Sunday, October 31, 2010

How I wore it: Happy Halloween!

I haven't dressed up seriously for Halloween since I was, like, eleven, but I do like being hokey and wearing orange and black.

I added orange jewelry and a spooky snake ring for extra effect.

We don't think we'll get any trick-or-treaters (although I'd love it), but we did buy candy for them just in case.

                                       Happy Halloween!

Also, can I just add that I've been thinking about wearing this dress as a jumper for a while now and I'm looking forward to doing it again with more layering-appropriate shirts? Yay!

Orange sweater: Gap, remixed
Black dress: Gap, remixed
Black patterned tights: Gap remixed
Boots: Steve by Steve Madden, remixed
Necklace/earring set: gift from my aunt-in-law from Byzantinos jewelry store in Athens, remixed
Snake ring: gift from my husband from a store in Harvard Square, remixed

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How I wore it: Date Night plus one!

While I was in New York, one of my bestest friends (a colleague from the first school I taught at) and I couldn't get together, but as she was coming to Boston for this weekend, we decided to meet up tonight, with my husband, for dinner. See? Date Night with another person! Yay!

I decided to wear nice clothes:

I've owned these red pants for over seven years, and to my mind they're the very definition of "fancy-pants." Tight red pants! Come on! They're the first pair of pants that I ever bought that were actually, like, tight. Like, "I need to really think about my underwear choices when I wear these" tight, y'know? Have I said too much? Anyway, I almost always pair them with a black top and I didn't do anything different tonight. I did, however, very much like the addition of my new grey studded flats.

I also liked eating out at P.F. Chang's for gluten-free "Chinese:"

See how much?

Oh, PS: these flats are officially kinda uncomfortable. I'm lowering their grade to a √-. They're still awful cute, though.

Anyways, not much else to tell. We had a lovely evening, saw a bunch of young folk in Halloween costumes, and are planning to curl up in front of the TV to continue our "Arrested Development" marathon. Blissful Saturday night? I'm lookin' at you...

Black top: Tony's, a boutique in Old City Philly, remixed
Red pants: Gap outlet
Grey flats: Adi Shoes courtesy of CSN Stores, remixed

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cultural appropriation?

I've mentioned it a couple of times, maybe, but as you may or may not know, in the summer of 2004 I spent ten weeks in India for a summer language program. Our program was based in the city of Pune, a rapidly growing city about 100 miles from Mumbai. Although I'd been wanting to go to India for at least eight years before going, I - naturally - experienced a fair amount of culture shock when I arrived. Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty incredible summer, but obviously India itself is going to bring up a lot of emotions for a girl born and raised in New York and (at that time) living in Philadelphia for five years. A lot of things were great - I could finally apply my Hindi, I became quite independent, and I immediately took to riding on the back of scooters. Also, I will never get tired of seeing an elephant on the street. Never.

But on the other hand, one thing was quite difficult for me: the constant attention. Pune, although it is turning into a big city right before our eyes, is not really a popular one on the tourist beat. Why should it be? It's the city for research and/or university studies, true, but ... well, foreign tourists aren't exactly flocking to visit it. We did see other foreigners, of course, especially in the fancier areas, near the ashram (remember the Rajneeshis? Yeah, this is where they were based.). However, I lived in a very residential area and studied in an institute quite a ways away from the center of the town, so I (and my friends) was often the only Westerner in the vicinity. That led to a lot of attention. A lot. As a woman born in one of the biggest cities around and as a woman who lived in a quite shady area of a rather dangerous city, I take staring and eye contact as an act of aggression. I had to consciously remind myself that this wasn't the case in Pune, but it was hard. One way to give myself a bit of a home-court advantage? "Go native," as the colonists used to say. I started wearing Indian clothes. Once I got my first taste of it, I didn't stop for the rest of my trip, vastly preferring them to anything else - they're so damn comfortable, especially the traditional salwar-kameez.

[Quick note to interject that I never once wore a sari in India. not graceful on a good day and I knew that I would only suffer huge embarrassment and make a mockery of this most beautiful of outfits. I do own a sari, though, as a gift from one of my Hindi students, but I have not yet worn it. Mostly because I don't know how to wind it.]

Anyway, although I was still quite obviously not a native Punekar, I felt like wearing the modest and beautiful local clothes gave the wandering eye something familiar and not necessarily stare-worthy. I averaged about three seconds less of open-mouth staring when wearing the salwar-kameez.

What does all of this have to do with anything? Well, when I returned to the states, I wore my various salwar-kameez around the home a lot, mostly to study and sit around in. SO COMFY! And I brought my favorite ones back to Massachusetts from New York for the same purpose:

This is an extremely difficult outfit to capture while standing still. It moves with the body and always keeps one covered up and modest. See how unflattering it is when I just stand there in a perfectly natural pose?

A little better: at least you see all of what's going on. So what is going on? On the bottom I have the traditional loose salwar pant; then the colorful printed kameez / kurta; then, to hide anything inappropriate, the always-necessary dupatta. I was always very bad at draping my dupatta, as you can see. When walking outside you see a lot of girls loosely tying them in the back so that they don't slip: I would do that, too. I bought this (and my other favorites) in a great store called Fab India, a place that my friends called "the J. Crew of khadi [homespun cotton]."

Anyways, let's move on to the title of this post. I am...uncomfortable wearing the salwar-kameez out of the house here in the States. When I first came home from India, I didn't want to take off my salwar-kameez. I wore one out to have dinner with a friend in New York. I wore a couple in Philly after a bad break-up that depressed me and made me want to swaddle myself in stylish comfiness. However, I always felt weirdly guilty, like people were wondering, "Why's this white girl wearing Indian clothes?" Let me just say that I never got a negative reaction. In New York, a South Asian man told me that he loved my outfit, and all of my South Asian colleagues in Philadelphia compared notes as to different styles and cuts of kurtas. However...if you specialize in area studies, the way I do, and have to read Said's Orientalism, you start to see a lot of east-west confrontation diluted down to the confrontation between the self and the other. Given South Asia's complicated history with colonialism and Orientalism, one can see how the self-other confrontation is almost inherently hostile. My reaction as a young, naive graduate student was that the confrontation didn't have to be necessarily hostile: one just had to be self-aware. I learned - upon taking the particular class that delved into Orientalism and post-colonialism, not to mention subaltern studies - that I had to answer to a lot of unsaid charges, as a Western female studying the traditions of South Asia. And my learning is legit, y'all: I speak Hindi pretty well, I'm a solid Sanskritist, and I'm a specialist on classical Sanskrit literature and poetics. However, I still have moments of doubt. What is it saying to the everyday observer who doesn't know these things about me when I'm wearing traditional South Asian clothes? Will the Bangladeshi families in my neighborhood think that I'm exoticizing their culture for my own sartorial means [is that even an automatically negative thing or am I just feeling over-guilty?] or will they not even care? I can't go around holding up a sign that says "Not just another new-age hippie" [not that there's anything wrong with them, either: would it be so bad to be lumped into that category "because I like Asian stuff"?], so...where does that leave me? When I taught Hindi, most of my students were tickled pink that a Hispanic girl from Manhattan was the one leading them through grammar drills in their parents' native language. But there was one Indian-American boy who was unmistakably hostile toward me, making me wonder if I was fulfilling the subaltern studies stereotype of the "white man [or woman, in this case] teaching the brown man about his culture" [not my words, by the way, just the crude statement that is bandied around this area of studies].

I know that I'm overthinking this a lot, no? At the same time, though, I wonder. Are we supposed to be responsible in our clothing choices? Am I overcompensating with overthinking and should I just let globalism win? Will my own respectful and innocent wearing of clothes that I happen to find pretty and comfortable point me out as a sartorial colonizer? Am I wrong to wear my clothes? Should I wear them proudly? I don't know - what are your opinions on my very thorny and hurried thoughts on this sartorial cultural appropriation?

Back to the clothes, though, for a bit of much-needed frivolity. As I was only at home working today, I didn't wear my dupatta all day, although I wouldn't dream of being seen in public without it in India:


I also wanted to give you some detailed shots of the outfit's elements. Here is the print of the kurta:

Pretty, no? And this isn't even my fancy kurta!

Lest you think my dupatta was just white matching my trousers, here's a detail of that, too:

Do you see? Tiny mirrors! Yup, interspersed among the scarf are little mirrors to add some visual interest to the whole shebang.

So there you have it, folks. An agonizingly tortured post and look into my brain. I'd be interested to see what others think about wearing clothes from a culture that isn't "theirs." Would you be offended / possessive / huffy if you saw someone wearing something of "yours" or would you just think, "Huh. Cool."?

I'd also like to point out that I haven't taken a graduate theory class in, oh, about five years, so...I'm simplifying things a lot for my own sad little anti-jargon brain.

PS - In case you were wondering, I didn't end up bringing my mom's navy dress home with me: my suitcase was so full that I thought I'd save it for another trip.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

They know what's best...

One of the luxuries of leaving crap at your parents' house (can you tell this is a theme?) is that you can be reunited with clothes that you bought and liked a while ago, but don't like that much now, but like enough to wear them around once or twice. I have that with a pair of jeans. I bought them in the summer of 2005 (I'm telling you, this was a red-letter summer for me!) after serving a horrifying first day as a juror on a traumatic case. The first day was the hardest, as we were made aware of the charges / the crime / and listened to our first testimony, so as I made my way slowly from Center City to West Philly on foot, I decided to indulge in retail therapy for the first time as actual therapy. I wandered into the Gap outlet and picked out a skirt and a pair of jeans [I also went to Victoria's Secret, but what I may or may not have bought is none of your business].

The jeans I bought - well, they're not skinny (that wasn't happening then) or flared, or anything. Just...straight. They're dark blue. Kinda boring. Once I left Philadelphia, I just kept them in New York as my "house jeans." They're only worn at my parents', because that's where they live. So why do I care, right? Well, each time I wear them, someone (parent, husband) tells me how awesome they look on me. Huh. My ex-boyfriend really liked them too, as I recall. Do you have any clothes like that? That you're all so-so about, but other people randomly praise to the high heavens? Do you listen to those people?

Anyways, I wore them yesterday for library work and today for some of the same, and as I was kind of mixing up registers all over the place, with casual jeans, ratty sneakers, and a nice top, I went to the mirror to make sure I had made up a legitimate outfit.

Well, whaddaya know:

I had! Now, I know I'm not revolutionizing the wheel here as a Fashion Babe (trust me - I can tell just from my walk up and down 42nd street to get to the library and back, and let me tell you, people, women are looking stylin'), but...not bad, right? The jeans are actually...kind of awesome! I like that they're not skinny and just, y'know, neutral. God knows I could use some good casual clothes this year, while I'm at home working. So, despite being my traditional "house jeans" and despite having really torn-up hems, if they fit into my rapidly filling suitcase, they will be coming home to New England with me.

It's like Christmas all up in here!

PS - Don't forget to give me your opinion on the navy blue dress, below!

Black top: from Tony's, a boutique in Philly, remixed
Jeans: Gap outlet
Sneakers: Chuck Taylor All-Stars, by way of...Modell's? 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Treasures from my closet [and I need YOUR help!]

People, I am so, so tired. Today I've done nothing for myself at all (gym - which, sorry to say, despite being an almost nine-year-old habit is still not something I always love doing; errands with my dad; library for hours) until just now, sitting down on the couch after a handful (or two) of chips and getting to catch up on some favorite blogs and update my own. In a couple of hours, I'll be having gluten-free mac and cheese with a college friend and that will probably be the high point of my day.

... I'm looking forward to returning to Massachusetts, people, what's wrong with me?!

Anyway, on this trip, because my parents have been on my ass about getting rid of extraneous stuff around the house (you mean your parents' home isn't, like, an extra house where you can store your crap?), I've been super aware of clothes and books and objects I'm taking back to my home in Cambridge. Some things I knew I wanted to take home...others? Not so much.

Take this, for example:

I bought this midsize purple leather handbag in a boutique in Old City, in Philadelphia, in the summer of 2005, almost a year before meeting my husband, and about two years before actually moving to Old City with him. I loved it on the spot and it'd been my favorite purse for years. For some reason, I left it in NYC and for some reason didn't bring it with me on any of my subsequent trips. Upon seeing it this time, I decided that the time had come and it's now snugly packed in my suitcase.

How about this, though?

People, this is a November of 1965 Tiger Beat magazine, with such breathless articles as "Elvis Presley's Secret Life!", "Sonny & Cher: Sweetest Love Story of the Rock Age", and "Loves & Hates of the Beatles!" I have no idea what it was doing on my dresser. Someone must've bought it for me, I guess. But...who? And where did it come from? I've decided that it's another iteration of La Historiadora de Moda's mysterious Wang stork, only this one leaves exciting 60s paraphernalia instead of designer sunglasses. You bet your asses that that magazine's coming home with me.

Now, on to the clothes. I don't really have many opportunities to dress up in Boston, but if my parents want to make room, why not jump at the chance and take some dresses back to New England (and find an excuse to wear them?)? Before I go on, though, let me show you the raw materials of what we're working with:

Babe, am I right? Yup, this is how I tend to dress when I'm at home: enormously oversized cotton pants and an old, faded, oddly-shaped t-shirt. I'm too sexy for my pants, y'all.

Anyway, on to some dresses. First off, the crazy dots:

My mom and I went into Saks Fifth Avenue some years ago (maybe also the summer of 2005? It was a good year for me, apparently) to use their restroom. We saw this dress hanging on a rack and homed in immediately on it (my mother adores polka dots). I tried it on and it was mine. I've worn it very rarely - a fancy dinner once, a wedding another time, and...that might actually be it. Embarrassing. Oh, no! There was an Easter in there somewhere. I love the old-timey silhouette and the thin white belt: I used to not really like the belt, but now I'm a big fan and wouldn't wear the dress without it. The season (and my social life) is against this dress for the moment, but it'll definitely add some spice to my closet and make me more excited for parties where I can really dress up: this is definitely an adult party dress.

Now for something more classic:

I improved my Barbie-arm pose

This dress was also bought at Saks by my mom, along with this skirt: what can I say? We're New Yorkers; we like black. Anyway. Nice, right? It's another garment that I've rarely worn [the only thing that comes to mind is one of my husband's concerts], but it's suitable for most seasons and it's always good to have a classy black dress in the closet, no?

Now comes the part where I need y'all's help. This dress:

This dress was my mother's, back in the 70s. I used to wear it to some things when I was younger and slimmer and now it juuuuuuuust fits. I love the shape and the fabric (linen) and I can foresee some adorable outfits with it. But look at that pouch that appeared right at gut-level: I didn't realize that was happening until I saw the photographs. [There are pockets there, so that has something to do with the puckering, I think] Anyways, it's a little too tight and therefore hard to get on/off, but I...want to fit into it again. However, is it worth it? Will it just make me feel bad about myself when I see it in my closet and struggle into it, pretending that I still Got It? Is it even flattering at this point? Should I wait until I have more space in my suitcase? Should I invest in Spanx? Whoah, sorry, I don't know where that came from. Anyways, gentle readers, this is where you come in: could you tell me if I should take this dress back home with me now or leave it in NYC for later? Please be kind in your comments. 

Whew! Lots of outfits and photos! Oh, you want a fun fact? I got married in those shoes, along with this dress. They'll be staying in New York because right now books trump shoes in my suitcase.

So, go on! Tell me what to do!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How I wore it: mom has good taste

One of the reasons I was glad to come back to my childhood home this time (apart from research, parental spoiling, yummy treats, and parental criticism) was because I knew something cool was waiting for me. My mother, an inveterate classy, preppy dresser, bought herself a cool sweater-vest from Brooks Brothers. When my parents came to visit me in MA last month, she brought hers with her and asked if I wanted one too. I did. I was very excited to get acquainted with it when I arrived in New York and actually planned outfits around it. Well, I wore it today for the first time over a black t-shirt:

Since I wore the exact same jeans and boots as in my last outfit, you only get a half-view

What I like about the sweater-vest (can't there be a better name for this article of clothing than that?) is that it's got a neat-o v-neck (and buttons!) and it's long. Since I have a smallish waist and big hips, when I wear skinny jeans, I like to cover my bum so that I don't inadvertently flash innocent victims. What I can do with this sweater (-vest) is that I can wear it over any top - even if it's not bum-covering! - and it automatically covers what I want it to cover! I originally told my mom to buy a camel-colored one, but I'm glad I changed my mind and went with black: it goes more with my palette, n'est-ce pas? 

Because my colors were so subdued (black and grey! Shocker!), I decided to go for funky, showy jewelry - dangly earrings and a shiny ring!

Fun times. 

Anyway, another fun thing about my parents' house is discovering old (and semi-old) treasures that I'm supposed to take back to my "real" home. I'm hoping to get some snaps tomorrow and show you all the cool things that will be returning home to Cambridge!

Black sweater-vest: Brooks Brothers, gift from mother
Black t-shirt: H&M, remixed
Ruby ring: gift from husband, jewelry store in Hamburg
Sparkly earrings: gift from mother-in-law

Friday, October 22, 2010

How I wore it: bussin' [and not in the kissin' sense]

People! Thanks to the magic of the internet, wireless, and Bolt Bus, I'm actually posting this from a bus. Are your minds blown yet? Whoooooah. Look, I can prove it:

Blurry, unflattering, and vaguely sketched-out looking? Yup, I'm on a bus, all right.

So, surprise! I'm on a trip! I decided a while back that I needed to go home to NYC for some familial errand-running and also for a research holiday. The big disadvantage of not really being a student grounded anywhere is that I don't have a home library to call my own. Fortunately, the New York Public Library has, y'know, some stuff, so I thought I'd go home in order to take advantage of the NYPL's mad reading room skillz. Also, have I mentioned? My parents live about ten minutes away from the library. On foot.


Anyway, another thing I need to do while home is to bring a crapload of stuff from NY back to New England. So I have a big, mostly empty suitcase with me that will probably be full of clothes and books on my return trip to MA next week. Because of all of this, I decided to pack lightly and in neutrals: I'm only taking my grey jeans and have packed only black and white tops [let me remind you that I still have clothes in my parents' closet, so I'm not as gross as you just thought I was]. We'll see how this goes for me; in the meantime, here's my travel outfit:

See? Grey jeans, black shirt, and - I forgot to mention it - my beloved grey Fryes. I'm actually digging this outfit way more than I thought I would and I hope that it leads to my mom saying nice things to me about my appearance, which can be pretty hit-or-miss in our household.

Because I'm being so "boring" with my color choices, I've packed fun jewelry: colorful earrings, ostentatious rings, and my blingy Esprit watch:

Hmmm - my magical wireless internet seems to be crapping out when I try to upload this (last!) picture... More later?

Okay, it's hours later and I'm in my parents' home in NYC, safe and sound. Okay, so I was saying. I packed colorful and visible accessories to offset my neutral clothes. You can see the watch below:

Black, grey, and white - can you really go wrong with mixing and matching neutrals? I have to admit - it's also really nice to wear pants again: I think I'd worn a skirt every day this week except for today. Yay for an all-jeans trip!

Because of being at home with all my "old" clothes, I'm hoping to have some fun things planned the next few days: stay tuned!

Black shirt: bought in Tony's, a boutique in Old City Philadelphia, remixed
Grey jeans: Bulldog by Urban Outfitters, remixed
Grey boots: Frye (Paige Huaraches), by way of, remixed
White watch: Esprit, gift from godmother, remixed

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How I wore it: she works hard for the money

Let me tell you the truth, people, I did not want to go out tutoring this afternoon. The weather was raw and rainy (with eerie patches of sun) and cool and my husband was home for the day and...and...and... But, an obligation is an obligation, so I obligingly put on my non-comfy clothes (by which I mean anything other than my fleece bathrobe) and went out into the world to speak some Spanish with a small child.

Yup, I'm wearing the Steve Madden boots again. What can I do?! I love them so much! And they go well with all colors! Everything else on me was black, in case you couldn't tell from the crapalicious photo. I wanted to wear my seashell necklace, as I had promised my tutee that I would, due to us reading some horrible story about fairies and caracolas. I usually wear this necklace with black, so the rest of the outfit sort of made itself. I honestly can't believe it's been so long since I officially posted this particular dress, which I wore so often while I worked. It's hard to tell, but I'm wearing those patterned tights I like so much and my modesty top is all lacy at the top - I wanted a dash of ethereal with the outfit and I achieved it with lace and patterns.

As I said, it was pretty cool out today, especially on my way back, so I bundled up:

I want to go through the rest of my life exactly like that. EXACTLY. That sweater is super-comfy, y'all.

Striped cardigan: Banana Republic, remixed
Black dress: Gap, remixed
Black modesty top: gift from my parents from Switzerland
Black patterned tights: Gap, remixed
Boots: Steve Madden, remixed

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How I wore it: research and booties part II

Today was another day where I had to go to the Boston Public Library and finally get my hands on a resource I've been looking for for a couple of years now. I thought I'd dress in accordance to the cooler weather and my mood. Grey for all!

Love me, love my cat, people. Anyway, this is the skirt that I first experimented with in tucking in this particular tunic way back in March. Since this skirt (also bought only for work) has a high, defined waist, I really like the look of the tucked-in tunic with this one. I like this skirt a fair amount - a work colleague last year also had it and we had to coordinate when (not) to wear it. It also has an awesome feature:

Pockets! Who doesn't love pockets in a skirt/dress?

Anyways, while I was doing my daily morning blog-reading, I learned that the internet was wearing purple for Spirit Day today, so I thought I'd join in with the only purple garment I have that isn't a cocktail dress:

The color is a little off, but this cardigan is a rich, dark eggplant-y purple. It also came in very handy for today's cool weather - I wore it under my oft-seen green corduroy blazer in the late evening...

So, folks, I was a little down today. First off, I discovered this blog this morning, set in Philadelphia, where I lived for nine happy years. I miss Philly each and every day that I live in New England, people. I know that a lot of people rag on Philly for being a dump, but you know when you just connect with a place? I did with Philly at age 18 and would go back to live there in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, though, my husband isn't the biggest fan of Philly, we are. Sigh. I do, though, have to plan a big research trip there relatively soon,  so yay!

Another reason for my dark and grey mood is that I'm having some negative body-image issues again. Sad face. While, yes, I've been indulging in some treats this week, I've also been working out regularly since coming back to the States - more than when I worked full-time, that's for damn sure. Anyway, now that I'm more into running than I used to, I'm getting more muscular. And brawny. And...well, now I have bigger thighs. And a bigger butt. And my clothes fit weird. And it makes me feel crappy, although I know I shouldn't. Boooooo.

But what makes you feel better when you're a little melancholy?

Flower-shaped jewelry! You'll remember my flower ring from Sparta that I bought in August. The lily-shaped earrings are also from Greece, a gift from my mother-in-law from a now-defunct boutique in central Athens. Cute, no? I quite enjoyed putting together these thematically similar pieces and thought they added a little zip to my outfit.

All right, folks. Happy hump day! See you on the other side!

Purple cardigan: Lord and Taylor, remixed
Grey tunic top: American Apparel, remixed
Grey plaid skirt: Ann Taylor Loft
Grey tights: Gap, remixed
Grey booties: Aldo, remixed
Silver ring: From Christidis, a jewelry store in Sparta
Silver earrings: gift from my mother-in-law, from Archipelago, a store in Athens (now closed, I believe)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How I wore it: dress transition

Earlier this evening, my husband and I met up at Porter Square in Cambridge in order to buy a gift for a friend of mine who just had a baby. Eeeee! Anyway, I'd had a low-key day, so I thought I'd make an event of it, seeing as I had my contacts on already (we played a little soccer after our run today, and that means that I, uh, don't wear something breakable near my face, although no way in hell am I gonna try to bounce a soccer ball with my head: those days are over, seventh-grade soccer!). I decided to shamelessly copy Thalia and Kendi and try to wear my maxi dress in a more autumnal manner, namely with a jacket (and scarf) and boots:

Thinkin' of Greece...

I actually really liked the effect. The pointy grey booties were a cool contrast with the long, flowy dress and the corduroy blazer and scarf grounded the summeriness of it all. 

(I'll tell you a secret: I was wearing tights under my dress!)

(I'll tell you another secret: I also wore a thin cardigan under my blazer for added protection: I've been seriously underdressed these past few days...)

I'd been missing my turquoise jewelry lately, so I decided to put that on, along with my new snake ring. I adored the combo:

"Well, lordy, lordy me..."

I love that snake ring, people. The detailing on it is amazing and I want to wear it all the time. I'm also scared that my other rings will get jealous.

Just a girl leaning casually on her wall

Green blazer: Gap, remixed
Scarf: H&M
Striped dress: Gap, remixed
Grey booties: Aldo, remixed
Turquoise necklace: Macy's, remixed
Turquoise earrings: Banana Republic, remixed
Snake ring: a jewelry store in Harvard Square, gift from my husband

Monday, October 18, 2010

How I wore it: a [shortened] evening of Culture

Tonight, after a long day of working (after an extremely satisfying run), I met my husband at his place of work in order to see these guys perform nearby. Unfortunately, we missed the first piece, since my husband's work day ended just as the concert began. Then, he was so tired and hungry and ill-feeling that we just left during intermission. So we just saw one piece. And it was Bartok - who isn't my fave. Oh, well.

I had planned this outfit in advance, but I liked how effortless it came out:

Don't mind Amalía's emory board

So there you go: drape-y, colorful jersey dress; bright tights; a bright modesty top; and my new "favorite" (don't tell the others!) boots. I have to admit, I'm really starting to feel my bright yellow tights. I used to feel they were a little too much, but now that I have the tall Steve Madden boots, I'm liking them more and more as a flash of complementary color with (so far) colorful dresses. Next step: yellow tights with the tweed shorts again? We'll see...

People, look how long my hair is getting! This is huge for me. My hair was only slightly longer in October of 2004, right before I cut it all off (for reals: I had Mia Farrow short hair for over two years). I've been growing it out, with just one major setback, since June of 2006. I don't have any plans for it at the moment: I'm enjoying having super-long hair again and, of course, I still love my bangs. Anyway, back to now - I'm wearing it down, too! I rarely do that, as I like having my messy bun: I feel that I look a little messy and childish when I wear my hair down. But I wanted a change, so I decided to go long tonight. I think I was traumatized by my parents when I had my hair long before, who were always telling me to make it look nice and neat and put it up and who hated it when I wore it down (I was, um 22/23) I just gotta put it up!

Anyway, that's it on my end, y'all. Despite the fact that I didn't hear the pieces I particularly wanted to hear, it was nice to put on a dress and tights (and BOOTS) and meet my husband downtown for a real date. It might've been cut short, but it was a pleasant change for a Monday night.

Crimson dress: Gap, remixed
Print modesty top [underneath]: Express
Yellow tights: Gap, remixed
Champagne boots: Steve by Steve Madden, remixed

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And that's why the husband is a champ!

Today's Date Day was a super low-key one. Check it: we're home on a Saturday evening at 7:30 PM. We also ate out two nights in a row and feel guilty about leaving Amalía alone for so long (shut up), so we decided to stay in tonight. We did go out today and explore our town a little, which was great. Unfortunately, the weather has definitely decided that it's too cold for a light jacket or heavy cardigan, so it's time to start either layering or just wearing my wool coat. Dammit. At least boots are non-negotiable!

As we were walking among some smart people, I stopped in front of the window of a jewelry store in Harvard Square and stared. I had fallen in love with a pair of earrings, that my husband also admired. As we looked at other displays, I saw that they had an awesome snake ring! A snake ring! Remember how much I wanted a snake ring last spring?! Uncanny! So I decided to go in, and - flush with tutoring money - inquire as to prices for both objects. Well, folks, both pieces of jewelry were cheap and my husband decided to buy them for me. What a prince.

These are the earrings:

Aren't they gorgeous? The flyer with which they came said that they were inspired by this chair:

That chair is the Harry Bertoia diamond wire chair. My earrings are called Diamond Armchair earrings. Cute, no? I love the way the earrings seem to ripple, and how they have that one orange bead sort of floating on the bottom. They look good on, too:

I cannot wait to wear them out!

The ring is also pretty studly:

I love the detailing of the scales and of the cobra-spectacles on the hood. My husband agreed that it was awesome (despite his longtime phobia of snakes) and that it looked far more expensive than the $24 that it cost. It looks pretty on, too:

I think this is gonna be a favorite soon!

So, yeah, I kinda violated my shopping ban (although, one might argue, my husband did buy them for me), but at the same time, we've come to learn that we don't have to be quite as thrifty as we thought we would: we still will be, but we can have some breathing room here and there.

Good thing, too, because we also bought an espresso machine.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How I wore it: business casual

Today was just the kind of day where you want to stay home all day, preferably huddled under a blanket and watching a movie. It was cool, mostly grey, and pretty dreary. [Side note: I went out for a run today wearing shorts - yeah, that won't be happening again till the spring.] However, my glamorous dreams of napping all day working on my dissertation were foiled by the fact that I had my weekly tutoring gig.

I planned out today's outfit a while in advance. Not necessarily for tutoring, but for some point soon. I knew I wanted to wear my new grey studded flats and a cool idea had come to me when I was thinking about how to style them. When I was in college, I played around a lot with rocking out conservative outfits: I'd wear a Velvet Underground t-shirt with dress pants; my fourteen-hole Doc Martens boots with fancy skirts; a KISS baseball t-shirt with get the picture. I wanted to do something similar today with the only vaguely rock & roll t-shirt I still have on me:

Amalía decided to get in on the action too. Forgive the quality of these: they're terrible. Anyway, I wore my old David Bowie t-shirt with a grey pinstripe pencil skirt that I bought a year ago solely for work. By wearing a Bowie tee and studded flats, I got to make the skirt a little less office-friendly. I can see my nineteen-year-old self beaming in approval. I kept my jewelry simple and opted for a big, messy bun - I've been recently trying to be a little more soignée with my hair, but I wanted a messy updo to go with the polished + edgy vibe I was trying to capture this afternoon.

For the outdoors, I wore the green corduroy blazer that's been making the rounds this past week:

There you see the messy hair at its finest

Although I really liked how this came together, I didn't feel that comfortable in the outfit for most of the evening. Since my skirt is so fitted and I was wearing stockings, it kept on trying to creep up and I kept on having to yank it down as I walked. That alone was a huge buzz-kill. Also, as I was wearing an article of clothing that I specifically bought for my conservative workplace last year, I felt a little bit as if I were in costume, what with the shoes and the blazer and the skirt. I don't know: while my nineteen-year-old self would've loved this outfit, the twenty-nine-year-old me was sort of wishing she'd dialed it down a notch and worn jeans, y'know? 

That being said, once I got into the swing of things and sort of settled into my outfit (I guess during my lesson at some point), I felt much more comfortable, confident, and - most importantly - "me." It also helped that my husband loved my outfit when I picked him up at his office and he especially loved my new shoes.

Oh, right, the new shoes! Well, they didn't fall apart, so that's good, and I walked them a fair amount today. However, they are not very comfortable: I honestly can't tell if it's a sizing issue or a pointy-toe issue [my feet used to hate pointy-toed shoes, although I have/had a couple of really comfortable pairs, especially recently], but my toes felt all jammed up in there. I was very aware of them all day (I mean, between 4 and 8 PM, when I was wearing them), but they weren't so bad that I couldn't walk the fair distance that I did in them. If I had to re-grade them, I'd probably give them a low √ or a high √/√- 

They are cute, though, and a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

Green corduroy blazer: Gap, remixed
David Bowie t-shirt: Gap, remixed
Grey pinstripe skirt: Banana Republic, remixed
Grey tights: Gap, remixed
Grey studded flats: Adi Shoes, courtesy of CSN Stores

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How I wore it: who approved this lady's mortgage?

So today, after an - I have to admit - extremely unproductive day of dissertating (and I took yesterday off because my husband was home, but tomorrow is another day), I had to go to a building meeting. My husband couldn't come with me, so I was all alone representin' my apartment. I thought I'd make it memorable:

"I'm a responsible adult who pays all her fees on time! I also throw bitchin' parties! ... With the board's approval."

I knew that I wanted to make my yellow boots a focal point of the outfit. I also didn't want to try to hard because I knew that I'd probably be overdressed enough as it was. So I pulled on my tweedy skirt, one I got in the...hmmm...fall? Of 2005. Yup! I was TA (teaching assistant)-ing pretty hard-core that year, outside of my graduate departmental duties and I decided that I wanted to look more professional than usual, especially as I'm very approachable and informal as a teacher and I was only six years older than the youngest student (and about ten years younger than the oldest one!). [Side note: two of my students who were freshmen when I was their TA graduated from college in 2009 and we met up in Athens that summer! And I'm officially old.] Anyway, I'd always shied away from skirts before that because I went to an all-girls school from Kindergarten through 12th grade and had to wear a uniform which consisted of a skirt for many of those years. Well, since I wanted to be the cool, professional, and (dare I say it?) sexy graduate student TA, I decided that it was time to invest in some knee-length skirts and tall boots. I got two very professional skirts at H&M and comfy black leather boots at Aerosole's and basically created a bunch of teaching outfits with those elements. I still wear them to this day. It also helped mitigate the fact that my first day of TA-ing this particular class, I was wearing a Keith Richards t-shirt and maybe Ramones barrettes. 

So, yeah. With the choice of the skirt (I love its shape and movement!) and boots, the rest of the outfit - muted green/olive tones - came together quite organically and I went with it. Nice, safe, and with a pop of color. And the checkout lady at the supermarket complimented my boots, making me three-for-three so far with wearing these boots and having them commented upon! 

And for the record? I was totally overdressed and the only one in a skirt. But I was also, again, the only one in yellow boots.

Green cardigan: Lord and Taylor, remixed
Olive tube top (beneath the sweater): Express, remixed
Tweed skirt: H&M
Brown-grey tights: gift from sister-in-law by way of TJMaxx (?), remixed
Yellow boots: John Fluevog, remixed

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adi Shoes from CSN Stores review

Remember these? As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, CSN Stores contacted me about potentially doing a review. I agreed to do it and was sent a $35 gift certificate, which I used on the $36 pair of shoes shown above. New pair of shoes for one dollar! Yay!

When I was looking for something to buy, I immediately gravitated toward grey non-boot shoes. Despite my adoration of the color grey, I didn't have any grey shoes, just boots. Last year, at the school at which I worked, one of the students had a beautiful pair of grey suede (maybe leather?) wedges and I immediately, upon seeing her, realized that I really wanted a pair also. So when CSN Stores gave me this opportunity and I saw the studded beauties from Adi Designs Women's Tampa shoes, I thought that it was time to fulfill my dream of grey flats.

As I was a high school Spanish teacher last year, I'm used to grading things on a check / check-plus / check-minus basis. So I thought it would be fun to "grade" my new shoes and ordering experience as if it were subjunctive homework from a tenth-grader.

Use of site: √+
- CSN Stores was a breeze to use and super-convenient. I especially liked that it shows you what you've been viewing previously (not that that's a novelty, but always appreciated). It lets you know when your product has been shipped and lets you track it.

Shipping: √-
- As a site that sells apparel, it is in competition - purposely or no - with sites such as Zappo's or, sites that pride themselves on their quick shipping. I ordered my shoes on a Saturday and got them nine days later. Tracking them made it that much more tortuous. However, shipping on many products is free, as it was on these shoes.

 Amalía was pretty excited by the arrival of the box

Overall Product: √ / √+
- The shoes are pretty cool. They looked exactly as they did on the site:

See? pretty, huh? And super-neat. I'm really glad I went with them. I feel a little ambiguous about the whole ankle-strap thing because I've read that they're not very flattering. I had a pair of ankle-strapped leather shoes once upon a time and I always thought they were cute.

Oh, hi, teal tights! Don't worry about it, people. I know that the buckles are at a suspect place at this picture, but see? Not so unflattering. Here's a full shot:

Meet the rest of my living room! So don't worry about my outfit here. Just focus on the cuteness and surprising flattery of the new shoes. Not bad, eh?

I also really like the stud detailings on the toes and ankle straps. I don't have any studded products, so these shoes take me straight to bad-ass land!

That's a nice touch, no?

Comfort: √
- I haven't worn these for an outing yet, so I can't speak too much about the comfort, but the brand is known for its comfortable shoes, so I have hopes. I think there'll need to be a break-in period though.

Quality: √
- Let's face it: this is not an expensive shoe. The sticker on the bottom of the shoes reminds me that it's all made of man-made material and, frankly, it shows. There seems something a little ... plastic-y? About the whole thing. Also, the left shoe has a couple of flaws at the toe (some of the "leather" seems to have scraped off and there's another little flap that's loose):

You can see the two teensy flaws on the left shoe. Also, the bad-ass studs!

Overall satisfaction: √+
 - I think these shoes are adorable; they fit a niche in my wardrobe that needed more edge (and grey); they're basic, but with some unexpected details that make them memorable and fun. My experience with CSN Stores was also very satisfactory. Although I wish they sprung for faster shipping, their shipping is free, so there is that. Anyways, I'm glad that I was able to have this opportunity. Thanks, CSN Stores!