NSFW: Maxi Dress

I would be remiss in my duties as a style blogger if I did not report in on London street style. It did not seem distinctly different from North America, actually—jeggings, gladiator sandals, general pantslessness—with one notable exception: the maxi dress. Maxi dresses were everywhere in London. Weren’t they everywhere here, like, two years ago?

At least, that’s when I succumbed to the trend with this dress.

Dress: Calvin Klein

Beads: belonged to my grandmother (I love them)
Pose: Wonder Woman, via A-Dubs

It took me a long time to get on board with the maxi dress and I think I’m still on the fence, even though I own one (I’m ignoring the mixed metaphor; please follow suit). Something about the maxi seems costume-y to me. And this was especially evident in London when groups of women in maxi dresses would go out en masse looking like a mis-matched bridal party. There is something distinctly 70s about the maxi dress that I don’t dislike, I just think it’s difficult for me make it current (except, obviously, it is current so what do I know?). I also think that it looks best on tall, willowy chicks and that is not me (it is A-Dubs).

Nonetheless, I do love how comfortable my maxi dress is, especially in the hot weather. And this one is the perfect long length on me because it does not trail on the ground, even if I’m wearing flats.

Gold flat sandals: Cole Haan Canvas Wedges with a kicky bow: Keds

I don’t think it’s at all suitable for my workplace though I do wear it a lot when I work from home, mostly because it feels like a nightie. And, of course, I’ve worn it to the cottage. I love the pattern and the softness of the fabric but this dress does not get a lot of street wear and I think I bought into the trend because it was deeply discounted even though I was not convinced I could pull it off. Lesson learned (probably).

These are my favourite things about my ensemble today.

And I like the beads too. (I’m here all week, folks. Try the veal.)

Do you wear a maxi dress? How and where do you wear it and how do you tone down the 70s? Or maybe the 70s isn’t a bad thing? After all, TV’s Wonder Woman is from the 70s.

I’d like to sup with my baby tonight

Have I mentioned that it is HOT in London? Oh yes, I have. The thing about my being here during the hottest summer on record in London is that I did not pack for being here during the hottest summer on record in London. I packed for England: cardis, long pants, jeans, coat. I needed all of these things when I was up in Leeds, where it monsooned daily while I conferenced and tried to be charming and smart, but these things are just not on with the daily living in London.
The day I landed I took the tube from Heathrow to Russell Square and was miserable and sweaty (I really hate the tube and yet I am still too cheap to take the Heathrow Express) so when I got out and hauled my suitcase and my arse up the stupid, stupid stairs I went straight to Joy and bought this dress. It was modelled in the window AND by a very stylish customer rocking it in the store. I don’t think I’ve ever bought something because I saw it on someone else but my brain was heat-addled and she was willowy and beautiful. She might have glamoured me. The dress is tent-like and does absolutely nothing flattering but it barely touches me and only needs to be accessorised by a pair of M&S knickers, footwear and a smile.
Dress: Louche
Undies: Marks & Spencer (not pictured)
I actually like the bright florals, the precious heart-shaped buttons and the pockets but it is a little short for my comfort level (especially since I washed it) and trapeze-like for my shape. But it has been a staple for my days in London (outside of library time, where it is freezing and cardi-friendly).
How are y’all survivin’ the heat?
(I have been watching True Blood on-line for the first time, because I am also too sick to sleep.
I am in love with Sam. Why doesn’t he love me?)

Cowboy Crazy

Holstering the finger guns, pardner.

This just in, I’m rad. Well, Rad’s rad, but her recent post for Summer Black-Out Challenge 2010 reminded me that I had in my closet this cowboy shirt. I have had this shirt for at least fifteen years. I bought it when I was on tour (in a play, in another life) from a local K-Mart because, true story, I forgot to pack any shirts. A friend of ours told me that when he thinks of me, he thinks of me in this shirt, so I must wear it enough for it to be a signature piece without my even knowing it. I love that.

The jeans I’m wearing I bought yesterday because I was feeling claustrophobic so I went to a mall (this solution indicates the level of crazy I am working at right now; there’s an oceanfront and a wild park here, and I went to a mall). I really wanted summer jeans (it is not hot enough here for that to be weird): cropped, tapered (not skinny), cuffed jeans. These are skinnies in a size 14 (I’m usually a 10). I think they look great in the leg, but there is a lot going on in the waist region which I can corral with a belt, but this solution might also be a level of crazy.

Cowboy shirt: no label, from a K-mart

Jeans: Gap (worn with the tags on in case I have to return them)
Shoes: Bensimon
Crazy alert: orange
I was trying to do a doe-see-doe but nearly fell off the stool, while the cats did nothing.

And since I’m feeling a little unhinged, I must come clean on the subject of Summer Black-Out Challenge 2010. It’s not at all a challenge for me, at least not while I’m in writing mode. In teaching mode, I wear almost exclusively black (remember the still incomplete NYCool week?) because I feel most comfortable in it, most professional and especially most safe from the arsenal of potential stains I face daily. A Black-Out Challenge during the teaching terms would be very tough for me, but it turns out that I actually wear a lot of colour outside of the classroom. I think I should revisit this challenge again when classes are in session.

Who’s with me?
(Please note: I am not of sound mind.)

The Importance of Morning Photos: Summer Black-out 3&4

Two days ago, this happened:

This is Fuzzy Roommate’s poor little foot, splinted and wrapped, because an accident at the (very negligent) groomer’s left him with a broken toe. Now he’s on bed rest and pain meds, and the A-Dubs-Hubs and I carry him out for a “placing” each night. (i.e. We place him on the grass so he can empty himself, then we carry him back inside. He can hop around on three legs during the day, even though it’s incredibly pathetic to see. But at night he gets a little wobbly and it’s too heartbreaking to watch him try to be his usual independent cat-like self.)

Anyway, today—not on purpose—he and I arrived at my office (where he has to accompany me so I can monitor his pain meds) matching.See?

Striped Jacket: Tribal (remixed)

Cotton striped T: Theory (Vegas outlet)

Necklaces: gifted

Belt: ?? (remixed)

Trouser jeans: Joe Fresh (remixed)

Navy sequin wedges: Roman Tenza (remixed)

I had a much more exciting ensemble planned around a thrifted sundress, but it’s only 14 degrees (57 fahrenheit) today, so I had to be reasonable—and I had to do so “live” as I’d not planned for “reasonable warmth.” Luckily, I tried taking some morning photos, so my first effort was scrapped.I simultaneously enjoy and regret the honest styling appraisal the camera enables: on the one hand, I’m grateful for the help in avoiding bad things.On the other, I miss my pre-blog-photo confidence that “things are probably fine.”

Frankly, I wish I’d tried the morning-photo plan yesterday before I left my apartment in this:


Printed cotton blouse: Kenzie

Necklace: gifted

Cardigan & Cami: Smart Set (remixed)

Khakis: Joe Fresh

Peach & brown leather wedges: Geox

As you’ll perhaps begin to discern from these images, it’s relatively easy for me to look like a very poorly styled soccer mom. This is especially true when I wear khakis. Yet somehow, I need to learn this lesson repeatedly. Every couple of years I start to miss the khakis that I made myself adios last time. So I pick up yet another pair of khakis and give things another go.At least these ones were cheap.

Here, I tried (and failed) to do that gorgeous shoe-highlighting rolled-up-pant-legs thing that much stylier bloggers like Jentine of My Edit do. I surely enjoy these shoes; but things really got too matchy-matchy, and I am appropriately ashamed. (But not ashamed enough to keep it off the internet. I’m making myself post so I have to learn these lessons.) I am VERY glad I didn’t bump into any students yesterday.

Don’t you think, however, that if these pants were slimmer and a darker shade of khaki or olive drab, if I were wearing some high-heeled gladiator sandals in some kind of nude or metallic, and if I’d left off the silver necklace, the rest could work? Or maybe I should also ditch the brown cardigan and go with a cropped close-fitting jean jacket?

For better or worse, nothing here is black, so my Summer Black-out 2010 participation is still on.

NSFW: Dancing Queen

I learned this pose from the Sears catalogue and Charlie’s Angels.

This is one of my favourite articles of clothing. I bought it in a second-hand shop in Montreal. During undergrad I was in a typically undergrad production of The Seagull—all angsty and actory and important—and I decided that I needed to lighten things up for the cast party by randomly dressing in something crazy awesome. So I went thrifting. This fit me perfectly, was in pristine condition—it looked unworn and is exquisitely handmade—and I truly believed that Chekov would approve. It cost all of $20, which at the time was an exorbitant amount of money for me to spend on anything. This is the only reason I can think of for why I didn’t buy the second handmade jumpsuit that matched this one, in equally great condition but in blues and purples. Regrets, I’ve had a few.

I have worn this to several parties; I wore it to see the ABBA cover band Abbamania with A-Dubs; and I wore it to one of the first meetings I attended in my new department, which happened to fall on Hallowe’en. In almost every instance, I was the only one in costume. Sometimes this was a surprise.

Crazy Awesome Jumpsuit: thrifted
Belt: gifted

Brown Boots: Elle
Soundtrack: everything ABBA

I was trying to get artsy with the macro setting for a close-up of this excellent belt, which looks great with a plain black shift. Probably you are impressed with my mad photography skillz.

BONUS QUESTION: This also counts for Already Pretty’s Summer Blackout Challenge, right?

Summer Black-out 2010 – Ensembles 1 & 2

For better or worse, I’m participating in Sal of Already Pretty’s Summer Black-out 2010 week (I’d put her Black-Out banner here, but everytime I do it, Blogger thinks it’s a mistake and I’m not enough of a techo-wizard to fix it). D-Med and I had a bit of chat about the excess black in our wardrobes and how, to borrow a phrase from our stylish friend, Kelly in Beantown, we rely on black to ground many of the brighter coloured pieces we own. Frankly, as much as I enjoy others’ colourful clothes, I’m more than a little intimidated by colour in my professional wardrobe. This may become evident this week, but I promise to TRY to cultivate at least a little more excitement than the following is bound to inspire.

Ensemble #1:Here’s what I wore to brunch yesterday with a local celebrity – she’s on city TV!Woman, I am hooked up.(Not really.She’s a friend of my sister-in-law’s who’s new to the city. So, it was sort of a blind friend date.)As noted below, white’s not my best colour. When I wear it, I try to add colour around my face so I don’t induce narcolepsy in either myself or others.

White eyelet dress: George (thrifted)

Jean jacket:DKNY (remixed)

Brown riding boots:Aldo (remixed)


Watch:Pulsar (Grandpa’s remixed)



(return of the Wonder Woman pose – what do you do with your arms in your close-ups? I’ll be paying attention!)

Side note:Academics, how much do you love/hate acclimatizing to a new city AND trying to make new friends?After grad school, a place that provides both immediate community and serious challenges that bonded at least some of us together, friend dating sucketh.After grad school, I think I may have forgotten how to be on my best behaviour in social situations.I can be good in professional settings—classrooms, meetings, libraries—but that’s not conducive to being fun with friends.

Thus as I meet new people and go for coffee, go for drinks, go to art shows, and try new restaurants, I have a good time, yes. And I get excited about potential new friendships. But I also try not to be an idiot, try not to say “mons” or “crotchal” (though apparently, I don’t hold myself to the same standards in all forums), and work to cultivate mutual interests when they may not be readily apparent. And I start to hate academia, just a little (more), for not letting me live near the friends I already know.

(Thus endeth the side note.)

In other news, today I wore this dress:

Brown linen dress:H&M

Brass & wood bangle*:Hudson’s Bay Co. (remixed)

Sparkly peach wedges:?? – my sweaty feet rubbed off the logo (remixed from Shoe Heaven)

*p.s. Isn’t this a creepy close-up of my hand? Somehow, the angle makes it look like a crawling crab. Blech.

This dress is relatively comfortable once it’s on, but it’s very cheap linen, so it takes the top layer of skin off my arms when I’m wrestling my way into it. And after the struggle, there’s rarely energy remaining for accessorizing.But Londyn at Blogfashion does some B.A. dress remixing. So maybe, if I get enough sleep the night before, some morning I’ll try to follow her lead.