Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday night checklist

What've you been doing all day?

I've been catching up on work that I didn't do yesterday (in other words, lesson-planning) and reading a blog. I'd heard of it a couple of times, but I'd never really visited. Today, intrigued by a Spanish tag on one of Sally's posts, I wandered over to the Fashionable Academics. Holy God! A bunch of graduate students posting their outfits and writing about being fashionable in higher academia! That's, like, my favorite thing. I started browsing through the archives and I'm still making my way through them. This is highly recommended reading.

Hey, it even inspired me to work on my dissertation for a few minutes!

[This, by the way, is my new resolution. As I work full-time in a rather soul- and time-sucking job, it is very hard for me to keep on track with my dissertation work in a field completely unrelated to what I do professionally. This has depressed me. So, I've decided to try to work on my dissertation every day that I can, even if it's only for a few minutes. Looking at pictures of fashionable academics inspires me so that one day I can be like them too.]

And, as it's Sunday, it was time to pull out the old weekly outfit list. Last week only TWO outfits that I decided on worked out in the end, due to bloating, VPL, and 19-degree-Fahrenheit highs. So here is my SKETCHY, at best, list for the coming week's outfits:

  • Monday: maroon jersey dress, thick grey stockings, mustard-y flats; long grey and black cardigan
  • Tuesday: charcoal full skirt, red sweater, thick black stockings, red wedges
  • Wednesday: beige corduroy skirt, black sweater, thick grey stockings, mustard-y flats
  • Thursday: black v-neck t-shirt, fancy black skirt, turquoise stockings, black flats; black cardigan
  • Friday: brownish tweed skirt; orange v-neck sweater; grey/brown stockings, mustard-y flats
Let's see how this one goes.

Every single student I have will be taking a test this week, which means 34 exams to grade by Wednesday night. We'll, uh, see how successful that will be.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Geek [Chic]!

So, guess what was waiting for me at my friendly neighborhood optician's when I came home from work yesterday evening?
No, not sunglasses. Those glasses, but with a clear lens. I've joined the legions of hipster douchebags wearing Ray Ban Wayfarers (mine are the square kind) as their prescription sunglasses -- at least I was wearing skinny jeans when I ordered them.

I've worn glasses since I was six: that's over twenty years of spectacles. When I started wearing contacts at twelve/thirteen, I kind of never looked back. I avoided my glasses like the plague. In college, I bought my first pair of cool frames, your generic black rectangles. I kind of hated them immediately. After starting to get into other people's personal style and internet blogs (and amassing an inspiration folder in my computer filled with pictures of women in big glasses), I realized that glasses could be kind of wonderful. I kept on gravitating towards pictures of women in obvious glasses: they weren't trying to hid them -- geek chic! In February of 2008, I bought my last frames, which I fell madly in love with and then? I really never looked back. I pretty much stopped wearing my contact lenses. At work, I'm pretty much known as "the one with the glasses." While I would've hated that sort of moniker five years ago, now I wear it with pride.

Coming into my eye exam, I knew that I'd have to ask about the Wayfarers. Every time I wore my glasses, I kind of wished they were bigger. And, one of my biggest style icons ever, Louise, rocks the Wayfarers. I bit the bullet, fell in love, and here they are. Geek chic!

Welcome to what I look like when I begin to come down with a cold and when my husband is laid up in bed with a fever for over twenty-four hours (chic!). My husband and I both really like the frames. I hope that it's more of a Louise effect than a Flo one.

I can't wait to start playing around with hairstyles and make-up to most maximize my geekiness. God forbid anyone mistake me for anything else.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"We watched a video about our changing bodies."

Last year was a kind of tough year for me. I quit my job in late 2008, which was one of the best things I did, but spent the rest of the academic year freaking out about money while "working on my dissertation," going back into my old five-days-at-the-gym workout habit that I had lost while working full-time for the first time in my life, and stress-eating so much that I lost any of the good work I may have regained at the gym. I eventually freaked out and lost some of the weight I had gained while sitting on my duff and watching documentaries about walruses while inhaling sugar candy. I also, in the summer of 2009, remarried my husband in a big, family-oriented church wedding that involved fitting into an elaborate wedding dress and running around Athens taking traditional Greek dancing lessons, so I got kind of back to "normal" size, although I'm not in the shape I was in when I was 23, so--

Hold up. I

'm not in the same shape I was in when I was 23.


Of course not. I'm 28 years old. When I was 23 ( was a very good year...), I was in the beginning of my graduate school career. My advisor still was at my university, I still cared about my work, I was taking interesting classes, and I was going to an enormous university gym five days a week. And I was TWENTY-THREE.

Now? I work full-time. I'm on my feet all day, every day. I work out twice a week at most after work and try to fit a run in on weekends. And I'm twenty-eight years old. I'm older.

My shape has changed. As much as my weight fluctuates, and it does, a lot, believe me, I've realized that I'm literally not the same shape that I was five years ago. And working out like crazy, or not eating, or whatever, isn't going to change that. Five years ago, I had a strong body with muscles fore and aft and I could wear whatever I wanted because my classic hourglass shape was defined, but less naturally modest in the belly/butt area. I was in great shape. As long as I worked out constantly, I could eat whatever I wanted and I still looked like a strong, healthy, relatively flat person. My ass didn't stick out, nor did my stomach.

Now? They do. I eat extremely healthily now (although I do indulge myself often because a life of salad is no way to live) and am in more natural shape. Although I might be much further away from a chin up than I was five years ago, I can run a couple of miles without a problem, something unthinkable in those days. I walk everywhere I can. My apartment has stairs, which I'm running up and down whenever I'm home. When I work out, I make sure it's a good time at the gym. But? I'm curvier. My classic hourglass shape is now more classical. My belly sometimes curves more than I'd like and my ass definitely has reconquered its Hispanic roots.

And? I kind of love it.

And let me tell you, people, I, like most other American women, have body issues. I get depressed if I buy a size up. It happens. Sometimes, something that looks great when I face it dead-on, looks rather odd when I look at myself in profile (especially when I'm still not used to it). But? I think I look more feminine. I know I'm still strong. I know I'm still muscular, but now I look more womanly, I think.

I wish someone had told me, though. I wish at one point someone said, "Yeah, your body goes through changes at puberty, and obviously once you have babies, but in your late twenties, you're kind of going to change shape and you might want to prepare for that."

And sometimes it's hard to accept. We live in a society where less is more. Less fat, less arm bulk, less tummy, less ass (unless you're skinny and have a big ass, because that is HOT, but not, like, fat ass. Because that's gross.), less thigh, less US. And, sure, sometimes I wish my damn dresses would lie FLAT, because, dammit, that's what they looked like five years ago. But consciously, when I look in the mirror, I look like a fertility goddess. An Indian sculpture. A woman in her late twenties.

With an ass that won't quit.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's a lot like chess

As I may have mentioned, I work in a very conservative environment. I have to wear a dress or skirt, panty-hose/stockings, and closed shoes (NOT boots) every day. Except for the boots rule (...and, to be quite honest, the stockings in summer thing), I was pretty psyched about this dress code when I first landed my job. I was, in those days, a dress person, even in the winter, if I could manage it.


Not so much. It's not that I hate dressing up every day. It's not that. I kind of like the idea of having a work persona that's so separated from my everyday persona. But some things grow tiring: I barely wear dresses over vacations and during the weekends because I don't want to "ruin" them for work and because I miss pants so much. Also? I really get sick of the sight of my own legs. I am not deformed, nor do I have hideous legs, but sometimes? I want to cover those puppies up. Especially in snowy weather. Also, I get really jealous of really professional-looking young women wearing boots and skirts. I've only done that secretly on crazy sub-zero days when I'm wearing a floor-length flannel-esque skirt that more than amply disguises whatever footwear I may have underneath.

But I digress.

The most difficult issue of the wardrobe is how limiting it is. There's a big difference between pulling out a cute winter dress every once in a while to go hang out with your friends on a Friday night after work with a cute coat and being safe in the knowledge that you won't wear it again in the near future and that your friends won't see it on you, say, next week. It's different when you have to wear the same genre of outfit every single day and when you obviously don't have an unlimited supply of said outfits.

So? On Sundays I make a mental list of what my outfits will be for the week. There are a couple of things to take into consideration: the predicted weather forecast; the last time wearing a skirt/dress/combo in question; stocking choice; jewelry choice; after-school activities; and whatnot. For example, I try to go to the gym twice a week after work and so on Wednesdays and Fridays I try to make sure to wear clothes that I know won't get too messed up by being squashed into a gym bag for a couple of hours. Similarly, I have to stay late a couple of nights a week, so I dress more warmly then, knowing that I might have to wait for a long time in the cold for my bus. Not to mention, I have about four pairs of sensible teaching flats in rotation and I like to mix it up during the week, which is when stocking choice becomes key. Another element? I have a lovely little Ann Taylor Loft skirt that my best work friend also has and so I need to calculate the odds of wearing it on the same day as her. For example, she wore it last week, which means I'm pretty safe for this week.

So, pretty much, on Sundays during my shower, my thought processes scramble for a good few minutes and then lay out outfit plans pretty systematically. For example, after today's shower, my mental list looked like this:

Monday - H & M red-patterned dress [a risky choice, as it's bright and memorable]; grey patterned stockings; mustard-y flats

Tuesday - Ann Taylor Loft grey, black, and white checked skirt; black top [still unsure whether or not to go turtleneck or crew-neck sweater]; black stockings; green flats

Wednesday - H & M tweed skirt; white tee with purple cardigan; grey-brown stockings; green flats

Thursday - black V-neck tee; fancy black skirt; green patterned stockings; black flats

Friday - maroon jersey dress; grey stockings; mustard-y flats

Add to that the whole contacts versus glasses debate and it's a pretty stressful process.

But I'd much rather be doing it on Sunday afternoon than every weekday at 5:50 AM, which is when my alarm goes on.

Heigh-ho, the glamorous life!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've always been drawn to jewelry sets. My father would bring me home lapis lazuli jewelry from his frequent trips to his homestead, Chile. Often, he would bring me a matching set and I would wear it proudly. In high school, among other things, I was known for having a good array of jewelry and for matching it to perfection. It was a compliment. Now, older and married into an old-world Greek family, I often receive matching sets of jewelry. My husband's first gift of jewelry to me was a necklace with matching earrings. Almost a year later, he bought me a necklace, earring, and bracelet set. His aunt and uncle bought me a necklace/earring set as an engagement present. When I got baptized this summer, my godmother (AND aunt-in-law) gave a gold cross that went perfectly with a pair of earrings purchased earlier in the year by my father-in-law.

With the exception of the cross and matching earrings (because diamonds, gold, and precious stones are a rule unto themselves, dahling), I would never dream of wearing one part of the set without the other.

And I always thought that was normal.

However, back when I first started reading style and fashion blogs, I found out that it was "not well looked upon" in the blogosphere to match one's jewelry within a set. It's true! Some bloggers will eschew wearing a pair of earrings that they bought as a set with a particular necklace WITH THAT SAME NECKLACE in horror being too matchy-matchy.


I didn't even know that was a problem.

I mean, sure, I don't match my bag to my shoes. And I have no problem putting together separate pieces of jewelry in random ways. And I certainly have no problem wearing a gold bracelet on the same hand as my platinum engagement and wedding rings. But I can't imagine putting on, say, my carnelian necklace WITHOUT THE MATCHING CARNELIAN EARRINGS THAT CAME WITH IT. Maybe it's because I'm a little OCD?

However, I don't think that being matchy-matchy with respect to jewelry comes off as stuffy or old-fashioned. It's all in how you wear it, as it is with most things, I guess. But today, when I wore black clothes with only turquoise accents, I felt pretty sassy.

Hi there. That's me. Isn't the matching INSANE here? So, for the record, you see: one (but there were two) turquoise earring hanging from my ear, artfully matching my turquoise-accented cheap-o necklace, all tied together by my turquoise (and cream) scarf/wrap/dupatta. I held off on wearing my cheap-o turquoise ring and bracelet that I bought WITH the necklace because the ring turns my finger green after prolonged wearing and a school is no place for a ring with princess-y tendencies; I didn't wear the bracelet because I tend not to wear bracelets when I work: having something sliding on your wrist when you're writing on a blackboard does not lead to good times for me, I've noticed. However, if I'd been going out, I TOTALLY would've gone full-on necklace-earrings-bracelet-ring-scarf.

And it would've been magical.

Earrings: Banana Republic
Necklace: Accessorize [the slightly classier European version of a place like Claire's Accessories]
Scarf: Indian stall at the Prudential Mall in Boston
Barely-visible sweater: Gap

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

They're he-ere!

My boots came today! As promised! There's nothing like having a miserably long day at work and coming back to a beautiful, well-fitting pair of grey boots...I assume. Well, they're gorgeous in person and I'm very happy to add them to my huge arsenal of boots and slightly less huge arsenal of grey boots.

Here they are hanging out in front of my bathroom door! Forgive the crappy quality of the photograph: I'm not an experienced fashion blogger yet! They're pretty, though, yes?

But, do you think these guys will be jealous?

These are my old(er. I got them in August) grey boots. My darker grey booties. I was actually going dedicate my first outfit post on them. They're not my usual style, but they have really become among the most versatile shoes in my collection. They're casual enough to wear with skinny jeans; they look polished with their pointed toe; they're grey, which is the best of all neutrals and my favorite color in the world; and - once you get past the slight Peter Pan effect - look really cute with skirts. I wore them to a stuffy office party and out to dinner with a fancy Calvin Klein dress to celebrate my one-and-a-half-year wedding anniversary in the dead of winter.

My one fear, though, is that I will shun my other boots for the new Fryes. I already have planned to wear my blue Fryes over the weekend while I visit my family in New York. I can't be showing favorites already. That would be awkward.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Okay, so...

Well, I planned this post to be a simple introduction. To myself, to my interest in personal style, to my philosophy in general. I had it all planned out. I even knew what my first "real" outfit post would be. Then... this happened:

That would be the Frye Paige Huarache flat boot (in cement). I have a weird history with Frye boots. Especially grey ones. Last November (of 2008, that is), I was walking around New York's Upper West Side with my best friend from work. It was the night of Election Day and all of the city seemed to be in an exuberant mood. We were on our way to an election party. As it happens, we went to an Urban Outfitter and as I was rifling through overpriced merchandise, when I saw one of the most beautiful pairs of boots I'd ever seen. They were not the boots shown above. They were the Frye Paige Cuff boots in grey. They were also about $400. I decided that they were unnecessary, despite my love of boots (as evidenced by my blog title) and their perfect grey color.

I have regretted this bitterly for over a year.

Since then, I've purchased another pair of Frye boots, the Veronica Slouch in sapphire (yes, I own bright blue boots). I was even sadder about my missed opportunity now that I knew how much I indeed loved Fryes. A couple of weeks ago, I even called the Frye company to ask if the Paige Cuff boots were even in stock anymore ANYWHERE. They're not. I consoled myself. I already own two pairs of grey boots (one tall, suede, one short, grey bootie).

Anyway, the Huaraches had been my #2 choice. I "conveniently" had forgotten about them on my mad crusade for the Paige Cuffs. But then this morning I found them on sale. Long story short (...too late), I ordered them off the internet. They're coming tomorrow. I can't wait.

Have I mentioned that I work at an extremely conservative school where I'm not allowed to wear boots?

Totally worth it.