pretty sure it would have looked a lot like this.  But I never would have worn pants to the formal.  Or flats.  And, no doubt, I would have been there with a spotty youth, since I was myself a spotty youth.

I am so glad I am no longer a teenager.

What did you wear to your high school formal? 

NSFW: The Vegas Report

As previously noted, I recently spent a weekend in Vegas. As requested, the report that follows details some key moments from this trip.

Night/outfit #1: Drinks & Dinner

We flew in on Friday, changed like lightning, then met the Hubs’s friend S and his lovely partner N for drinks and dinner. We see S & N about once a year, so we’ve a LOT of catching up and playing to do when we meet. This was our second meeting in Vegas. And we got a LOT done.

Sartorially, I was most excited about this first ensemble. I picked up the tunic at Winners the day before we left (Vegas requires sparkly things), and I planned to style it by following V’s skin-to-clothing ratio, but modifying it for evening, not workwear (see this and other excellent sartorial rules to live by at this Grit & Glamour post).
I bought the tunic in XL because the medium wasn’t long enough (possibly because it’s a shirt, not a tunic). In retrospect, however, I find this outfit to be the least exciting of the three. The tunic is doing that thing tunics tend to do: eliminating all curves and turning me into a puffy rectangle. In the mirror the night before we flew, and again the first night in Vegas, I perceived curves. But the camera says no, and that sucketh.
Sequin tunic: Forever Fashion (via Winners)
Leggings: [label rubbed off] (via Winners)
OTK boots: France Mode (remixed)
Wristlet/clutch: Mat&Nat
Let’s pretend it’s nighttime. After all, that’s when I wore it.
Hmm. ‘More sparkle, but still no real shape. . .
Wise StyleNation, I turn to you for counsel once again: how can this sparkly tunic/top thingy work in future? Or is it a lost cause?

Night/outfit #2: Buffett Ridiculousness
Regular concerts don’t do it for me. Also, I despise stadium concerts because I can’t see anything good, and then the sound disappears into the rafters, then comes back down to bounce off the concrete walls, so I can’t hear anything good either. But it was the A-Dubs-Hubs’s birthday, and he and S share a love of Jimmy Buffett music. The lovely N is a much better sport about this ridiculous preference than I am. I tried to follow her example on this evening.
In the interests of good sportiness, I agreed to go to dinner at Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett’s restaurant (it’s a chain, for pete’s sake), before heading to the arena/stadium down the street for the concert. Thankfully, the margaritas over dinner were strong, and the bikini-clad woman who slides down a fake volcano into a giant margarita glass once every hour at this classy establishment appeared to have the night off.
Thinking about the concert we attended, the reason for which this whole Vegas trip was undertaken, inspires fatigue. Depression even. Maybe I’ll just sit down for a minute. . .
Studded pleather & viscose top: Sejis J (via Winners)
Skinny jeans: Revolt (via Winners)
Studded pointy Vegas walking shoes: Fugitive de Francesco Rossi (remixed)
Faux-wine & glass: included to recall multiple debilitatingly strong margaritas consumed pre-concert in effort to will self into Buffett-concert mindset (didn’t work); bonus side effect: giant nap during concert
Moving on: this ensemble breaks my recently-developed rule prohibiting the wearing of jeans and t-shirts out at night. But I dressed down a wee bit anyway as I was told that Buffett concerts are super-casual affairs.
As it turns out, I was still over-dressed. Or under-dressed, depending on your perspective. After all, I was not wearing a toy shark or parrot as a hat; and I was not dressed as a pirate (or a “sexy pirate wench” – whatever that is); nor was I – like many of the shit-faced soft-bodied middle-aged straight white men in attendance – wearing a grass skirt, fake-coconut bra, 16 plastic leis, and a straw hat with blinking lights threaded through it. (please note: neither the Hubs nor S was thus costumed; probably they would also disavow any association with middle-age and soft-bodiedness)
A-Dubs to N: “Seriously? It’s like a Jimmy Buffett-lead cult.”
N to A-Dubs: “Yes. It’s kind of great that they’re so into it. But it’s also kind of sad, if you think about it. ‘All these people dreaming of a better life, but not actually having it.”

Moving on once more.

Can you tell I’ve a new pointy-sided chin-length bob? It’s inspired by N’s awesome style. (Except hers is curly and blond.) I was tired of long hair. I don’t have the time to take care of or style it, so I just wore it up every day. And my face really needs a hair frame.
The jacket pictured below, and the clutch pictured above were involved with this outfit, too.
Also, tall shoes would be better here, no? But this night involved a LOT of walking. I can handle EITHER concert-related OR shoe-related discomfort. Not both. The concert rage discomfort was inevitable; the flat shoes were, therefore, an additional inevitability.
Earrings: The Bay

I keep forgetting to pose with – not drink from – the wine glass. Each time I sip in these photos, the grape juice creates disappointment. And yet, I keep lifting the glass through sheer force of habit.

Night/outfit #3: Tapas, “Love,” Dinner
By far my favourite of the three Vegas nights, this evening saw our happy crew drinking champers over early-evening tapas, then attending “Love,” the Cirque de Soleil show inspired by The Beatles music (a show in which, I’m told, the indomitable Yoko Ono had a creative hand, as this brilliant woman owns the rights to a number of Beatles tunes), then talking into the wee hours over late-night dinner and drinks.

(Still drinking, not posing. Kind of like drowning, not waving.)

Items in this sequence were much smoother when they appeared in Vegas. Today, they’re fresh out of my (just-now-unpacked) suitcase. I do not iron things I’m not wearing into the (real) world.

Blazer: Mexx
Green silk blouse: Banana Republic (gifted from Designer Shoe Whore two xmases ago)
Skinny pants: Mexx (remixed)
Kitten heels (the only ones that have EVER worked for me): Moda (via Shoe Heaven)

Dangly earrings: The Bay
Bunch of bracelets: The Bay (remixed)

In short and to sum up, StyleNation, we should go to Vegas, wear sparkly things, be merry, and take piles of photos doing it all. I had a great time with the crew last weekend; but you and I both know that together, we could make a party bomb.

Competition, Outfits

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about competition between or among friends. Graduate school gave me both an excellent group of friends and an appetite for competition that I assume we all share to one degree or another. (We are academics, after all; and academics compete for jobs, grant money, and other forms of research-related prestige of one form or another from our first weeks of grad school onward.) And maybe we compete a teensy bit with one another on occasion; but we all work in such different fields that this does not seem to result in one of us hurting another in any real way.
Outside academic contexts, how much competition can a friendship bear? How much is too much? Is it possible to stop the contest when things get nasty, or is there a point of no return?   
That’s about as far as I’ve gotten with this topic. Let’s stop for now and talk about outfits. Here’s one from last week when it was still so strangely, deliciously warm here:
Cream tunic: Dalia Collection (via Winners)
Cream cami: Esprit
Black belt: Mexx (remixed)
Black cropped skinny pants: Mexx (remixed)
Red slingbacks: Moda (remixed)
I had no meetings of any kind on this day, but there was work to be done on campus. Plus I had this pirate-y bamboo tunic I was itching to wear. Can you imagine how totally pirate-like I’d be if I wore over-the-knee boots with this? 

Do you find tunics difficult to style? How do you they work best for you, if at all?

Also, how much competition is too much for one friendship to bear?

Violence, Skinny Pants, & Kitten Heels

Politics (scroll down for outfit post):
On Sunday, I took part in a peaceful public art/anti-violence initiative. Some of us were asked to hand out postcards that members of the public could sign and mail to the Prime Minister. Some of us left a few cards on car windshields in a nearby lot.

One arsewipe, a beefy thirty-something white guy, took exception to this strategy. He followed me through the parking lot, handed a postcard back, and then explained that we were not to put any more “shit” on his truck. Even after I said that we wouldn’t do so, he felt the need to tell me that he would “hurt” anyone who touched his truck, again. Apparently, the irony of threatening to do violence to a woman at an anti-violence (against women) initiative was lost on him.

Also, why the hell did he think it appropriate to threaten a perfect stranger, in broad daylight, in a busy parking lot? More importantly, how far does his sense of entitlement and apparent desire to dominate and intimidate extend in darker, or more private settings? In short, I am more shaken than I want to be; and I have even more respect for those who suffer actual physical violence, not just the threat of same.

Outfit Post:

This is not a teaching or meeting outfit. But I went in to work in my office, and the no-jeans-on-campus rule remains in effect. Also, a skirt or dress was not a possibility; leg shaving was totally out of the question because it is (or was when I wore this) September. (Even teeth brushing is a noteworthy achievement in this insane month.)

Coral cotton cardigan: MAK (gift from D-Med; remixed)
Blouse: ?? – no tag (Winners)
Bunch of bracelets: The Bay (remixed)
Black cotton skinny pants: Mexx (remixed)
Kitten heel* slingbacks: Nine West
* I like how they look, but these kitten heels do NOT totally work for me. Why are they so stupidly uncomfortable? They are shoes in which to sit down. That said, I’d try the first six pairs Tish pictures today over at A Femme d’Un Certain Age. Those babies look sweet – and more solidly heeled than my annoying ones.  
Despite the crappy start, this week still seems better, somehow, than last week. It’s October, an arsewipe threatened and unnerved me, I’ve a PILE of marking to do, more grant application deadlines are looming, and my in-laws are coming this weekend. But somehow, it just seems more manageable. 
How’s your week looking? Also, what do you wear to work when no one’s going to see you? 

It is Stupid Here

It’s been a strange, sticky, frustrating week here at IPF, Northern Division. The project I’m trying to get off my desk hates me and will not let me finish it. Thunder storms the last three nights have kept Fuzzy Roommate freaking out into the wee hours, but the humidity has yet to break. And teaching prep keeps getting in the way of the project-that-will-not-end. And let’s not forget about yet another mix-up with my pay (Why? Why always too low?!). In short and to sum up: it is stupid here.

Sartorially, I’m having issues with photos. “Issues” is code for “I’m positive these outfits are way better than pictures suggest.” This means that instead of changing clothes, there’s been a lot of craning, twisting, and adding of accessories to capture what I’m certain is really going on.
For example, the house-hunting ensemble (note: wear SLIP-ON SHOES next time):

Bag employed to fix (disguise) waist bunching. It’s too hot for a belt.
Red cotton embellished tank: Mexx
Cotton poppy skirt: Mac & Jac
Cotton & Leather bag: Esprit (You don’t want a close-up, do you? It’s a very basic bag.)
Nude platform wedges: Nine West (remixed)
Next up: the balancing series, brought to you by my inane efforts to offer a semi-rear view of the skinny pants without turning all the way around. A full-on rear view seems gauche in skinny pants (but not in an acid wash jean skirt, apparently). This series is also brought to you by my refusal to take more than 4 outfit shots in one go.

~toppling forward
Embroidered cotton top: Bianca Nygard (via The Bay)
Cotton skinny pants: Mexx (remixed)
Bracelets: The Bay
Sequin espadrille wedges: Roman Tenza (bought with D-Med while visiting IPF, Eastern Division)
Screw it. This pose shall hence forth be known as
the “totally-intentional” (and thus not-at-all ridiculous)
Back Stretch ~
This weekend, I’m working on the project-that-will-not-end.
What up with you? And what are you wearing to do it?
(Also, don’t forget our upcoming surprise – or the WW Conference.)

Can I Teach in Skinny Pants?

‘Just practicing for fall. I haven’t had skinny black pants since the late nineties, so I’m out of practice. Back then, I had multiple pairs of slim black bum-hugging pants that I wore to work – either teaching English overseas, or waiting tables back in the T-dot – and out on the town. Now, I’ve got a different job – not to mention a totally different (read: older) bum; so I’m trying to see if I can lecture in these pants (with a sweater or office blazer, obviously). What do you think? (probably it would be better if I gave a back view, too; but I didn’t think of that during photos)

I think I’d like these cropped skinnies more with shoes akin to the BA black strappy sandals Rad of The Cohabiting Closet has been rocking this summer. Also, a black top might be better, given the ankle crop, so my legs don’t look shorter.
~ late afternoon photos = BA barbeque backdrop

Gun-metal gray faux-silk top: Le Chateau
Black cotton skinny pants: Mexx
Necklace & sparkly bracelets: The Bay
Cuff: remixed
Pink platform flats: Kenneth Cole (remixed)

Do you wear skinnies to work? Why or why not?

I’ll be watching your blogs, of course,
but how about talking a little, here, about your styling choices?

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?