Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Monday

Yep, it's Monday alright.  I'm pretty tired after a busy weekend, so I don't have anything profound to say.  Such a contrast to all of the cool feminism posts last week.  In addition to a brunch to celebrate my friend's engagement and dinner with Fella's parents last night, I spent a good part of the weekend looking at condos with Fella.  We're about 99% sure that we're going to make an offer on a condo we looked at yesterday (!), so we have all kinds of fun paperwork, document-gathering and such ahead of us.  It's really exciting, but seems like a long and kind of overwhelming process thus far.  But if all goes well, we could be homeowners by May!

So on days like this, it's hard to get too creative with my clothes.  Thankfully so many pieces in my closet go with each other, it was pretty easy to throw this ensemble together.  Although simple, there's small details like the ruffles on the tank, and the tweed-like material of the pants (I still have no idea exactly how to describe the fabric).  I haven't worn pants to the office in a while, so I'm changing things up a little today.

Pants detail
Cardigan: Ann Taylor
Tank: Gap Outlet
Pants: The Limited
Shoes: Naturalizer via PiperLime
Necklace: New York & Company

Friday, February 25, 2011

What this Feminist thinks like

vaguely 60s
(an older outfit during warmer weather)

So far, I've read such great entries from other bloggers about what feminism means to them.  I don't know how much I have to add to this discussion, but I will say something that I've been thinking about for a long time.  I understand myself as a feminist, and I believe this can mean a diversity of things.  I don't, however, believe that "feminism means choice," which is something I read in discussions at Jezebel or other feminist-themed websites.  On the contrary, capitalism provides us with "freedom of choice."  Feminism, however, seeks to investigate and deconstruct our choices-whether they concern our style, our life styles, our politics, our words, and our beliefs.  While I agree that we all have the right to our opinions, choices, and other individual expressions, feminism has taught me to recognize that some choices are privileged and some are not.  Some choices reflect the dominant norms and result in social benefits, while some result in social sanction.  To paraphrase George Orwell, all choices are equal, but some choices are more equal than others.  While my age has taught me to have compassion and empathy (and to try not to judge) a broad range of women's life choices, I continue to shudder when marketers attempt to couch consumption choices as feminist "freedom of choice."  So for me, feminism is as much about the limitations and oppressions of capitalism as patriarchy on our lives.

Being a feminist also means that I am critical about how the powerful seek to undermine the less powerful.  As I, and other members of Style Nation, keep an eye on Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana, I want to stress how attacks on public employees are gendered.  The overwhelming majority are public servants are women, with a strong representation of women of color.  Most public school teachers, health care workers, and social service workers are women.  "Balancing the budgets" on the backs of women, as a means to create tax breaks for corporations, is dirty, disgusting and shameful.  Harming their livelihood is one thing, but legislating away their voice and right to participate in creating the terms of their own employment, a universal human right, is a downright disgrace.

Friday Feminism

Happy Friday, all!  In response to Fashionable Academics CFP: What Does a Feminist Look Like, I had a great post all written out, but sadly my computer ate it.  I was mainly trying to say that I realize that I might not look like what some might think a feminist might or should look like, but really, since my ideas about feminism are that women can do anything, and certainly that they deserve the same opportunities that men do, it seems to reason that feminists don't necessarily look one way or another.  I can be pretty girly, and definitely embrace it at times, and I'm a feminist.

My feminism is deeply rooted in my own upbringing.  My mom directly and indirectly taught me lessons in independence, and always made sure I stood up for myself.  And my dad, although coming from a patriarchal upbringing and somewhat sexist while I was growing up (having a stubborn and outspoken daughter helped break him of that), encouraged me in things like math, science, sports and home/car repair and maintenance.  Whether they knew it or not, my parents raised me to be a feminist.  And thanks to their influence, I continue to fight for equality with my male peers and counterparts, challenge societal norms and gender roles, and believe that I can accomplish anything.

Cardigan: Gap Outlet
Tee: Loft
Jeans: Gap
Scarf: Target
Shoes: Clarks Indigo, gifted
Watch: Fossil, gifted
Earrings: Handmade by a family friend

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Post-Election Bliss

Back in November, I wrote about election blues.  I'm sporting blue today, but thrilled about the results of Chicago's election yesterday.  I'm really excited about my ward's newly elected alderman, 30 year old independent Ameya Pawar.  Chicago definitely has a rough political history, but it's refreshing when someone young who isn't a machine politician gets elected.  Rad wrote about the attack of unions in Wisconsin and my home state of Ohio yesterday, and the GOP is waging war on women, so with all of that going on, it's nice to feel hopeful and optimistic about something in politics again.

Political stuff aside, I'm channeling my inner Style Underdog here with the shades.  Not just so I, too, can look chic, but because the sun actually came out here!

So I have to admit, as much as I love this skirt, I had a really hard time styling it.  Anymore, it seems like the trend is pencil skirts, so there's not a lot of examples out there of how to style a pleated A-Line skirt.  Do you have any suggestions?

Cardigan: New York & Company (2006 or so)
Skirt, blouse and earrings: The Limited
Belt and brooch: New York & Company
Tights: Target
Boots: Eddie Bauer

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Workers and clothing: an interlude

This is my favorite picture of myself ever.  Notice geeky frameless glasses, nerdy bookbag, and my confidence that I will make a political difference.  Circa 2003.

Style Nation, my thoughts have been heavily tuned to politics lately.  As some of you may know, the rights of public sector worker are under attack in places like Wisconsin (the birthplace of AFSCME) and Ohio. 
I try to keep my nerdy academic pursuits off this blog, but lately, I am unconcerned with style but consumed with politics. 

I'm wearing pink!  I support Public Service.  From the University Paper, circa 2002.

So what does this have to do with fashion and style?  My current paper (which is purely exploratory at this point, and may at some distant future be the basis of a publication) explores the ways in which corporations have "voluntarily" committed themselves to protect human rights, environmental standards, and workers' rights through their supply chain.  Some very skeptical labor rights advocates are even (tepidly) agreeing that some kinds of corporate social responsibility arrangements, particularly those that allow for great participation of stakeholders (trade unions, human rights NGOs) can be effective in helping to enforce rights for workers "on the ground" in Global South factories. This makes me hopeful.  Given that labor costs comprise a very small percentage of an article's total costs, I don't agree that one needs to spend inordinate, inaccessible sums of money to buy ethical clothing.

As I attempt to finish up these papers and continue to immerse myself in the political drama unfolding in my former home state (Rad in Madison- 1980-1984), my appearance here and on the blogsphere may be a bit spotty (I'll still be reading your lovely blogs, but perhaps commenting a bit less).  I apologize for the absence but hopefully I will emerge in a couple weeks with a clearer head, and some information about social responsibility, social auditing, and other aspects of ethical consumption that will hopefully be relevant.  (I've recently learned about which kinds of cut flower ethical labels are more trustworthy).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aforementioned Excitement

closet 003
I'm off work today for President's Day.  I haven't gotten this holiday off since I was in school, and only do this year because we didn't get New Year's as a holiday (since my job kind of involves the stock market being open, the company couldn't close down for New Year's because it fell on a weekend, and thus, the market didn't close).  I went grocery shopping, but have otherwise spent the day watching TV and playing Words with Friends. I'd feel bad about the laziness if I didn't have a ton of work waiting for me tomorrow, and pretty much until the end of March.

This is what I wore to go out for dinner with Fella's family last night.  We went to Two Brothers, a brewery and tap-house in suburban Warrenville.  If you're in the area, I highly recommend it.  The food was fantastic, and of course the beer is tasty.

closet 005
I hinted in Friday's post that there's some excitement brewing here at TCC Midwest.  I'm not one to jinx things, so I've kept it pretty quiet, but now that it's a little more official, I can share.  Fella and I have decided to buy a home!  We started looking last week, and were pre-approved for a loan on Friday.  We're hoping to stay in our neighborhood, but another option within our price range might be in nearby Evanston.  It's a big decision and a little scary, but I've been renting for 7 years, am at a financially stable place and am almost 30, so it seems like a decent time to buy property.  We're going to look at some more condos and houses on Saturday and hopefully we'll find something that works for us sometime soon.

closet 008
Sweater: The Limited
Tank: Gap Outlet
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Kohl's
Watch: Fossil, gifted

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday Night Fever

This is what I wore for a girls night last night.  Dinner and dancing were on the agenda, though I didn't actually make it out for the dancing portion of the evning.  Nonetheless, after the week I've had, it was good to get out with my friends and unwind.

How do you like to end a long week?

Shirt detail

Flower cuff close-up

Earrings close-up
Sadly, one of these earrings fell out at some point during the night, possibly never to be seen again.

Top & bracelet: New York & Company
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Rampage, gifted
Earrings: unknown, gifted

Friday, February 18, 2011

Purple Is a Fruit

Wow am I glad it's finally Friday!  This has been an incredibly long week.  I've been really busy with work, and it feels like I have a lot going on outside of work too right now.  Something really exciting may be happening here at TCC Midwest, but it feels like it's taking up nearly every free moment I have.  I'm so ready for the weekend, though I do have a few commitments then too.

This week's casual Friday outfit is all about comfort.  Well, comfort, and taking advantage of the last of our seasonably warm weather.  It got up to 57 yesterday, and our forecast for today is 50 and sunny.

I had a hard time picking out shoes that would go with these tights as well as my clothes, but when I noticed that these shoes are also purple on the inside, it suddenly became a no-brainer.

Cardigan: Target
Tee: Gap Outlet
Skirt: Loft
Tights & Earrings: New York & Company
Watch: Fossil, gifted
Shoes: Clarks Indigo, gifted

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tuesday night fever

OK, I was neither sick nor out dancing on Tuesday evening, but because of my compressed, busy Tuesday schedule, I only got to take my teaching outfit picture in the late evening. I wish I was, though.


This is still week 3.  I think I have one more week of conservative hemlines and neutral overloads before I can start having a bit more fun with dresses and less "authoritative" pieces.  Especially since I still don't know all their names (95 of them) quite yet.  Almost, though. 
The highlight of my day so far was returning from the gym with Blokey and noticing a mattress across the street.  Written with permanent market in large letters was: "DO NOT TAKE.  BEDBUGS."  Ah, New York.

Shirt: Uniqlo (via Beacon's closet)
Cardigan: Uniqlo
Skirt: The Limited (old)
Tights: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer (2006?)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Variations on a Theme

A few weeks ago, I brought this blouse out and paired it with winter pieces.  It's supposed to get close to 50 degrees today, so I made it less cold-weather appropriate, and updated it to be a little bit more spring-like, all while keeping the same color pallet.

I have to leave to go fight traffic into the office (the one downside of exercising before work is that I have to drive in, ugh!), so I'll leave you with a few extra photos.  Jude was super excited to do pictures this morning.



Bracelet close-up
Skirt & Blouse: The Limited
Cardigan & Tights: Target
Shoes: Tsubos
Earrings: New York & Company
Bracelet: Handmade by a family friend

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Blokey and I had the unique pleasure of meeting Audi and Sal, who are both total style icons for me, yesterday.  They are as awesome in real life as in person.  And funny.  I am not a bashful person, but I was a bit nervous (in an excited way) to meet such stylish ladies.  Blokey was nice enough to take a picture:

This was my attempt at being intentional with black (or intentional with pink/purple?)

I rarely leave the house on a school night, and it was totally worth it.  But I paid for it this morning, rushing from the gym to a meeting to teaching.  I got to my first class on time, but I had left my notes in my office.  Well, nothing that a quick run to my office and a basket of candy couldn't remedy (Yes, I am a sucker for giving drugstore candy, when it is 50% off from Duane Reade, to my students.  What?  A bit of sugar is good for the brain).
I am a bit behind on commenting on some of the blogs I read regularly. I apologize and I hope to catch up soon.  The semester is kicking into full swing now, and I still need to finish and then start a conference paper within the next four weeks. 

Shirt: Dillard's junior section, via mom
Sweater dress: Armani Exchange, thrifted (during my thrifting "cheat")
Tights: Hue
Boots: Palladium
Scarf: street vendor, Manhattan

Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Monday, all!  And if you're into it, Happy Valentine's Day.  It's a fun holiday for kids, and before Fella and I started dating, my parents used to send me flowers (they stopped doing that since I'm allergic, but my mom sent candy for us and little heart-shaped dog biscuits for Jude).  Fella and I don't really celebrate it as a big, romantic holiday because it's gotten so commercialized.  So many expectations for guys to live up to. Like, does Fella love me any less because he's not buying me diamonds, chocolate and/or flowers on a designated day of the year?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  In the past, we've typically just cooked up steaks for dinner and called it a night.  This past weekend, we bought each other cheesy gifts from CVS, spending no more than $5, and that's the extent of it.

So as you can see, I had two variations on this outfit in mind.  I think the second one definitely looks more polished (and very similar to Rad's first day outfit), but I'm more than likely going with the shirt un-tucked and belted, purely for comfort reasons.  I wouldn't normally wear a button-down shirt not tucked in with a pencil skirt, but I think the belt adding a waist makes it work.  I think the first ensemble looks fine.. until you see the second.  What do you think?

Cardigan, belt & tights: Target
Blouse & Skirt: The Limited
Shoes: Naturalizer via PiperLime
Earrings: Macy's (circa 2005)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Two for One

sunday 001
To make up for Friday's lack of an outfit post, here's two outfits!  I attended a baby shower this afternoon, so here's what I wore.  I had something else in mind, but because it got up to 50 degrees today, I was feeling springy.

sunday 006
I haven't worn this dress since October, since it's a lightweight jersey knit, and I added a bright sweater and spring-colored necklace.  Enough of the snow from last week's blizzard has melted that I could even get away with wearing suede flats.

sunday 007
Dress & Tights: Target
Cardigan, Necklace & Shoes: Loft

On to outfit #2...

sunday 012
I was supposed to start a beginning knitting class tonight, but I totally mixed up the class times so it turns out the class was at 10 this morning, so I already missed the first session.  I'll sign up again next month, since I really want to learn how to knit (speaking of baby showers, I know at least 5 pregnant gals right now, so there's plenty of baby blankets to be made, along with scarves, hats, beer cozies, etc.).  Since I'm home, Fella and I are going to take advantage of the unseasonably awesome weather and grill dinner tonight.

sunday 016
Cardigan: Loft (as above)
Tee: Gap Outlet
Jeans: Gap
Shoes: Puma
Earrings: Hazel

Friday, February 11, 2011

California Dreamin'

Happy Friday, Stylenation!  I have to apologize for not being very good about commenting this week.  I've been trying to keep up with all of you, but haven't had the time to tell you how great you look.  Work has been totally kicking my ass, and doesn't seem like it's going to let up anytime soon.  I'm taking a break now for lunch and a quick post.  I'm working from home today and having an Incognito kind of day myself, so instead of an outfit post, I'm looking ahead to spring.  I think I've mentioned this before, but things are extremely busy for me at work until the end of March.  It feels like there's no end in sight BUT earlier this week, Fella and I bought plane tickets to California in April, so I do have something to look forward to!  We have friends in LA, and my brother lives in Napa, so we're flying into LA and out of San Francisco, renting a car and spending 10 days exploring everything in between.  Neither of us have ever been to California, and we weren't able to go on any trips last year so we're both pretty excited.

More relevant to this blog, what to wear while on vacation!  If I actually had the budget for all of this, here's a few things I'd pack in my suitcase.

Tropical Maxi Dress from Boden

Dress from Old Navy

Skirt from eShakti

Shorts from Athleta

Top from eShakti

Clarks Sandals

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That 70s Feeling

Like many citizens of Style Nation, I've also been feeling flummoxed by February.  Why so cold and annoying, Feb?
In an effort to deal with this, I am remixing a difficult to wear piece.  I bought this very beautiful, but too short in the arm length (and general length) vintage silk dress from La Fille d'Or last year.  Because of the fit issues, I offered it to my more petite sister, but she didn't want it.  But now that it's cold, I am trying wear it as a blouse.  Plus, the skirt of the dress doubles as a slip, as this skirt is unlined.  I think the colors of this outfit, and Edwardian style of the dress/blouse, has a 1970s (my favorite decade) feeling.

(I am actually smiling because Blokey was making faces at me in the corner.)

But in case I wimp out (or get sweaty in class) here is with a brown cardigan.


In addition to my earthy hued, 70s-ish outfit, I have celebrating my favorite decade lately by also enjoying 1970s artists (I'm crushing on Towns Van Zandt, although I can spend all day listening to John Prine), and reading Jefferson Cowie's Stayin' AliveThe 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class.  Who knew an academic book could grip me with interest?  (I'm not a historian, but I know well written and compelling research.  Class history, U.S. unions, and the music, movies, and social movements of the 1970s?  Score.  Bonus points for quoting the Lester Bangs' essay on Elvis' death)

In addition to culture, pet therapy is keeping me happy.  (This is for A-Dubs!)  Buster is now a big boy.  But they're not BFF yet.  He and Lula are more like Frenemies.

They can look really cute near each other.

But this soon disintegrates into chaos.  I didn't mean to capture conflict.  This just happened so fast. 

(No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.  But words were exchanged).

Happy Thursday, Style Nation!

Dress/blouse: from La Fille d'Or
Skirt: thrifted, Jacob
Belt: thrifted
Tights: Daffy's
Cardigan: Banana Republic, thrifted
Shoes: Tahari, via eBay