Monday, August 16, 2010

the end

As I think you all can tell by the long radio silence, I am now gearing up for my job overseas and have been letting this blog slide. Honestly, between the end of my class, an orientation in Washington DC, and trying to get rid of or store everything I own in the next two weeks, documenting what I wear just hasn't been a priority. I think that indicates that I've gotten what I wanted to get out of this particular blogging experience. So here's a look back at why I started this blog and what I feel I've learned from it.

Reason #1: I wanted to push myself to be more creative with my clothing.
Result: I think this happened. I've played around with some trends and pushed myself to wear forgotten purchases. I also acquired a LOT of belts. I think more importantly, keeping a (somewhat) regular record of what I wore for a year has helped me to define my own style; I feel like I have a better sense of what I like and what I don't. I still have hesitations and wardrobe freak-outs, of course, but overall I think I feel better about how I look on a daily basis.

Reason #2: I was inspired by reading fashion blogs, particularly those belonging to other graduate students and young professionals. In these blogs I found a community of smart, funny, compassionate women with real bodies and real budgets who manage to dress well every day. I wanted to be part of that community in some small way.
Result: I have been so grateful for the kind comments and general support of other bloggers who have checked in here, and I have definitely enjoyed my time as part of this community (the challenges were especially fun!). But I've realized that my favorite bloggers simply put a lot more time and effort into their blogs: posting daily, keeping track of their pictures, hosting giveaways, linking, creating challenges, etc. I'm just not that dedicated.

Reason #3: I wanted to keep up a friendship with C, who was moving away, by using the blog to continue chatting about clothes and style the way we did regularly when she lived here.
Result: I think this worked at first. When C had to drop out of the blog, I missed the collaboration with her, and I think posting got a lot more erratic. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that even without checking in on each other's outfits regularly, we've still got a lot to talk about.

Overall conclusion? This was a good year-long experiment for me, but it's time to move on. I'll be going back to the sort of travel/life blogging I've done on previous trips. When I've got the new blog set up, I'll post the link here.

Thank you so much to everyone who read and commented on this blog. You've been wonderful!

Friday, July 30, 2010

teacherly, summer edition

I'm always a bit hesitant to wear this jersey t-shirt dress teaching because it's so casual, so it hasn't been getting much love lately. Then I remember this outfit and decided to try a summery version.

Add a short-sleeved white button-down and ta-da! Teacherly! For summer!

I felt cute.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Dress: Old Navy
Button-down: BR outlet
Belt: thrifted
Shoes: Payless

such great heights

I bought these shoes on a DSW trip with C, when I raved about how sexy and yet comfortable they were. I think since then I have worn them...once. For about two hours. Why? The truth is, I do not know how to walk in this high of heels. I thought that owning these shoes I adore would force me to practice. Nope. They languished on the floor of my closet day after day as I headed off to teach in my sensible flats or low-heeled boots.

My general philosophy of clothing ownership is that if I haven't worn something in more than a year I don't need it (exceptions sometimes granted for fancy dress clothes), which means that as a person who has been moving every September for the past few years I've been good about getting rid of unworn stuff. And as I know prepare to either pack or sell or give away everything I own, I have to decide: should they stay or go?

After wearing this outfit, I'm leaning towards stay.

I cannot even describe how tall and glamorous and posh I felt in this outfit. I felt like a model. Seriously. Look, I even did my best Tyra Banks broken-down-doll pose.

On the other hand, I had to trade these shoes for flipflops just to walk to and from my car, so these shoes are definitely not coming overseas where I will be taking public transportation everywhere. I just don't think I can give them up. They make me so happy!

Do any of you have clothes you feel this way about?

Tank top: TJMaxx
Skirt: TJMaxx
Belt: hand-me-down
Shoes: ciao bella via DSW
Bracelet: gift from my sis

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DIY capris, the white version

I've had these white pants forever - I got them in St. Petersberg and they always made me feel impossibly European and glamorous. Sadly, the hems were tattered and gray. So last week, out came the scissors, needle, and thread, and ta-dah! White capris!

I think they might need to be a hair shorter. What do you all think?

Shirt: Forever XXI
Pants: boutique in St. Pete, shortened by me
Sandals: Nine West outlet
Earrings: gifted

Thursday, July 22, 2010

blue on blue?

I put this outfit on yesterday morning, and stood in front of the mirror waiting to hate it. I mean, bright blue with navy? What, did I get dressed in the dark?

But the longer I stood there, the more I waist looks small. I feel pretty. I am really comfortable. And I bet Chelsea from bright side dweller would wear this. So I kept it on.

Now I need you to tell me, honestly, does the blue on blue work for you? Would you wear a bright color with its neutral equivalent?

Shirt: Banana Republic, thrifted
Skirt: Banana Republic, ages ago
Belt: thrifted
Shoes: Rocket Dogs
Necklace: hand-me-down from sis
Earrings: hand-me-down from mom

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

white collar?

Yesterday in class, I was trying to explain the term "pink collar" to my students. I told them (correctly, as it turns out) that pink collar jobs were jobs in industries dominated by women, such as retail, secretarial work, and nursing. I said that this also included elementary school teachers. One of my students then asked, "So, are you pink collar?" That made me pause. True, ESL teaching is largely done by women (in fact, all four teachers currently working in my program are women). But damnit, I have an advanced degree. Then again, I suppose a lot of elementary school teachers do as well...

Anyway, I am asserting my white-collar-ness in this outfit.
Sans belt, even!

Button-down: TJMaxx
Purple tank top: Costco
Skirt: street vendor in Bangkok
Sandals: Nine West outlet
Earrings: ingerited from my grandmother

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

conservative...with a twist

Yesterday was the first day of a new class session. I have got a great group of students, very lively and fun, and the freedom to play around with the curriculum. One of the students asked why there were so many ping pong tables on campus, and I ended up explaining beer pong to them, complete with diagrams - on the first day! Don't say I never taught you anything, kids.

I usually go conservative on the first day (in my clothes, anyway...)

I think I shall dub this "the mullet belt". Business up front...

Party in the back.

Aw, yeah.

Also, check out these gorgeous earrings my lovely friend S. gave me as a birthday gift!


Shirt: hand-me-down
Skirt: Merona, thrifted
Belt: Target
Shoes: Bandolino via TJMaxx
Earrings: gift


Last Thursday I was feeling a bit fifties. Capris and flats always remind me of Audrey Hepburn movies.

I wanted the silhouette of a skinny belt, but I'm still not brave enough to mix brown and black, so I ended up with my black belt lower on my hips. Time to go hunting for a skinny black belt!

Capris: GAP, shortened by me
Top: TJMaxx
Belt: TJMaxx
Flats: Payless

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

fun with proportions

Hey look, I am not wearing a belt. Aren't you proud?

I've had this skirt forever - early college or possibly even high school. It's held up well for being a junior's section purchase. I love the shiny pattern. I usually wear it dancing, but it makes a nice change from the three skirts I've rotating through in the heat.

Shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: ancient - maybe Sears?
Shoes: Bandolino via TJMaxx
Bracelet: street vendor in Hong Kong
Earrings: hand-me-downs from sis

maximal summeriness

I loved this outfit - I felt so crisp and cool and polished, even in the nasty humidity. Yay for rediscovering silver accessories!

Eyelet + blue and white stripes + silver = very summery.

These sandals are pretty but they keep giving me blisters, even after several wears. Sad.

Only a few more days with this group of students, then back to my usual ESL group. I enjoyed these students but I dislike teaching test prep, so I'm looking forward to the switch.

Blouse: TJMaxx
Skirt: TJMaxx
Belt: thrifted
Sandals: Chinese Laundry via TJMaxx (yes I see the theme here)
Bracelet: street vendor in Hong Kong

Sunday, July 11, 2010


For those of you who read this blog who are not Tina, please enjoy this hilarious post. I laughed. A lot. Never stop dancing, Tina!

dragged down by a heat wave

Apologies for the lack of posting - it's been unbelievably hot and humid here, and while I would like to be one of those posh ladies who thrive on hot weather with cute sundresses and nary a frizz, the truth is that by the time I get home every day I am hot and sticky and my hair is a tumbleweed and I am not inclined to photograph myself in that condition. There have also been many vacation days of shorts and tank tops which are not worth blogging. So! I am hoping that the weather will cool down soon. Really really hoping.

As a sample, here's last Friday's teaching outfit:
Yup. Sticky and sweaty and about to kill the camera. I only took three shots before I went and took a cold shower.

Come on, pressure fronts! Do your thing!

Shirt: kersh essentials via Costco
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: street vendor in Bangkok
Sandals: Nine West outlet
Earrings: my grandmother's

Thursday, July 1, 2010

clever, clever students

My students were clever enough today to start asking me questions about Alaska in the middle of the lesson - they got me off track for almost 20 minutes! Teachers do love to talk about themselves. Well played, you guys.

I was glad to find this button-down in the back of my closet. It was perfect for a blessedly cool, windy day of teaching.

Shirt: The Limited via TJMaxx Tank: ancient
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: Banana Republic
Flats: Payless

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

field trip!

Today we took all the ESL students to a museum called the Strawbery Banke, a place where several houses have been preserved from different periods in New Hampshire's history, and furnished in historical style. It was pretty entertaining to watch my students try to tactiralk to the people wandering around in period dress, in character as people from history, and even more entertaining to watch the actors try to stay in character when dealing with my students! It was great to get out of the classroom and wander around in the sunshine chatting with my students - I feel like I got to know them as people.

When I'm going to see students but am not actually going to be teaching, I always want to dress down a little, to signal that this is a time when I'm not "on" and we can interact as equals.

Wearing shorts is always a bit iffy for me, as they often make me feel self-conscious. But taking inspiration from academichic and What Would A Nerd Wear, I added an embellished white top and a belt.

I felt polished but still casual - and I was super comfortable walking around in the heat. So...yaya shorts!

Top: Calvin Klein Jeans via Costco
Tank top: ancient
Shorts: GAP outlet
Belt: L.L. Bean outlet
Sandals: Nine West
Earrings: inherited from my grandmother

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ode to a skirt

I enjoy wearing this skirt. I love the bright colors, I love the slight floatiness of it, and I love that people often ask me if I a) embroidered it myself (ha!) or b) bought it in Russia (Forever 21, ages ago). It's light and comfortable and the waistband never pinches. I've had it for several years - it's been to Russia twice and all over Southeast Asia - and is still in pretty good shape.

So here's to you, floral skirt! Thanks for all the good times.

Shirt: Banana Republic, thrifted
Skirt: Forever 21
Shoes: Bandolino via TJMaxx
Earrings: hand-me-down

Monday, June 28, 2010

self-imposed challenge

This week I'm going to try to pull myself out of this rut by wearing old pieces of clothing that haven't yet been seen on the blog. I think this jersey top fits the bill.

It's one of my favorites - I love the neckline and the curvey silhouette.

Even better, it's sleeveless AND teaching-appropriate! This humidity is making me nuts. I am sweating all over the place. It is gross. 'Nuff said.

Had help with my pictures again today. Thanks, little dude.

Top: Sears, ancient
Tank top: Costco
Pants: GAP, hemmed by me
Shoes: Bandolino via TJMaxx
Necklace: hand-me-down

Sunday, June 27, 2010

perfect Saturday

Yesterday was the most perfect Saturday morning: a long run before it got too hot, banana pancakes cooked by the boyfriend, and a trip to the farmer's market resulting in an all-local-produce lunch. Yay!

And look, I'm wearing something different than I always do!

I inherited this awesome top from my sister. It is super soft and a pretty teal, and the loose, flowy cut is perfect on hot days. Plus it has sexy cut-out shoulders. Thanks Kiddo!

Top: hand-me-down
Shorts: Calvin Klein via TJMaxx
Flipflops: GAP, ancient


On Friday, I was trying to work my new white button-down into an outfit, and pulled this together:

I love the detailing at the top of this blouse but the cut is really boxy, so I tried belting with a scarf. Eh. Not amazing. At least I like the scarf and shoes together.

And THEN I realized it's basically just this outfit over again. Same skirt, same shoes, same scarf, white short-sleeved blouse. Lame.

I feel like I'm in a rut. I think it's partially the heat, which restricts layering, and partially that most of my clothes, including all of my skirts, are neutral colors. All of my color is in my tops, scarves, and shoes. Bah. I don't want to spend any more money on clothes - I want to get creative with the stuff I own. Ok, that's the project for next week.
Blouse: Banana Republic outlet
Scarf: TJMaxx, ancient
Skirt: Banana Republic
Shoes: JCPenny's

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And I'm back

Whew! After a slight mix-up with the plane tickets, J. and I ended up in Wisconsin until late Monday night...which made preparing for my Tuesday morning class a huge scramble! I was relying on tried-and-true repeat outfits while I was trying to catch up from being gone.

Here's what I wore to the wedding:

Dress: Banana Republic outlet
Shoes: TJMaxx
Corsage: gift from the bride
Earrings: JCPenny's

Afterwards I swapped my heels for flats so J. and I could walk around downtown Madison - a fun place to spend a weekend, I must say.

It was beyond hot and humid (the Midwest in June, natch) so I was living in shorts and tank-tops. Humidity zaps the creativity right out of me.

Tank top: TJMaxx
Shorts: Columbia, ancient
Sandals: Nine West outlet

Hope everyone else had a good weekend/week!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


This post from Tina totally inspired me to pull out my own green jersey dress.

This is a terrible picture because my usual picture-taking spot was filled with neighbors and I was way too self-conscious to take more than one. Oh well. The outfit was cuter in person, I promise!

Off to a wedding in the Midwest this weekend. The boyfriend and I will be attempting to fit all our clothes for three days into one little rolling suitcase, plus a garment bag for his suit. I am a terrible packer, but I am looking forward to the challenge. Bring it, little roll-y suitcase!

Dress: TJMaxx
Tank top: 2 pack from Costco
Cardigan: kersh essentials
Flats: Rocket Dogs
Scarf: ancient, TJMaxx

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mmm, cinnamon

I made granola tonight and my house smells AWESOME. I think baking granola is one of the homey-est smells.

A light breezy outfit for a sunny day. I love my eyelet skirt in the summertime.

Shirt: H & M
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: TJMaxx
Sandals: Nine West outlet
Earrings: ancient

Monday, June 14, 2010

the Monday after

I spent the weekend in Pennsylvania with my family, taking part in a memorial service for my grandmother. It was a good experience, an opportunity to spend time reminiscing with people who loved my grandmother, and sharing a lot of wonderful memories. There was some travel drama (delayed flights, messed up car rentals) and I also squeezed in a 5K race. I'm glad I went, but man, it was exhausting. I need a weekend after my weekend.

For me, denim skirt + bright cotton top + neutral sweater + neutral shoes is a go-to when I'm rushed or sleepy. It's nothing especially creative but at least I felt pretty and presentable enough for teaching and meetings.

I think the kitty approves.

Top: TJMaxx
Cardigan: kersh essentials
Skirt: Levi's via Sears
Shoes: Payless
Bracelet: gifted
Earrings: hand-me-down

Friday, June 11, 2010

stripey mcgee

A haiku for my Friday outfit:

Navy and stripes need
a pop of mustard or I
look like a sailor.

Button-down: via TJMaxx
Cardigan: kersch essentials via Costco
Skirt: Banana Republic, ancient
Shoes: Target