Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hypothetical lunch, economic crises, and consumption thoughts

This is what I think about budget cuts

This the outfit I picked out to meet with some colleagues for a little lunch in Manhattan today. I took this photo around 10:30 or so. I walked to the train around 10:45, and around 11:45, after being stuck underground for about 45 minutes, I walked two stops back home, because the A/C train was suffering a breakdown. My colleagues said it was cool to reschedule, as they are very nice, but I am going to somehow blame this on the unfortunate budget cuts that the state/city have instituted. You know that a politician is doing a bad job if the NY Times* makes fun of them with this zinger: "[Working stiffs are] easy targets, especially for a governor who, like the mayor of New York City, rules out taxing rich people any further lest they pack their Louis Vuitton bags and scoot."

I wrote something very long about economic crises, the fallacy of austerity as an end, and the harmful effects of over reliance on a skittish private sector to promote recovery, but deleted it so as to not alienate everyone. I'll end this post by saying that it is a huge shame that politicians are ignoring the needs of productive New Yorkers by promoting regressive taxes (a soda tax? Getting rid of the tax exemptions on items below $110? Cutting school budgets and 1 library day a week? Allowing tuition increases at public universities? To quote G.O.B. Bluth, "Come ON!"). Yo, tax-averse peeps in NY: keeping this city somewhat accessible and safe is GOOD for your property values, your safety, and your ability to sleep at night!

Finally, this relates to the blog because I want to draw on the political conditions as an impetus for my own actions. I will make a more conscious effort to buy less of everything, especially clothes. I am not the best remixer, but I continue to inspired by the personal fashion/style blogosphere everyday. Summer time is hard for remixing, with the heat, but now that it's below 90 in NY, I'm layering away.
Hope you all had a less ranty and frustrating Wednesday then I. Disagreements, thoughts, ideas are surely welcome.

Tunic: Alwin, Minneapolis (via Cliche)
Skirt: OU
Boots: Durango, via Beacon's Closet
Belt: thrifted

*I have a love/hate thing with the NYTimes. They do some good reporting, good local investigating, but they also cater heavily to the champagne Upper Manhattan crowd, which makes sense economically, but likely influences their views. Also, what's up with their obsession with describing their interview subjects' looks?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Still Ill

This weekend's festivities, which were very fun, have taken an unfortunate toll. Beach, BBQ, and bachelorette party= sick Rad. And summer colds suck because I feel cold and hot at once. Plus, the crazy landlord is demanding access to our apartment soon so I had to put on clothes, and because of our special, um, situation, I had to keep myself pretty covered too.
In addition to other activities, Anne and I also also popped by a mall because her fella needed some gifts. We may have gone to the Gap, where there may have been a mondo sale. I am trying not to buy new things, but this western pearl snap button shirt, originally $50+, was now $11, so I fell to the retail temptation. I have some buying new guilt but I will make up for it by swaggering about like an urban cowgirl during the summer, and hopefully layering this with sweaters and cardigans during the fall for teaching.
Sickness, future bridesmaid duties and travels have resulted in a huge backlog on my reader and I apologize for not commenting on your lovely posts. I hope you had a great weekend and stay cool this week.

Shirt: Gap (on major sale)
Skirt: Vintage Blue, via Brown Elephant (Chicago), cut into skirt DIY (original here)
Belt: Not Just Vintage
Shoes: Steve Madden, thrifted

Friday, June 25, 2010

To the middle

I'm totally cheating, you guys. I took this photo in the early A.M., because I have to take a car at 6AM to catch my 8AM flight to Chicago this morning. But since style bloggers have taught me the importance of doing a test run with outfits the night before, I snapped a quick picture to show my outfit today. This outfit has to be multipurpose, because I have to comfy on a plane, then chillax on a North Shore beach (OK, it's not the sea, but when in the midwest, I appreciate the Great Lakes), and hang out with folks at Anne's place for grilling and pre-bachelorette socializing. This dress fits the bill not only because it's jersey, stretchy, and comfy, but also because the bride-to-be gave it to me back in college. Clothes swapping rules.
I'm trying to spice up my army style bag (I seem to love all things military related, including my military students, except wars) with a color coordinated scarf, part of my Ebay stash, but we'll see if I untie it in a moment of frustrated annoyance.
Oh, and by the way, thanks dear Blogging community for your kind comments in response to my landlord anecdote. It's no longer a reason for concern, as her constant phone calls and harassment died down when Blokey moved in (and I was forced to share my closets). I find it hilarious now, although back in November and December, I was a bit more spooked out.
I hope you all have a great weekend. I was inspired to try to work all day because of D-Med's inspiring post on work from home wear. I will not be working from home or otherwise between now and Monday, as I also have plans to spend time with the in-laws, my brother, and my cousin and her new baby.

Cardigan: JCrew, thrifted
Dress: NY&Co, swap
Belt: JCrew, swap
Bag: Brooklyn Industries
Scarf: via Ebay
Shoes: BC Footwear, via Nordstrom Rack

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow Brooklyn style bloggers, Jesse.anne.o and (vegan indie)WhatIWore. They were both really lovely and we got vegan ice cream and checked out the consignment shops in the Lower East Side. It was fun to meet with folks who know a lot about you through the interwebs.

I picked up these red suspenders, something I've had my eye on via Ebay and Etsy, at the Buffalo Exchange. They have some minor signs of wear, but I am super stoked. I plan to wear them with a grey pencil skirt, black pumps, and a blouse in the fall to teach. Maybe not on the first day though. (I may chicken out. Stay tuned for updates). Today, they make up part of my second attempt to be colorful, and I think the orange, red, and yellow make work, in perhaps an overly literal way. We are off to take our kitten out for ice cream. It's a long story.

To make a long story short, my 75 year old landlord is a bit nuts and thinks she's in love with me. And therefore I avoid talking to her at all costs, and including neglecting to inform her of our kitten. Today, there are inspectors coming so we are hightailing out to a yogurt place by the park, kitten in tow. The awkwardness of the situation was made apparent to me last December, one month after moving, when she called me at home and insisted I come to her apartment, where she built me a fire, told me about our past life together, and sang me a bad song:

This really happened. I am not creative enough to make this stuff up.

Top: thrifted, shortened and taken in
Suspenders: thrifted (Buffalo Exchange)
Jeans: Levis, via Macy's (mom), skinnied by me
Shoes: BC Footwear, via Nordstrom Rack

In drawing:
Skirt: H&M
Sweater: Esprit
Boots: Palladium

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Color me timid

Yesterday, the lovely A-Dubs of In Professorial Fashion asked for suggestions on how to wear her adorbs coral and brown sandals. There were awesome comments, but I had nothing to offer, because that much color frightens me. I had to refer to the brilliant color wheel at Academichic, but this puzzles me too. Neutrals with a pop is about all I can manage.
I tried to be more daring today, starting out with a blue-green shirt, but I got hot just trying to get dressed, so I opted for a lighter linen button down instead. I have a meeting today with a cool dude* in the department, and I'm going to try to convince him to let me present my research at his center, while trying to avoid spilling Greek salads down my front.
So the boldest I could get today was the dark purple belt with the green skirt, which I've worn before (mostly because Anne told me to buy them together, as the skirt gaps at the waist), and a scarf with green and blue accents. It's made of artificial fibers so it may come off soon. But it's held down with a mushroom scarf pin, which I think is very necessary sometimes in life.

And although it is already a sweltering 82 degrees outside, I am wearing microfishnet. Because I hate shaving my legs. Is that too much information, blogging buddies?

(In case you were wondering, that is Lula by my feet. She is depressed when it is this hot out, and the little aggressive kitten is not helping. And she doesn't let us brush her, so one of us has to hold her down and while the other brushes her. She is def a "two person" cat.)

*This colleague, of Mediterrean origin, manages to look dignified in shorts and Italian loafers. Over the age of 50. How does he do it?

Shirt: H&M
Belt: Presence, Chicago
Skirt: Tulle, via Presence, Chicago
Microfishnets: via Daffy's
Scarf: Ebay
Sunglasses: DKNY via Mom
Wedges: Aerosoles, thrifted

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Lordy, it's hot here in Brooklyn, and I was hoping that after leaving 90 plus and humid weather in northern Georgia, I'd get some relief. We don't have an A/C (although mother in law sent as one because they are visiting), so we have a series of dark curtains, ceiling fans, siestas, and hydration strategies to keep us alive. And some fruit Popsicles, but they are only occasional.
I love this tunic and perhaps it should be worn with leggings, but I'm too hot and sticky today to care about modesty. Tomorrow, I have a professorial meeting so I'll be more officey in my dress. But today, I'm all about billow fabrics, and no unnecessary layers.
In case you were curious, operation cat plus kitten has not been getting much better. Having both Lula and Buster out requires constant supervision, because while he is curious and accepting (and wants to play), she is cranky, angry, unforgiving, and constantly trying to charge/pounce him. Yet he remains pretty fearless, so I have to watch them as I'm typing.
We just brought him back last night from our friends' apartment uptown, where he got along swimmingly with the other cats there. I hope to someday share a photo in which Lula allows Buster to cuddle, like this one:

Hope everyone is staying cool today.

Tunic: Mojoware* (via Cliche in Minneapolis)
Tank: from Blokey
Shoes: Aerosoles (secondhand, via Ebay)
Scarf: via Ebay

*You can find their stuff at here. It doesn't look like they are using Alternative Apparel tunics anymore. I already begged and asked.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dad's Day

I've been having a nice and relaxing (translation: lazy and nap-filled) time here in the north 'burbs of Atlanta. Blokey and I almost died* while driving up the mountains to the wedding last night. I haven't been creative with my dress, but I have been looking at old photos, a favorite "stuck in the suburbs where you have few friends," activity. In honor of Father's Day, I'm celebrating my dad's unique style.
My dad is the original Rad. He is the funniest person I know, and even though we fought a lot in high school, he is one of many reasons that my sister and I know to date really awesome, nice dudes. I think I am very similar to him in looks, personality, and our unfortunate propensities to pursue a PhD. My father was a tall and slender drink of water back in the mid 1970s, and remains relatively slender despite pushing his 60s. He has his own sense of style, which consists of wearing XL or XXL button up shirts (despite his non-XL frame), black cotton athletic crew socks, black slacks and belt, and black safety shoes/Florsheims. The weekend version of this consists of XL/XXL colorful polo shirts/Hawaiian shirts, casual slacks, and brown leather clogs. We love him anyway, but it's nice to be reminded that he didn't always dress this way:

Rad's Dad: in his single years, rocking the cuffed slender pants and peppy look (back when he was outdoorsy)

Slim and stylish, left most (and tallest) dude on the bridge

The man is wearing a slim fitting pink (!!) shirt, on a suspension bridge with my ma, 1976. (What's going on with her pants?)

Rocking a chocolate colored slim fitting suit, on some rocky beach in South Korea. Note the funny duck face.

*Maybe not exactly, but I did freak out at dirt and gravel roads up mountains that were only wide enough for one car. That's not a road, people, that's a pre-modern driveway.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A non-midnight plane to Georgia

Why am I standing like my childhood hero Paul Bunyan? I read Gertie's post this morning about improving one's posture, which hit home for me. I'm a slouchy lady in most of my activities. I also read one of the links to her blog, Michael Hanko's Science of Singing, which bemoaned the way so many young women stand in a way to minimize themselves (crossing ankles, pigeon toed) or in very high heels. Guilty of all of that. I am not likely to give up heels completely, but I do want to be more cognizant about my posture.
Blokey and I are headed south of the Mason-Dixon line to visit my parents and my awesome sister.* We managed to pack enough for the next 5 days in a small duffel and a carry-on (the duffel mostly holds shoes. Men's shoes are really big). As usual, when I travel, I like to wear head to toe jersey. I have a pair of tights and socks in my purse for security and when it gets cold on the train.
We were very sorry to say good bye to Buster, whom we took uptown last night to his kitten-sitter's apartment. He really held his own against the less hostile adult cats in the apartment. Everyone was very impressed.

Have a great Wednesday, blogging community.
T shirt: H&M
Skirt: self made
Jacket: Gap, via Mom
Scarf: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Eastland via Alamo Shoes, Chicago
Luggage: Marshall's

*I am not from Georgia. My parents moved there in 2006, about 65 minutes from Atlanta, and 45 minutes from Deliverance country.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Today's post is an experimental outfit, that I will wear around the house and neighborhood, but I don't know how much further. I wouldn't even wear this on the train. You see, I got these shoes (off the sage advice of the lovely blogging community) to match the crazy dress for the wedding this weekend.

These shoes are obviously cooler than me. They were also a wee bit too tall for my comfort, but luckily, Sam the shoe man a block from our apartment shaved off about 3/8" from the heel for a mere $12 (Thanks for saving my ankles man).
The problem is that I don't want them to be one trick ponies. Even though they were discounted and I had a coupon, I'd like to be able to wear them (relatively) regularly. But the only outfit I can think of with these shoes is skinny jeans, dark top, and blazer. Maybe darker denim jacket. I tried them with all my summery dresses and skirts, and they look a little too hard. Basically, they are a sandal bootie version of a motorcycle jacket, but unlike the motorcycle jacket, which can balance out frilly cutesy, they are more like a little harder edged afterthought. So I need help. And also, I want to challenge myself to wear these shoes at least 5 more times this month, not including the wedding.
Angie at Youlookfab had this post yesterday about which outfits would you wear if you were younger. There were really interesting comments, and I thought about this a lot. There's no reason for me not to wear "younger" clothes in the summer. My body hasn't changed since I was 21 (appearance wise. Some of that stuff is softer. I prefer to think of it age creating a "cuddle" premium) and most days, I don't have to represent myself as a competent professor.
But at the same time, since I've gotten older, I am drawn to lower hemlines and more modest looks.
When I was in high school in the 1990s, I was the queen of midriff baring. Well, maybe I did it less than others but this was the one sort of more daring form of dress that I would do confidently. It's one of the positive trade offs for having a longer torso, although I didn't realize that at the time (I just thought my abs rocked). These studded black sandals are transporting me back, temporarily, to that faraway moment when I showed off my belly so much that my mother yelled at me for jeopardizing my future fertility.*
Are there any looks that you feel "too old" for but kinda maybe want to wear?

Lula says hello, and that she would like very much if that pesky kitten went away forever. Sorry, Lulz, but he's gonna be your play mate for the rest of your life.

*Evidently, Koreans believed that ladies should cover their midsections and keep it warm all the time. My great aunt yelled at me about this in Korea too.

Shirt: old GAP long sleeved T, chopped up by me
Skirt: Uniqlo, thrifted
Necklace, from a fruit basket chain
Sandals: Tahari, via DSW

Monday, June 14, 2010

What can brown do for you

I thrifted a brown woven "dress" from Salvation Army about a month ago that had potential. It was a size Small, but strangely too big in the shoulders and quite boxy. There was an interesting side button placket, long sleeves, unfortunate arm pit stains, and the buttons stopped around the crotch area and there was no seam below. But since actual woven cotton materials* are rare while thrifting, I figured I could fanagle it somehow.
Since then, I realized that I probably picked up a caftan or the top of a men's shalwar kameez. We live near a mosque and an African immigrant community, so they might have been some fellow's outfit before. At first, I was all worried that I was engaging in cultural appropriation, but I let it go, since I am recycling materials, not trying to use another's culture to up my own cache, and I'm quite respectful to my neighbors. I took the top in on the side seams, took off the sleeves, and changed the neckline to something more summery. Hemming the curves of the arm holes was the hardest (I hope no one looks at it carefully.
This dress is way longer than most of my summery dresses, which makes it perfect for sweaty subway riding.
I wish I'd taken a before picture. I looked more like this when I started:

Dress: DIY refashion, thrifted
Shoes: Naturalizer
Scarf: via ebay
Belt: Not Just Vintage

*By this I mean a slightly thicker, non knit (like T shirt/sweatpant) material that is closer to the stuff button up shirts are made of. They're more "stable" and wrinkle easily. Like a step below canvas but slightly thicker than shirting materials. I like woven materials because they last longer, don't wear as quickly, and are easy to sew.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New hair and new issues?

Rad is out of control, says experts at the NY Post.

My radically new (compared to what it once was, not what I've had in the past) haircut occured the same day that Jezebel posted a short article from the NY Daily News that celebrities (and women in general, by extension) get new hair color because they are desperate to exert control over their lives. This is meant to explain why Rhianna, whom I remember has always had great hair, recently dyed her hair red. The article claims that this is an attempt to control one aspect of her life in the context of her recent trauma. While the article is concerned with hair color change, I think that the message is pretty frustrating in general. There are few annoying quotes by a psychologist and a social worker, saying that women change their hair, which is easy to do, because of break ups, losing a job, milestone birthdays, and general lack of control in their lives.

I agree that women do change their hair when things like this happen, but I hate the idea that the that changing hair or hair color is somehow an irrational act. The Jezebel editors ask: why can't Rhianna just change her hair color because she's having fun? I also question this logic. Why can't a girl just like to change her hair? Or why can't hair cuts at milestones or significant events be a celebration of one's independence, achievements, and choices? I cut my hair short every so often because my hair grows really quickly, and I hate hair on my neck in the summer, and because it highlights different parts of my face. I don't think my style choices can be generalized or explained by some psychologist or social workers saying, "Oh, Rad turned 30. No wonder she chopped off her hair."

This is what gaping mouthed desperation looks like, August 2009.

What's your take on this idea? The Jezebel commenters have interesting thoughts on this (including one women's expression of envy towards women who are brave enough to do bold things with their hair).

(Also, the shoe finding was successful, although not finding the versatile shoe part. More on this later).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Missing Black

I can't believe just 4 days of dedicated non black wearing (other than an almost black but officially grey hoodie I wore to do some chores last night) that I suffering from black withdrawal! When I was putting this outfit together this morning, I kept thinking, "I'd like to wear my black boots" (which is allowed, but I wanted to hold myself to a high standard) and "wouldn't a black jacket make this perfect?" or "My black and white linen scarf!" I guess I am a black addict, although I do like this outfit as it is.
Because of our weird schedule today, I'm taking an early break from the editing to blog. Thanks for all your thoughtful comments about the Writing Process. I actually hate editing way more than writing, because writing is very easy for me. Writing clearly, succinctly, and to the point is not. Oh well. I'd like to finish my major edits today and have Blokey (aka the editor and man of my dreams) do a good hacking on it over the weekend.
Please excuse the messy hair. We have his and her haircuts Uptown today. Also, shopping for something wedding suitable for him. Maybe shoes for me. I'm trying to figure out my shoe situation for a wedding we will be attending in Georgia next weekend. I have a (new for me) dress, but I have no confidence about the shoes.

This is a Gharani Strok dress that I bought from the Laws of the General Economy (a resale webpage), and it looked all crazy awesome on the model. And it probably cost over £100 retail, and I snagged it for $35, including shipping from the Netherlands. Thanks to La Fille d'Or for the heads up on this webpage.
Luckily, it fits like a glove. While I can't do a dark rimmed eye and dramatic pulling on the necklace pout, I think it looks pretty good on me, too. I couldn't capture the draping with my humble camera. My question to my awesome commenters: do these cheap silver sandals work with this crazy black dress or should I get some black sandals (I have none)? Is it too mismatched? Would dramatic cagey type sandals work? With studs? Or should the drama of shoulder cut outs be tempered with something less dramatic?
Also, I described this dress to a coworker, who said that I could wear this with a blazer in the fall and teach in this. Thoughts?

Tshirt: Scrapbook, via Macy's (and mom)
Jeans: Express
Wedges: Aerosoles, thrifted

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ladies' Night

Eek, this is a short dress. I planned to wear this with black tights, but since it's day four of Already Pretty's Black out week, I paired it with grey microfishnets instead (if you look closely, you can see the tiny diamond pattern). I am wearing a slip up by bra line as well to smooth everything out. Perhaps I will end up popping another skirt under this dress, as I didn't realize quite on short it is until I uploaded the pictures.
Today was a very productive day. I spend a lot of my non-teaching days (and therefore all "work days" in the summer) fretting and worrying about my productivity. But I started reading one of the books on academic writing for early career professors yesterday, and that calmed me down. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to be very productive 12 hours a day, and that pressure doesn't help me work. The book suggested that I set aside 2 hours to work, and see how that goes. I like these sorts of books because they give you behavior strategies for dealing with neuroses, and accept that most of us are just neurotic about writing. Like cognitive behavioral therapy for fretting pre-tenure profs. This "just two hours" strategy led to working about [interrupted]* 6 hours, then I went jogging, finally showered and dressed. I've tried to dress up for the home office before, but since I am person who responds to threats of punishment rather than rewards, forcing myself to remain an unpresentable bum until putting in my type at the desk worked pretty well. Also, having a social commitment in the evening (a ladies' night that a friend of a friend has organized) has also helped motivate me.
On less nerdy news, Buster and Lula had a short, more pleasant interaction. Lula remains a little spooked but curious, and instead of hissing, there was meowing. Multi-cat victory!

Also, he doesn't run or hiss when we enter the room anymore. To give you an idea how tiny he is, this basket is about 12" by 10".

Do you find that having evening plans makes your day more productive? Do you have any good strategies for self guided work? Can anyone else attest to the utility of self-help writing books?

Dress: thrifted
Tights: some Italian sounding brand, via Daffy's
Boots: Durango, via Beacon's Closet

**I tried to focus for long stretches but there's a 6 week old kitten in the house!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


It's Already Pretty's Blackout day 3, and I thought I'd try for a little color. I'm breaking the rule of long torso figure flattery here, with flat shoes, shorter pants, and low slung jeans, but I live dangerously like that. Also, this tie front shirt is probably a little risque for going in to work, but I'll untie and tuck it in when I'm meeting anyone. It's not going to get hot today, so I can wear a brown cardigan over Blokey's western shirt.
Our home life has become full of cat drama. Poor Lula is feeling neglected, as we spend a lot of time with Buster. Poor Buster is going through the double transition of being a feral cat indoors, and a whole new household. There has been biting, hissing under the door, hiding, and acting out. Let's just say that things are getting ruined around the house, including our sleep. Jesse.anne.o recommended in yesterday's comments that I check out Cat vs. Cat: Keeping peace when you have more than one cat. I requested it promptly from the Brooklyn library. And I'm going to let the resident cat expert handle it during the day, as I am off to do more edits.

(Oops, I left out the outfit details! Thanks, Elaine!)
Western men's shirt: via Ebay
Jeans: Express (2007)
Cardigan: Express, thrifted
Shoes: Eastland, via Alamo Shoes (Chicago)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I am sticking with the theme of non-black neutrals. The sandals, which my sister calls "Biblical," are dark brown. I am wearing mostly shades of grey. The cardigan is a dove grey, the tank is striped light and dark grey, and the pants are olive green/grey. I threw this on in a hurry, because we had to take our newest family member to the doctor this morning, before he can hang out with the others.
A friend of a friend recently found a feral momma cat and her litter of grey and white kittens on their back porch in Gowanus. The friend has been searching for good homes, as none of the no kill shelters in Brooklyn will accept kittens. Since I've been wanting to get Lula a playmate for a while, I decided to take up the offer. The momma cat is being spayed by one of the organizations in Brooklyn that provides neutering for feral cats, and he was brought inside just yesterday. Here's Buster (named after the famous mother-lover, Buster Bluth), our six week old, trash talking, but sweet as honey kitten:

So currently, he prefers to run away and hide under the dresser and hiss at us whenever get too close (but cries when one of us is not in the room.) He's all talk though. Once you pull him out and pet him, he calms down, purrs, and likes to sleep on our pillow and bed. And he seems to be quite good at using the litter box. The vet says he's healthy, clean, and just has a little cold. Buster is quarantined from Lula for now, as she's quite the Alpha kitty, but I think they'll be buddies (or tolerating each other) sometime soon.

Buster says, "Hey, get that camera out of my face!"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Black out

This week, I am participating in Sal of AlreadyPretty's Summer Black Out Challenge. From Monday, June 7- Friday, June 12, I won't wear any black clothes, with some caveats. Participants can wear black in a pattern (as long it's not the primary color), in workout clothes, or in accessories. Before I started reading style and fashion blogs, I only wore black tops and blue jeans or a black skirt, so this is good challenge for me.

my "uniform", circa 1999-2007 (note the early Western obsession)

The easy way out of this, however, is to use brown instead of black as my basic color. I have recently become a fan of brown, and this is definitely a Blokey influence. This is a slightly better photo of the top, a recently thrifted find:

I swear this a dark brown, though it looks black even in the close-up

I also thrifted these seersucker pants with huge baggy legs, and cut them into what I hope are work appropriate shorts. (Not for teaching or meetings, but for wandering outside my office in our building, the almost windowless former shoe factory in midtown). Hopefully, if I run into a student who asks, "Puhfessah, is there anything I can do to raise my grade?" I look authoritative enough for them to understand that no means no. (I don't meant to sound harsh, but I give them loads of opportunities to do help their grades before the end of the semester. By summer, I'm not so generous).

Thanks for the birthday wishes. So far, my 30s have been pretty rad. Being on a mental health staycation probably helped.

Shirt: BR, thrifted
Jacket: Gap, gifted
Belt: Not Just Vintage (Gorilla glued back together by me)
Shorts: BR, thrifted and shortened
Shoes: Aerosoles, thrifted

Saturday, June 5, 2010


First, I am really pleased with the great responses I got from Thursday's post. I feel really lucky to be part of an incredibly intelligent style blogging community. Thanks for your brilliant and thought provoking comments. I will try to respond a bit more to the most recent comments, and I continue to have this discussion with Blokey and other friends.

Today is my thirtieth birthday. It doesn't feel like a huge deal to me since most of my friends and coworkers are in their thirties (and beyond). I've decided to keep it low key. I have been devouring one of my gifts, the final book in the Millennium trilogy (In case you haven't heard, Lisbeth Salander is my hero). A friend has organized a small dinner later tonight. The big celebration was yesterday, when Blokey took me to Asbury Park beach. I grew up not far from there, in a more boring township 4 miles away where all the middle class folks fled after the 1970s Asbury Park race riots. If you ever get a chance to visit the Jersey Shore, I highly recommend Asbury Park. It is edgy, bohemian, non-chain filled, vegetarian friendly (in town, not so much on the boardwalk), and the most GLBT friendly community on the shore. The Springsteen nostalgia can also be a draw. We even found great thrift and vintage shops along Cookman Ave. (Especially B Unique, right next to a great Italian ice shop, between Bond and Main St. Their selection is well edited, and they've got a store kitten! It's a long story and the owner will gladly share it.)

Here's a more full on shot of this cute, super light handmade dress:

Have a lovely Saturday!

Dress: Handmade, Beacon's Closet
Shoes: Eastlands

The Cohabitating Closet is not affiliated or sponsored by Asbury Park or B Unique.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reconsidering consumption

Yesterday's thrifting trip was quite successful. Maybe that's because I take rule number 2: "have an open mind," of successful thrifting too seriously. I managed to get 11 pieces for $34. This partly because I mostly bought shirts, which are about $3-4 to begin with, but also because all non-green tags were 1/2 off on Family Day. I pleased to report that this is a 100% thrifted/second hand outfit.

I wanted to give my two cents about the style blogosphere's discussion of SATC2 (I know I am late to the game, but it's taken me a while to get my thoughts together). Edit: This is partially inspired by the post over at Fashionable Academics yesterday. Particularly, I was intrigued by the argument put forth by Jackie Ashley in the Guardian. I won't be seeing the movie (but I don't see many movies in the theatre, although I may drag Blokey to see Girl With the Dragon Tatoo). Ms. Ashley's key claim is that the widespread judgments of SATC2 as an example of crash consumerism is likely amplified by sexism. Here are some of the ways she says it better than I could:
"My contention is that there is nothing more intrinsically objectionable in women fantasising about big shopping and the ups and downs of urban sexuality than men fantasising about war, gangs or fast cars."
"Yes, it's true, Sex and the City celebrates a shallow consumerism that it is the purpose of serious journalism, and indeed serious living, to challenge. But it's the same shallow consumerism that, for instance, allows all those techie boys to jump around waving their Ipads outside the Apple store. The working conditions of the Chinese producing Ipads are horrible. These are machines designed to do "cool stuff". They are more complicated than the products of Jimmy Choo or Versace; but they are no more serious, or deserving of inherent respect."

This relates to an awesome post by Sal about whether stylish women were at odds with feminism. A common contention is that anyone interested in clothes and fashion are reproducing patriarchical scripts. I doubt this, because there is evidence that mocking women for their interest in style predates feminism. Many styles and fashions do not cater towards dominant understandings of heterosexual femininity, whether is it the boyish flapper gowns, the tent-like mod scooter dresses, or gender bending Annie Hall suits. The crazy styles of the 1980s often had very little do to with appealing to heterosexual desires. I increasingly believe that there is something misogynistic about the ways in which interest in clothes and style are disregarded as "crass" and "frivolous," while other kinds of focused consumption are not. Why is someone who spends alot of time and resources on the latest, best wine a "connoisseur" but I am a thrift shop-a-holic? Those who spend a lot of time and money (and self esteem) on working out, listening to live music, or theatre are lauded as healthy or patrons of the arts. Additionally, why do I readily share my cooking blog with real life friends but only a few know about this blog?
Yes, liking to shop for clothing/shoes/bags can become self-destructive if a person overspends, but so can liking/collecting single malt whiskey, intense dedications to working out, or buying gadgets. I know plenty of folks who have gotten in to debt for a number of non-girly shopping reasons, but the resulting social judgment is about lack of budgeting skills, not for the person's interest in computers, going out, or musical instruments.*

Do you think that it's possible that anti-SATC2 sentiments are related to long standing sexist
disdain for women's interest in clothing/shopping/style? Do yo think it's fair to reclaim shopping as simply another kind of consumption?

*Blokey told me about this vintage guitar message board he liked to read, in which men gave eachother hints like "When you buy your newest vintage Stratocaster, be sure to put one of the old ones into storage, so your wife won't know that you bought a new one." Smooth move, guitar man.

Blouse, American Rag, thrifted
Skirt: Cynthia Steffe, thrifted
Belt: thrifted
Shoes: Aerosoles, thrifted

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Utilitarian outfit: to thrift

To thrift, originally uploaded by Cohabitating_Closet.

I'm off to go thrift some summery tops and shorts. I always run to the dress section at the local Salvation Army, and I will again today, but I find in mornings that I lack tops to go with skirts. And I hope to find lightweight pants to turn into shorts, so I can control the inseam. I have a purpose, and dollar amount, and I'm pretty sure there's half off tags on Wednesday. This outfit is meant to compensate for the lack of changing rooms, as I can just slip stuff off and on. I threw the belt on because this outfit was boring me to death without it (I'll take it off to try on the pile). I usually have a huge armload which I lug to the closet full length mirror. I once went and just took my dress of (with tights and under clothes on still) because my brief stint in the military* killed any shame about clothelessness I might have. Do you guys have thrift strategies in places with no changing rooms?

Tunic: American Apparel
Belt: via Presence, (Andersonville, Chicago)
Flats: Steve Madden, thrifted and resoled
Leggings: Targets
Purse: Fossil, secondhand from my grandma

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fight for your right (to have a holiday)

I am evidently loving these boat shoes. I wore them a few more times this weekend. While I had intentions of leaving the house more, the stack of grading wasn't going to do itself, so this was comfy and good for marathon sitting sessions. And to start answering emails from students confused about their grades. (I am bummed, however, that I never made it over to the Pop-up Swap that Jesse.anne.o graciously posted).
I am officially taking time off between Wednesday and next Monday. I'm not going anywhere but I need to mentally shut off from work. I really do love my students and my research, but to be good at it, I need to take a short break. In the meantime, I will take walks, get the bike fixed, do some summer cleaning, maybe thrift a bit, get my head in order, and spend time with friends. While I do have actual out of town summer trips planned, I find that they are fun but aren't exactly the best way to recharge. Are you folks taking some dedicated "recharge" days in the summer? (Americans, compared to folks other comparable countries, take the least number of vacation days, even when they are part of their benefits packages. This is regrettable for a number of reason. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes that we have the right to leisure and rest, which includes periodic holidays with pay. Article 24.)
Hope you had a great holiday weekend. (our most exciting endeavor was the vegan Chicago style hotdogs, which you can see pictures of here).*

Tshirt: thrifted
Jeans: Levi's via Dillards, skinnied by me
Belt: Gap
Boat shoes: Eastlands, via Alamo Shoes (Chicago)

*I'm not a vegan, although I was for about a year. I hate factory farming and don't digest meat that well personally. Blokey is vegetarian, and I consider myself a solidaristic flexitarian.