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.

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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:

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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:

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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)

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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? 

Pencil Skirts, Northern Division

Having woken early to the dulcet tones of a dog puking, I’ve found a whole extra hour with which to blog. How’ve you been, StyleNation? Things here at IPF North have been verging on frantic at least in part because this is now my fourth year at my job and I’m no longer contractually protected from service work at the faculty and university levels. This means I’ve a whole new set of meetings to map onto existing research, teaching, and department-level meetings.

I’ve also discovered that prepping adequately for every meeting (i.e. thoroughly reading ALL attachments emailed prior) cuts into necessary sleep and having-at-least-a-little-life time. I am, therefore, developing a survival strategy. Unless I’m prepping for someone else’s tenure review, I’ll be skimming what appear to be the most important documents in the 10-15 minutes prior to the meeting/s in which they’re to be discussed. I just don’t see any other way to survive the landslide of text-based documents this fall.

In outfit-related news, I’ve been trying to try. This is me saying good-bye to bare legs. The crisp autumn season is now firmly upon this city; but we had one last push of sun and warm breeziness last week:

1. Needs bigger shoes

I’m trying to channel me some E-Jo. Her flats seem to balance her ensembles better than these tiny gold ones. I’ll keep trying!

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Black flowered tunic/blouse: ?? (I removed the scratchy tag, remixed); Black sleeveless T: H&M (remixed a LOT); Rose gold leather belt: Smart Set (new to blog); Cream satin-finish cotton pencil skirt: Jacob (remixed); Gold faux-snakeskin embellished flats: David Dixon (remixed)

 

2. Blacks and blues

This was my first attempt at styling this skirt. I’ve got bigger plans for it, but this is a reasonable warm-up.

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Sheer black silk button-up blouse: Equipment (via Winners, new to blog); Black sleeveless T: as above: Silver medallion necklace: The Bay; Navy and blue polka dot midi pencil skirt: Zara: Black suede flats: Browns

How’s fall treating you, StyleNation?

Also, for those of you with meeting-rich professional lives, how do you do it?

Things that Make me Fondly Recall the Past

Exciting news, StyleNation! One with whom IPF peeps corresponded regularly back in the early days of this blog has returned to the interwebz. Check her out here. She is awesome.

In other news, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – or May, in non-academic parlance – is really opening up. The sun is shining, colleagues are emerging from end-of-term isolation looking at least semi-relaxed and less glassy-eyed, and for those of us who’ve only just figured out what we need research assistant-wise, the race in ON to hire the best summer students. Thus far, I’ve won one ridiculously excellent person, and lost another equally excellent and much-in-demand one to a very worthy opponent. (Crap. Dang.)

Also, I wore some things. (But as you are about to discover, the real news for today is in the first two lines of this post.)

#1: Casual On-campus Meeting

To be clear, this linen dress was MUCH less wrinkly when I met my co-chair to begin planning an upcoming speakers series. My co-chair is MUCH more senior than me, however, so she showed up in faded capris, sneakers, and a t-shirt. Academia is funny that way.

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Linen Boden dress: new to blog; White cotton cami: mall anchor store; Dr. Marten distressed leather boots: remixed; Colourful beaded necklace: the airport in Belize last year

There are belt loops on this dress, but I think they’re too high and am planning to cut them off. Also, when it’s not all stretched out like this, the dress is slim enough that a belt is not necessary.

Here’s an entirely unhelpful close-up of the necklace accompanied by the strap of my Nella Bella bag (mine’s cream, but the bag itself is not shown here as I am very, very good at photography):

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And finally, to extend today’s Shōnagon-inspired list:

Things that Make Me Fondly Recall the Past

5. To shop for cherry blossom art for one’s bedroom. (Travel to Kyoto now seems so utterly impossible, or at least improbable, given how much there is to do, here. . .)

4.To contemplate the graduation of one’s favourite student.

3. To encounter one’s mother on social media and to know, therefore, that one can never safely bitch about her on FB or Twitter, again.

2. To celebrate one’s Fuzzy Roommate’s 11th birthday. 11 summers ago, he arrived and shortly thereafter became integral to my day-to-day survival.

1. To rediscover a wonderful style maven with whom IPF once shared many hilarious and educational exchanges. Yes, the writer of Beverly Like Hills once educated us like nobody’s business – see the Style Underdog comments. Thank the goddess she’s back!

What inspires nostalgia in you, StyleNation?

Let’s have a glass of vino and reminisce, shall we?  

End-of-term, or Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

Sweet End-of-term, how we’ve longed for you. How anxiously we’ve anticipated your exhausting-yet-somehow-still-invigorating conclusiveness.

That’s right fellow sufferers – where “sufferers” means “academics at certain universities and colleges in the northern parts of North America – relief is nigh! Here at IPF, Northern Division, a smidge of marking, two in-class exams, and the evaluation of two Honours theses stand between me and the time I so desperately need to research and write my paper for next week’s conference. Once again, End-of-term brings The Watch That Ends the Night before The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

In short, End-of-term constitutes the tippy-top of my Shōnagon-inspired list, Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster. (Stick around to help me finish that list, StyleNation!)

1. Also, this happened

Not as memorable as I’d hoped, but little is. It’s End-of-term.

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Swingy sweater: BCBG Maxazria (new to blog); Tie-front blouse: Mexx (remixed); Pointe knit skirt: Calvin Klein (via Winners, new to blog); Tights: Hue; Boots: Fly London (remixed)

And here, just because I have it, is another poorly lit photo of the ensemble I thought was all that and a bag of chips:

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Silver brooch-as-tie-pin: was my grandmother’s; Necklace: gifted from A-Dubs Hubs

I was trying to be cool(ish) to host yet another set of guest speakers who research awesome things. One of your blogs taught me this tie-pin-like thing. I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten which one – You Look Fab, maybe?; but thanks, whoever you are.

To conclude,

Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

5. Insultingly obvious plagiarism in student work

4. My upcoming ENTIRE YEAR off from teaching Intro (sweet goddess, I need it)

3. My pending summit with Janey Em and Kelly in one of Canada’s coolest villes bilingues (wooHOO!)

2. Anticipation of pending responses to two of the past year’s 4 grant applications

1. End-of-term! END-OF-TERM!!! Thanks the goddess, it’s End-of-term!!

 

What makes your heart beat faster, StyleNation? Share the love. 

Occasions That Induce Half-heartedness

It is a truth universally acknowledged that great stacks of papers appear at precisely the point when instructors are least able to muster the requisite energy to deal with them in an efficient and timely fashion. Sweet are the papers, then, that argue a clear, cogent, thesis that is (a) appropriate to the assignment, (b) well-researched, and (c) largely original. Harsh are those that are (a) craptacular and clearly produced by slackers, or (b) terribly written and/or offensive, despite students’ best efforts to the contrary.

The cumulative effects of the above, in concert with the various grant applications, administrative bullshit paperwork, conference proposal-and-paper-writing panic that make up the remainder of my working life during the winter term, tend to coalesce into generalized half-heartedness in relation to all work-related activities. This year, all is exacerbated by sleeplessness and winter’s stranglehold on this city, despite the change of season we are meant to be experiencing right effing now. (My weather-related feelings diverge in intensity from those work-related.)

Sadly for you and me, StyleNation, my efforts fashion-wise have also been half-hearted(ish). Each of the following began with (a) excitement about one specific piece, and (b) the best of intentions. Nonetheless, I fear the end result for each induces half-heartedness.

Outfit #1: Theory vs. Praxis – the sweater dress

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Mexx silk/cotton sparkly sweater dress: new to blog; “Silver” snowflake brooch: gifted; Smart Set T-shirt; Beaded bracelets: from Michaels (that’s right: the craft store. But I saw them marked up approximately 400% in a local boutique. Is that even legal???!); Hue Tights; Fly London boots (new to blog, maybe? I’m too half-hearted to check)

So here’s the thing about sweater dresses: they’re clingy, and they show where one’s tights squeeze at one’s waist, even when one is not wearing control tops. On the model in the picture at the store, and on my bare legs in the changeroom, these problems were not apparent. If I weren’t preoccupied with weather-rage and work-half-heartedness, I’d be pissed about this.

Outfit #2: It’s all about the Necklace

In my mind, this was a great way to highlight the necklace my sister-in-law gave me for xmas. In reality, I’m not sure this does it justice:

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Stella & Dot silver bib necklace: gifted (new to blog); DKNY polyester top: Winners (new to blog); Joe Fresh Shell (old); Black Lucky jeans (new to blog); Nine West black and silver belt: remixed (old); Rieker boots: remixed

Here’s close-up of the sweet neck decoration (thanks, again, DSW!):

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Probably this was a little too casual for a teaching day. But I was tired and the prospect of wearing jeans was the only thing that got me out of bed that day. Later, a student who should know better remarked on the see-through blouse as soon as I walked into class, implying it was a risqué choice. If looks could make people do things, she’d be romancing her own sphinctral region even now. My half-heartedness does not extend to taking crap from students in non-textual life.

OK StyleNation, it’s list time.

Grading student work and wearing these outfits are 1 and 2 on my Shōnagon-inspired “Occasions that Induce Half-heartedness.” Other occasions include

3. Being facebook friends with my mother

4. Watching “kracken attack” videos with my nephew (to clarify: this induces a half-hearted effort to find my tablet when he insists we watch a kracken attack that has “a really nice tune”)

5. Contemplating the growing food museum in my fridge (produced via whole-hearted shopping for healthy things, then half-heartedly eating cereal and a smoothie for every meal)

What’ve you got, StyleNation?

I’m taking (a) further occasions inducing half-heartedness, or (b) suggestions for jazzier versions of the above ensembles. 

Everything is Black and Gold

Yegads, StyleNation! Has it really been more than a month since we met? How’ve you been?

Things here are getting back into their usual October groove following the submission of a grant application that ate up most of August, all of September, and the first two weeks of October. It sort of feels as though said application left a gaping hole in my life that I’ve only just begun to fill, again. To make matters worse, there was some new-friend-related drama at pretty much the EXACT time that my grant-related anxiety had reached a fever pitch. In short, F&*K, that was awful. Also, I would NEVER have made it through if my research partner were not an intuitive and supportive friend as well as a ridiculously accomplished and prolific scholar.

In more directly blog-related news, I present the following combinations of black and gold for your consideration. The first I wore to a wedding of the A-Dubs-Hubs’s colleague, the second to teach last week.

#1. Wedding Guest Wear

For the late-afternoon wedding, I began with the following. The gold flats happened because (a) I wanted to make a shoe purchase count twice, and these can be worn for teaching, and (b) I have plantar fasciitis that makes high heel wearing too painful to contemplate:

Gold chandelier earrings: Le Chateau (remixed); Dress: BCBG Maxazria (remixed, purchased with janey_em during January 2011’s epic visit); Gold cuffs: Cousin’s shop and I forget (remixed); Invisible black silk clutch: was my maternal grandmother’s (loved her style, miss her a LOT); Gold faux-snakeskin embellished leather flats: David Dixon (via Town Shoes)

The wedding reception featured a series of increasingly ridiculous moments that lead me to self-medicate with wine in order to survive without imploding in rage. (This may have resulted in some drunken texting of E-Jo and janey_em from a bathroom stall. Probably I should not bring a phone to such events.) Over the course of the evening, a certain amount of outfit deconstruction occurred. This was the result:

This version of the ensemble facilitated the dancing which kept me from having to talk to the relative strangers whose every statement seemed either to offend and enrage or really, really bore me. (You know, because I’m incredibly evolved and self-important.)

#2. A-Dubs, if You Get Out of Bed, You Can Wear the Owl Belt

As the subtitle for this ensemble indicates, this was a reward I used to entice myself from under the covers the day after we submitted the grant application. Only the thought of a giant owl belt made of pleather and brass-like metal got me away from my beloved, under-used water pillow that morning.

Top: Vero Moda (new); Brass and pleather Owl belt: thrifted last summer (new to blog); Long patterned skirt: thrifted ages ago (remixed); Black leather “combat” boots: Ben Sherman (for men, new to blog, purchased on sale last spring); Photo-bomber: The Fuzzy Roommate’s Puppy (wearing her fall/winter blue paisley collar – isn’t she huge now?!)

Here’s a close-up of the owl:

Does anyone remember a Hallowe’en song called “Black and Gold”?: “Everything is black and gold, black and gold tonight! Yellow pumpkin, yellow moon, yellow candle light.” I’m pretty sure I sang something like this in Grade Two music class.

Also, what up, StyleNation?

Trying to Try

Cheers, StyleNation, and welcome to the new academic year! Yes, almost everybody in the Northern (academic) hemisphere is back to class now, except for the lucky few – our own E-Jo, for example – who are excused from teaching and will thus spend the term engrossed in their research.

To be clear, gentle readers, for all my griping about prep and marking, I enjoy my time in the classroom. Generally, my students are great, and I LOVE the stuff I teach. But the balance is off lately, and I dream of months of uninterrupted research coupled with some respite from student demands. With almost 200 students this term and very little in the way of assistance with marking, I must (and will) rally. But I’m eligible for leave next year (hurrah!) and am counting down the days!

Professorial rant (scroll down for outfit post)

In the mean time, I have serious concerns about young feminists/feminism. I have this fantasy that this is only happening in my city, but regular (and VERY annoying) exposure (at conferences) to feminist and/or queer cultural studies suggests otherwise. Here’s the problem as I see it: gender-queer practices are the new (so-called) feminism, and the new (so-called) feminism tends to be anti-historical, intensely preoccupied with (Euro-North American) selfhood/identities, alarmingly elitist, and often misogynist. In short, gender-queer politics, at least in the incarnations in which I witness them, are not feminist at all. Instead, there’s an apparent “need” to eliminate the category of “woman” because it is, apparently, reprehensible and ostensibly irrecuperable. In this context, too, gender-queer’s preoccupation with a representative gender-neutral “personhood” seems to over-value a form of (relatively young) slightly re-fashioned masculinity. Gender-queer politics names this refashioned masculinity “androgyny.”

If this is actually a thing now, then, in my not-so-humble opinion, we’ve got a serious – and very tiresome – problem. For my part, I grow INTENSELY WEARY of the refusal, on the part of gender-queer critics, theorists, and students, to interrogate the assumptions underlying their politics.

How does this politics manifest in the undergraduate women’s studies classroom, the nerdier among you might ask? Currently, I am informed on a semi-regular basis, by 17-to-22-year-old persons with carefully-styled “androgynous” hair and clothing, that gender binaries must be disregarded to the point where any research or activism that acknowledges constructed genders is irrelevant.

How many times do we have to learn that socially constructed ideas have real effects, and that “refusing” to engage with a particular ideology does not, in fact, negate its effects in culture? Why can they not hear when a vast and diverse body of feminist cultural critics and theorists points out that even their gender-queer counter-culture defines itself in relation to mainstream gender ideals (i.e. gender-queer NEEDS normative gender constructions in order to understand what it is not)?

Moreover, I am sick and tired of research examining gender-based cultural belief systems that result, for example, in “women’s” starvation and death, or in infant mortality being disregarded and dismissed because those who wrote up the research failed to problematize the constructed categories of “man” and “woman,” or failed to account for a “woman”‘s personal agency when she “chose” to feed her husband and children before herself.

Here endeth my ranting. For now.

Outfit #1: First day of class

No, it’s not exciting, but I wasn’t excited to start teaching, again:

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Cardigan: M.A.K. (gifted from D-Med, remixed); Silk & lycra shell: Le Chateau (new to blog); Black cami: H&M (remixed); Linen trousers: H&M (remixed and redyed); Invisible black flats: MTNY (via Winners, new to blog)

Outfit #2: Teaching Day (today)

It’s chillier today. My classroom this morning was especially cold, so I lectured in this jacket:

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Cotton velvet blazer: RW & Co. (gifted from the A-Dubs-Hubs ages ago); Printed polyester tunic: Smart Set (new this season); Black leather belt: Mexx (remixed); Pleated black maxi skirt: Reitmans (end-of-season sales this summer); Trouser socks: Joe Fresh; Pewter faux-snakeskin flats with hardware: David Wilcox for Town Shoes (love these, bought ’em in gold, too)

Then, it warmed up, so I took off the jacket for my second class in the afternoon:

What’s up with you, StyleNation?

Also, am I being crazy about this gender-queer stuff?

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?)

And I’m Back

It’s the final push toward the first day of school next Monday here at IPF South. I’m back after a lovely break in Montreal where my youngest sister picked out a wedding dress in 45 minutes and my other sister found our bridesmaid dresses for more than 50% off online. In other words, Best. Wedding. Shopping. EVER. But now back to school is at the front of my mind.
I actually wanted to touch on the Chronicle article A-Dubs linked to yesterday and that’s been making the blogosphere rounds (I second A-Dub’s suggestion that you check out La Historiadora de Moda’s take on it over at Fashionable Academics and the thoughtful responses to her post). It’s enraging for both what it leaves out and the assumptions it’s reliant on. I’m not going to repeat what others have said. However, it’s (and all of your responses) helped put into focus some of the things I’ve been thinking about recently about the beginning of term.
This fall I’m teaching my first graduate seminar. I’m really excited to get a chance to work through my research with graduate students (I’m basically teaching my dissertation to hopefully re-invigorate my labored revisions of the manuscript) and to be thinking through ideas that are important to me (the cosmopolitan novel as political intervention, the aesthetics of politics, etc.) with graduate students. However, I’m also feeling somewhat apprehensive about how to project authority in this new-to-me situation. I was lucky to get a tenure-track job right out of my Ph.D. so I’m not a ton older than an average graduate student. Irritatingly, older faculty often confuse me for a graduate student. I think, enraging as it was, the Chronicle piece reflects a lot of the circulating assumptions about style in (and out of) the academy — perhaps particularly for young-looking female professors.
All of this is my long-winded way of saying that I’m feeling a bit anxious about what to wear on my first day of school so you can anticipate some test outfits in the coming days. The outfit below is one I wore to meet with a graduate student who’s committee I’m on. This is a much more casual outfit than I would wear for the first day of school (I’d probably wear it a few weeks in, though) but it was hot and, frankly, I needed to do laundry and this was what was available.

Top: Old Navy
Cami: Hanes Old Man undershirt
Skirt: Gap
Necklace: The Bay (God, how I miss the Bay and their “It’s always a fire sale” mentality.)


I’d forgotten how much I love this skirt, though, as I’ve had it for years but hadn’t worn it in over a year. One reason I don’t wear it much is that it’s really full and it blows up at even the hint of a breeze. Any tips on how to prevent this?













Shoes: Nine West, courtesy of the Macy’s End of

Season Sale which is better than the Bay
Also, here’s the mini-FR, looking adorbs.

Got any suggestions about what would automatically convey authority in 100+/ 30+ weather? (Ie. there’s no way I’ll be wearing a blazer or anything long-sleeved)